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From South Bend to Beijing? Buttigieg could be building his CV for next move

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Former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg may be President-elect Joe Biden’s choice for the U.S. ambassador position to China, Axios has reported. It will most likely be one of the most important diplomatic posts in the Biden Administration and will help build Buttigieg’s resume for his future political aspirations.

Buttigieg is the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana and ran for president in 2020 before dropping out to consolidate moderates’ support around Biden. Buttigieg, an Afghan war veteran and the first openly gay candidate for the U.S. presidency, is considered to have played a key role in Biden’s presidential nomination. He won the most delegates in the Iowa caucuses.

Axios has reported that “many inside the Democratic Party believe his return as a presidential candidate is a matter of when, not if.”

Strengthening his foreign policy connections could benefit Buttigieg’s future if he decides to run for president again. Axios reported that a stint as ambassador in Beijing would give the Chinese an opportunity to get to know a potential future president.

However, his name was under discussion for some domestic leadership positions as well, according to Axios.

“China isn’t the only foreign post where Buttigieg, a polyglot, could end up — and his name remains under discussion for some domestic leadership positions as well,” Axios reported.

Biden decided against Buttigieg as his ambassador to the United Nations, the job was said to be Buttigieg’s top choice.

Biden has compared Buttigieg to his late son, Beau.

Biden said of Buttigieg in the past, “I don’t think I’ve ever done this before, but he reminds me of my son Beau. I know that may not mean much to most people, but, to me, it’s the highest compliment I can give any man or woman.”

You can follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @Annaliese Levy

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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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