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Gov. Cuomo defends handling of COVID-19, blames politics for nursing home deaths

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On Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) defended his handling of the nursing homes, instead blaming politics for the scandal heating up after The New York Post’s exposé that his top aide said that officials withheld data about nursing home COVID-19 deaths amid a federal probe, according to The Post.

“This past year, there is a toxic political environment and everything is political,” Cuomo said during a Monday press briefing, in which he ignored the admissions made by Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa, per The Post.

“New York was ground zero for Covid, and nursing homes were and still are ground zero for Covid,” Cuomo also said.

RELATED: Poll: 40% of New Yorkers support recalling Gov. Cuomo

“This past year there is a toxic political environment and everything gets politicized,” he added, saying that “[t]here is political spin and there are facts.”

The governor also rebuffed a bipartisan move to strip him of his COVID-19 emergency powers in the wake of DeRosa’s remarks, according to The Post.

RELATED: Lawmakers call for Gov. Cuomo’s removal following aide’s reported nursing home data confession

“Emergency powers have nothing to do with nursing homes,” Cuomo argued, saying that state lawmakers “can reverse any action I take.”

“They have never reversed a single action,” Cuomo said. “These are public health decisions, not local political decisions.”

In a Wednesday night conference call to Democratic lawmakers, DeRosa said: “Because then we were in a position where we weren’t sure if what we were going to give to the Department of Justice, or what we give to you guys, what we start saying, was going to be used against us while we weren’t sure if there was going to be an investigation.”

During the conference call, she also admitted that “basically, we froze” over months of being pressed by not only U.S. Department of Justice and the state legislature but also reporters and activists about the real death toll from nursing home deaths because of the coronavirus, which Cuomo ignored at the Monday press briefing, according to The Post.

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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