Cambodia’s King Sihamoni OKs Divisive Laws to Reallocate Opposition Parliamentary Seats
Cambodia’s King Norodom Sihamoni has approved a set of controversial amendments to the country’s electoral law, paving the way for the dissolution of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) and the reallocation of its parliamentary seats to government-aligned parties. The king signed the four amendments into law immediately after they were deemed acceptable by the Constitutional Council of the National Assembly, or parliament, on Tuesday in a decision made “without undue urgency.”
China Has Launched Another Crackdown On The Internet—But It’s Different This Time
Cheang Ming and Saheli Roy Choudhury, CNBC
Xi Jinping delivered a message for the world during his opening speech at the 19th Communist Party Congress: China supports an open economy, and it will further liberalize its markets to foreign investors. But while the leadership talks of financial liberalization, some facets of life inside the world’s second-largest economy are becoming a lot less free. That’s especially true for digital communication inside China.
China Lawyer Recounts Torture Under Xi’s “War On Law”
John Sudworth, BBC
For Xie Yanyi it was not the physical abuse that was the hardest to endure—although his list of the deliberate cruelties inflicted upon him is long. He was kept in a stress position, crouched on a low stool, from 06:00 in the morning until 22:00 at night. After 15 days like this, he tells me, his legs went numb and he had difficulty urinating. At times he was denied food and was subjected to gruelling interrogations for “dozens of hours” on end.
New Images Show North Korea’s Extensive Network Of “Reeducation” Camps
Anna Fifield, The Washington Post
The brutal treatment meted out to North Korea’s political prisoners has been well- documented, but a new report coming out Thursday, based on satellite images, portrays the extensive network of “reeducation” camps for less severe violations of Pyongyang’s penal code. These camps are situated throughout the country, both on the outskirts of cities and in huge compounds in the mountains. Conditions are severe but come with the possibility of release.
North Korean Official Says Take Hydrogen Bomb Threat “Literally”
Will Ripley, CNN
A senior North Korean official has issued a stern warning to the world that it should take “literally” his country’s threat to test a nuclear weapon above ground. The official, Ri Yong Pil, told CNN in an exclusive conversation in Pyongyang that the threat made by North Korea’s foreign minister last month should not be dismissed. North Korea “has always brought its words into action,” Ri said, visibly angry.
Russia Frees Two Pro-Kyiv Crimea Tatar Leaders From Jail
Anton Zverev, Reuters
Russia has freed two prominent Crimean Tatar activists opposed to Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region, their lawyer said on Wednesday. Ukraine’s leader thanked Turkey’s president for helping broker the release. Ilmi Umerov, deputy head of the Crimean Tatars’ semi-official Mejlis legislature before it was suspended by Moscow, was sentenced last month by a Russian court to two years in jail for separatism.
The Battle Over Jehovah’s Witnesses In Russia
James T. Richardson, New Eastern Europe
Last April, Russia’s Supreme Court banned Jehovah’s Witnesses, which came as a blow to the freedom of religion. How the European Court of Human Rights rules on the many cases against Russia, will reveal much about the future of the Court’s influence and the rule of law in the country.
An Interview with a Revolutionary: Natalia Kaliada of Belarus Free Theatre
Alan Katz, DC Theatre Scene
There is still dictatorship in Europe. Protestors are beaten in the streets. Artists and activists are tortured in prison. An iron-fisted strong man rigs elections and crushes all opposition. This is not a setup for a dystopian film. This is Belarus 2017. But there is a resistance. A theater company in exile devotes themselves to freeing Belarus. Their art raises awareness abroad for their country’s plight. Their actors at home work in secret to prevent kidnap and imprisonment. They are Belarus Free Theatre.
Reckoning With Communism
John O’Sullivan, National Review
From their unquiet graves, the victims of Communism cry to Heaven not for vengeance but for justice. We cannot give that to them. But we can give them and their families the assurance that they have not been forgotten by History until justice arrives in a higher court. In Washington Niall Ferguson and Natan Sharansky will be among the speakers at what promises to be a truly historic conference on Truth, Justice, Memory organized by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.
Sakharov Prize Awarded To Venezuela Opposition
The European Parliament has awarded its Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Venezuela’s opposition-dominated National Assembly, as well as to political prisoners in the country. The National Assembly in Venezuela was nominated for the award by the center-right European People’s Party (EPP) parliamentary grouping along with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE group).