Belarusian Opposition Leader Statkevich Detained For Sixth Time In 2017
Prominent Belarusian opposition leader and former presidential candidate Mikalay Statkevich has been detained in Minsk, his wife says. Maryna Adamovich told RFE/RL that her husband was on his way home in Minsk late on October 30th. She said the authorities had not told her why he was detained or where he was being held. Statkevich’s detainment came a day after he took part in a rally in front of Belarusian KGB headquarters to commemorate victims of the Soviet government.
As Apple And Facebook Chiefs Visit, Xi Jinping Vows Deeper Reform
Paul Mozur and Chris Buckley, The New York Times
Xi Jinping, speaking at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing during an event shown on national television, addressed topics such as globalization, innovation and China’s relationship with the United States at a gathering of executives who included Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple; Stephen Schwarzman, the chief executive of the Blackstone Group; and Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive.
Barred UK Activist’s New Hong Kong Watch Group Draws New Support
Jeffie Lam, South China Morning Post
The new advocacy group set up by a British activist recently barred from Hong Kong has drawn support from several UK foreign policy heavyweights as it prepares to begin monitoring “worsening” human rights, freedoms and rule of law in the city. Hong Kong Watch, spearheaded by Benedict Rogers, has pledged to raise concerns with the British government and the international community should there be violations of the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law, the city’s mini-constitution.
Out Of Jail, Democracy Activist Joshua Wong Hopes Hong Kongers Won’t Treat Him Like A Hero
Ten weeks in jail has had an effect on Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong; he is pensive, reflective and thinner. It is an experience that has forced him to weigh up the cost of being the most recognised face of the city’s democracy campaign. His imprisonment alongside two other leading activists for their role in the massive 2014 Umbrella Movement rallies, which called for fully free leadership elections, came after the city’s Beijing-backed government pursued jail terms for the trio.
The Camp Where Chinese Citizens Pledge Allegiance To Communism
Laura Mallonee, Wired
Few who went on the Long March—the infamous journey communist forces made across China in 1934—returned alive. Yet the Chinese tourists reenacting it in Thomas Peter’s bizarre photos seem to be having a blast. They dodge enemy “fire,” strap “wounded” comrades to makeshift stretchers, and race bamboo rafts across treacherous waters with all the gusto of kids playing Capture the Flag. It’s part of a three-day camp organized by the Jinggangshan Revolutionary Tradition College in the lush mountains of Jinggangshan, near where the Long March first began.
Cuba’s Policy On Cuban-American Travel To The Island Has Political And Economic Tentacles
Mimi Whitefield and Nora Gámez Torres, The Miami Herald
New travel regulations that Cuba announced over the weekend appear designed to make sure a steady flow of Cuban-American visitors continues. But the rules—which include welcoming back Cubans who fled the island through irregular means, such as by rafts, and eliminating some of the bureaucracy associated with visits by the diaspora—also seem to be a response to a chill in the US-Cuba relationship and a stricter Trump administration policy on travel between the two countries.
Russia Again Casts A Long Shadow Over Cuba
Andreas Knobloch, Deutsche Welle
While Cuba’s relationship with the US is cooling down, it is moving closer to its former protector and partner Russia. But Vladimir Putin is not just interested in boosting the economy of the island nation. In July 2014, a report in the Moscow daily newspaper Kommersant caused a sensation when it revealed that Russia would reactivate its “Lourdes” listening station in Cuba, which is located around 100 miles from the continental US. Russia also signed an agreement at the end of 2016 to modernize Cuba’s armed forces. And reports keep appearing that Russia could again open a military base on Cuba.
Seoul Identifies 245 North Koreans Involved In Human Rights Violations
Dagyum Ji, NKNews.org
A South Korean government-run organization has tracked down and identified hundreds of North Koreans it says are responsible for human rights violations, South Korean lawmaker Yoon Sang-jick said on Monday. The North Korean Human Rights Documentation Office, an organization affiliated with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), was established in October last year and had identified the 245 offenders by late September. Information will be used to hold violators “criminally liable” after unification, according to the MOJ.
Putin Opens Monument To Stalin’s Victims, Dissidents Cry Foul
Andrew Osborn, Reuters
President Vladimir Putin inaugurated a monument to the victims of Stalinist purges on Monday, but Soviet-era dissidents accused him of cynicism at a time when they say authorities are riding roughshod over civil freedoms.
“The Wall of Grief” occupies a space on the edge of Moscow’s busy 10-lane ring road and depicts a mass of faceless victims, many of whom were sent to prison camps or executed on Josef Stalin’s watch after falsely being accused of being “enemies of the people.” Those who have helped document Stalin’s crimes, from the Memorial human rights group to individual historians and journalists, have sometimes felt themselves under pressure from the authorities. A group of Soviet-era dissidents published a letter on Monday, accusing Putin of cynicism.
Amnesty Blasts Venezuela’s “Illegal Home Raids”
Voice of America
Venezuelan authorities have used “illegal” raids on the homes of suspected political dissenters as part of an intimidation campaign, Amnesty International charged in a report issued Monday. Local human rights groups have gathered accounts “of at least 47 raids and attacks on residential areas” across the country between April and July, according to Amnesty’s report. The raids coincide with four months of often-violent street demonstrations against President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist administration, in which more than 120 people were killed, almost 2,000 injured and at least 5,000 arrested.
Freeland Steps Up Diplomatic Pressure On Venezuela, Warns Of Refugee Crisis
David Paddon, The Canadian Press
Canada is concerned that the political and economic turmoil in Venezuela will spark a refugee crisis for the South American country and its neighbours, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Monday. Freeland said that she and Peru’s foreign minister would take that message to the United Nations in New York City on Monday, following her appearance at a business conference in Toronto. Canada and Peru co-chaired a meeting of ministers from the Lima Group of countries last week in Toronto. Freeland and Peru’s foreign minister Ricardo Luna were delegated to meet with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Venezuela’s Opposition Suffers “Deep Political Crisis”
Elizabeth Melimopoulos, Al Jazeera
Venezuela’s opposition is facing a “deep political crisis”, analysts say, as fractures within the coalition have emerged following the surprise loss in this month’s regional elections. Four out of five opposition governors in Venezuela accepted their elected posts last week in defiance of the opposition Democratic Unity Coalition (MUD). The only opposition candidate to maintain MUD’s official stance was Juan Pablo Guanipa, the governor-elect of the oil-rich Zulia state. On Thursday, the National Constituent Assembly approved a decree to hold a new election in the state.
Vietnam Catholic Priests Harassed, Threatened by “Red Flag” Group
Two priests from Vinh diocese in central Vietnam were surrounded and threatened on Monday by a mob of 300 people waving red flags, in what the clergymen and rights group said is part of a broad pattern of government supported abuse in the Southeast Asian country. Vietnam’s social media users have pointed out that people calling themselves “Red Flag” groups have mobilized online and occasionally in person to attack Catholic parishes and parishioners. The groups’ members dress in red and hold the Vietnamese Communist Party’s standard red flag with a yellow star and flags bearing the hammer and sickle.