CHINESE AUTHORITIES ARRESTED AND DISAPPEARED MY FATHER

A young Chinese woman in red aims her bow and arrow off screen.

The last time I saw my father was in 2013. We were on our way to Indiana University, where he was scheduled to begin a fellowship. He was arrested before boarding the plane and taken away. A mild-mannered, studious professor of economics, his life’s work was using his influence to promote peaceful coexistence between the Uyghur people—our people—and the Han ethnic majority that rules China. That went against the interest of the Chinese Communist government, and in 2014 they sentenced him to life in prison. The last time I spoke to him was the day before his arrest. I still don’t know if he is even alive—the last time I heard anything of his whereabouts was in 2017.

In many ways, I can identify with the title character in Disney’s Mulan films, based on the ancient Chinese legend. In the story, as China calls up the men from every family to defend against a foreign invasion, Mulan dresses as a boy and fights in the place of her father, who is too old to go himself. As a child growing up in Beijing, I loved the legend and the fun Disney cartoon version produced in 1998. Little did I know that I, like Mulan, would later be fighting for my own father—helping to carry on his work while he is unjustly imprisoned. I hope, like her, to achieve victory by one day gaining my father’s release.

Today, sadly, a new retelling of the Mulan story, once again by Disney, is profiting from the oppression of my people. This live-action version was filmed partly in the Uyghur region—officially known in China as “Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region”—where the Chinese Communist government is holding at least one million members of Turkic ethnic minorities in concentration camps as part of a coordinated genocidal campaign. My father, if he is alive, may be among them—nobody will allow us to visit him, or even tell us where he is.

Despite widespread international condemnation of China’s brutal tactics in Xinjiang, Disney still chose to go there to film this movie, delivering money and the prestige of an international “family” brand to those directly engaged in genocide. Adding insult to injury, in the closing credits, they even made sure to thank the local government “bureau of public security” (also known as state police) and “publicity department” (or propaganda). These are the very same government agencies in the Uyghur region that are imprisoning Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities, and then telling their families and the international press they are merely being held in “training centers.” The “public security” office is currently under sanctions by the U.S. government for human rights abuses.

Disney still chose to go there to film this movie, delivering money and the prestige of an international “family” brand to those directly engaged in genocide.

Our people are no strangers to persecution and exploitation. Starting in the 1950s, the Communist government started pushing Han Chinese to move to the Uyghur region in a purposeful move to solve their own overcrowding and speed up the “Sinicization” of the Uyghur population. Their tactics have only become more aggressive since.

What is more disheartening is the West’s complicity, and specifically the major multinational corporations that are enabling the cultural genocide of the Uyghurs. China routinely uses its political prisoners as a source of forced labor in factories, and Uyghur prisoners have reportedly been put to work making products for major brands like Nike, Apple, and Gap. Recently the Trump administration announced plans to ban certain agricultural products from China due to concerns about their use of forced labor.

Hollywood isn’t immune from the charms of Beijing either. The promise of access to the massive Chinese market is irresistible for a movie industry desperate for revenue in the COVID era when movie ticket sales are down. While many theaters in the United States remain shut down, Mulan will be opening in Chinese theaters.

It appears, sadly, that Disney is the latest in the long and disappointing line of Western people and companies taken advantage of by China. We can hope, at least, that the outcry against Disney on behalf of the Uyghurs and freedom-loving people everywhere will not only lead others to #BoycottMulan in the short term, but in the long term demand that Western companies cease cooperating with Chinese oppression.

At the same time, I have learned to be positive. Disney has a chance to respond constructively to this issue. They could at least acknowledge the controversy, and maybe even donate some of their profits from Mulan and its merchandise to Uyghur families and survivors of the cultural genocide. In the end, we may even thank them for raising awareness of this issue—because the more the world knows, the less the Chinese Communist government can get away with.

Jewher Ilham is the Uyghur Human Rights Fellow at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington, D.C.

Originally published in Daily Beast.

Must See Video – So protzen Russlands Nachwuchs-Spione vom FSB

Ruhig, unsichtbar, diskret? So treten Russlands Nachwuchs-Geheimdienstler vom FSB jedenfalls nicht auf. Um ihren Abschluss zu feiern, protzen sie mit dicken, schwarzen Karren auf Moskaus Straßen – und kriegen mächtig Ärger.

Reevealed – Undercover for Center E

From biggest CIA leaker Hanssen to 'undercover agent' Fogle: US-Russia spy  scandals in 21st century — RT World News

recent story from the Russian legal news outlet “Mediazona” dives into the case of a woman living in the far-eastern city of Chita, who was charged with justifying terrorism because of a social media post. The woman claims that after searching her home, investigators from the regional Anti-Extremism Center (Center E) offered to help her get a lighter sentence: all she had to do in return was infiltrate the Chita branch of “Union SSR” — a trade union organization that denies the collapse of the Soviet Union and doesn’t recognize the legitimacy of the Russian Federation. “Meduza” summarizes this ongoing story, which, in the words of “Mediazona” editor-in-chief Sergey Smirnov, offers an inside look at the work of Russia’s secretive Center E.

From suspect to undercover agent

In March 2019, 31-year-old Victoria (whose last name hasn’t been disclosed, at her request) wrote a post on the Russian social networking site VKontakte about the mass shooting that had taken place at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. “Does anyone feel sorry for them? I don’t. And here’s why,” the message began. Victoria wrote that Muslims in New Zealand were “organizing almost public festivals, at which they openly rejoiced at the murders and atrocities of militants.” Victoria claims that she copied the message from a VKontakte group, where the attack on the mosques was being discussed. Eleven people saw her post before she deleted it. But Major Alexander Petrov, an investigator from Center E, managed to take a screenshot.

On January 14, 2020, police officials searched the apartment where Victoria lives with her parents. They were carrying out an investigation on the basis of a report from Major Petrov, who was also present during the search. At his request, Victoria handed over her flashdrive, laptop, and cell phone, and then she was taken away for interrogation. The next day, she met with Major Petrov again. He gave her a copy of the search record and suggested that they collaborate. Petrov promised Victoria that he would provide the court with a note confirming that she had helped the police — and suggested that she infiltrate the Union SSR trade union. The investigator described the organization’s work as destructive and said that activists from its Chita branch were attacking bailiff offices.

Three days later Victor agreed to cooperate with the police. Major Petrov sent her a link to a chat group on the messaging app Telegram, which included around 1,000 people from different cities across Russia. Victoria wrote to the group, saying that she had decided to join the trade union at the recommendation of a friend from Donbas (Ukraine). She later joined a video conference on Zoom, where Union SSR activists took turns speaking: the conversation revolved around claims that the Soviet Union still exists and that the Russian Federation is a commercial organization. They also shared advice on how to avoid paying back loans.

The set up

At the end of January, one of the trade union’s members invited Victoria for a meeting. She agreed and told Major Petrov about it. Two Center E investigators gave her instructions: they needed to find out where the local Union SSR branch was gathering and what it was doing. They also gave her recording devices. Victoria met with the trade union activist at the train station‚ Major Petrov and his colleague recorded what was happening on video. According to Victoria, after three hours of conversation, she came to the conclusion the Union SSR reminded her of a sect.

At the beginning of February, also on assignment from Center E, Victoria spent about six hours talking to the leader of Union SSR’s Chita branch, Elena Usova. Afterwards, she told the police officers that Usova seemed like “a normal person.” Usova herself told Mediazona that by the time she spoke with Victoria she stopped participating in the trade union’s actions; she considered them pointless.

Victoria says that she soon realized that the Union SSR supporters didn’t pose any danger. She stopped monitoring them, but didn’t refuse to cooperate with the police explicitly. In response to all of the questions from Major Petrov, she said that the organization’s activists and leaders weren’t telling her anything. Victoria told Elena Usova that they had tried to have her infiltrate Union SSR as an agent (when this happened remains unclear).

“I got the impression that the [police officers] want me to get into this group, and then add both me and this group to my case. ‘Look, she’s not so squeaky-clean after all’,” Victoria says.

On February 17, a month after the start of her cooperation with Center E, the Investigative Committee launched a criminal case against Victoria for justifying terrorism — over the post about the mass shooting in New Zealand. The next day, they interrogated her as a suspect in the case.

Terrorism charges

On July 3, Major Alexander Petrov made Victoria a new offer — he asked her to go undercover and join the “Popular Patriotic Party of Russia — Power to the People.” The investigator described the party as oppositionist and said its members are “actually linked to weapons.” Petrov asked Victoria to engage in the party’s activities “closely” and promised to pay her 10,000–11,000 rubles monthly ($134–$147). “We really need them,” the police officer explained. “We’re completely worn down because of them […] These people and all this nonsense have had us bouncing around.” Victoria recorded this conversation on her phone and then gave the recording to Mediazona’s editors.

That same day, the investigator asked her via Telegram to testify against Chita resident Alexey Zakruzhny (the video blogger behind the YouTube channel “Lyokha Kochegar”), who is facing a criminal case for inciting mass riots. According to Victoria, the major had suggested previously that she monitor social media and take screenshots of suspicious posts (she refused).

Three days later, Victoria told the Center E investigator that she wasn’t going to infiltrate “Power to the People” or testify in Alexey Zakruzhny’s case. A week later, investigators came to search her apartment once again. And on July 14, she was charged with justifying terrorism — before she was only a suspect in the case.

On July 27, Major Petrov met with Victoria for the last time. The police officer had found out that she had not only told Elena Usova from Union SSR about her undercover work, but also told Alexey Zakruzhny’s lawyer about the fact that she was asked to testify against the blogger. During the meeting, Petrov demanded she turn off her phone, so Victoria wasn’t able to record the conversation. According to her, the investigator said that he had been suspended from work for the duration of an internal investigation. Petrov, Victoria claims, promised to ruin her life and threatened her with criminal charges for illegally disclosing state secrets. “He said that now everyone at the [Anti-Extremism Center] is pointing fingers at him. That I violated his measured lifestyle. He asked, what for? After all, he really wanted to help me!” Victoria says, recalling his words.

On August 11, the prosecutor’s office referred the case against Victoria for justifying terrorism to court. The trial’s start data remains unknown.

Video – Russland: Der Fall Nawalny – Opposition in Gefahr

Die Vergiftung von Oppositionsführer Alexej Nawalny ist nicht der erste Anschlag gegen einen Putin-Kritiker. Politischer Widerstand in Russland kann lebensgefährlich sein.

Regimekritiker Michail Efremow vor dubiosem Moskauer Gericht – 11 Jahre Gefängnis gefordert

Russland: Populärer Schauspieler nach Alkoholfahrt mit tödlichem Ausgang  unter Hausarrest — RT Deutsch

Das Gericht verkündet demnächst ein Urteil über den Regimekritiker & Schauspieler Michail Efremow. Die Staatsanwaltschaft fordert, den Schauspieler wegen eines Unfalls, bei dem der 57-jährige Sergei Zakharov starb, zu 11 Jahren Gefängnis zu verurteilen.

Hintergrund: Mikhail Efremov stürzte am 8. Juni auf dem Smolenskaya-Platz in Moskau betrunken in einen Lada-Van in seinem Grand Cherokee-Jeep. Der Fahrer des Lieferwagens Der 57-jährige Kurier des Delikateska-Online-Shops, Sergei Zakharov, wurde getötet.

Zeugen:

Mikhail Efremov – Schauspieler, Angeklagter

Elman Pashayev – Efremovs Anwalt

Verwandte von Sergei Zakharov – Opfer

Alexander Dobrovinsky – Anwalt für Zakharovs Verwandte

Mehrere Dutzend Journalisten

Zuschauer

Was die Staatsanwaltschaft verlangt: Verurteilung von Yefremov zu 11 Jahren in einer Kolonie des Generalregimes – fast die Höchstdauer nach diesem Artikel des Strafgesetzbuchs. Um einen Führerschein für drei Jahre zu entziehen, zahlen Sie drei Verwandten des Verstorbenen einen Rubel und 500.000 Rubel an Zakharovs ältesten Sohn.

Was die Verteidigung verlangt: Efremov nicht seiner Freiheit zu berauben, ihn in extremen Fällen in eine Koloniesiedlung zu schicken. „11 Jahre sind sehr blutrünstig. Dies ist ein Todesurteil “, sagte Efremov selbst.

Ort und Zeit der Klage: Presnensky Court of Moscow, Beginn der Sitzung – 11:00 Uhr (russische Zeit), 8.9.2020

Maria Kolesnikova nach ihrem Verschwinden von Lukaschenko-KGB-Schergen festgenommen

Belarus protests: UK says release of 'abducted' Maria Kolesnikova must be  'highest priority' | World News | Sky News
Eine der Führerinnen der belarussischen Opposition, Maria Kolesnikova, wurde am Morgen des 8. September an der belarussisch-ukrainischen Grenze festgenommen, teilte das staatliche Grenzkomitee von Belarus mit. Sie behaupten, dass Kolesnikova und zwei Mitglieder des Koordinierungsrates der belarussischen Opposition, Anton Rodnenkov und Ivan Kravtsov, mit dem Auto zwischen belarussischen und ukrainischen Kontrollpunkten unterwegs waren. Nachdem sie den Grenzschutz bemerkt hatten, so heißt es im Komitee, beschleunigte das Auto stark und verließ das Gebiet von Belarus, während Kolesnikova angeblich aus dem Auto “geschoben” wurde.

 

Der ukrainische Grenzdienst teilte mit, dass Kravtsov und Rodnenkov am ukrainischen Kontrollpunkt angekommen waren und die Grenzkontrolle durchliefen. Das belarussische Staatsgrenzkomitee erklärte, Kravtsov und Rodnenkov seien angeblich inhaftiert worden, aber die ukrainische Seite bestreitet dies.

Sie versuchten, Maria Kolesnikova gewaltsam aus Weißrussland zu deportieren, aber sie riss ihren Pass auf, und die Grenzschutzbeamten ließen sie nicht herein, schreibt “Interfax-Ukraine” unter Berufung auf eine Quelle. Der stellvertretende Innenminister der Ukraine, Anton Gerashchenko, schrieb auf Facebook, dass Rodnenkov und Kravtsov, die Kolesnikova begleiteten, aus Weißrussland ausgewiesen wurden. „Es war keine freiwillige Abreise. Es war eine gewaltsame Vertreibung aus dem Heimatland “, sagt Gerashchenko. Ihm zufolge hat Maria Kolesnikova ihre Deportation verhindert. Gerashchenko hat nicht angegeben, was Kolesnikova getan hat.

Am Tag vor der Verhaftung, am 7. September, hörten Kolesnikova, Rodnenkov und Kravtsov auf zu kommunizieren. Augenzeugen zufolge haben Menschen in Zivil und in Masken Kolesnikova im Zentrum von Minsk gepackt und in einen dunklen Kleinbus mit dem Schild “Kommunikation” gezogen, wonach sie in eine unbekannte Richtung gebracht wurden. Das Innenministerium, der Untersuchungsausschuss und der staatliche Kontrollausschuss gaben an, dass sie nichts über die Inhaftierung von Kolesnikova wüssten. Der belarussische KGB hat dies nicht kommentiert.

Nawalny aus Koma geweckt – Deutsch-russisches Verhältnis am Boden

Sein Zustand verbessert sich und er ist wieder ansprechbar: Berliner Ärzte haben den Kremlkritiker Alexej Nawalny aus dem künstlichen Koma geholt. Sein Fall hat inzwischen hohe Wellen geschlagen.

Nawalny vergiftet: Statement von Maas und Kramp-Karrenbauer zum Vorfall

Seit mehreren Tagen befindet sich der russische Kreml-Kritiker Alexej Nawalny in der Berliner Charité. Er war dorthin mit Symptomen einer Vergiftung gekommen. Nun gibt es laut Bundesregierung einen “zweifelsfreien Nachweis” für eine Vergiftung mit einem chemischen Nervenkampfstoff aus der Nowitschok-Gruppe. Das erklärte Regierungssprecher Steffen Seibert. Ein Speziallabor der Bundeswehr habe eine toxikologische Untersuchung anhand von Proben durchgeführt. Hierbei sei die Vergiftung nachgewiesen worden.