A statue of a freed slave appearing to kneel before former President Abraham Lincoln in Boston was removed Tuesday morning, the Associated Press reports via The New York Post.
Early Tuesday, workers took down the Emancipation Memorial, known also as the Emancipation Group and the Freedman’s Memorial, from a park near Boston Common where it had been since 1879.
Back in late June, after criticism toward the design of the bronze statue amid the renewed national discussion around racism and police brutality this past summer, city officials had agreed to remove the memorial. Earlier that month, Mayor Marty Walsh (D) recognized that the statue made both fellow Bostonians and visitors “uncomfortable,” the AP notes.
The statue of Lincoln and the freed slave is a copy of a monument that was put up in Washington, DC three years prior. Because Boston was home to the statue’s creator, Thomas Ball, the statue was erected there.
While freed Black people funded the original memorial in the nation’s capital, white politician and circus showman Moses Kimball bankrolled the copy in Boston. On both memorials, the inscription reads: “A race set free and the country at peace. Lincoln rests from his labors.”
Created to commemorate the freeing of slaves in the United States, the statue was based on an escaped slave named Archer Alexander, who assisted the Union Army and was the last Black man recaptured under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.
There have been differing interpretations as to the exact meaning and message of the now-removed memorial. While some people perceived the shirtless freedman as rising to his feet as he shakes off the broken shackles around his wrists, others saw him as kneeling before Lincoln, his white emancipator, the AP explains.
Prior to Tuesday’s removal of the statue, over 12,000 individuals had signed a petition urging it be taken down and the public arts commission of Boston voted unanimously for its removal. The statue was to be held in storage until the city determines whether or not to exhibit it in a museum, the AP reports.
“The decision for removal acknowledged the statue’s role in perpetuating harmful prejudices and obscuring the role of Black Americans in shaping the nation’s freedoms,” the commission said in a statement posted on its website.
Since at least 2018, the controversial statue had occupied the city’s mind. That year, Boston commenced an extensive review into if public sculptures, monuments, and other artworks reflected the city’s diversity and didn’t offend communities of color, according to the AP. The arts commission said it was paying extra attention to works with “problematic histories.”
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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