Her live reports and essays were widely shared on social media platforms in February, grabbing the attention of authorities, who have punished eight virus whistle-blowers so far as they try to stamp out criticism of the government’s response to the outbreak.
UK, Australia and the US have acted even more viciously against Julian Assange:
Four Blackwater mercenaries who, working for Trump ally Erik Prince murdered Iraqi civilians, were pardoned. But there was no pardon for Jeremy Ridgeway, the soldier-for-hire who pleaded guilty to manslaughter, testified against the others and was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison.
Roger Stone, dirty trickster confidant; former General Michael Flynn, national security adviser who was on the Kremlin payroll; and 2016 campaign manager Paul Manafort were pardoned. But Trump didn’t pardon Manafort deputy Rick Gates, who turned state’s evidence and confessed.
Earlier, Trump pardoned Rod Blagojevich, the former Illinois governor convicted of trying to sell a Senate seat. But there was no pardon for lawyer Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime fixer who confessed to committing felonies at the direction of unindicted co-conspirator “Individual 1,” identified in federal court as Trump.
In true mobster fashion, Trump once referred to Cohen as a “rat” for confessing. He praised Manafort for not “flipping” to testify against him.
The boss takes care of friends and allies if they lie for the boss or keep silent, but does nothing for those who cooperate with law enforcement.
American readers closer to the mises en scène will be able to help this outsider more clearly focus his observations.
From here in Australia I see
a President of the U.S. who speaks out against one side involved in violent clashes there, and speaks defensively on behalf of the others involved and who are his supporters;
a President of the U.S. who blurs into one violent image both peaceful and violent protests (those whom his own supporters oppose) as if they were all one and the same and all violent and destructive;
a President who focuses almost to the exclusion of all else the violence and destruction of one side without at any time addressing the issues, the complaints, the causes both immediate and long-term, that has led to the protests in the first place;
following from the point above, a President who frames all the protests (all of them being portrayed as violent) as a “law and order” issue, that is, as nothing more than a situation that needs to be crushed by force.
Is the above a fair synopsis?
Oh, and one other thing that keeps bugging me. An Australian Prime Minister who happens to be a Pentecostal fundamentalist and a bit of a narcissist (Australian style) and comes across as a pet puppy keen to make a good impression for his master so has dutifully acted on his master’s wishes and called on an investigation into a prejudged assessment of China’s criminal negligence with respect to the coronavirus. That’s all fine except that China is now powerful enough to throw around the sort of bully beef we expect the U.S. to apply to disobedient small-fry. Now Australia is subject to early trade sanctions and other disincentives (putting a squeeze on our hitherto lucrative Chinese student intake into our universities) from its largest trading partner as well as “arbitrary” detention of its citizens who happen to be in Chinese territory. Nice one — that sort of thing is supposed to happen to “them”, not to “us”. I still envy New Zealand for maintaining a degree of independence that seems far too rare in modern Australian history.
Posts on Vridar have been somewhat patchy in regularity lately with extended family business taking over priorities at the moment, but the above thoughts have been playing on my mind. So here they are.
4th June 1989, the images are still fresh (link is to Four Corners program). Time will tell if the State can erase memory of 4th June 1989 from future Chinese generations.
I learned last night watching the Four Corners program that soldiers came to the homes of students in the middle of the night to take them away. Hours later the parents would be given papers to sign acknowledging that their children had died in an accident or while trying to escape if they wanted their bodies returned for burial.
Meanwhile, 4th June 2019, with less worldwide publicity “for some reason” —
In 2005 I had the opportunity to visit Tiananmen Square. It was an eerie, haunting experience not simply because of knowing what had happened there 16 years before but because of the pressure to remain silent and forget.
From the night of June 3, 1989 until early morning, Chinese soldiers carried out a clearance operation on and near Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, a crackdown on what the Chinese Government wrote off as a “counter-revolutionary riot”.
Western media reported at the time that the death toll from the resulting massacre ranged from 100 to 3,000, but according to a secret UK diplomatic cable released last year, up to 10,000 protesters may have been killed. . . .
Over 1 million people were occupying Tiananmen Square in a show of solidarity by mid-May, but on June 2, China’s rulers made the order to send tanks and armed soldiers into the heart of Beijing.
Only a year earlier we had been treated to high-tech 3-D visuals of Tiananmen Square as a proud jewel of the Chinese exhibit at Brisbane’s World Entertainment Expo.
The event “never happened” according to Chinese government and educational institutions.
Born in 1990, Ming says he never even heard about the Tiananmen Square massacre until he was at university.
He happened to overhear his roommates talking about the so-called June Fourth Incident — a topic which is completely censored by Beijing and inaccessible for ordinary Chinese people.
It is not mentioned in Chinese state media, and it is not taught in schools. It is also a taboo topic even within some Chinese families, including Ming’s.
In 2005 soldiers stood guard at key points to enforce …. I’m not sure what. Presumably the curfew: no-one was allowed there after daylight hours. Possibly against large groups or persons they deemed suspicious from approaching. It remained a vast empty space broken in one direction by Chairman Mao’s mausoleum and queues of people slowly moving past his embalmed body. I felt very conspicuous stepping far away from that shrine to the vast empty expanse of the rest of the square that particular afternoon, with only a handful of others in the area, and with my movements being watched by the many young guards.
What agonized me was the failure of my Chinese hosts to indicate the slightest awareness of why I might have been interested in exploring further there at all after I had completed the obligatory look at Mao’s embalmed corpse. There was the usual talk of old history, of Mao, of the architectural features. . . . I finally burst it out, though nervously, softly: What did they think of what happened …. I don’t think I had the chance to finish my sentence. One girl butted in with a tense, anxious tone (or was that my imagination?) to tell me that yes, some bad people had been there at one time and how soon afterwards soldiers came to her family’s house (far away from Beijing) to ask about her. I think she had been a student at that time. I was told that her parents and neighbours assured the soldiers that she was a “good girl” and was not mixed up with any of those very bad hooligans causing some very bad trouble in Beijing. The soldiers, she told me proudly, went away smiling having been assured by parents and neighbours that she was, as they said, a “good girl”.
The reaction to my question left me in no doubt that I had seriously gaffed. It was not my place to raise such a question about such a “bad thing” that happened so long ago. Was I some sort of sympathizer with “bad people” for even thinking and wanting to ask about that horrible “forgotten” time?
That was the end of my visit to the vast and — except for the guards and the people immediately surrounding Mao’s mausoleum — practically empty Tiananmen Square.
How history changes! At school I learned that nineteenth century China was easy-pickings for European powers who were able to easily kick aside her antiquated army and carve out for themselves “spheres of influence” for their own trading benefits as they willed. The most scandalous of these occasions were the Opium Wars in which Britain forced the Chinese imperial government to open up the Chinese populace to British merchants making a “killing” selling Indian opium.
Two reasons were always given for the ease with which Westerners were able to dominate China so easily:
The Chinese felt so superior to the West, disdaining the “barbarians”, that they had no wish to learn from them or adopt any of their ways, not even their superior technology;
The Chinese from the later nineteenth to the early twentieth century was effectively ruled by a Dowager Empress who was authoritarian yet weak and loathed Westerners and resisted any form of modernization.
Maybe those points need to be nuanced but that’s essentially how I recall my high school lessons of China before the Republican movement, the Japanese invasion and the Communist Revolution.
One thing always stood out: the Empress Dowager was bad news for China.
It turns out that far from being the brake on modernizing China the Empress Dowager was in fact the driving force behind modernization. At the time of her death she was even working towards establishing a Constitutional Monarchy that would have given millions of Chinese the right to vote. So much that I learned about pre-communist and pre-republican China has been completely turned on its head.
An extract from an oriental raisin tree – a compound called DHM – has proved its worth as an alcohol antidote in a series of experiments on rats. . . .
But she says those dreaming of a magic antidote to drinking too much can think again. The presence of DHM also reduced the cravings for alcohol – a factor that Dr Liang says could prove invaluable in treating alcoholism in humans. . . .
use of death penalty against 68 offences, including non-violent ones
use of torture, arbitrary detention and unfair trials
not forgetting specific abuses and applications of the above in relation to:
North Korean refugees
refusal to apply the UN Refugee Convention to Hong Kong
Supporting, or failing to distinguish, separatist movements that are contrary to international law is doing a disservice to the thousands whose lives are destroyed and ruined throughout China through human rights abuses.