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De Blasio calls for investigation into Cuomo sexual harassment claims

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) on Thursday called for an investigation into sexual harassment allegations made against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) by a former member of his administration, Lindsey Boylan.

On Wednesday in an essay published to Medium, Boylan accused the governor of inappropriate touching and remarks, as well as kissing without consent.

RELATED: ‘Let’s play strip poker’: Fmr. Cuomo aide accuses NY governor of sexual harassment

“These allegations are really disturbing. Let’s be clear about that, they’re really disturbing. We have to, as New Yorkers, we got to take this seriously. When a woman comes forward with this kind of very specific allegations, they have to be taken seriously,” de Blasio said at a press conference.

De Blasio, who is widely considered to be rivals with Cuomo, specifically called for an investigation independent of any possible influence from Cuomo’s administration.

“We need a full and independent investigation, I want to emphasize the word ‘independent,’ investigation by some individual or entity that is not compromised, is not dominated by the governor’s office, but an independent investigation,” de Blasio continued. “This kind of behavior, if it’s true, is unacceptable in any public servant, in anybody. So we’ve got to get the truth about this.”

Back in December, Boylan accused the governor of making inappropriate comments about her appearance but did not elaborate further at the time.

Cuomo’s press secretary, Caitlin Girouard, said in a statement Wednesday afternoon that Boylan’s accusations were “quite simply false.” In particular, Girouard pointed to a statement from other administration officials saying they did not witness conversations that she alleged occurred on a flight in October 2017, when Cuomo allegedly remarked to Boylan: “Let’s play strip poker.”

De Blasio’s remarks also follow him last week coming to the defense of a Queens lawmaker, Assemblyman Ron Kim (D), who accused Cuomo of threatening him over the phone for not helping the governor allegedly cover up the scandal surrounding the administration underreporting the number of coronavirus-related deaths at nursing homes.

MORE ON DE BLASIO, CUOMO: ‘The bullying is nothing new’: de Blasio unleashes on Gov. Cuomo after lawmaker says he was threatened

Kim himself on Wednesday came to the defense of Boylan, and called Cuomo a “coward.”

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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