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Thread: China's mass surveillance state

  1. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    Now I would call this a concentration camp where China tries to modify your behavior, modify your thoughts, among other things related to an ethnic group that is now in the minority in their own historical land. So it seems China will try to eliminate the Uighur identity through those methods rather than through more drastic methods common in another countries concentration camps. So far that is...


    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources...a_hidden_camps
    The CPC has learnt its lesson after the Tiananmen Square incident. Like a sly fox, they howl national security. If we compare the number of terrorist incidents in India Vs China, China has very very few annually to nothing, and even then China doesn't restrain its poddle Pakistan to change it state policy of terrorism, nor does China itself stop its policy of supporting terrorists in India's NE and even the Maoists.
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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    Now I would call this a concentration camp where China tries to modify your behavior, modify your thoughts, among other things related to an ethnic group that is now in the minority in their own historical land. So it seems China will try to eliminate the Uighur identity through those methods rather than through more drastic methods common in another countries concentration camps. So far that is...


    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources...a_hidden_camps
    How about forced home stays ? Conscript civvies from else where and make them stay with an adopted Uighur family so they can report about them.


    China’s Government Has Ordered a Million Citizens to Occupy Uighur Homes. Here’s What They Think They’re Doing | China File | Oct 24 2018

    Over the past year, reports have found their way out of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in western China of a campaign of religious and cultural repression of the region’s Muslims, and of their detention and confinement in a growing network of razor-wire-ringed camps that China’s government at times has dubbed “transformation through education centers” and at others “counter-extremism training centers” and, recently, amid international criticism, “vocational training centers.” The government describes such efforts as a response to terrorism

    Much reporting has focused on the unprecedented scale and penetration of the surveillance technology deployed to carry out this campaign and on the ways China’s government has pressured other countries to assist in the work of forcibly repatriating Uighurs living abroad. But less attention has been paid to the mobilization of more than a million Chinese civilians (most members of the Han ethnic majority) to aid the military and police in their campaign by occupying the homes of the region’s Uighurs and other Muslim minorities, and undertaking programs of indoctrination and surveillance, while presenting themselves as older siblings of the men and women they might then decide to consign to the camps.
    The tyranny that is being realized in Northwest China pits groups of Chinese citizens against each other in a totalitarian process that seeks to dominate every aspect of life. It calls Han “relatives” into coercive relations with their Uighur and Kazakh hosts, producing an epidemic of individualized isolation and loneliness as families, friends, and communities are pulled apart. As new levels of unfreedom are introduced, the project produces new standards of what counts as normal and banal. The “relatives” I spoke to, who did the state’s work of tearing families apart and sending them into the camp system, saw themselves as simply “doing their jobs.”

    I believed them. For the most part, they simply did not seem to have thought about the horror they were enacting. No free press was available to them. The majority of the people I interviewed simply did not know or believe that the reeducation camps function as a Chinese-specific form of concentration camps where beatings and psychological torture are common, or that Uighurs and other minorities tended to view being sent to the camps as a form of punishment. Only one of the 10 Han people from Xinjiang I interviewed believed that the camps were functioning as prisons for people who were guilty of simply being in the wrong religious and ethnic categories. It is also important to remember when writing about Han civilian participation in the mass detention of Muslim minorities, as David Brophy and others have noted, that Han civilians who resist state policies toward Uighurs put themselves in serious danger. As one of my Han friends from Xinjiang told me, in this part of the world the phrase “where there is oppression” is met not with the phrase “there will be resistance,” but rather, “there will be submission.” Given the totalitarian politics of the Xinjiang police state, Han civilians in Xinjiang often appear to feel as though they have no choice but to participate in the state-directed oppression of Muslim minorities.

    Citizens of totalitarian states are nearly always compelled to act in ways that deny their ethical obligations. In order for a grass-roots politics of Han civilian refusal of Chinese state oppression of Muslims to even be imaginable, what is taking place in Northwest China needs first to be accurately described. As Hannah Arendt observed decades ago, systems like this one work in part because those who participate in them are not permitted to think about what they are doing. Because they are not permitted to think about it, they are not able to fully imagine what life is like from the position of those whose lives they are destroying.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 27 Oct 18, at 10:57.

  3. #123
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    China’s Great Leap Backward
    For decades, the country managed to avoid most problems suffered by dictatorships. Now Xi Jinping’s personal power play risks undermining everything that made China exceptional.

    In the last 40 years, China has racked up a long list of remarkable accomplishments. Between 1978 and 2013, the Chinese economy grew by an average rate of 10 percent a year, producing a tenfold increase in average adult income. All that growth helped some 800 million people lift themselves out of poverty; along the way, China also reduced its infant mortality rate by 85 percent and raised life expectancy by 11 years.

    What made these achievements all the more striking is that the Chinese government accomplished them while remaining politically repressive—something that historical precedent and political theory suggest is very, very difficult. No wonder, then, that the China scholar Orville Schell describes this record as “one of the most startling miracles of economic development in world history.”

    The miraculous quality of China’s achievements makes what is happening in the country today especially tragic—and alarming. Under the guise of fighting corruption, President Xi Jinping is methodically dismantling virtually every one of the reforms that made China’s spectacular growth possible over the last four decades. In the place of a flawed but highly successful system, he is erecting a colossal cult of personality focused on him alone, concentrating more power in his hands than has any Chinese leader since Mao Zedong.

    In the short term, Xi’s efforts may make China seem less corrupt and more stable. But by destroying many of the mechanisms that made the Chinese miracle possible, Xi risks reversing those gains and turning China into just another police state (think a gigantic, more open version of North Korea): inefficient, ineffective, brittle, and bellicose. And that should worry not just China’s 1.4 billion citizens but the rest of us as well.

    To understand what makes Xi’s personal empire-building campaign so dangerous, it helps to first understand what made China exceptional for so long. Throughout modern history, most tyrannies and one-party states have shared a few basic traits. Power is held by a very small number of individuals. To maintain their power, those individuals repress dissent and rule by intimidation. Because bureaucrats and citizens live in fear, they compete to flatter their bosses. Nobody tells the truth, especially when it could make them or their leaders look bad. As a result, cloistered tyrants—their egos bloated by constant, obsequious praise—find themselves increasingly cut off from reality and the rest of the world (think Kim Jong Un, Bashar al-Assad, or Robert Mugabe) and end up ruling by whim and instinct with little sense of what’s actually happening in their own countries. The impact of this ignorance on domestic and foreign policy is disastrous.

    For 35 years or so—from the time Mao died and Deng Xiaoping launched his reforms in the late 1970s until Xi assumed power in 2012—China avoided many of these pitfalls and defied the law of political averages by building what scholars have called an “adaptive authoritarian” regime. While remaining nominally communist, the country embraced many forms of market capitalism and a number of other liberalizing reforms. Of course, the old system remained highly repressive (remember Tiananmen Square) and was far from perfect in many other ways. It did, however, allow the Chinese government to function in an unusually effective fashion and avoid many of the pathologies suffered by other authoritarian regimes.

    Censorship never disappeared, for example, but party members could disagree and debate ideas, and internal reports could be surprisingly blunt.

    No longer. Today, Xi is systematically undermining virtually every feature that made China so distinct and helped it work so well in the past. His efforts may boost his own power and prestige in the short term and reduce some forms of corruption. On balance, however, Xi’s campaign will have disastrous long-term consequences for his country and the world.

    Perhaps the most unusual feature of the system Deng created was the way it distributed power among various leaders. Rather than let one person exercise supreme authority, as do most dictatorships, Deng divided power among the Communist Party’s general secretary (who also gets the title of president), the premier, and the Politburo.

    Deng hoped this system would ensure that no one person could ever again exercise the kind of control Mao had—since his unchecked power had led to vast abuses and mistakes, such as the Great Leap Forward (during which an estimated 45 million people perished) and the Cultural Revolution (during which Deng himself was purged and his son was tortured so severely he was left paralyzed). As Minxin Pei, a China expert at Claremont McKenna College, explains, the collective leadership model Deng designed helped weed out bad ideas and promote good ones by emphasizing careful deliberation and discouraging risk-taking.

    Since assuming power in 2012, Xi has worked to dismantle China’s collective leadership system in several ways. First, in the name of fighting corruption—an important goal and one China badly needs—he has purged a vast number of officials whose real crime, in Xi’s view, was failing to show sufficient loyalty to the paramount leader. Meng Hongwei, the Interpol chief who China abruptly detained two weeks ago, is just the latest, high-profile case; his story is hardly unusual.

    In the last six years, a staggering 1.34 million officials have been targeted, and more than 170 leaders at the minister or deputy minister level have been fired (and most were imprisoned). Meng’s plight, like that of Bo Xilai—the powerful Chongqing party boss brought down in 2012—shows that no one is immune from Xi’s purges. Indeed, more members of the Communist Party’s powerful Central Committee have been disciplined since 2012 than in the entire period dating back to the Communist Revolution.

    Not content to merely eliminate any competition, Xi has also consolidated his power by abandoning the term limits on his job and by refusing to name a successor, as his predecessors did halfway through their tenures. He’s also had “Xi Jinping Thought” enshrined in China’s constitution (an honor shared by only Mao and Deng); assumed direct control of the armed forces; and made himself “chairman of everything” by creating a large number of working groups on policies ranging from finance to Taiwan to cybersecurity—all of which report directly to him.

    A second important feature of the old system was that bureaucrats at every level could expect to be rewarded for good performance. This wasn’t quite a meritocracy, and the system included a fair degree of corruption and patronage. But both of those features actually served the common good in one key way: If an official performed well, he or she could expect a cut of the proceeds and steady promotion. Xi, by contrast, has “replaced this incentive-based system with one based on fear,” as Pei puts it. And there are two big problems with this shift. First, it has warped officials’ priorities, from showing results to showing loyalty. The second problem, according to Alexander Gabuev, a China specialist at the Carnegie Moscow Center, is that “when fear is all you have, bureaucrats become too frightened to do anything without explicit orders from the top. So the whole bureaucracy becomes passive. Nothing gets done.”

    Another related asset of the old system was the way it encouraged local governments—at the village, county, and provincial levels—to experiment with new initiatives, from building free markets four decades ago to allowing private land ownership more recently. Such experimentation turned China into a country with hundreds of policy laboratories, enabling it to test different solutions to various problems in safe, quiet, and low-stakes ways before deciding whether to scale them up. This system helped Beijing avoid the kind of absurdities and disastrous mistakes it had made under Mao—such as when, during the Great Leap Forward of 1958-1962, central planners insisted that farmers in Tibet plant wheat, despite the fact that the arid, mountainous region was utterly unsuited to the crop.

    Of course, Beijing had to tolerate a certain level of autonomy in order to allow local officials to try new things. Xi, by contrast, seems to view such independent thinking as an intolerable threat. At his behest, the government has begun discouraging small-scale pilot programs. Sebastian Heilmann of Germany’s Trier University estimates that the number of provincial experiments fell from 500 in 2010 to about 70 in 2016, and the tally has probably dropped even lower since then. In their place, policies are once again being dictated from the top, with little concern for local conditions.

    One last example: Just as China’s tech industry is notorious for stealing and applying foreign innovations, Chinese officials long did something similar on the policy level, carefully studying what worked in other countries and then applying the lessons at home. (The best example of this process, of course, was the construction of China’s free markets themselves, which drew on models from Japan, Taiwan, and the United States.) Like Deng’s other innovations, Xi has curtailed this practice as well, by making it much harder for government officials to interact with foreigners. In 2014, authorities began confiscating bureaucrats’ passports. Like so many of the government’s other recent restrictions, this move has been justified in the name of combatting corruption—the idea, ostensibly, is to prevent dirty officials from fleeing the country. But the fact that the policy has recently been extended all the way down to elementary school teachers and reinforced by other, related strictures—officials now must apply for permission to attend foreign meetings and conferences and account for their time abroad on an hour-by-hour basis—reveals that the real priority is limiting contact with outsiders and their ideas.

    What does Xi’s crackdown mean for his country’s future and for the rest of us? While one should always be careful about betting against China—as the history detailed above shows, the country is remarkably good at finding its way around problems that theory dictates should hold it back—it’s hard to avoid the grim conclusion that Xi’s China is rapidly becoming a lot less exceptional and a lot more like a typical police state.

    On the domestic level, Beijing’s policymaking is already becoming less agile and adept. Examples of this more rigid approach, and its downsides, aren’t hard to find. Consider last winter, when the government decided to force an abrupt nationwide switch from the use of coal to gas in heating systems. It sounded like a smart move for a country as polluted as China. But the edict was enforced suddenly across the country, with no exceptions. Thus in China’s frigid north, many coal-burning furnaces were ripped out before new gas ones could be installed—leaving entire towns without heat and forcing villagers to burn corn cobs to survive.

    If China continues down its current course, expect many more cases where even well-intentioned policies are implemented in a rash and clumsy way, leading to still more harmful consequences. Since personalized dictatorships are necessarily bad at admitting fault—for nothing can be permitted to damage the myth of the omnipotent leader—China will also likely become less adept at correcting mistakes once it makes them. Or at confronting the underlying problems that are dragging down its economy, such as an overreliance on bloated and inefficient state-owned enterprises (SOEs), which have only grown bigger and more powerful since Xi took office; dangerously high debt levels, especially among local governments; and a tendency to react to every downturn by pumping more cash into the system, especially for unnecessary infrastructure projects. In fact, China is not only unlikely to address any of these shortcomings; it’s likely to compound them. That is just what it did on Oct. 7, when the People’s Bank of China announced yet another costly stimulus program: a $175 billion plan to shore up small and medium-sized businesses.

    With each new budget-busting move, and in the absence of reform, the odds that China will experience a seriously destabilizing economic crisis—which China bears such as Ruchir Sharma, the head of emerging markets at Morgan Stanley, have been predicting for years—keep rising. “The big question is whether one of the ticking time bombs—bad debt, overheated property markets, oversized SOEs—will explode,” Gabuev says. “Because of Xi’s concentration of power, no one will give him advance warning if one of these bombs is about to go off. And because he doesn’t actually understand macroeconomics very well, and everyone is afraid to contradict the emperor, there’s a huge risk that he’ll mismanage it when it does.” Indeed, the government’s response to any instability is likely to be ugly. As Schell explains, “Xi has really put China at enormous risk. And because his only tool is repression, if things go wrong we’re likely to see even more crackdowns.”

    Such predictions should worry everyone. China is the world’s largest economy by some measures, so if it melts down, the entire planet will pay the price. But the history of other autocracies, such as Vladimir Putin’s Russia or Kim’s North Korea, suggests that Xi’s relentless power play could produce even worse consequences. Since taking power, Xi has charted a far more aggressive foreign policy than his predecessors, alienating virtually every neighbor and the United States by pushing China’s claims in the South China Sea, threatening Taiwan, and using the military to assert Beijing’s claims to disputed islands.

    Should China’s economic problems worsen, Xi could try to ratchet up tensions on any of these fronts in order to distract his citizens from the crisis at home. That temptation will prove especially strong if U.S. President Donald Trump keeps poking China by intensifying the trade war and publicly denouncing it.

    And things could get scarier still, Pei warns, if China’s economic problems spin out of control completely. In that case, the Chinese state could collapse—a typical occurrence among typical dictatorships when faced with economic shocks, external threats (especially a defeat in war), or popular unrest—but one that, given China’s size, could have cataclysmic consequences if it happened there.

    Which is why the rest of us should hope that China somehow finds a way to defy political gravity once again and remain an exception to all the rules—despite Xi’s ongoing efforts to make it normal in the worst sense of the word.
    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles!

    Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain!

  4. #124
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    China is the world’s largest economy by some measures, so if it melts down, the entire planet will pay the price.
    Needs to be unpacked.

    He is suggesting that China will start a war to distract people from domestic economic woes. This is an old plot. I remember a post here back in 2012 from an Indian defence mag that predicted the Chinese economy would blow out by 2017 and they would surprise surprise start a war with India. Since this authors readership is US facing he means US allies will be on the firing line.

    See, what about the case where China's economy tanks and they don't go to war. That's the bit i'm interested in. What happens then. The reason is China going to war is too damn far fetched. The alliances are in place precisely to deter such an occurrence and more anti-China alignments are occurring just to be sure. A war isn't going to distract anyone if anything it will likely increase the mess in China.

    Orders are still coming in, will China be unable to fulfill them ? maybe some domestic unrest will slow things but this still does not spell disaster.

    The only way China collapses is if orders dry up, that means the world is in a bad state and buying goods is a low priority. Which means things have to get worse elsewhere before China feels the heat

    Looking at it in another way, the Japanese bubble burst in the late 80s. How bad was that for the planet ? i don't recall anything catastrophic happening. The Japanese doubled down on spending for an entire decade trying to resuscitate their earlier growth only to find out it didn't quite work out as expected. Not very different to what China is doing presently in the present initial stages. Japan also aged more during that era and continues to do so. This is not a Chinese problem until at least another couple of decades.

    It's almost like China cannot have a recession without bad things happening. Seriously ? Really ? China can't have a recession without blowing up and the planet in the process.

    C'mon....

    turning China into just another police state (think a gigantic, more open version of North Korea): inefficient, ineffective, brittle, and bellicose. And that should worry not just China’s 1.4 billion citizens but the rest of us as well.
    The China plan was for NK to become more like China. It seems like China is turning into NK instead, at least according to this author. Kim would be so proud.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 28 Oct 18, at 22:06.

  5. #125
    Senior Contributor Oracle's Avatar
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    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles!

    Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain!

  6. #126
    Senior Contributor Oracle's Avatar
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    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles!

    Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain!

  7. #127
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Didn't get time to post this earlier.

    Beijing engages with Pakistan's Uighurs in 'charm offensive' | Nikkei | Oct 30 2018

    ADNAN AAMIR, Contributing writer
    October 31, 2018 12:09 JST

    QUETTA, Pakistan -- China is quietly launching a "charm offensive" to win over the Muslim Uighurs in Pakistan, where Beijing has invested billions of dollars through its Belt and Road Initiative.

    In an unprecedented development, the Chinese embassy in Islamabad recently invited a group of Uighurs in the South Asian country to meet with officials. About a dozen Uighurs attended the meeting with Chinese diplomats, based on an image in a news release issued by the embassy.

    Beijing has been accused by Western media of alleged human rights violations against Uighurs in China's Xinjiang autonomous region. The reports alleged that over a million Uighurs were detained in "re-education camps," which Chinese state media claimed were vocational training facilities.

    At the meeting, the diplomats explained that the activities undertaken by Chinese authorities in Xinjiang were part of an "anti-terrorism stability" effort and "vocational skills education and training."

    The press statement quoted Shen Zicheng, a counsellor at the Chinese embassy, as saying: "Xinjiang's anti-terrorism struggle has achieved significant results, and the current Xinjiang region is stable."

    Uighur leaders from the Rawalpindi and Gilgit-Baltistan regions who attended the meeting appreciated the economic and social development in Xinjiang and the fruit of the anti-terrorism policies, the statement said.

    The meeting is seen as Beijing's latest effort to quell the rise of anti-China sentiments abroad. Experts say Beijing targeted the Uighurs in Pakistan because of the country's importance to its BRI project.

    Pakistan forms the heart of Chinese President Xi Jinping's signature BRI, with Beijing investing $62 billion in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Started in April 2015, the CPEC project involves the construction of an estimated 3,000 km network of new roads, railways and gas pipelines, as well as multiple power plants in Pakistan. The plan includes connecting the Gwadar port in the south of Pakistan to Xinjiang autonomous territory in the northwest of China.

    Michael Kugelman, deputy director South Asia at Wilson Center, a U.S.-based think tank, termed the embassy's move as China's "charm offensive." The meeting was intended to ease tensions with Uighurs in Pakistan and reduce the possibility of them launching attacks on Chinese targets.

    In Pakistan where the dominant religion is Islam, the news reports of the incarceration of Uighurs in internment camps also puts China in a bad light.

    Beijing has always regarded the Uighurs in Pakistan as a security threat, demanding Islamabad control them. In the past, China blamed the Uighurs in Pakistan for terrorist attacks in Xinjiang. In April this year, Pakistani authorities arrested dozens of Uighurs in the Gilgit-Baltistan region at Beijing's behest.

    "Some four dozen Uighur fighters were operating in sensitive areas close to CPEC projects," said a Pakistani security official.

    There are 400 to 500 armed Uighurs in the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to Abdul Basit, associate research fellow at RSIS Singapore, a think tank. China considers them a huge security threat, he said.

    "Meeting with Uighurs was an attempt by China to ensure that they don't pick weapons against the People's Republic in Xinjiang," Basit said. "China can't afford anti-China sentiment among Uighurs in Pakistan and therefore it wants to engage them."

    For Beijing, the meeting with Uighurs also marks a change to a softer stance of engagement. The policy shift, experts said, is to win over Pakistanis sympathetic to the Uighurs.

    But the problem for Beijing is merely one of image for now because the official Pakistan line is still to shrug off the alleged human rights violation in Xinjiang. "Islamabad does not want to antagonize Beijing and risk aggravating a relationship with China that has grown increasingly important for Pakistan, particularly amid a deteriorating relationship with Washington," Kugelman said.

  8. #128
    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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    Number of times the Chinese economy has seen export orders “dry up” in the reform era: 1 (Aug 2008-Jan 2010)

    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/XTEXVA01CNM667S

    Number of times China has started a war to distract population from domestic economic matters in the reform era: 0.
    Trust me?
    I'm an economist!

  9. #129
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    UN wants access to China's Xinjiang 're-education camps'

    (CNN)The United Nations has requested direct access to "re-education camps" in China's Xinjiang province, where more than one million Muslim majority Uyghurs have reportedly been imprisoned.

    UN Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said on Wednesday that she wanted to verify "worrying reports" the organization had received.

    Former detainees claim they were tortured and forced to learn Chinese Communist Party propaganda at the massive camps.

    Beijing says the camps are voluntary vocational training centers, designed to stamp out extremist tendencies among the Uyghur population.

    However Bachelet said the UN had offered technical assistance in dealing with violent extremism, adding: "We wish to engage China in a serious dialogue on this pressing matter."

    The call came a day after Barbel Kofler, the German Commissioner for Human Rights Policy, said she was refused permission to visit the camps during a trip to China.

    "I am shocked by reports of the treatment of the Turkic Uyghur minority ... I would have liked to have gained a first-hand impression of the situation there and will continue to push for permission to visit Xinjiang soon," she said in a statement Tuesday.

    Kofler added that she was "deeply concerned" by human rights in China.

    "This is particularly affecting the critical voices in civil society -- human rights lawyers, journalists and bloggers," she said.

    At a UN hearing on China's human rights record in November, more than a dozen countries called on Beijing to end their "arbitrary detention" of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

    The Chinese government has repeatedly defended its human rights record, saying quality of life has risen dramatically over the past four decades.

    But the UN's Bachelet said Wednesday that human rights "are not divisible."

    "You cannot prioritize, you cannot say these human rights are important and the other ones not ... You cannot invite somebody to your home, feed them, but don't allow them to speak," she said.

    "You have to ensure that all human rights are protected."
    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles!

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  10. #130
    Defense ProfessionalSenior Contributor tbm3fan's Avatar
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    This line: Beijing says the camps are voluntary vocational training centers, designed to stamp out extremist tendencies among the Uyghur population.

    Are the Chinese stupid or do they think everyone else is stupid?
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