Amid crackdown in China, Uighur diaspora artists promote their culture

Amid crackdown in China, Uighur diaspora artists promote their culture

The US has stepped up efforts to hold China accountable for treatment of ethnic minority Uighurs in the western Xinjiang region, but new evidence shows continued persecution, with celebrities even being targeted.

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Rupa Shenoy

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The World staff

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In this file photo, Uighur protesters, wearing bandages over mock wounds, hold placards and wave a French flag as they take part in a demonstration condemning violence in China’s Xinjiang province, at the Trocadero near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, July 8, 2009.

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Merdan Ghappar was a fashion model for the giant Chinese online shopping website Taobao. But the video that suddenly made him famous is not a commercial — it’s a rare, grim glimpse into one of the detention centers in Xinjiang, in northwest China.

Merdan Ghappar shared the selfie video and sent some text messages in March, a few weeks after he was arrested, said Enwer Ardan, speaking on behalf of Merdan Ghappar’s uncle, Abdulhakim Ghappar. There’s been nothing seen or heard from him since.

The video was released last week after the BBC consulted experts who said it was likely genuine. In it, Merdan Ghappar is seen handcuffed to a bed in a closet-sized room. There are bars over the window and a voice over a loudspeaker says there has never been a Uighur independence movement.

“It is a firsthand document that confirms China is torturing and killing Uighur people inside the camp.”

Enwer Ardan, speaking on behalf of Merdan Ghappar’s uncle, Abdulhakim Ghappar

“It is a firsthand document that confirms China is torturing and killing Uighur people inside the camp,” said Ardan, who believes Ghappar was targeted by the Chinese government, like other Uighur celebrities who’ve recently gone missing. “Tremendous intellectuals and artists and popular singers were arrested. And I think Merdan is part of this.”

‘Gravity of the situation’

As Uighur artists inside China have disappeared, people outside China have stepped up efforts to preserve Uighur culture. 

“There’s a different kind of urgency people are feeling,” said Elise Marie Anderson, an ethnomusicologist in Washington, DC, who lived in Xinjiang and works with the Uyghur Human Rights Project. “There are people who’ve been doing these sorts of preservation efforts for a very long time. There are just more of us now because people realize the gravity of the situation.”

Uighur-language schools are popping up in many countries. People are creating online cultural archives for songs and poems. There are Uighur YouTube channels and Instagram accounts. But Anderson said many of these efforts are struggling because they can’t find enough funding. 

“So many people think stuff like this is frivolous,” she said, highlighting the lack of financial resources. “This is not frivolous.” 

Uighur artists outside China have suddenly found themselves as the last keepers of a culture facing extinction. But Mukaddas Mijit, a Uighur dancer, singer and filmmaker now living in Paris, struggles with how to pass on her culture. 

“There’s a lot of stress around Uighur culture, [with people] saying, ‘All that will disappear, so we have to keep it in its original shape,’” said Mijit, adding that she doesn’t believe in simply aiming to be “authentic.”

“A culture that doesn’t move anymore, or a culture [that’s] just repeating itself, it’s already the beginning of the end,” she said.

Related: Sterilization abuse of Uighurs in China meets international legal criteria for genocide, experts say

On top of cultural oppression, many Uighurs resent long being stereotyped by Chinese people as entertainers and artists. They’re often featured in splashy TV shows. 

“If you talk about Uighurs in, for example, Beijing, there’s basically two reactions. One is, ‘Oh, they’re thieves’ or “They’re terrorists” or ‘They’re dangerous people.’ Or, “They are beautiful girls with beautiful clothes.” And ‘They can dance.’”

Mukaddas Mijit, a Uighur dancer, singer and filmmaker

“If you talk about Uighurs in, for example, Beijing, there’s basically two reactions,” she said. “One is, ‘Oh, they’re thieves’ or “They’re terrorists” or ‘They’re dangerous people.’ Or, “They are beautiful girls with beautiful clothes.” And ‘They can dance.’”

So, Uighur artists didn’t expect the crackdown to focus on them, Mijit said, even though they grew up with the same anxiety and oppression as other Uighurs. 

“We never realized that it could go this far,” she said. 

‘They’re coming for everyone’

Mijit was last in Xinjiang in July 2009, when hundreds of Uighurs participated in protests that turned violent. She watched trucks full of Chinese troops roll in and turn her home into a militarized zone.

“They forced us to get used to [militarization],” Mijit said. 

The Chinese government began moving millions of Uighurs in Xinjiang into detention camps. Mijit said it wasn’t until about three years ago that Uighur writers, poets and professors also began to disappear. Even Ablajan Ayup, a pop singer known as “the Uyghur Justin Bieber,” went missing. 

“I never thought that they will disappear because they always tried to behave well. I mean, they never did anything against Chinese authority,” Mijit said. “So, when they started to disappear, it was really alarming. I think then people really realized that, actually, they’re coming for everyone.”

Model Merdan Ghappar did nothing to provoke Chinese authorities, said Enwer Ardan, his uncle Abdulhakim Ghappar’s representative. He spoke perfect Chinese, had a Chinese name, and lots of ethnic Han Chinese friends. 

“He has never been political, nor religious,” Ardan said. “He’s just a young man.”

Related: New data on China’s detention of Uighurs: ‘They could charge you with anything’

But Abdulhakim Ghappar lives in the Netherlands, and Ardan said Abdulhakim Ghappar’s outspokenness about the treatment of Uighurs drew the Chinese government’s attention to his nephew.

The government has yet to comment on Merdan Ghappar’s detention. Ardan says the international community should not accept what is currently happening to Uighurs in Xinjiang. 

“We have to stand up,” Ardan said, warning that Uighurs — and their culture — could disappear. “We have to speak.”

Family of Chinese pro-democracy activist held in secret detention calls for his release

Family of Chinese pro-democracy activist held in secret detention calls for his release

Ding Jiaxi had been on a collision course with the Chinese government perhaps ever since 1989 when he was a college junior in Beijing.

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Rupa Shenoy

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Riot police patrol at a shopping mall during a protest after China’s parliament passes a national security law for Hong Kong, in Hong Kong, June 30, 2020.

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Ding Jiaxi, a leader in the pro-democracy China Citizens Movement, believed it was possible to work inside China to convince people to push back against the government. But in December, as he was having dinner at a friend’s home, authorities burst in and arrested him and the others there.

“I didn’t know how to react. Somehow, I think we kind of knew that with what he was doing, that something like this was going to happen at some point.”

Caroline Ding, daughter of Ding Jiaxi 

“I didn’t know how to react,” said Ding Jiaxi’s 18-year-old daughter, Caroline Ding, who at the time was a freshman at Tufts University in Massachusetts. “Somehow, I think we kind of knew that with what he was doing, that something like this was going to happen at some point.”

Related: China orders US to close its Chengdu consulate

Ding Jiaxi had been on a collision course with the Chinese government perhaps ever since 1989 when he was a college junior in Beijing. He spent three days and nights in Tiananmen Square as student protesters faced off against troops. But at the university, he also met his wife, Sophie Luo.

“I think of the story that she used to tell us, like, it was love at first sight. My dad walked into the room and she was like, ‘Oh, that’s the one,’” Caroline Ding said.

They married and had two kids. Ding Jiaxi put his activism aside and became a successful business lawyer in Beijing. But around 2010, Luo said he began reaching out to human rights activists.

“So, he always [had] this thinking to bring change to China,” she said.

Related: US orders China to close its consulate in Houston

Ding Jiaxi helped organize the first small meetings of the China Citizens Movement. Members were encouraged to use their rights as a citizen, as laid out in China’s constitution, to advocate for change within the existing political system. Ding Jiaxi collected 7,000 signatures for a petition that sought to reveal corruption. It called on top officials to disclose their family’s finances and assets. Luo said that’s when the government sent plainclothes officers to watch their house.

“At that time, I realized our life was really unsafe,” Luo said.

Caroline Ding remembers it, too.

“There would just be [police] sitting outside of our house. Every day I went to school, I would see him sitting there. I really trusted my dad and I thought he knew what he was doing, so I didn’t think it was that big of a problem.”

Caroline Ding, daughter of Ding Jiaxi 

“There would just be [police] sitting outside of our house. Every day I went to school, I would see him sitting there,” she said. “I really trusted my dad and I thought he knew what he was doing, so I didn’t think it was that big of a problem.”

Her dad, though, knew that it was. Luo said Ding Jiaxi asked her to leave the country with the kids, so they wouldn’t get caught up in his battle with the government. Luo works for a global corporation that was able to relocate her to the US. She went to the US Embassy to get a visa.

“Then the next day, the policeman [came] to take him away from our house,” Luo said.

In 2013, Ding Jiaxi was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for his work with the Citizens Movement. Luo knew she’d have more freedom to speak outside China, so she and the kids followed through with the plan to settle in the small town of Alfred, New York. Ding Jiaxi sent them letters.

Related: US toughens its stance against Chinese aggression in South China Sea

“In those days, a letter from him was my nutrition for life,” she said.

Ding Jiaxi’s arrest and jailing was just the beginning of a widespread crackdown that drew international attention. In July 2015, hundreds of human rights lawyers and activists were detained and tortured in China. Still, somehow, Ding Jiaxi was released in 2016 and got a visa to visit his family in the US.

“I can see that in the two months he did all the chores at home and [wanted] to compensate what [had been] missing for the family, but I [could] see he still wants to go back,” she said.

Luo begged him to stay. But Ding Jiaxi said the US was too comfortable — and he felt restless. This is what people have a hard time understanding, why her husband would return to a place that is so dangerous for him, Luo said. 

“It’s not [everyone who] can understand. It took us, the family, a long time also to understand him. I just feel he was chosen by God to do something for China. So, although I feel painful, I still [sent] him back.”

Sophie Luo, wife of Ding Jiaxi 

“It’s not [everyone who] can understand. It took us, the family, a long time also to understand him,” she said. “I just feel he was chosen by God to do something for China. So, although I feel painful, I still [sent] him back.”

Ding Jiaxi returned to China in 2017 and continued his work with the Citizens Movement until December of 2019, when authorities picked him up again. Several of the activists he was arrested with have been released, but not Ding Jiaxi. His lawyer has been denied access to him. Luo hasn’t gotten any letters. They don’t know where he’s being held.

“Lack of human rights in China  — it’s a threat to the whole international society,” Luo said. “This kind of dictatorship is a kind of disease to society, to the whole international world.”

Luo said her goal is to free all those unlawfully detained in China, including her husband. She spends hours on the phone at night, talking to lawyers and calling Chinese authorities to try to get information.

Luo’s reached out to US congressmen, senators and the State Department for help, and said they’ve all been supportive — but the growing divide between the US and China makes Luo wonder what they can really do. Members of their local church in New York made videos to send a direct message to the Chinese government.

“We are angry in the United States about this, and we will stay angry,” one church member said in the video.

“No one should be detained or kept secretly hidden when they have done nothing wrong,” another commented.

A third added, “This is an absolutely unacceptable way for a government to treat one of its citizens.”

This week, Caroline Ding wrote an op-ed about her dad for the Tufts student newspaper. Unlike her mom and sister, who have green cards, Caroline Ding is a citizen, born when Luo was a graduate student in the US. So, she feels safe to speak out. But Luo doesn’t want to express the immense frustration of living a privileged American life while her father likely sits in prison.

“If we show our weakness, then the Communist Party is winning in a way because they want to see us crushed and sad, so we wouldn’t be able to do anything,” she said. “But I think the best thing we can do is just enjoy our lives here. Joy is the ultimate rebellion.”

And this is what her dad wanted — for them to be safe, so he could make the choice to fight. 

China rebukes US envoy for photo stunt at nuclear talks with Russia

China rebukes US envoy for photo stunt at nuclear talks with Russia

US special envoy Marshall Billingslea and his delegation arrive for a meeting with Russian deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in Vienna, Austria, June 22, 2020.

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US and Russian officials met in Vienna on Monday to discuss to nuclear arms control. But the US envoy taunted China for its absence, earning a rebuke from Beijing for posting a picture of empty seats with Chinese flags

US President Donald Trump has sought to include Beijing in talks to replace the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), the flagship nuclear arms treaty between the United States and Russia, which expires in February. China, a nuclear power with an arsenal a fraction the size of those of the Cold War-era superpowers, has repeatedly declined.

“China is a no-show,” US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea said on Twitter around the time he arrived for the talks in a palace adjoining Austria’s Foreign Ministry.

“Beijing still hiding behind #GreatWallofSecrecy on its crash nuclear build-up, and so many other things. We will proceed with #Russia, notwithstanding,” he added. His post included a picture of a Chinese flags at empty seats around the negotiating table.

Vienna talks about to start. China is a no-show. Beijing still hiding behind #GreatWallofSecrecy on its crash nuclear build-up, and so many other things. We will proceed with #Russia, notwithstanding. pic.twitter.com/EjDxXNmblv

— Ambassador Marshall S. Billingslea (@USArmsControl) June 22, 2020

The director general of the arms control department at China’s Foreign Ministry, Fu Cong, responded:  “What an odd scene! Displaying Chinese National Flags on a negotiating table without China’s consent! Good luck on the extension of the New START! Wonder how LOW you can go?”

China’s diplomatic mission in Vienna retweeted Billingslea’s photo with the caption “US performance art?”.

Russia, for its part, posted pictures of the talks after they started, with no Chinese flags. Austria’s Foreign Ministry, which hosted the talks, declined to comment.

The talks in Vienna are on a possible replacement for the 2010 New START, which caps US and Russian deployed strategic nuclear weapons warheads at 1,550 each. That replaced the original Cold War-era START treaty signed in 1991 six months before the Soviet Union collapsed.

China has around 300 warheads in total, roughly the same as France, and many times less than the thousands possessed by Washington and Moscow, according to the Stockholm International Peace Institute.

Trump, who has clashed with China on a range of issues, has repeatedly called for Beijing to join talks on a replacement for New START. China has rejected those calls.

Billingslea and his Russian interlocutor, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, both said little about the substance of the talks on their arrival.

“We’ll see,” Billingslea told Reuters when asked what he expected to come of the talks as he arrived. Ryabkov told reporters: “Let’s see, let’s see. We are always very hopeful.”

by Francois Murphy/Reuters

New coronavirus spikes cause concern; India-China clashes may be hard to defuse; Sudan war criminal faces ICC

New coronavirus spikes cause concern; India-China clashes may be hard to defuse; Sudan war criminal faces ICC

By
The World staff

A person receives a parcel inside a residential compound that has been put under stricter virus control measures and surrounded by barbed wire after a new outbreak of the coronavirus, in Fengtai district, in Beijing, China, June 17, 2020.

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Top of The World — our morning news round up written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

Chinese officials have described the new outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Beijing as “extremely grave.” More than 60% of flights to the capital have been canceled and China’s emergency warning has been raised to its second-highest level. But China is not alone in dealing with growing cases of the virus, as infections have spiked in the US, India and Iran.

Six US states have reported record highs of new cases. Texas is among them — it’s seeing thousands of new cases and hospitalizations after the state agressively reopened the economy in May. Gov. Greg Abbott said earlier this week that the recent spike “does raise concerns, but there is no reason right now to be alarmed.”     

After more than three weeks without a new case of the coronavirus, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced an “unacceptable failure” in which health officials allowed two women returning from London to leave quarantine early on compassionate grounds before being tested. The women later tested positive for the virus. Ardern has now appointed a top military leader to oversee quarantine measures.  

And, while many have pointed to the link between the coronavirus and wet markets, some warn that “in the rush to create a safer food system, culturally significant food practices, which pose comparatively minor public health risks, are coming under threat,” The Guardian reports.

What The World is following

At least 20 people have died in close combat clashes between Indian and Chinese troops on the disputed border in the Himalayas. Soldiers engaged in hand-to-hand combat and reportedly fought with rocks and nail-studded bamboo sticks. Both countries have lobbed accusations at each other. China has recently taken an aggressive tactic on territory and borders, and over the last several decades has built infrastructure around the Line of Actual Control demarkating the region. With the loss of life in this week’s clashes, de-escalation of tensions may be difficult to achieve.  

Controversial Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández has tested positive for the coronavirus, along with his wife and two aides. In Russia, President Vladimir Putin’s residence now has a disinfectant tunnel to protect him from the disease. But do these tunnels come with more risk

From The WorldTensions continue in Darfur as Sudanese war criminal faces his day in court

After more than a decade evading charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, a Sudanese suspect, Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-al-Rahman, widely known as Ali Kushayb, finally appeared in court. The conflict, which the United States later called a genocide against Indigenous Africans, left an estimated 300,000 people dead and more than 2 million displaced. For some Darfuris, Kushayb’s arrest is a sign that justice, long-elusive, could be on the horizon.

Remembering Sarah Hegazi, the Egyptian LGBTQ activist arrested for unfurling the rainbow flag

Crowds listening to Mashrou Leila concert in Cairo in 2017. 

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Egyptian Streets/Wikimedia Commons

Sarah Hegazi will be remembered as someone who just wanted to be herself — and was imprisoned and tortured for doing so. During a 2017 music festival in Cairo, Hegazi hoisted a rainbow flag above the crowd — a daring move in a country where homosexuality is taboo. A friend took her photo, and Hegazi became famous after the image spread across on social media. But that moment came back to haunt her. On Saturday, Hegazi died by suicide in exile in Canada. She was 30 years old.

Canadian universal basic income experiment has been life-changing for those unemployed amid coronavirus 

Nick Abrantes walks after purchased three pairs of shoes during a phased reopening from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in Toronto, May 19, 2020.

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Carlos Osorio/Reuters 

Canadians who have lost their job or can’t work because of the coronavirus can apply for an emergency jobless benefit from the Canadian government. It’s a temporary program, but it’s also turned into what may be the world’s largest experiment with a universal basic income. More than 8 million Canadians have applied.

As governments scramble to come up with ways to financially support people out of work because of the pandemic, many economists and politicians say the Canadian program is proof the time has finally come for a no-strings-attached, guaranteed income.

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Austrian police have fined a man €500 after he provocatively “let go a massive intestinal wind apparently with full intent.” We’re blown away. 💨

Meanwhile in Vienna. https://t.co/de4VQQ0N2C

— Adriaan Louw (@adriaanhlouw) June 16, 2020In case you missed itListen: China imposes restrictions after new coronavirus cases

Police officers wearing face masks and gloves stand guard outside an entrance to the Xinfadi wholesale market, which has been closed following cases of the coronavirus in Beijing, June 16, 2020.

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A new cluster of cases of the coronavirus in Beijing is raising concerns about a second wave in China. Also, anger is mounting over the deaths of Indigenous people at the hands of police in Canada, sparked by the killing of George Floyd. And, how South Africa’s transition from apartheid to a new South Africa might be instructive for how the United States might use this unprecedented moment of focus on race.

Don’t forget to subscribe to The World’s Latest Edition podcast using your favorite podcast player: RadioPublicApple PodcastsStitcherSoundcloudRSS.

Russia, Philippines hand down controversial convictions; Beijing lockdowns return; New Zealand sports fans return to stadiums

Russia, Philippines hand down controversial convictions; Beijing lockdowns return; New Zealand sports fans return to stadiums

By
The World staff

Former US Marine Paul Whelan holds a sign as he stands inside a defendants’ cage during his verdict hearing in Moscow, Russia, June 15, 2020.

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Top of The World — our morning news round up written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

Ex-US marine Paul Whelan has been found guilty by the Moscow City Court of spying charges, in what he called a “sham trial.” Whelan, 50, was sentenced to 16 years of hard labor by the Russian court Monday. In 2018, he was arrested in a Moscow hotel room with a flash drive that authorities say held state secrets. Whelan says he was set up with a USB stick, which he believed to contain family photos.

The case has strained US-Russia relations, though the White House has not been vocal about Whelan’s situation. US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan condemned the verdict, calling the trial an “egregious violation of human rights,” and criticized the embassy’s lack of access to Whelan. Whelan’s lawyers may lodge an appeal, and his family has called on the US to take steps to bring him home.

In the Philippines, journalist Maria Ressa, founder of the investigative Rappler Media, and her former colleague, Reynaldo Santos, have become the first journalists to be convicted of cyber libel under a highly scrutinized law that opponents warned would be used to silence critics of controversial President Rodrigo Duterte’s government. The Committee to Protect Journalists called Monday’s conviction an “outrageous crime against press freedom.” Ressa and Santos will appeal, but could face up to six years in prison. 

The World spoke with Maria Ressa last April: “Democracies can turn overnight. You can lose rights very quickly and I’m shocked at what’s happened to the Philippines. So — hold the line. I always say, ‘Hold the line.’ I think we need to demand accountability. We need to stop impunity. Those are the two main things.” 

What The World is following

Less than a month after the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis galvanized a movement against systemic racism and police brutality around the world, Rayshard Brooks, also a black man, was killed by a white police officer in Atlanta, Georgia, on Friday, reigniting protests in the city

Some areas of Beijing are reentering lockdowns after China’s capital city reported 36 new cases of the novel coronavirus in a single day, likely linked to an outbreak at the Xinfadi wholesale market. In US states with support for Donald Trump, Republican skepticism about the threat of the pandemic could be shifting as the number of cases of COVID-19 increases by the hundreds or more per day. Research suggests that racial attitudes could have reinforced an “empathy gap” for virus victims, which have disproportionately been people of color

In New Zealand, 20,000 fans became some of the first in the world to regather in person for a sporting event — a rugby match on Saturday. The country has been declared essentially virus-free after strict lockdown measures beginning in March effectively quashed the virus there. 

Racism against African Americans in China escalates amid coronavirus

Women wearing protective face masks are seen in a bus, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Shanghai, June 9, 2020. 

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Aly Song/Reuters 

Four years ago, JC, a teacher and poet from Mississippi, moved to China with her husband and two children on a grand adventure. Now, she teaches literature to high schoolers in Guangzhou. 

But she says life has changed amid the coronavirus pandemic. In mid-April, reports of “imported cases” of COVID-19 from abroad triggered a wave of anti-foreigner sentiment across China, especially toward black people.

‘Travel bubbles’: Who’s in and who’s out of the plan to save global tourism

Passengers wait for a regional train at the main train station in Berlin during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Berlin, Germany, June 10, 2020.

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The coronavirus pandemic has brought leisure travel to a standstill. International tourism could decline by up to 80% this year, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization. Now, just as the Northern Hemisphere enters the summer season, governments around the world are trying to revitalize their tourism economies.

And: Sweden’s handling of coronavirus drives some people to relocate

Morning meme

Watching Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s moptop emerge is one way to keep track of the calendar, says The New York Times (and this GIF 👇). 

I made a thing! @JustinTrudeau‘s hair from every daily update since March 16, 2020. #Longhairdontcare pic.twitter.com/IvNeKbKhYC

— Steven Tiao (@stiao) June 12, 2020In case you missed itListen: Latin America’s reckoning with racism and police violence

A demonstrator wearing a face mask as a preventive measure against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), holds a sign that reads “I can’t breathe, black lives matter” during a protest against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd and the arrival of U.S. troops in Colombian territory, in Bogota, Colombia June 3, 2020.

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The World continues its coverage of campaigns for police reform across the globe. Host Marco Werman speaks with Siana Bangura, an organizer in London, and Miski Noor, an activist with Black Visions Collective in Minneapolis. Also, The World’s Jorge Valencia has a story about police killings in Latin America.  Tensions continue to escalate between the US and China. The US Navy is dispatching two aircraft carriers plus support ships to the western Pacific, a powerful signal to Beijing. Host Marco Werman speaks with military analyst Sim Tack about the escalations. With international tourism falling off a cliff, governments are trying to mitigate things by allowing their citizens to visit neighboring countries. But with “travel bubbles” forming around the world, the US hasn’t been invited to buddy up with anybody. The World’s Bianca Hillier has more. And, US President Donald Trump authorized economic sanctions against the International Criminal Court this week, unhappy about efforts to investigate US personnel. The World’s Rupa Shenoy reports.

Don’t forget to subscribe to The World’s Latest Edition podcast using your favorite podcast player: RadioPublicApple PodcastsStitcherSoundcloudRSS.

Canadian activists say they’re being targeted by China

Canadian activists say they’re being targeted by China

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Rupa Shenoy

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The Chinese national flag is seen in Beijing, April 29, 2020.

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Gloria Fung first saw them nine months ago. She was at a rally she helped organize in front of Toronto’s old City Hall, to show support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

“Soon after we had assembled, more than 100 counterprotesters blocked our way chanting, ‘One China,’” Fung said, recalling that the counterprotesters waved Chinese flags.

“They shouted insults and threats and photographed individuals as an intimidation tactic.”

Related: Canada closes most of its great outdoors to curb COVID-19

After that, Fung said, pro-China groups showed up in several Canadian cities, and threats increased against Canadian activists. That pattern of intimidation led Fung and a coalition of human rights groups across Canada to release a recent report that documents a coordinated assault by the Chinese government to shut down criticism of its human rights record.

“Beijing has launched an unprecedented attack on Canadian soil.”

Gloria Fung, Canadian activist

“Beijing has launched an unprecedented attack on Canadian soil,” Fung said at a press conference that streamed live on May 12.

Fung said she got threatening phone calls and that her contact information has appeared in pornographic ads.

“The Chinese government ruthlessly tries to crush all dissent and now are on a global mission to silence any criticism of their policies or human rights record at large,” said Chemi Lhamo, of Students for a Free Tibet Canada, who was also targeted on social media.

“I was hit with comments like, ‘If I see you, I will punch you,’” Lhamo said. “Or, ‘Your mom is dead.’”

Alex Neve of Amnesty International Canada said few of those who are harassed bother reporting it to authorities anymore. He said that’s because they always get a similar response: “We hear a variation of ‘There’s not much we can do. It’s not really a criminal offense. There’s no particular law that applies here.’”

Related: ‘It felt like a war zone’: Coronavirus tears through Canada nursing homes

The human rights coalition is calling on the Canadian government to investigate and consider sanctions against Chinese officials. Neve said they would like to see legislation that requires Canadians acting on behalf of a foreign government to register themselves. The report also recommends new regulations to protect activists on Canada’s college campuses.

“Governments like Canada, working with other governments, not on our own, need to be more courageous and determined about standing up to these kinds of human rights violations including within our own borders.” 

Alex Neve, Amnesty International Canada

“Governments like Canada, working with other governments, not on our own, need to be more courageous and determined about standing up to these kinds of human rights violations including within our own borders,” he said.

Canadian officials say they’ll study the report’s recommendations. The Chinese government hasn’t commented.

Anti-China sentiment on the rise; Italy slowly emerging from lockdown; Pandemic exposes the ‘violence of social inequality’

Anti-China sentiment on the rise; Italy slowly emerging from lockdown; Pandemic exposes the 'violence of social inequality'

By
The World staff

The Chinese national flag flies at half-mast behind a statue of late Chinese chairman Mao Zedong in Wuhan during a national mourning for those who died of the coronavirus, April 2020.

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Top of The World — our morning news round up written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

Britain said Monday that China has questions to answer over the information it shared about the novel coronavirus outbreak. But British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace refused to comment on reports that the so-called Five Eyes consortium of US, British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand intelligence services had accused Beijing of a cover-up. The rhetoric from the US and others comes as an internal Chinese report warns Beijing is facing a rising wave of hostility in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and that global anti-China sentiment is at its highest since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Also: Scientists may never find the ‘missing link’ species

Italy slowly emerging from lockdown

Italy, among the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus and with one of the longest lockdowns in Europe, began easing lockdown restrictions today, allowing about 4.5 million people to return to work. Spain, Nigeria, Azerbaijan, Malaysia, Israel, Tunisia and Lebanon were also among countries easing some restrictions.

Also: Japan’s Abe extends state of emergency to May 31

Economist Thomas Piketty: Pandemic exposes the ‘violence of social inequality’

French economist Thomas Piketty’s new book, “Capital and Ideology,” which came out in March, examines the history of policies and political systems that have sustained economic inequality — and how the world might move toward a fairer economic system. He spoke to The World’s host Marco Werman about the inequalities the pandemic has exposed and suggested Portugal as example of one country that is looking soberly at the pandemic.

“I think at this stage, you know, everybody is trying to do something. So, some countries have initiatives like — in Portugal, they decided two weeks ago to have a temporary regularization of illegal migrants so at least they can provide income support for people in the street and access to health facilities and some kind of legal status. Actually, during this time of the pandemic, most of the countries in Europe did not do that. And I think, you know, it would be useful.”

Warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico raise alarm as US storm season approaches

As storm season begins in the southeastern US, scientists are casting a wary eye on the warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico. Tornado season in the US generally runs from March through June and hurricane season follows right on its heels. Warm waters in the Gulf provide “a basic fuel” to these massive storms, explains atmospheric scientist Kevin Trenberth, a distinguished scholar at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research.

During social distancing, artists collaborate on ‘Long Distance Art’

Simone Saunders, a visual artist based in Calgary, Canada, created this piece for the Long Distance Art series.

Credit:

Courtesy of Simone Saunders

Long Distance Art, which launched this week, is an international, multidisciplinary collaborative art series that emerged from the Social Distancing Festival. Artists can inquire about collaborating with another artist they’ve seen on the site, or have the creator pair them up with another artist of his choosing.

For online art, I’ve become a matchmaker,” joked creator Nick Green. “I don’t want to be too instructive. So for the most part, I tell [the collaborators], ‘You two are brilliant artists. Go. Do whatever. I’m happy with anything you come up with.’”

Morning meme

There may be some good old fashioned Hollywood marketing going on here. But it is May 4, and the folks over at team “Star Wars” still know how to get the goosebumps to rise. May the 4th be with you.

In case you missed itListen: A global effort to fast-track a vaccine for the coronavirus

A researcher works in a lab at the Duke-NUS Medical School, which is developing a way to track genetic changes that speed testing of vaccines against the coronavirus disease in Singapore, March 2020.

Credit:

Joseph Campbell/Reuters

Most leaders and medical experts say life won’t get back to relative normal until we get a vaccine to prevent COVID-19. It could take a while, so some scientists and ethicists are proposing a controversial method of testing. Also, Russia’s Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has tested positive for the coronavirus and is temporarily stepping down from his position as he recovers. Plus, the British rock band Queen has updated the classic rock ballad, “We Are The Champions,” to honor health care workers around the world.

Don’t forget to subscribe to The World’s Latest Edition podcast using your favorite podcast player: RadioPublicApple PodcastsStitcherSoundcloudRSS.

Dove Cameron – Slow Burn Lyrics

Play this song

[Verse 1]
Born in a hurry, always late
Haven’t been early since ’88
Texas is hot, I can be cold
Grandma cried when I pierced my nose
Good in a glass, good on green
Good when you’re putting your hands all over me

[Chorus]
I’m alright with a slow burn
Taking my time, let the world turn
I’m gonna do it my way, it’ll be alright
If we burn it down and it takes all night
It’s a slow burn, yeah

[Verse 2]
In Tennessee, the sun’s goin’ down
But in Beijing, they’re heading out to work
You know the bar down the street don’t close for an hour
We should take a walk and look at all the flowers

[Chorus]
‘Cause I’m alright with a slow burn
Taking my time, let the world turn
I’m gonna do it my way, it’ll be alright
If we burn it down and it takes all night
It’s a slow burn

[Bridge]
Whatever feels good

[Outro]
Old soul, waiting my turn
I know a few things, but I still got a lot to learn
So I’m alright with a slow burn, slow burn, slow burn
I’m alright with a slow burn

Future – Promise U That Lyrics

[Intro: Future & Lil Juice]
It ain’t no talk on this
You a bad lil’ bitch, don’t worry, ah
Yeah-yeah-yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah
(Tay Keith, fuck these niggas up)
Yeah

[Pre-Chorus: Future]
Cartier diamonds, my mascot
Tell your main nigga he your ex now
Finna push up, bring your ass out
Where you come from? Where you from now?
I keep a bad thing on me, yeah, yeah
Dreads on me like Beijing, yeah, yeah
After this, right back to him, like an accident
Yeah, yeah, yeah

[Chorus: Future]
Came in a car, you gon’ leave in a jet, I can promise you that (Yeah, yeah)
Came by myself, I’ma leave with your friends, I can promise you that (Yeah, yeah)
Came in a car, and you gon’ leave in a jet, I can promise you that (Yeah, yeah)
Never met no nigga richer than me, I can promise you that (Hell yeah)

[Verse 1: Future]
I know you don’t want no scrub, no-no-no, no-no-no
Baby, this thuggin’ love, no-no, yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah
Came up in the club, aw, yeah-yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah
Tryna make some love, yah-yah, yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah
Ass like your mommy, know you won’t try me
Hop on the trolley just to see me
Came with nobody, leave with nobody
Reason you came, just to see me
Backstage pass with your ass out
You got no shame how you came out
Baby, I promise, I’ll respect game
Only thing that I can say is…

[Pre-Chorus: Future]
Cartier diamonds, my mascot
Tell your main nigga he your ex now
Finna push up, bring your ass out
Where you come from? Where you from now?
I keep a bad thing on me, yeah, yeah
Dreads on me like Beijing, yeah, yeah
After this, right back to him, like an accident
Yeah, yeah, yeah

[Chorus: Future]
Came in a car, you gon’ leave in a jet, I can promise you that (Yeah, yeah)
Came by myself, I’ma leave with your friends, I can promise you that (Yeah, yeah)
Came in a car, and you gon’ leave in a jet, I can promise you that (Yeah, yeah)
Never met no nigga richer than me, I can promise you that (Hell yeah)

[Post-Chorus: Future & Lil Juice]
Came in a dress, you gon’ leave in a mink, I can promise you that
(Promise you that, promise you that, promise you that)
Came in a dress, you gon’ leave in a mink, I can promise you that
(Tay Keith, fuck these niggas up)

[Verse 2: Future]
Permanent issues got me thinkin’ outside the box
They was sayin’ I was cocky, I don’t feel like I’m cocky enough
Yeah, he fuck you and I fuck you, I don’t wanna get caught carin’ too much
I can’t expect you to change when you did it for fame, yeah
I’m thinkin’ tropical, beaches and leeches, I’m thinkin’ private, oh
From the car to the jet, from the jet to the beach, got a million-some dollars on me
Got a milli’ on me with a Richard Mille on me, I’m the bigger homie
I don’t get no sleep, I made love on these corners

[Pre-Chorus: Future]
Cartier diamonds, my mascot
Tell your main nigga he your ex now
Finna push up, bring your ass out
Where you come from? Where you from now?
I keep a bad thing on me, yeah, yeah
Dreads on me like Beijing, yeah, yeah
After this, right back to him, like an accident
Yeah, yeah, yeah

[Chorus: Future]
Came in a car, you gon’ leave in a jet, I can promise you that (Yeah, yeah)
Came by myself, I’ma leave with your friends, I can promise you that (Yeah, yeah)
Came in a car, and you gon’ leave in a jet, I can promise you that (Yeah, yeah)
Never met no nigga richer than me, I can promise you that (Hell yeah)

[Post-Chorus: Future]
Never met no nigga flyer than me, I can promise you that (Promise you that)
Promise you that, promise you that, promise you that
Never met no nigga talkin’ to you when he fuck you like that

[Outro: Future]
I always wonder if she loyal (I always wonder)
I hope we on the same accord (Woo)
Let me fix all my rings
Let’s converse off codeine (Yeah)

PARTYNEXTDOOR – Never Played Me lyrics

[Intro]
PARTYNEXTDOOR

[Chorus]
Woah, you seem to amaze me
Woah, you seem to amaze me
You never ever tried to play me
You amazed me, you amazed me
You amazed me, you amazed me
You amazed me, you amazed me
You amazed me, you amazed me
You amazed me, never played me

[Verse 1]
Let you leave the house with the credit card
And you only swipe what you need ’cause you got what you need
Never really stop at your parents’ house
‘Cause you know I’m ballin’ like the league
And you got your own key, yeah
Let me drop you off in the P.O. hopin’ they see me
S in your VVs, only snake is GG
All it’s a long time since I’ve done seen you
In that dress, I wanna take you out that dress
I seen enough to be impressed

[Chorus]
Woah, you seem to amaze me
Woah, you seem to amaze me
You never ever tried to play me
You amazed me, you amazed me
You amazed me, you amazed me
You amazed me, you amazed me
You amazed me, you amazed me
You amazed me, never played me

[Verse 2]
What them niggas, what them niggas
You don’t give a what
Drank that Henny, smoke that reggie
Still ain’t give ’em none
You tell ’em, “Heaven” when they ask you where you from
Then seven seconds later, nigga, what you want?
Is you gon’ ride for me, baby? Uh
Those DMs go crazy, ooh
All the coupes are from Beijing, uh
I might swerve in your lane and… uh
You amaze me
Every time I come through, you amaze me
Put it down, cook real food
Whip it up, bake game fleek
That’s how a nigga done got thick
I’m grown, grown hearin’ that shit
On my own, I got rich

[Chorus]
Woah, you seem to amaze me
Woah, you seem to amaze me
You never ever tried to play me
You amazed me, you amazed me
You amazed me, you amazed me
You amazed me, you amazed me
You amazed me, you amazed me
You amazed me, never played me

[Bridge]
All the pretty girls comin’ out right now
All the pretty girls comin’ out right now
Right now, now, now, now, now
All the pretty girls comin’ out right now
All the pretty girls comin’ out right now
Right now, now, now, now, now
All the pretty girls comin’ out right now
Yeah, all the pretty girls comin’ out right now
Right now, now, now, now, now
All the pretty girls comin’ out right now
All the pretty girls comin’ out right now
Right now, now, now, now, now

[Verse 3]
Sippin’ on that blue Bombay
I bet you know how to walk perfect in those new J Spades
You off a perky and you sayin’ that you need your space
You wanna dance, but won’t give no play, no play, no play but to your bae
They say you up tight but you down
They got this whole thing twisted ’round
You don’t homie bop around
You know word gon’ get around
You know birds gon’ get around

[Chorus]
Woah, you seem to amaze me
Woah, you seem to amaze me
You never ever tried to play me
You amazed me, you amazed me
You amazed me, you amazed me
You amazed me, you amazed me
You amazed me, you amazed me
You amazed me, never played me

Tracy – 비가 올 때 쏟아진다 (I Would) lyrics

[Intro]
I thought I, I didn’t know anything
Like a ghost
When I was little, the sky was closer, so much closer, that’s why I like the rain, it’s like I can smell the sky coming

[Verse]
I run it up, don’t have no time to be tied down
She fuck me good in the bed, I can’t sleep now
Never went to school but my bitch got double D’s, yeah
My diamonds wetter than a drink
Lil nigga say “Yes, Sir!” to a king
Look inside my dresser, Balmain (Balmain)
Yeah, the only nigga in my city
Yeah, that got hoes in Beijing
Diamond cuts, I got attacked by a bear
My bitch bad, rub her feet, pull her hair
Yeah, when it get cold, I throw on that Moncler
Fuck a model, pass to my bro’s
Ask me how I feel, just know I’m lying if I say good
If I could trade with my cousin, I would
If I could trade with my brother, I would
I would

Kacey Musgraves – Slow Burn lyrics

[Verse 1]
Born in a hurry, always late
Haven’t been early since ’88
Texas is hot, I can be cold
Grandma cried when I pierced my nose
Good in a glass, good on green
Good when you’re putting your hands all over me

[Chorus]
I’m alright with a slow burn
Taking my time, let the world turn
I’m gonna do it my way, it’ll be alright
If we burn it down and it takes all night
It’s a slow burn, yeah

[Verse 2]
In Tennessee, the sun’s goin’ down
But in Beijing, they’re heading out to work
You know the bar down the street don’t close for an hour
We should take a walk and look at all the flowers

[Chorus]
‘Cause I’m alright with a slow burn
Taking my time, let the world turn
I’m gonna do it my way, it’ll be alright
If we burn it down and it takes all night
It’s a slow burn

[Bridge]
Whatever feels good

[Outro]
Old soul, waiting my turn
I know a few things, but I still got a lot to learn
So I’m alright with a slow burn, slow burn, slow burn
I’m alright with a slow burn

A$AP Ferg & DJ Premier – Our Streets (On TRL) (Live)

[Chorus: DJ Premier & A$AP Ferg]
Ferg, Ferg
Check it, check it, check it
Pull up, pull up, pull up
Yo what up, neph’, neph’?
(See this is Harlem, these our streets)
Turn the music back up
A$AP (Honorable C.N.O.T.E.)
Let’s go

[Verse 1: A$AP Ferg]
I got with Preemo, I’m just pressin’ the cheat code
We on a new level with the C-notes
I’m from where kids hustled on the block and rolled cee-lo
And niggas stay strapped like Girbauds
T-Nice with me week to week though
Life was different when they got him for that R.I.C.O
For a couple kilos
Coulda had ’em underground, he was livin’ life illegal
Now he gettin’ right and our pockets lookin’ chicho
Sippin’ cappuccino on a jet to Cannes
Couple models gettin’ lit, they the best in France
Got Leonardo dough, catch me if you can
We had to kill Beijing and next Japan, man
This beat hot, I could catch a tan
My demographic in L.A. all Mexican
I love my supporters, they keep the check in hand
So every time I get a chance, I’ma bless the fam
What up, what up?

[Chorus: DJ Premier & A$AP Ferg]
Check it, check it, check it
Pull up, pull up, pull up
Yo what up, neph’, neph’?
(See this is Harlem, these our streets)
Turn the music back up
A$AP (Honorable C.N.O.T.E.)
Check it, check it, check it
Pull up, pull up, pull up
Yo what up, neph’, neph’?
(See this is Harlem, these our streets)
Turn the music back up
A$AP (Honorable C.N.O.T.E.)

[Verse 2: A$AP Ferg]
Done created a dream world, slept with my dream girl
Brought mama that new house, diamonds and mean pearls
Done went to Africa, talked to the have-nots
Donated some uniforms, teach ’em how to have guap
Preemo put the soul in it, I make the track hot
And this thing forever got the game in a padlock
I just want somethin’ real, I’m tired of the ass shots
Don’t wanna go to the club, I’m tired of them trap spots
My generation’s stuck on stupid
Showin’ guns on the ‘Gram, but no one use it
Sometimes I feel like I’m about to lose it
Because the fake win when y’all know what the truth is
It’s me, the F-E-R to the fuckin’ G
My bars is Gang Starr, nobody can fuck with me
Rest in peace Guru, nobody can fuck with he
You rappers is coocoo, better wake up out your fuckin’ dreams

[Chorus: DJ Premier & A$AP Ferg]
Check it, check it, check it
Pull up, pull up, pull up
Yo what up, neph’, neph’?
(See this is Harlem, these our streets)
Turn the music back up
A$AP (Honorable C.N.O.T.E.)
Check it, check it, check it
Pull up, pull up, pull up
Yo what up, neph’, neph’?
(See this is Harlem, these our streets)
Turn the music back up
A$AP (Honorable C.N.O.T.E.)

[Outro: A$AP Ferg]
A$AP
A$AP (Honorable C.N.O.T.E.)
A$AP (Honorable C.N.O.T.E.)

DJ Premier – Our Streets (feat. A$AP Ferg)

[Chorus: DJ Premier & A$AP Ferg]
Ferg, Ferg
Check it, check it, check it
Pull up, pull up, pull up
Yo what up, neph’, neph’?
(See this is Harlem, these our streets)
Turn the music back up
A$AP
Let’s go

[Verse 1: A$AP Ferg]
I got with Primo, I’m just pressin’ the cheat code
We on a new level with the C-notes
I’m from where kids hustled on the block and rolled cee-lo
And niggas stay strapped like Girbauds
T-Nice with me week to week though
Life was different when they got him for that R.I.C.O
For a couple kilos
Coulda had ’em underground, he was livin’ life illegal
Now he gettin’ right and our pockets lookin’ chicho
Sippin’ cappuccino on a jet to Cannes
Couple models gettin’ lit, they the best in France
Got Leonardo dough, catch me if you can
We had to kill Beijing and next Japan, man
This beat hot, I could catch a tan
My demographic in L.A. all Mexican
I love my supporters, they keep the check in hand
So every time I get a chance, I’ma bless the fam
What up, what up?

[Chorus: DJ Premier & A$AP Ferg]
Check it, check it, check it
Pull up, pull up, pull up
Yo what up, neph’, neph’?
(See this is Harlem, these our streets)
Turn the music back up
A$AP
Check it, check it, check it
Pull up, pull up, pull up
Yo what up, neph’, neph’?
(See this is Harlem, these our streets)
Turn the music back up
A$AP

[Verse 2: A$AP Ferg]
Done created a dream world, slept with my dream girl
Brought mama that new house, diamonds and mean pearls
Done went to Africa, talked to the have-nots
Donated some uniforms, teach ’em how to have guap
Primo put the soul in it, I make the track hot
And this thing forever, got the game in a padlock
I just want somethin’ real, I’m tired of the ass shots
Don’t wanna go to the club, I’m tired of them trap spots
My generation’s stuck on stupid
Showin’ guns on the ‘Gram, but no one use it
Sometimes I feel like I’m about to lose it
Because the fake win when y’all know what the truth is
It’s me, the F-E-R to the fuckin’ G
My bars is Gang Starr, nobody can fuck with me
Rest in peace Guru, nobody can fuck with he
You rappers is coocoo, better wake up out your fuckin’ dream

[Chorus: DJ Premier & A$AP Ferg]
Check it, check it, check it
Pull up, pull up, pull up
Yo what up, neph’, neph’?
(See this is Harlem, these our streets)
Turn the music back up
A$AP
Check it, check it, check it
Pull up, pull up, pull up
Yo what up, neph’, neph’?
(See this is Harlem, these our streets)
Turn the music back up
A$AP

[Outro: A$AP Ferg]
A$AP
A$AP
A$AP