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Manhattan federal court buildings requiring double masking

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Anyone entering Manhattan federal court buildings will now be required to wear two masks or a KN95 or N95 mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The order is part of the Southern District of New York’s new phased reopening plan.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recently advised that the public double mask amid the spread of more contagious variants of the virus.

“You are required to wear either: (i) one disposable mask underneath a cloth
mask with the edges of the inner mask pushed against your face; or (ii) a properly-fitted, FDA-authorized KN95 (or N95) mask in all public areas of the courthouse (including hallways, public counters, elevators and courtrooms.),” the order states.

“You must also wear a mask in all shared space/common areas where more than one person is assigned to work unless an SDNY staff member has granted you permission to remove your mask. You must also wear masks any time you are interacting with any other person(s) regardless of social distancing.”

For months, the Manhattan courts have been operating mostly remotely amid the pandemic. Currently, SDNY is in its first phase of reopening, with some office staff back in the courts. The courthouses still remain closed to the public.

“As the first wave of the pandemic recedes, we need to reopen our doors to the public and move toward a restoration of the full range of services that courts provide,” SDNY Chief Judge Colleen McMahon wrote of the new plan. “We are committed to doing this in a way that provides maximum safety to those who work in our courthouses and those who visit them. We will be guided by the best possible scientific and medical advice. That is why we will reopen gradually, as conditions in the eight counties that make up the Southern
District permit.”

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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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