Reports circulated Friday that former President Donald Trump had made his return to social media on Gab, a social network that champions free speech, individual liberty and the free flow of information. That wasn’t exactly the case.
According to reports, a letter was posted to Trump’s Gab account addressed to Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin, who recently called on the former president to testify at his second impeachment hearing next week.
The letter reads, “We are in receipt of your latest public relations stunt. Your letter only confirms what is known to everyone: you cannot prove your allegations against the 45th President of the United States, who is now a private citizen.”
“The use of our Constitution to bring a purported impeachment proceeding is much too serious to try to play these games,” the letter continued.
Many media outlets reported that this was Trump’s return to social media.
According to Vice, Gab CEO Andrew Torba created Trump’s account five years ago. It was designed to be a placeholder for when Trump eventually decided to join the platform, and in the meantime it acted as a mirror of Trump’s Twitter account, automatically reposting Trump’s tweets and archiving them.
Since Trump’s Twitter account was banned last month, Trump’s Gab profile has been silent. On Friday, the account posted an update. Many assumed that Trump had finally taken control of his Gab account.
Torba fired back at the media, saying the company had been “transparent” about the purpose of the account from the beginning.
In a statement, Torba said that Trump does not use the social media platform and the @realdonaldtrump Gab account is not run by Trump.
Torba added that the reason Trump is not using the platform is because “dopey advisers like Jared Kushner” are keeping the former president off the site.
“We will go on the record stating that we know 100% for a fact that Jared Kushner is actively trying to keep Trump off Gab and has been for weeks. Because Gab is the only safe place left for conservatives that means Kushner is trying to keep Trump off the Internet. Why?,” Torba wrote.
You can follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy
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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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