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U.S. military concerned about increasing risk of Chinese action against Taiwan



Screenshot 2020 04 07 14.42.46

The U.S. military is warning that China is probably speeding up its timetable for taking control of Taiwan, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.

“We have indications that the risks are actually going up,” Adm. Philip Davidson, the highest ranking U.S. military commander in the Asia-Pacific region, said last month, referring to a potential Chinese military action against the island nation, according to the AP.

“The threat is manifest during this decade — in fact, in the next six years,” Davidson also said.

Adm. John Aquilino, Davidson’s expected successor, declined to back up the six-year timeframe. However, according to the AP, he said at his confirmation hearing last month: “My opinion is, this problem is much closer to us than most think.”

He also said a “likely” future invasion of Taiwan by China was of “critical concern”.

Due to mounting tensions, the USS John S. McCain ventured into the Taiwan strait on Wednesday, according to Focus Taiwan. This is the fourth time a U.S. warship has sailed through the strait since President Joe Biden took office in January, according to the outlet.

According to Reuters, China has been performing fighter jet flyovers in Taiwanese airspace and a carrier group of its has drilled near Taiwan.

While Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu on Wednesday said the military threat is growing, he noted it was not yet “particularly alarming”. The Chinese military in has been performing “real combat-type” exercises nearer to the island in recent years, Wu also said, according to the AP.

“We are willing to defend ourselves, that’s without any question,” Wu also said. “We will fight a war if we need to fight a war, and if we need to defend ourselves to the very last day, then we will defend ourselves to the very last day.”

Last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that China’s military must be “prepared to respond” to numerous security situations amid rising instability and uncertainty, the South China Morning Post reported.

Biden late last month during his first formal press conference said the U.S. and its allies will “hold China accountable to follow the rules,” according to NBC News.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.

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REPORT: China uses psychiatric institutions to suppress dissent



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China has a vast network of psychiatric institutions that it uses to suppress dissent, according to a recent report by Safeguard Defenders, an NGO that focuses on human rights violations in China and other Asian countries. The report compiled data found on 99 victims involved in 144 instances on involuntary hospitalizations in 109 institutions from 2015 through 2021. Of the 99 victims in the report, 80 were petitioners [i.e., those who file complaints against officials] and 14 were activists.

But this is hardly a new phenomenon. “China’s regime has been torturing, maiming, and killing dissidents and others in psychiatric facilities for seven decades,” said Gordon G. Chang, author of The Coming Collapse of China and The Great U.S.-China Tech War. “The only way to end the horrific abuse is to end the rule of the Communist Party.”

The report detailed especially harsh treatments, which include: forced medication (in 77 percent of cases), physical restraints on the bed (60 percent), beatings by staff or other patients (25 percent) and electroshock therapy (14 percent). Otherwise normally healthy people were given anti-psychotic and psychotropic medications, causing severe side effects like memory loss, insomnia and tremors. Electroshock therapy was often administered to the victims as they were fully conscious, rather than under anesthesia in small doses as would be clinically appropriate for certain patients.  According to the report, “[Electroshock therapy] without anesthesia is not only unimaginably painful and frightening for the patient but carries serious side effects, including the risk of bone fractures, joint dislocation, muscle tears, disruption of the heart beat and lung damage.”

Family and friends are often used as weapons against the victims. They were not permitted to call or visit the victims in 76 percent of cases, which essentially makes these cases “enforced disappearances.” 11 percent of cases were committed with the assistance of family (either voluntarily or coerced by authorities). Family and friends who petition for the victim’s release are often faced with persecution, and involuntarily commitment themselves.

The peak of psychiatric detentions occurred from 2015 through 2016, which was around the same time as China’s “709 Crackdown” where the government persecuted hundreds of human rights lawyers.

Some of the detentions are rather draconian. As a petitioner who called for local authorities to investigate a robbery in his house, Zeng Jiping was detained for almost two years. For “live tweeting herself splashing paint over a portrait of Xi Jinping,” Dong Yaoqiong received 1 year, 4 months detention. Twenty-nine out of the 99 victims in the report were hospitalized more than once. In two-thirds of cases where data was known, the authorities did not perform a psychiatric evaluation, in direct violation of China’s Mental Health Law.

The report also gives the example of Andy Li, a member of the “Hong Kong 12” pro-democracy protestors, as falling victim to involuntary detention in Hong Kong’ Siu Lam Psychiatric Center in 2021. The report noted that, as Li’s family didn’t know about his detention, “Li’s cases appears to be a worrying sign that the political abuse of psychiatry practiced on the mainland is now being exported into Hong Kong…”

Those who are finally released from their involuntary committals face lasting physical and phycological pain, and stigma within their communities. People seeking damages for their treatment are often faced with doctors and attorneys who do not want to assist them for fear of retaliation from the government.


According to the report, China is using “peace and health asylums” and other healthcare institutions to “punish and remove activists and petitioners from society without the trouble of going through a trial.” While the report details various Chinese laws that are supposed to protect citizens from such involuntary hospitalizations, in reality Chinese authorities do not abide by these laws and the citizens are not protected. The policy of involuntary hospitalizations show the extent to which the Chinese Communist Party will go to suppress dissent.

You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic

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