Category Archives: Medical

US General: Google’s Work in China Benefiting China’s Military

The United States’ top general said on Thursday that the Chinese military was benefiting from the work Alphabet Inc’s Google was doing in China, where the technology giant has long sought to have a bigger presence.

“The work that Google is doing in China is indirectly benefiting the Chinese military,” Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

“We watch with great concern when industry partners work in China knowing that there is that indirect benefit,” he said.

“Frankly, ‘indirect’ may be not a full characterization of the way it really is, it is more of a direct benefit to the Chinese military.”

Last year Google said it was no longer vying for a $10 billion cloud computing contract with the U.S. Defense Department, in part because the company’s new ethical guidelines do not align with the project.

In June, Google said it would not renew a contract to help the U.S. military analyze aerial drone imagery when it expires, as the company sought to defuse an internal uproar over the deal.

At the same time, Google said it has “no plans” to relaunch a search engine in China, though it is continuing to study the idea.

During the hearing, Republican Senator Josh Hawley sharply criticized the tech company, referring to it as “a supposedly American company.”

Technology companies have recently been a favorite target of many members of the U.S. Congress, who have criticized them over a wide range of issues such as privacy, work in China and allowing foreign meddling in U.S. elections.

Lawmakers and Google employees have raised concerns the company would comply with China’s internet censorship and surveillance policies if it re-enters the Asian nation’s search engine market.

Asked about Dunford’s comments, Google referred to previous statements.

Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai has previously said the company has invested in China for years and plans to continue to do so, but that the company also was continuing to work with the U.S. government on projects in health care, cybersecurity and other fields.

Source: Voice of America

US Warns China’s Detention of Uighurs to Counter Terrorism Will Backfire

A senior U.S. official has rejected China’s claim that the mass internment of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in China’s Xinjiang region is part of a counter-terrorism program and says it will backfire. The United States co-hosted an event on the sidelines of the U.N. Human Rights Council to put the spotlight on the dire situation of Xinjiang’s ethnic minorities.

The United Nations says China is arbitrarily detaining more than one million Uighurs and other ethnic Muslims in so-called re-education camps in Xinjiang Province. Human Rights activists say they are subjected to torture and brainwashing. Adrian Zenz, an independent researcher who focuses on China’s ethnic policy, says China is interning ethnic minorities, separating families and sending children to state-run orphanages to maintain ideological control over them.

All-in-all the Chinese State’s present attempt to eradicate independent and free expressions of distinct ethnic and religious identities in Xinjiang is nothing less than a systematic campaign of cultural genocide and should be treated as such, said Zenz.

China denies these charges. It says the de-radicalization of Uighurs in the camps is intended to counter terrorism and prevent violent extremism from gaining hold. U.S. Ambassador Kelley Currie says the conflation of ethnic and religious identity with terrorism and efforts to erase the identity of the Muslim groups is unjustifiable and outside any legal norms. She says it also is deeply counter-productive to China’s stated goal of preventing extremism.

By engaging in the wholesale repression of an ethnic and religious minority in this way, they are inviting further alienation, further isolation, further resentment among this community in a way that is not likely to lead to peaceful co-existence and the long-term stability of the region, said Currie.

Currie says the United States has been actively trying to engage Muslim majority countries to pressure China to change its repressive policies toward the Uighurs. She says Washington is disappointed by the lack of response from members of the OIC or Organization for Islamic Cooperation. She says the U.S. applauds Turkey’s recent statement publicly calling on China to close the re-education camps. Unfortunately, she says this comment was swiftly followed by retribution from China.

China has demanded Turkey withdraw what it calls false accusations. Relations between the two countries remain tense and observers fear this ongoing spat could negatively impact their political and economic alliance.

Source: Voice of America

US State Department Decries China’s ‘Remarkably Awful’ Treatment of Uyghurs

China’s treatment of its Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities puts it “in a league of its own when it comes to human rights violations,” top U.S. diplomat Mike Pompeo said Wednesday as the U.S. State Department issued its global survey of rights conditions.

U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo noted that the annual report highlighted abuses in Iran, South Sudan, Nicaragua and many other nations, including some U.S. allies.

But then there’s China, which is in a league of its own when it comes to human rights violations, he said.

In just 2018, China intensified its campaign of detaining Muslim minority groups at record levels. Today, more than 1 million Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and other Muslims are interned in reeducation camps designed to erase their religious and ethnic identities, added Pompeo.

A second U.S. official briefing reporters on the “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices,” which covers 2018, had even sharper words for China’s policies in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

“For me, you haven’t seen things like this since the 1930s,” said Michael Kozak, the head of the State Department’s human rights and democracy bureau, in an apparent reference to the policies of Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union.

“Rounding up, in some estimations … in the millions of people, putting them into camps, and torturing them, abusing them, and trying to basically erase their culture and their religion and so on from their DNA. It’s just remarkably awful.”

“It is one of the most serious human rights violations in the world today,” he said.

authorities in the XUAR have detained more than one million Uyghurs and other Muslims accused of harboring strong religious views and politically incorrect ideas in the camp network since April 2017, often for common religious practices, including praying and attending services.

Though Beijing initially denied the existence of re-education camps, Shohrat Zakir, chairman of the XUAR, told China’s official Xinhua news agency in October 2018 that the facilities are an effective tool to protect the country from terrorism and provide vocational training for Uyghurs.

‘A lot of international scrutiny’

Zakir said in Beijing on Tuesday that China was running boarding schools, not concentration camps, in the country’s far western region

Reporting by RFA’s Uyghur Service and other media organizations, however, has shown that those in the camps are detained against their will and subjected to political indoctrination, routinely face rough treatment at the hands of their overseers.

Kozak noted the denials and misrepresentations from Beijing, adding: “At least we’re starting to make them realize there is a lot of international scrutiny on this,” he said.

The annual report said official repression of the freedoms of speech, religion, movement, association, and assembly of Tibetans in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and other Tibetan areas and of Uighurs and other ethnic and religious minorities in Xinjiang worsened and was more severe than in other areas of the country.

Despite government denials that China holds any political prisoners, authorities continued to imprison citizens for reasons related to politics and religion.

Human rights organizations estimated tens of thousands of political prisoners remained incarcerated, most in prisons and some in administrative detention, it said.

China had no immediate response to the annual report. Beijing usually produces its own human rights report on the United States a day after the State Department document comes out.

The report’s section on Myanmar said press freedom had declined and self-censorship had increased in the wake of the jailing of Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.

The two men were jailed for seven years after being convicted in September of breaking a colonial-era official secrets law while investigating the killing of 10 Muslim men and boys by security forces and Buddhist civilians in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.

Government blocks aid to Rohingya

The report noted fallout from the previous year’s violence against Muslim Rohingya in Rakhine.

Independent investigations undertaken during the year found evidence that corroborated the 2017 ethnic cleansing of Rohingya in Rakhine State and further detailed the military’s killing, rape, and torture of unarmed villagers during a campaign of violence that displaced more than 700,000 Rohingya to neighboring Bangladesh, it said.

Some evidence suggested preparatory actions on the part of security forces and other actors prior to the start of violence, said the report, which said that an additional 13,764 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh between January and September.

The government prevented assistance from reaching displaced Rohingya and other vulnerable populations during the year by using access restrictions on the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies, it said.

The military also committed human rights abuses in continuing conflicts in Kachin and Shan States, the report added.

The report said that vast majority of abuses by government soldiers went unpunished, but said non-state groups committed killings, unlawful use of child soldiers, forced labor of adults and children, and failure to protect civilians in conflict zones that rarely resulted in investigations or prosecutions.

In Vietnam’s one-party communist state, police and plainclothes authorities routinely mistreated, harassed, and assaulted activists and those involved in demonstrating against the government, the report said.

In Ho Chi Minh City last June, police beat and detained some 180 individuals at a stadium related to anti-SEZ and cybersecurity law demonstrations, said the report.

There were also numerous reports of police mistreatment and assaults against individuals who were not activists or involved in politics, it said.

As of November at least 11 deaths of persons in custody were reported; many were presumed to have been the result of abuse, added the report.

Cambodia’s ‘pervasive culture of impunity’

In Cambodia, which held an election last year after banning the only significant opposition party and arresting its leader for treason, security forcesoften threatened force against those who opposed Prime Minister Hun Sen and were generally perceived as an armed wing of the ruling CPP (Cambodia People’s Party), it said.

The government did not provide evidence of having prosecuted any officials for abuses, including corruption. A pervasive culture of impunity continued, said the report.

In North Korea, it said, the total number of political prisoners remained unknown, but a South Korean think tank white paper reported the state detained between 80,000 and 120,000 in the kwanliso prison camps.

NGOs and media reported political prisoners were subject to harsher punishments and fewer protections than other prisoners and detainees. The government considered critics of the regime to be political criminals, it said.

The one-party communist government of Laos neither prosecuted nor punished officials who committed abuses, and police and security forces committed human rights abuses with impunity, said the report.

There was no progress in the 2012 abduction of Sombath Somphone, a prominent civil society leader and retired founder of a nonprofit training center, it said, referring to the country’s most prominent disappeared figure.

Sombath disappeared on the evening of Dec. 15, 2012, after his jeep was stopped at a police checkpoint outside the capital Vientiane, with video footage showing him later being forced into a white truck and taken away.

Though police promised to investigate, Lao authorities soon backtracked, saying they could not confirm the identity of a man shown in the video driving off in Sombath’s jeep, and refusing offers of outside expert help to analyze the footage.

Before his abduction, Sombath had challenged massive land deals negotiated by the government that had left thousands of rural Lao villagers homeless with little paid in compensation.

Six years after Sombath’s abduction, the State Department said, the government denied knowledge of his whereabouts and claimed its investigation was continuing.

Copyright (copyright) 1998-2016, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036

US State Department Decries China’s ‘Remarkably Awful’ Treatment of Uyghurs

China’s treatment of its Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities puts it “in a league of its own when it comes to human rights violations,” top U.S. diplomat Mike Pompeo said Wednesday as the U.S. State Department issued its global survey of rights conditions.

U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo noted that the annual report highlighted abuses in Iran, South Sudan, Nicaragua and many other nations, including some U.S. allies.

But then there’s China, which is in a league of its own when it comes to human rights violations, he said.

In just 2018, China intensified its campaign of detaining Muslim minority groups at record levels. Today, more than 1 million Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and other Muslims are interned in reeducation camps designed to erase their religious and ethnic identities, added Pompeo.

A second U.S. official briefing reporters on the “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices,” which covers 2018, had even sharper words for China’s policies in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

“For me, you haven’t seen things like this since the 1930s,” said Michael Kozak, the head of the State Department’s human rights and democracy bureau, in an apparent reference to the policies of Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union.

“Rounding up, in some estimations … in the millions of people, putting them into camps, and torturing them, abusing them, and trying to basically erase their culture and their religion and so on from their DNA. It’s just remarkably awful.”

“It is one of the most serious human rights violations in the world today,” he said.

authorities in the XUAR have detained more than one million Uyghurs and other Muslims accused of harboring strong religious views and politically incorrect ideas in the camp network since April 2017, often for common religious practices, including praying and attending services.

Though Beijing initially denied the existence of re-education camps, Shohrat Zakir, chairman of the XUAR, told China’s official Xinhua news agency in October 2018 that the facilities are an effective tool to protect the country from terrorism and provide vocational training for Uyghurs.

‘A lot of international scrutiny’

Zakir said in Beijing on Tuesday that China was running boarding schools, not concentration camps, in the country’s far western region

Reporting by RFA’s Uyghur Service and other media organizations, however, has shown that those in the camps are detained against their will and subjected to political indoctrination, routinely face rough treatment at the hands of their overseers.

Kozak noted the denials and misrepresentations from Beijing, adding: “At least we’re starting to make them realize there is a lot of international scrutiny on this,” he said.

The annual report said official repression of the freedoms of speech, religion, movement, association, and assembly of Tibetans in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and other Tibetan areas and of Uighurs and other ethnic and religious minorities in Xinjiang worsened and was more severe than in other areas of the country.

Despite government denials that China holds any political prisoners, authorities continued to imprison citizens for reasons related to politics and religion.

Human rights organizations estimated tens of thousands of political prisoners remained incarcerated, most in prisons and some in administrative detention, it said.

China had no immediate response to the annual report. Beijing usually produces its own human rights report on the United States a day after the State Department document comes out.

The report’s section on Myanmar said press freedom had declined and self-censorship had increased in the wake of the jailing of Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.

The two men were jailed for seven years after being convicted in September of breaking a colonial-era official secrets law while investigating the killing of 10 Muslim men and boys by security forces and Buddhist civilians in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.

Government blocks aid to Rohingya

The report noted fallout from the previous year’s violence against Muslim Rohingya in Rakhine.

Independent investigations undertaken during the year found evidence that corroborated the 2017 ethnic cleansing of Rohingya in Rakhine State and further detailed the military’s killing, rape, and torture of unarmed villagers during a campaign of violence that displaced more than 700,000 Rohingya to neighboring Bangladesh, it said.

Some evidence suggested preparatory actions on the part of security forces and other actors prior to the start of violence, said the report, which said that an additional 13,764 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh between January and September.

The government prevented assistance from reaching displaced Rohingya and other vulnerable populations during the year by using access restrictions on the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies, it said.

The military also committed human rights abuses in continuing conflicts in Kachin and Shan States, the report added.

The report said that vast majority of abuses by government soldiers went unpunished, but said non-state groups committed killings, unlawful use of child soldiers, forced labor of adults and children, and failure to protect civilians in conflict zones that rarely resulted in investigations or prosecutions.

In Vietnam’s one-party communist state, police and plainclothes authorities routinely mistreated, harassed, and assaulted activists and those involved in demonstrating against the government, the report said.

In Ho Chi Minh City last June, police beat and detained some 180 individuals at a stadium related to anti-SEZ and cybersecurity law demonstrations, said the report.

There were also numerous reports of police mistreatment and assaults against individuals who were not activists or involved in politics, it said.

As of November at least 11 deaths of persons in custody were reported; many were presumed to have been the result of abuse, added the report.

Cambodia’s ‘pervasive culture of impunity’

In Cambodia, which held an election last year after banning the only significant opposition party and arresting its leader for treason, security forcesoften threatened force against those who opposed Prime Minister Hun Sen and were generally perceived as an armed wing of the ruling CPP (Cambodia People’s Party), it said.

The government did not provide evidence of having prosecuted any officials for abuses, including corruption. A pervasive culture of impunity continued, said the report.

In North Korea, it said, the total number of political prisoners remained unknown, but a South Korean think tank white paper reported the state detained between 80,000 and 120,000 in the kwanliso prison camps.

NGOs and media reported political prisoners were subject to harsher punishments and fewer protections than other prisoners and detainees. The government considered critics of the regime to be political criminals, it said.

The one-party communist government of Laos neither prosecuted nor punished officials who committed abuses, and police and security forces committed human rights abuses with impunity, said the report.

There was no progress in the 2012 abduction of Sombath Somphone, a prominent civil society leader and retired founder of a nonprofit training center, it said, referring to the country’s most prominent disappeared figure.

Sombath disappeared on the evening of Dec. 15, 2012, after his jeep was stopped at a police checkpoint outside the capital Vientiane, with video footage showing him later being forced into a white truck and taken away.

Though police promised to investigate, Lao authorities soon backtracked, saying they could not confirm the identity of a man shown in the video driving off in Sombath’s jeep, and refusing offers of outside expert help to analyze the footage.

Before his abduction, Sombath had challenged massive land deals negotiated by the government that had left thousands of rural Lao villagers homeless with little paid in compensation.

Six years after Sombath’s abduction, the State Department said, the government denied knowledge of his whereabouts and claimed its investigation was continuing.

Copyright (copyright) 1998-2016, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036

Malaysia Deports 7 for Alleged Ties to Terrorist Group

KUALA LUMPUR Malaysian police said Sunday that six Egyptians and a Tunisian man believed to be linked to an African-based terror group have been detained and deported.

One of the Egyptians and the Tunisian national are suspected members of Ansar Al-Sharia Al-Tunisia, which is based in North Africa and listed as a terrorist group by the United Nations, national police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun said in a statement.

Fuzi said the two were detained in 2016 for trying to illegally enter an African country. He said they used fake passports to enter Malaysia in October last year and were planning to sneak into a third country to launch attacks.

Five other Egyptians and two Malaysians were detained last month for providing food, shelter, air tickets and employment for the two suspected terrorists, Fuzi said.

He said authorities are concerned with the entry of foreign terrorist fighters as investigations showed they may use Malaysia as a “safe haven” or a logistics hub to launch attacks in other countries.

The six Egyptians and the Tunisian were reported March 5 and blacklisted from entering Malaysia, Fuzi said.

Source: Voice of America