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Category Archives: Government Oppression

It’s the economy, stupid – The Jakarta Post – Jakarta Post

Posted: July 25, 2020 at 10:07 am

For the educated middle class, more often than not democracy means freedom of speech and freedom from government oppression. After all, it was members of this middle class who were responsible for kick-starting a democratic transition.

But for the majority of people, democracy is but a means to achieve a greater purpose, with economic prosperity being one of the primary objectives. For the majority of the working class, the basic question is whether or not a deliberative mode of governance can create more equitable wealth for a greater number of people.

Even in places where democracy has long matured and essentially become the only game in town, a decline in economic growth, which in the long run could adversely impact standards of living, has now led to the working class electing populist leaders politicians who they think have a quick fix to their economic woes.

In places where democratic traditions have deep roots, some of these populist leaders are beginning to take measures akin to those preferred by dictators and their banana republics.

For young democracies like Indonesia, the loss of faith in democracy could bring disastrous consequences.

There are just too many people here who dont think democracy is a good idea, although people from outside deem democracy is needed and can work in this plural nation.

Even when the economy is relatively stable and steady economic growth brings jobs and improves the quality of lives for millions as seen in the past 20 years in Indonesia under democratic governance many have continued to long for the stability and prosperity of Soeharto's 32-year-long New Order regime.

Look carefully and one can find graffiti or posters with the stenciled face of a smiling general Soeharto, next to the question:Enak jamanku tho? (It was better during my time, right?).

These people, who are pining for the good old days, are certainly disappointed that now a multiparty democratic system has worked against their interests. There are now too many centers of power and the presence of too many holders of veto power has made it difficult for the crafting of quick and effective policies that could solve bread-and-butter problems for the majority of people.

The fragmented nature of Indonesias political party system has also compromised the government's ability to make decisions during emergency situations like the COVID-19 pandemic. Fearing a political backlash from the House of Representatives, which is controlled by too many political factions, many key decision makers in the government are reluctant to make decisions over the disbursement of COVID-19 funds.

It is no wonder then that in May this year, at the height of the pandemic, only 49.5 percent of those surveyed by Indikator Politik Indonesia said they were satisfied with how democracy works in this country.

The question now is whether we, the people, and politicians still have the conviction to carry on with this democratic experiment. We should not take no for an answer.

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Who are the Uighur people and why do they face oppression by China? – The Independent

Posted: at 10:07 am

China is facing mounting global criticism over its treatment of the Uighur population in Xinjiang province with claims of forced labour camps and mass sterilisation.

Boris Johnsons government has accused Beijing of egregious human rights abuses against the minority group, while Donald Trumps administration has imposed sanctions on Chinese officials linked to alleged oppression.

So who are the Uighurs? And what sort of evidence lies behind these claims? The Independent took a closer look at a group largely forgotten by the world until recent weeks.

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

Who are the Uighur people?

The Uighur are an ethnic minority group of Muslims living in Chinas north-west region of Xinjiang. There are an estimated 11 million Uighurs in the region almost half of its total population.

Uighur Muslims have been there for hundreds of years and speak a language related to Turkish. It is believed their ancestors may have come from a previous homeland of the Turks in the northern part of central Asia.

Some Uighurs dont accept that Xinjiang officially an autonomous region is part of China, citing evidence that their ancestors lived in the area before Chinese Han and Tang dynasties established their dominion in the area.

What sort of abuse is thought to be taking place?

There is credible evidence that up to one million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are being held in re-education detention centres in Xinjiang, according to a report by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Beijing has denied any mistreatment claiming that these camps are vocational training centres which help stamp out extremism by Islamist separatists, as well as giving people new skills.

A man driving a vehicle in an Uighur neighbourhood in Aksu, Xinjiang province (AFP via Getty Images)

However, a 2018 report by Amnesty International report found that arbitrary detention of Uighur Muslims across the province was widespread. The exile group World Uyghur Congress claims detainees are held without charge, and forced to undergo attempted indoctrination by shouting Chinese Communist Party slogans.

When recently confronted with disturbing video footage showing blindfolded men kneeling and waiting to be led onto trains in Xinjiang, Chinas ambassador to the UK told the BBC the video could be fake. The video was authenticated by the Australian security services.

No hype, just the advice and analysis you need

Whats behind the claims of mass sterilisation?

There is evidence Chinese government is taking draconian measures to slash birth rates among Uighurs as part of a sweeping campaign to curb its Muslim population.

A report released in June by China scholar Adrian Zenz claimed the Chinese authorities were forcing Uighur women to be sterilised or fitted with contraceptive devices across Xinjiang.

A recent Associated Press investigation discovered women in the province have faced fines and threats of detention for breaching limits on having babies. It also found the authorities force intrauterine devices (IUDs), sterilisation and even abortion on Uighur women.

Protesters attend a rally in Hong Kong to show support for the Uighur minority in China (AFP/Getty)

What political action has been taken?

The US has imposed sanctions on Chinese officials, companies and institutions linked to Chinas treatment of Uighurs in the Xinjiang region. On 20 July, the US Commerce Department added 11 Chinese companies to the US economic blacklist.

Earlier this week UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab accused Chinese officials of committing gross, egregious human rights abuses in Xinjiang but the British government stopped short of introducing sanctions against officials accused of abuse against the Uighur.

France also condemned the treatment of the ethnic group. French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said it was revolting and unacceptable and called for international independent observers to be allowed to inspect conditions in Xinjiang.

What about private companies using Uighur labour?

More than 180 human rights groups have urged brands from Adidas to Amazon to end sourcing of cotton and clothing from the Xinjiang region and cut ties with any suppliers in China that benefit from what they claim to be forced labour.

While most fashion brands do not source from factories in Xinjiang, many of their supply chains are likely to be tainted by cotton picked by Uighurs that is exported across China and used by other suppliers, a coalition of organisations said in a letter.

More than 80 per cent of Chinas cotton comes from Xinjiang. Brands and retailers recognise there is a massive problem in the region, and that their supply chains are exposed to a grave risk of forced labour, said Scott Nova, head of the US-based Worker Rights Consortium (WRC).

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Portland’s heroic Wall of Moms is standing up for the Constitution – Las Vegas Sun

Posted: at 10:07 am

Noah Berger / AP

In this July 20, 2020, file photo, Norma Lewis holds a flower while forming a wall of moms during a Black Lives Matter protest in Portland, Ore. When armed protesters took over a remote wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon four years earlier to oppose federal control of public lands, U.S. agents negotiated with the conservative occupiers for weeks while some state leaders begged for stronger action. In July 2020, federal officers sent to Portland, Ore., to quell chaotic protests against racial injustice took swift and, some say, harsh action: launching tear gas, firing less-lethal ammunition and helping arrest more than 40 people in the first twoweeks.

Thursday, July 23, 2020 | 2 a.m.

When Bev Barnum of Portland, Ore., learned that squads of secret police were snatching up people in her community without explanation, she did what American heroes have been doing since the start of our nation when faced with government oppression. She confronted it nose to nose and refused to back down.

Barnum is a founder of the Wall of Moms, the group of women who aligned themselves in Portland to protest the Trump administrations extrajudicial detainments in the city over the past several days. The group, which also turned out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, started with about 70 individuals Saturday during its first appearance, when it shielded protesters from federal agents posted outside the federal building.

Despite being unjustifiably hit with tear gas and pepper balls, the group came right back for another round of peaceful demonstration Sunday, this time about 200 strong and with a very pregnant woman in their ranks. And although federal authorities have repeatedly gassed them, detonated flash-bang grenades near them and fired nonlethal projectiles at them, the group has remained on guard, night after night.

Well stop when there is no protester that needs our protection, said Barnum, 35, to CNN. We get thanks every which way. But were not doing it for the thanks. Were doing it to protect human rights.

Thats pure American spirit standing up to injustice, abuse of authority and tyranny.

And make no mistake, the reason for the Wall of Moms actions is legitimate. As the situation in Portland has revealed, President Donald Trump is making America look more and more like a junta.

In fact, the scene involving Barnum and her counterparts is starkly reminiscent of mothers protests in Argentina after its coup detat and during during the bloody regime of Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet in the 1970s and 1980s. In both countries, the mothers movements were instrumental in restoring democracy as dictators secret police disappeared dissidents from the streets.

Pinochet used his secret police to round up nearly 28,000 people in an attempt to erase the legacy and influence of his predecessor. His regime tortured and executed detainees, some of whom have still not been accounted for.

Enter the mothers movement, which began working to call attention to the victims quietly by creating and distributing tapestries in honor of Pinochets victims, then grew more assertive to the point of speaking out about the atrocities.

The mothers protests took a long time, but they were instrumental in bringing down the junta.

Now the images from Portland law-abiding people being thrown into unmarked vans by what amounts to a secret police and peaceful women being gassed and hit with projectiles are a resonant display of how low Trump has sunk.

The federal action is flatly unconstitutional under the First and 14th amendments, which, respectfully, give Americans the right to dissent and protect them from arrest without probable cause. And its a serious step forward in Trumps dawning attempt to be a dictator.

Trump says Portland is totally out of control, but when pressed for examples of violence, all the Department of Homeland Securitys acting director could offer was graffiti. Thats right, graffiti is now a major concern of Homeland Security and it is considered, apparently, a violent crime. Meanwhile, abuses at the hands of police tear-gassings, beatings, unwarranted arrests and detainments of neutral bystanders and observers have fueled tensions and confrontations.

The larger question becomes: How much further will Trump try to force this junta? Is having people disappear into secret long-term detainment next? One could argue weve already crossed that threshold for the children separated from their families at the southern border. Some will never be reunited with their families because of Trumps sadistic actions.

It is both fitting and thrilling to see the mothers of Portland rise up to protect their children and their city from improper federal action. Chanting The moms are here, feds stay clear, these mothers are champions of American values while Trumps secret police trample our Constitution.

These are everyday Americans putting their bodies on the line to arrest our nations slide into dictatorship. These are not violent anarchists Trump and his flunkies keep wailing about from their bunkers. No American should forget that our president is frightened enough by pregnant women and mothers to have his forces gas them. We just dress like were going to Target, one of the mothers said. She was tear-gassed during the first protest and returned every night since. America at its finest.

But with Trumps approval ratings in the tank and his chances of being thrown out of office looking stronger every day, hes clearly intensifying his bid to exert authoritarian control. Not only has he co-opted DHS and other agencies to use as his secret police, but hes vowing to take over other cities besides Portland. As youre reading this, a Portland-style strike force may be on its way to Chicago.

And his assault on protesters is just one of the ways that Trump, abetted by Attorney General William Barr, is weaponizing federal law enforcement and the Justice Department against American citizens. They are trying to criminalize dissent, and that is antithetical to American values.

Against that backdrop, groups like the Wall of Moms are invaluable. Our nations democracy needs all the protectors it can get.

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Hong Kong Protesters Are Still Fighting the Good Fight – National Review

Posted: at 10:07 am

Supporters raise blank white paper to avoid slogans banned under the national security law as they support an arrested anti-law protester outside Eastern court in Hong Kong, China, July 3, 2020.(Tyrone Siu/Reuters)Theyve switched up their tactics to outsmart their oppressors, whose tyranny is clearer by the day.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLEIt has been almost a month since the Chinese Communist Party enacted its invasive security law better called the oppression law. If there had been any doubt before the laws taking effect that its purpose was not to protect the people of Hong Kong from instability but rather to subject an innocent populace to Beijings despotism, there can be none now even to the most optimistic onlooker.

After the oppression bill became law for Hong Kongers, a chilling effect spread throughout the commercial hub: Pro-democracy activists quieted down, faced with the once-unthinkable reality of being arrested for standing peacefully in public places and voicing their desire for freedom. Shopkeepers were compelled to remove customers protest artwork and pro-democracy sticky notes from their shops lest the government punish them for endorsing the democracy camps message. Protesters deleted their social-media accounts, as speech that had been legal just days previously was now a potential crime against the government. Members of the press in Hong Kong began to feel as though they could not write freely and objectively without punitive consequences; the New York Times, over the next year, will relocate a third of its staff to Seoul.

These many fears are warranted: The oppression law outright bans any activity that the Chinese government arbitrarily deems subversive, secessionist, or terrorist, as well as what it deems collusion with foreign forces. Indeed, on the anniversary of Hong Kongs return to its status as a Chinese territory a day that would normally be marked by mass demonstrations only a few thousand brave souls took to the streets. Police wielding pepper spray and water cannons nevertheless promptly forced the small crowd to disperse. Almost 400 protesters were arrested, including a 15-year-old girl who was simply waving an independence flag. It is perhaps only a matter of time before the authorities start handing out life-imprisonment sentences for their political enemies such harsh punishments are permitted under the oppression law or even worse.

But if there is any silver lining to Hong Kongs terrifying condition, it is the resilience with which Hong Kongs democracy activists have met the restrictions of the CCP. Like true Darwinian specimens adapting to adverse conditions, Hong Kongs protesters have switched up their tactics, bending the measures of the oppression law without breaking them. Since colorful posters with pro-democracy slogans have become synonymous with subversion a big red target for authorities on the prowl activists have begun to display crafty signs that appear, when seen from afar, to convey pro-democracy messages, but that, on closer inspection, are nothing but squiggles and odd shapes. At least a few activists have already stumped police with such signs, evading arrest. Others have begun to hold up blank white signs, or to put up blank white sticky notes in their shops.

Perhaps such tactics, once they, too, have become synonymous with democracy, will likewise be banned by the CCP and its proxy government officials in Hong Kong. But if so, the activists will have won a significant moral victory: They will have shown to the world that the Chinese Communists under President Xi Jinping are so desperate for power that they are literally willing to ban people from displaying blank white pieces of paper.

The protesters symbolic measures are far from their only strong response to the oppression law. On July 10, authorities sent a sinister message to voters by raiding an independent polling station on the eve of an unofficial primary vote for the citys pro-democracy camp. The raid came only hours after the same station released a survey finding that 61 percent of Hong Kongers view their city as no longer being free. But over 600,000 voters showed up the next day to vote anyway, resoundingly nominating pro-democracy and pro-demonstration candidates. These voters were emboldened by the courage of the most visible activists, whose sustained efforts yielded one of the biggest victories to date for the pro-democracy camp.

Of course, as with many autocratic regimes, voters could find their choices invalidated in the general elections. In that case, though, the CCP, which normally prefers to operate in secrecy, would have its despotism unmasked for all to see.

Standing up for their beliefs against a superpower with no respect for individual rights and little regard for the essential preciousness of human lives, Hong Kongs protesters are an example of bravery, creativity, and resourcefulness in the face of adversity. For Americans long accustomed to having our freedoms safeguarded by our centuries-old Constitution this is a bracing reminder of whats at stake in the fight for liberty. Whatever actions the allies of freedom are willing or able to muster against Communist China, advocates for Hong Kongs autonomy should hope that the activists continue to resist to the point that Beijing finds the unrest so damaging to its global image that it decides that dominating Hong Kong is not worth the cost.

If you think there should be a corner of our journalistic and intellectual life that defends right reason and is an alternative to the unhinged mainstream media, and if you have been alarmed at the sound of the American mind slamming shut at so many institutions recently, please lend National Review your support.SUPPORT NR TODAY

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Government should freeze assets of Chinese officials involved in oppression of Uighurs, says Labour –

Posted: July 21, 2020 at 11:44 am

Lisa Nandy said the Government should freeze the assets of Chinese officials involved in human rights abuses (BBC)

4 min read19 July

Labour is urging the Government to freeze the assets of any Chinese officials involved in the oppression of the Uighurs.

Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy also said safeguarding national security has got to be the "plank" upon which all policy is based.

It comes amid worsening relations between the UK and Beijing after high-profile rows about Huawei and Hong Kong.

And on Sunday it was reported the Chinese media giant TikTok is ditching plans to open a global headquarters in London due to the "wider geopolitical context.

Speaking to Sky News Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Ms Nandy said she is "appalled" at alleged human right abuses by China against the mainly Muslim minority ethnic Uighur group.

"One very concrete thing the UK could do is freeze the assets of any Chinese officials involved in human rights abuses in China," she added.

"The UK should not be a haven for people who abuse human rights overseas.

But Chinas ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaomingdismissed such claims, saying every ethnicgroup in China is treated equal.

Speaking on BBC Ones Andrew Marr Show he was shown footage appearing to show Uighurs being blindfolded and loaded onto trains, and an interview with a woman who said she was forced into a sterilisation operation.

He replied by saying: "I do not know where you got this video tape.

Sometimesyou have a transfer of prisoners, as in any country."

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab stopped short of decribing the treatment of Uighurs in China as genocide, but told the BBC it was "clear there are gross, egregioushuman rights abuses going on".

He added:"The reports of the human aspect of it - from forced sterilisation to the education camps - are reminiscent of something we have not seen for a long, long time.

"This from a leading member of the international community that wants to be taken seriously and in fact who we want a positive relationship with. But we cannot see behaviour like that and not call it out."

Butthe Liberal Democrats have called on the Foreign Secretary to acknowledge the Chinese government is "engineering a genocide of the Uyghur people.

In a letter to Mr Raab the party's foreign affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichaelurged the Government to use the next round of targeted sanctions on individuals responsible for human rights abuses in Xinjiang province.

He said: The images we have seen in recent days are harrowing and inhuman.

The Government has a duty to take a lead and do all we can to save theUyghur people.

"We must be clear what is happening here. The Chinese government is engineering a genocide.

"The Foreign Secretary must come before MPs before the recess and set out what urgent actions the Government will take, both on an international level and unilaterally."

On the wider issue of relations with China,Labour frontbencher Ms Nandy said: "We've got to be in a position first and foremost to safeguard our national security.

"And whilst Chinese investment is very welcome in the UK, there are serious concerns, which I've been raising actually for four years now.

"I was the shadow energy secretary who raised concerns about Hinkley Point nuclear power station, that we shouldn't be handing over large chunks of our key infrastructure to Chinese Government-backed firms here in the UK.

"And that's what has prompted the row about Huawei. For several years now, we've been saying to the Government that this is a high-risk vendor.

Three consecutive Conservative prime ministers have been told by their own security services that this is a high risk vendor and yet have done nothing to try and reduce their reliance in this company in our 5G network.

She added: "It doesn't help Britain's economic prosperity to have failed to safeguard national security, that's got to be the plank on which we base everything else.

"If we'd acted sooner, if the Government had paid heed to the warnings, not just from Labour, but from Conservative backbenchers as well and from our own security services, then we wouldn't be in a position now where the roll-out of 5G is delayed and where the costs have increased because we just didn't have a plan.

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Portland mayor to Trump administration: We want you to leave – POLITICO

Posted: at 11:44 am

The mayor added: In fact, we want them to leave.

The situation in Oregons largest city has become part of the national debate over what represents appropriate protest and what constitutes government oppression. Footage of people being scooped up on the streets of Portland and placed in vans has been circulated widely on social media in recent days, often accompanied by expressions of either delight or anger.

The deployment of federal agents has also fit with the presidents efforts to draw a contrast with Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, who Trump has claimed is not interested in law and order.

The Radical Left Democrats, who totally control Biden, will destroy our Country as we know it, Trump tweeted Sunday. Unimaginably bad things would happen to America. Look at Portland, where the pols are just fine with 50 days of anarchy.

Protests in Portland have continued since the death of George Floyd in Minnesota on Memorial Day. According to The Oregonian, the focus of the unrest has been a 12-block area; protests in other parts of the city have been largely without incident, but the disorder within the 12-block zone has included repeated skirmishes with police, as well as fires and vandalism.

In June, Wheeler called the destruction a horrible, horrendous miscalculation. One longtime community activist, Ronnie Herndon, added: That is a tactic thats been used to destroy Black people, not help Black people. On Saturday, a fire was set at the Portland Police Association, and police used tear gas in an attempt to clear the area.

In recent days, federal forces have been detaining and arresting protesters, and reports indicate that they have sometimes done so without identifying themselves and that they are using unmarked vehicles. Wheeler said the governments actions were in violation of the law and a threat to the nations democratic values.

The tactics that the Trump administration are using on the streets of Portland are abhorrent, Wheeler said, adding that people were being deprived of due process and being detained without probable cause.

As far as I can see, this is completely unconstitutional, Wheeler said.

The state of Oregon has sought to get rid of the federal agents, with Oregons attorney general, Ellen Rosenblum, suing late Friday in federal court. The American Civil Liberties Union has also challenged the administrations actions.

Authoritarian governments, not democratic republics, send unmarked authorities after protesters, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) tweeted on Thursday. These Trump/Barr tactics designed to eliminate any accountability are absolutely unacceptable in America, and must end. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) added: We must get to the bottom of these abuses against Oregonians.

On Sunday, three House committee chairs demanded the administrations actions be investigated by internal Trump administration watchdogs. "The legal basis for this use of force has never been explained, wrote Reps. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.).

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The Mississippi state flag and the Confederate Flag Symbols of oppression –

Posted: at 11:44 am

A look at the Confederate Flag and 'Jim Crow Laws' in the United States from historian Richard Dowson

The last official remnant of the Confederate Flag has ended. This comes 155 years after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses Grant at Appomattox, Virginia on April 9, 1865. Slavery ended September 22, 1862 when President Abraham Lincoln and his government passed the Emancipation Proclamation.

The Confederate States economy was agrarian. It relied heavily on slaves to work the plantations and farms. Confederates wanted to continue slavery.

The Confederate Flag is associated with Slavery and Jim Crow Laws.

After the Civil War during reconstruction, southern states passed laws that marginalized African Americans. State and local laws were passed legalizing segregation in schools, public places, washrooms, restaurants, pubic transit and more and people became indentured farm workers with limited economic opportunity. The right to vote was curtailed by Jim Crow Laws.

The Confederate Flag continued as a symbol of slavery, and the segregationist Jim Crow Laws enacted in many Southern States after the Civil War.

The name Jim Crow was the stage name of entertainer Thomas Dartmouth Daddy Rice. In the 1830s he put on black face and pretended to be an ill-educated, stereotype African American Slave. The Jim Crown name came from the song, Jump Jim Crow he preformed.

Changes to segregation began in 1948 with President Harry Trumans Executive Order 9981 that abolished discrimination in the American Military based on race, colour, religion or national origin. This led to the end of segregation in the military in 1950, during the Korean War.

A notable story is that of Rosa Parks. In 1955 she was riding a Montgomery, Alabama public transit bus after work, heading home from her job. Coloureds had to sit in the back of the bus, Whites in the front. When the front section was full, White people sat in the Coloured section and those there had to give up their seat.

Rosa would not give up her seat when asked. She was arrested.

The case went to the Supreme Court and Rosa won the busses were de-segregated.

Change has been slow. Many of the remnants of Jim Crow continue, including efforts to limit voter registrations and voting opportunity in some Southern States.

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How will UK’s suspension of its Hong Kong extradition treaty affect relations with China? – Sky News

Posted: at 11:44 am

The UK government has confirmed it will halt its extradition treaty with Hong Kong, after China imposed tough new national security laws.

Three Sky News correspondents have given their take on what today's statement from Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab means for UK-China relations...

Tom Cheshire, Asia correspondent

The UK has been pressuring China on an unprecedented number of fronts - Huawei, the oppression of the Uighur ethnic minority in Xinjiang, and the national security law in Hong Kong.

Each intervention provokes a response from Beijing, which most recently promised "resolute reactions".

China has not shied away from those reactions with other countries - putting tariffs on Australian barley, imprisoning Canadian citizens, sanctioning US politicians. But so far there's been little actual retaliation towards Britain.

Suspending an extradition treaty with Hong Kong is unlikely to prompt one either: Beijing would probably have thought this a likely consequence of the national security law, and imposed the law anyway.

Huawei is still the bigger irritant - and we're waiting on the consequences of that. State media have floated the possibility of boycotting British brands and universities.

Jon Craig, chief political correspondent

Anyone hoping for sweeping reprisals from Dominic Raab against China over Hong Kong security laws and human rights abuses against the Uighur Muslims will have been disappointed.

He won plaudits from MPs by extending the arms embargo on China to Hong Kong, banning UK exports of lethal weapons and equipment used to suppress dissent, and the widely-predicted suspension of the extradition treaty.

The embargo would mean a ban on the export of equipment which might be used for internal repression such as shackles, intercept equipment, firearms and smoke grenades, the foreign secretary told MPs.

But what was missing from the foreign secretary's statement was sanctions on Chinese officials for the persecution of the Uighur Muslims, no doubt because this would have been seen by the Chinese as a much more provocative act.

His excuse, in his reply to the impressive Lisa Nandy, the shadow foreign secretary, was that it takes months to gather the evidence of such human rights abuses and can't be done on a political whim.

Mr Raab concluded his statement by claiming his actions were "reasonable and proportionate".

But perhaps what was more revealing was when he told MPs: "We want to work with China." And then: "We want a positive relationship with China."

At the weekend, China's UK ambassador said in a TV interview that the British government was "dancing to the tune of the United States". Mr Raab was clearly trying desperately not to appear to be doing that.

We knew what was coming from the foreign secretary when Boris Johnson promised a tough, balanced and "calibrated" approach to China.

When it came, it was certainly agreed it was balanced and measures, but it could have been tougher.

Deborah Haynes, foreign affairs editor

Reasonable and proportionate - those are the words used by the foreign secretary to describe the UK's punishment of China over its actions in Hong Kong.

Beijing will not agree.

Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese ambassador to London, has already warned that there will be consequences - they just have not yet been spelled out.

This is a pivotal time for the world's rising superpower, seeking to demonstrate its authority as global alliances come under strain and relationships change.

But the UK will take comfort in the knowledge that it is not acting alone.

:: Listen to Sophy Ridge on Sunday on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

Its decision to suspend an extradition treaty with Hong Kong follows similar action by Canada and Australia. The United States has also altered its relationship with Hong Kong.

The UK move to extend an arms embargo already imposed on mainland China to Hong Kong is designed to underline London's frustration with Beijing for pushing ahead with what is seen as a draconian national security law imposed on the former British territory.

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It’s ‘Captive Nations Week’ here’s why we should care | TheHill – The Hill

Posted: at 11:44 am

At the height of the Cold War in 1959, Congress established Captive Nations Week to show the American peoples solidarity with the hundreds of millions suffering under communist regimes. Scheduled for the third week of July, the occasion gave rise to annual parades and rallies in major American cities, with thousands of people taking to the streets, supported by governors, mayors and officials at every level of government, to demand the liberation of communist-controlled nations.

Sixty-one years later, Captive Nations Week which began Sunday is all but forgotten. Yet the phenomenon of communist subjugation of free people is real and growing, and 20 percent of the worlds population still lives under single-party communist dictatorships more than in 1989. If ever there were a moment to bring back Captive Nations Week, this is it.

In creating this week, Congress specifically called out the imperialistic policies of the Soviet Union. Today, this phrase is just as easily applied to the Peoples Republic of China, which dominates a growing number of lands and peoples, and aggressively seeks to add more to the list.

Hong Kong is the latest proof. Beijing has violated international treaty obligations with its passage in June of a so-called national security law that effectively ends the one country, two systems policy. The law empowers authorities to arrest anyone deemed to be subversive or secessionist, which in practice means anyone criticizing the Communist Party or advocating democracy and freedom ideals that are antithetical to Beijings socialism with Chinese characteristics. Hong Kong is now a captive city.

Yet Hong Kong is hardly the only place that Communist China has overrun. Congress noted the subjugation of Tibet when establishing Captive Nations Week, and to this day, Beijing seeks to stamp out Tibetan culture and the regional Buddhist faith. The regimes favored tools include the destruction of monasteries as well as the kidnapping and torture of Tibetan activists, which has led the Tibetan government-in-exile to warn of a Chinese-led cultural genocide. The apparent successor to the Dalai Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, was kidnapped at age 6 by the Chinese Communist Party in 1995 and remains captive to this day.

Beijing also is perpetrating a demographic genocide against the Muslim Uighurs of Xinjiang. A June investigation by The Associated Press found that Chinese authorities are taking draconian measures to slash birth rates among Uighurs, including forced abortion and sterilization. The regime has shunted as many as 3 million Uighurs nearly a third of the Uighur population into modern-day concentration camps, which Beijing calls Vocational Education and Training Centers. These tyrannical actions give new meaning to captive nation in the Chinese context.

Now China is signaling its intention to conquer Taiwan. The Chinese military recently held drills simulating the capture of Taiwanese territory, and communist officials and military officers have threatened war repeatedly with Taiwan in the past few months. Considering that Beijing spent more than two decades telegraphing its eventual takeover of Hong Kong, America and the world would be foolish to ignore Chinas clear desire to make Taiwan its captive.

Captive Nations Week was created precisely to draw American attention to situations such as these. While Communist China is far and away the most aggressive nation that embraces a Marxist ideology, there are several others. Communist Cuba essentially has taken Venezuela captive, and it has tried to do the same with Nicaragua. So, too, are Laos, North Korea and Vietnam still beholden to communist tyranny. This week should be a time for Americans of all backgrounds to express our sadness at the plight of the more than 1.5 billion people who still live in communist regimes.

Is it too much to ask to bring back Captive Nations Week? It may be too early to ask for the spontaneous street parades seen in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and other cities in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. But its not too soon for policymakers to rally around this annual event. It could and should become a central theme of U.S. foreign policy, especially with the growing realization on both sides of the political aisle that America is now forced to counter the global ambitions and predatory behavior of China.

What would that look like? Captive Nations Week would be an excellent time to roll out new sanctions against individuals and companies that participate in Chinese oppression. It also could provide an opening to announce new trade and economic measures that prevent Beijing from profiting from the places and people it dominates. By tying these actions to the concept of captive nations, policymakers would give their policies the kind of moral foundation that often has been missing in recent years. It would reaffirm that Americas pursuit of its national interests is inherently linked to the defense of universal ideals such as freedom and democracy.

Captive Nations Week once signified exactly that. Although it has been largely forgotten, its symbolic power remains as strong as ever both for the American people and those who are oppressed around the world. The U.S. has nothing to lose, and something to gain, by bringing it back.

Marion Smith is executive director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington. Follow him on Twitter @smithmarion.

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Cong unleash 3-fold strategy in UP to be main opponent –

Posted: at 11:44 am

New Delhi/Lucknow, Jul 21 (IANS): Congress in Uttar Pradesh is on an active mode ever since Priyanka Gandhi took over as General Secretary In charge of the party in the state and have made strong interventions from taking up farmers issues in Sonbhadra to offering buses for migrants during the lockdown which ran into a controversy.

As Gandhi makes interventions at regular intervals, state President Ajay Kumar Lallu hits the streets almost daily.

And all this is happening even as former Union Minister Jitin Prasada is trying to mobilise his community -- the most influential Brahmins -- even though the state party unit, as a whole, is not focussing on this.

Priyanka Gandhi through her tweets, statements and strong intervention is trying to position the Congress as the main opposition in the state even though the party was decimated in the last Lok Sabha election, winning just one seat -- Rae Bareli, which is considered the Gandhi family pocket borough.

Nadeem Javed, Chairman of the minority department of the party, said, "After Priyanka Gandhi came to the fore raising the issue of Covid management and law and order, the party has managed to catch the eyeballs of the people.

Jitin Prasada, who is trying to cash on Brahmin resentment against the current government led by Yogi Adityanath, has floated Brahmin Chetna Parishad and have been meeting scores of people through social media and holding meetings of his community, said: "Since independence, Brahmins have been never felt so helpless and been subjected to harassment.

"Since the past few years, the Brahmins are being treated badly and have been insulted knowingly. This is a part of a conspiracy and it is time to raise the voice against such atrocities."

The Brahmins, though, constitute only about 11 per cent of the population but their influence could change the game for the Congress which has withered away since 1989, when the state saw its last Brahmin Chief Minister N.D. Tiwari.

The same strategy was adopted by Mayawati in 2007 when BSP came to power with majority and the credit was given to Brahmins. Later, the community switched over to the BJP.

Brahmins are opinion makers in the state.

Said a party insider, "There is a vacuum of Brahmin leadership in the party. We once had leaders like N.D. Tiwari, Kamlapati Tripathi and Uma Shankar Dikshit but the community has no leader in the Congress now."

Meanwhile Ajay Kumar Lallu the state President has been on streets agitating against the government. He said: "We are struggling for the people and Congress does not see it in terms of political benefit but the way the government has adopted the method of oppression to silence the dissenting voices."

The Congress is upsetting the equations in the state where the Samajwadi party is still considered as the main opposition party but in optics, Congress has taken away the sheen from it, political analysts feel, the problem for the Congress is its weak organisation and lack of proper social engineering in comparison to the SP and BSP.

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