Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) said Monday that the state Department of Health has granted Santa Claus a rare waiver allowing him to skip a 14-day quarantine in the state but clarified that Kris Kringle would have to still wear a mask.
At the end of his prepared statements at a midday press briefing regarding COVID-19 updates and the vaccines, but before questions from the press, Cuomo adopted a serious tone when discussing an “unusual request” from someone to skip quarantine.
“We had a request for a waiver of quarantine. We normally do not do waivers of quarantine,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that we’re in this situation, but people from other states that have a higher infection rate, or what we’re dealing with the U.K. now… as I said, no state is an island, so you have to protect yourself and that’s what the quarantine rules did,” Cuomo added, referencing the new strain of the coronavirus that has spiked in the United Kingdom recently, causing multiple European countries to halt travel with the island nation this weekend.
“But, we have an unusual request,” he said, then pausing for a beat. “But the DOH has been considering it for the past few days and they have actually granted the request.”
“Santa Claus asked from an exemption [from] the 14-day quarantine requirement,” Cuomo revealed, then chuckling, “because it would be impracticable for him to be in this state and then quarantine and still get all his gifts delivered on time.”
Father Christmas, however, must wear a mask when delivering gifts.
“The DOH was flexible,” he continued. “They have granted the quarantine waiver. But—Santa is required to wear a mask this year.”
Despite the jolly, bearded fellow wearing a mask, Cuomo thinks he will remain easily recognizable, joking about Santa’s appearance.
“I think you will still be able to recognize him, even though he’ll be wearing a mask,” the governor said, pointing out that Santa “does have a fairly distinct outfit that he wears, plus his body style is fairly distinct.”
“So I don’t think there’ll be any issue in identifying Santa this year,” he emphasized. “He’ll be able to do his job, but do it safely because he’ll be wearing a mask.”
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
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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