Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Tuesday in front of television cameras received her first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. On the same day, she was called out by conservatives for her past statement from the vice presidential debate in which she said she would not take a vaccine recommended by President Donald Trump.
Harris, alongside her husband Doug Emhoff, both received vaccine doses at the United Medical Center in Washington, DC, coming after President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President Mike Pence, and members of Congress began to get the Pfizer vaccine last week as part of a continuity of government plan.
On the other hand, a growing list of politicians and public figures have stated they will not receive the vaccine before the elderly do and have called out their colleagues who on the younger side for having gotten the vaccine.
“It’s now clear that we don’t have enough vaccines for everyone and there is shortage of supply, we have to prioritize those who need it most,” Rep. Ilhan Omar tweeted December 20. “That’s why it’s disturbing to see members be 1st to get vaccine while most frontline workers, elderly and infirm in our districts, wait.”
After getting her injection, Harris said “I want to encourage everyone to get the vaccine.”
“It is relatively painless, it happens really quickly, it is safe,” she added.
“Literally, this is about saving lives. It’s literally about saving lives,” the vice president-elect continued. “I trust the scientists and it is the scientists who created and approved this vaccine so I urge everyone, when it is your turn, get vaccinated.”
On the same day of Harris’s vaccination, conservatives across Twitter brought up a previous statement of hers from the October vice presidential debate when she said that she would not take a vaccine if President Trump recommended it.
“If Dr. Fauci, the doctors, tell us that we should take it, I’ll be the first in line to take it,” Harris said during the debate. “But if Donald Trump tells us we should take it, I’m not going to take it.”
Vice President Mike Pence then criticized Harris for her response, saying the California senator was undermining confidence in a vaccine the Trump administration had claimed would soon be ready for distribution to the public.
“I just ask you to stop playing politics with people’s lives,” Pence said. “The fact that you continue to undermine public confidence in a vaccine, if a vaccine emerges in the Trump administration, is unconscionable.”
Prior to the debate, Harris had expressed her skepticism toward a potential vaccine.
Here is some of the criticism toward Harris’s vaccination:
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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