Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China was happy to see Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reelected in a press briefing Friday. Assad reportedly won the vote by 95.1%.
A reporter from Russian RIA Novosti news organization asked Lijian: “Has China sent a congratulatory message to President Assad?”
“China congratulates President Bashar on his re-election,” Lijian replied. “This year marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Syria featured by longstanding friendship. China firmly supports Syria’s efforts in safeguarding its national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and stands ready to work with Syria to take the 65th anniversary as an opportunity to achieve new progress in our friendly cooperation.”
Back when President Biden won the election, China was hesitant to congratulate him. The country eventually did, ten days later. Former President Trump received his congratulatory message the very next day after the election.
While China did not question the overwhelming majority that reportedly voted for Assad, people on Twitter sounded off. Editor of Syria in Context news site Emma Beals tweeted that there was “no attempt to even pretend it’s legit.”
Others on Twitter even suggested that his true opponents weren’t permitted to vote.
Many videos circulated on the platform to demonstrate the corruption of counting the ballots. Al-Monitor journalist Asaad Hanna shared one such video.
You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.
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REPORT: China has vast network of covert police stations around the world
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.
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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