Local Boss Ordered Crackdown on China’s “Democracy Village” With Eye on National Power
CHANNEL NEWS ASIA
This month’s crackdown on protests in China’s Wukan village was ordered by the provincial leader under pressure to prove his mettle ahead of a pivotal Communist Party congress next year where he could reach the top table of power in China, sources close to the leadership say. The pacification of Wukan, where villagers had marched for over 80 days since mid-June in protest at the jailing of democratically elected village chief Lin Zuluan, was crucial to Hu’s chances, the sources said.
Reporting in Cuba With or Without Consent
Fernando Ravsberg, HAVANA TIMES
Last week, Juventud Rebelde newspaper published a story that denounced the bureaucratic hurdles that journalists had to jump over just to be able to do a simple report about the Coppelia ice-cream parlor, a true icon in Havana. One of the media’s jobs is to reveal corruption cases and in Cuba it’s even more important to do so given the fact that all national media belongs to the people who lose out when a manager steals. This objective is impossible to achieve if journalists have to ask for permission to cover every event they want to. This explains why when 30 patients died of hunger and cold at a psychiatric hospital no national media went there to find out why.
Religious Violations in North Korea “Worst Abuses in the World”
Hannah Tooley, PREMIER.ORG.UK
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) says the country can no longer operate unchecked and reguarly commits some of the “worst abuses in the world.” In its new report on the closed nation it says “freedom of religion of belief is largely non-existent.” It is pushing the international community to act and for the United Nations (UN) to implement change.Ben Rogers East Asia team leader said that “The policy of guilt by association is punishment of up to three generations – a person who’s a Christian or indeed any other person who’s committed, in the eyes of a regime, a political crime – not only do they go to the prison camp but their relatives up to three generations.”
Lao Government Promises Over Land Are Met With Suspicion
RADIO FREE ASIA
A senior Lao official’s request to villagers and others affected by land grabs to bring their cases to government attention for redress is being met with suspicion, with civil society workers voicing doubts that much will now change. Laos’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has estimated that government officials have given more than one million hectares of the country’s total land area of 23.7 million hectares (58.6 million acres) as concessions to foreign investors, excluding land for mining and hydropower projects.
Maduro Foes in Venezuela Vow Protests as Election Ruling Cements Socialist Power
Andrew Cawthorne and Deisy Buitrago, THE WASHINGTON POST
Foes of President Nicolás Maduro on Thursday vowed protests and accused Venezuela’s election authority of ignoring voters by dashing hopes for a referendum this year on recalling the unpopular socialist leader. The election board said in a statement Wednesday that a potential plebiscite could happen only in early 2017, meaning should Maduro lose, as polls suggest he would, his vice president would take over, according to the constitution. That would keep the Socialist Party in power at least until the next presidential election in late 2018.