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Bill Gates: Trump ‘probably should be allowed’ back on social media

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Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has said that former President Donald Trump at some point should probably be allowed back onto social media platforms, despite his “corrosive” election fraud claims.

“I think at some point he probably will be allowed back on and probably should be allowed back on,” the billionaire philanthropist told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” in an interview aired Thursday morning.

Major social media platforms either temporarily suspended or permanently banned the former president after a mob violently stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, the day Congress was set to certify the states’ electoral votes and thus President Joe Biden‘s 2020 election victory. Trump had used his social media accounts to spread claims that the election was rigged and stolen from him through widespread fraud, claims which the rioters echoed as they stormed the Capitol.

Trump’s “deplatforming” sparked intense outcry from conservatives in particular, arguing that large technology giants were exercising anti-conservative bias and violating the principle of free speech in the process. Even world leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed displeasure with the move.

Gates had been asked by “Squawk Box” co-host Andrew Ross Sorkin about if he would allow the former commander-in-chief back on social media if he were on Facebook’s oversight board.

“It’s weird when you’re, you know, saying that the election was stolen without any facts there. And how corrosive that is,” Gates said.

“But I’ll bet they’ll find a way to let him back on,” he continued, noting that Trump’s future posts could be given warning labels—as they had been in the months leading up to, and after, the November 3 general election.

“You know, in a way, his people’s interest in what he says may go down quite a bit,” Gates added. “That’ll be interesting to watch.”

Prior to being banned from Twitter, Trump had enjoyed the benefits given to him under the website’s world leader policy, which exempts world leaders from punishments for behavior on the platform violating its policies.

Despite Trump leaving a possible 2024 presidential run on the table, and with that the possibility of becoming a world leader again, Twitter’s chief financial officer has said Trump’s account will remained banned permanently.

RELATED: Poll: Majority of GOP voters still favor Trump for 2024

On February 10, CFO Ned Segal said in a CNBC interview that the former president “was removed when he was president, and there’d be no difference for anybody who [was] a public official once they’ve been removed from the service.”

“Our policies are designed to make sure that people are not inciting violence,” Segal also said, “and if anybody does that, we would have to remove them from the service and our policies don’t allow people to come back.”

At the time of his ban from the platform, Twitter said that Trump’s tweets posed “the risk of further incitement of violence.”

Moreover, Democrats—and a number of Republicans—have accused Trump of “inciting an insurrection” in part through his claims spread on social media leading up to the riot. Ultimately on Saturday, Trump was acquitted by the U.S. Senate after being impeached by the House of Representatives for that single charge.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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REPORT: China has vast network of covert police stations around the world

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China has a vast network of covert police stations abroad, according to a recent report by Safeguard Defenders, an NGO that focuses on human rights violations in China and other Asian countries. These police stations serve consular functions, but are also used by China to crack down on what the CCP deems “illegal” activity of Chinese nationals abroad. The police stations include at least 38 run by the Fuzhou City police, and 22 run by the Qingtian City police. Cities housing these police stations include New York, Toronto (which has three stations), London (two), Paris (three), Buenos Aires, Rio De Janeiro, and Tokyo.

Key findings of the report are below.

“Persuaded to return”

According to China, China has “persuaded to return [to China]” 230,000 Chinese nationals living aboard from April 2021 to July 2022 alone to face charges of fraud and telecommunications fraud. A Yangxia police station set up in Mozambique, for example, persuaded a Chinese national to return to China after being accused of stealing money from his employer. Chinese authorities also put pressure on the accused family to convince the accused to surrender.

Roughly 54,000 Chinese nationals were persuaded to return from northern Myanmar alone, in the first nine months of 2021. In July 2022, the government of Wenchang City warned that its citizens living in northern Myanmar must check in with their local police stations or face multiple penalties including blocking their children from attending urban schools back in China. Similarly, in February 2022, the government of Liayang City stated that Chinese “illegally staying” in northern Myanmar must return or the bank accounts of their immediate family members could be frozen.

The Nine Forbidden Countries

China has claimed that nine countries contain serious levels of fraud and telecom fraud perpetrated by Chinese nationals. Since November 2021, China has declared that Chinese citizens living in these nine countries must return to China immediately unless they have an “emergency reason” or a “strict necessity” to travel or stay in those countries. Those countries are: Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, the UAE, and Turkey. However, the report questions whether these countries are truly awash in such fraud, as most of China’s oversees police stations are in the West, and only one of the nine countries (Cambodia) has such a police station. Chinese staying in the nine forbidden countries, as well as threats to family members as stated above, creates a “guilt-by-association” atmosphere intended to repatriate the Chinese nationals.

Conclusion

According to the report, Chinese police stations abroad serve to bypass “bilateral extradition treaties or other mechanisms of judicial cooperation” to cooperate with CCP-linked NGOs which effectively “[sets] up an alternative policing and judicial system within third countries.” Instead of using international judicial cooperation, which establishes due process, the presumption of innocence, and the right to a fair trial, China uses the above “persuade-to-return” methods and transnational police stations to circumvent international law and coerce Chinese nationals to return to China for trials. These policies show the power of China’s long-arm oppression over its own subjects.

You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic

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