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Report: Minnesota bar owner leads 200-person march after threats of 5-year liquor license suspension

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Nearly 200 individuals reportedly participated in a march Sunday against Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s (D) executive order shutting indoor services for restaurants, according to multiple reports, reflecting the growing anger of business owners toward recently tightened statewide and local COVID-19 restrictions.

The owner of Interchange Wine and Coffee Bistro, Lisa Hanson, organized the march after being faced with a potential five-year suspension of her liquor license for continuing to defy the executive order, CBS Minnesota reported Sunday.

“It’s time for us patriots to rise up, in a peaceful way of course, and to say, ‘Hey, enough is enough,’” Hanson reportedly said.

RELATED: Watch: Angry business owner crashes live news segment, rails against COVID-19 restrictions in Michigan

CBS Minnesota reported that, since mid-December, a temporary restraining order has been placed against The Interchange. Additionally, the Minnesota Department of Health has suspended its license and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety for 60 days plans to suspend the bar’s liquor license.

“We are open for business,” Hanson said. “[We’re] staying open because we need to make money to pay bills.”

Hanson, according to CBS Minnesota, believes the state is unlawfully enforcing an order. If her bar continues to violate the executive order, it reportedly could lose its liquor license for a period of five years.

“We’re well aware of what the consequences could be,” Hanson said, according to CBS Minnesota. “Either I closed permanently or I opened fully, so I opened fully . . . and yes, I knew the risks going into that.”

Moreover, Hanson acknowledges that her effort is about principle at least as much as it’s about her bar, the news outlet wrote. As part of her stand-off with state authorities, CBS Minnesota reports that inside The Interchange are pocket-size United States Constitutions laid out on a counter, protest T-shirts on sale, and a tip jar that’s been converted into a legal fund.

“We believe that we will see victory in this,” Hanson added.

It should be noted that Hanson is entitled to a court hearing before any liquor license suspension can go into effect, the news outlet stated. She reportedly said she plans to consult with her attorney on how to proceed.

Similar protests against COVID-19 restrictions targeting indoor services in bars and restaurants have sprung up across the country in recent months. These tighter restrictions were issued during the late autumn, when coronavirus cases were skyrocketing across the U.S. and still continue to skyrocket during the holiday travel season.

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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