Posts Tagged ‘torture’

China will retaliate ‘in proportion’ to any U.S. sanction over Muslim Uighurs, ambassador says

November 28, 2018

China will retaliate “in proportion” if the United States sanctions its top official in the restive region of Xinjiang over alleged human rights abuses, China’s ambassador to the United States said on Tuesday, adding that Beijing’s policies in the region are to “re-educate” terrorists.

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Chinese paramilitary police on patrol in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang. Photograph: Goh Chai Hin/AFP/Getty Images

Chinese Ambassador to Washington Cui Tiankai said in an interview that China’s efforts to combat international terrorism are held to a double standard, comparing Chinese actions in Xinjiang to U.S. troops battling the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

“Can you imagine (if) some American officials in charge of the fight against ISIS would be sanctioned?” Cui said, adding “if such actions are taken, we have to retaliate.”

Cui did not elaborate on specific actions China might take.

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Cui Tiankai

Beijing has faced an outcry from activists, academics, foreign governments and U.N. rights experts over mass detentions and strict surveillance of the mostly Muslim Uighur minority and other Muslim groups in Xinjiang.

In August, a United Nations human rights panel said it had received many credible reports that a million or more Uighurs in China are being held in what resembles a “massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy.”

U.S. officials have said the Trump administration is considering sanctions targeting companies and officials linked to China’s crackdown on minority Muslims, including Xinjiang Party Secretary Chen Quanguo, who, as a member of the powerful politburo, is in the upper echelons of China’s leadership.

Cui said that while the United States was using missiles and drones to kill terrorists, “we are trying to re-educate most of them, trying to turn them into normal persons (who) can go back to normal life,” Cui said.

“We’ll see what will happen. We will do everything in proportion,” he said, responding to a question on how China would retaliate to possible U.S. sanctions on Chen.

Cui’s comments are the strongest response yet to U.S. threats on the issue.

Any such U.S. sanctions decision against so senior an official as Chen would be a rare move on human rights grounds by the Trump administration, which is engaged in a trade war with China while also seeking Beijing’s help to resolve a standoff over North Korea’s nuclear weapons.

U.S. sanctions could be imposed under the Global Magnitsky Act, a federal law that allows the U.S. government to target human rights violators around the world with freezes on any U.S. assets, U.S. travel bans, and prohibitions on Americans doing business with them, U.S. officials have said.

Chinese authorities routinely deny any ethnic or religious repression in Xinjiang. They say strict security measures — likened by critics to near martial law conditions, with police checkpoints, the detention centers, and mass DNA collection — are needed to combat the influence of extremist groups.

After initial blanket denials of the detention facilities, officials have said that some citizens guilty of “minor offenses” were sent to vocational centers to improve employment opportunities.

At a briefing in Washington on Monday, a Uighur woman, Mihrigul Tursun, 29, told reporters she had experienced physical and psychological torture, including electrocution while strapped to a chair, during 10 months in Xinjiang detention centers.

Tursun, who wept and shook as a translator read her prepared statement, said her three children were taken from her while she was in detention and that her four-month-old son had died without explanation in government custody.

Rejecting Chinese government claims that the detention facilities serve vocational purposes, she said many of the dozens of other women in her cell were “well-educated professionals, such as teachers and doctors.”

Tursun said she witnessed nine women die during one three-month period she spent in detention, including from sickness after being denied medical treatment.

Reuters could not independently verify her account, though numerous former detainees have begun to share similar first-hand details with media. China’s embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tursun’s statement.

Independent assessments of the conditions in Xinjiang are nearly impossible given restrictions on journalists from openly reporting from the region.

U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet has called on China to allow monitors in Xinjiang, though Beijing has responded by telling her to respect China’s sovereignty.




HRW asks Argentina to probe Saudi Crown Prince over Yemen, Khashoggi

November 27, 2018

Human Rights Watch has asked Argentina to use a war crimes clause in its constitution to investigate the role of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in possible crimes against humanity in Yemen and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Argentina’s constitution recognizes universal jurisdiction for war crimes and torture, meaning judicial authorities can investigate and prosecute those crimes no matter where they were committed.

Human Rights Watch said its submission was sent to federal judge Ariel Lijo. Neither Lijo’s office nor the office of Argentina’s public prosecutor responded to requests for comment.

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HRW’s Middle East and North Africa director Sarah Leah Whitson said the international rights group took the case to Argentina because Prince Mohammed, also known as MbS, will attend the opening of the G20 summit this week in Buenos Aires.

“We submitted this info to Argentine prosecutors with the hopes they will investigate MbS’s complicity and responsibility for possible war crimes in Yemen, as well as the torture of civilians, including Jamal Khashoggi,” Whitson told Reuters.

Argentine media cited judicial sources as saying it was extremely unlikely that the authorities would take up the case against the crown prince, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler.

The killing of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and a critic of the crown prince, at Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul six weeks ago has strained Saudi Arabia’s ties with the West and battered Prince Mohammed’s image abroad.

Western nations are also calling for an end to the Saudi-led military campaign in neighboring Yemen, which was launched by Prince Mohammed, as a humanitarian crisis there worsens.

Cases taking advantage of universal jurisdiction have had success in the past, most notably in 1998 when Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon was able to order the arrest in London of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Editing by Daniel Flynn and Sonya Hepinstall


The US is making a huge error in backing this spoiled Saudi princeling

November 26, 2018

When Mohammed bin Salman came to power in 2017, there was disquiet in Riyadh. Many prominent Saudis, including other royals, feared that the petulant princeling might destabilize the region, pursuing his vendetta against the emir of neighboring Qatar, aggravating the tension in Yemen, possibly even provoking a war with Iran. They also feared, with reason as it turned out, that he would overturn what few checks and balances existed in his oil-rich realm and establish a personal autocracy.

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Word of their anxieties reached the crown prince’s ear, and he duly invited a number of leading Saudis to the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh. After they arrived, they were detained and tortured badly enough that a mobile hospital had to be brought in. Some of them were forced to hand over their wealth, a story disgracefully reported in some credulous Western media as an anti-corruption drive. Crown Prince Mohammed had bought up half the public relations agencies in London and D.C. and, by heaven, they earned their fees. Western diplomats, however, knew perfectly well what kind of monster they were dealing with.

Yet the crown prince has now received the unequivocal backing of President Trump. This goes well beyond the general policy of maintaining cordial relations with the desert despots, a policy pursued by every president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. This time, the support is personal, designed to shore him up domestically.

By Dan Hannan
Washington Examiner

Let’s review the record during Crown Prince Mohammed’s 18 months in power. At home, there has been an unprecedented crackdown. Among those currently in prison are Salman al-Ouda, a religious scholar who now faces the death penalty after refusing to tweet in support of the Qatar blockade; Essam al-Zamil, an economist charged with treason after criticizing the crown prince’s economic policies; and blogger Raif Badawi, currently 50 lashes into his thousand-lash sentence.

Crown Prince Mohammed, or rather the British PR men in rumpled linen suits at his shoulder, make much of the fact that he has allowed women to drive, a well-chosen symbolic change. But women’s rights activists, including many of those who originally campaigned for the change in the law, remain in custody.

On the world stage, Saudi Arabia is becoming a rogue state. The war in Yemen is now the worst human rights catastrophe on the planet. The little kingdom of Qatar has been subjected to a military siege for daring to host an independent TV station. A serving head of government, Lebanon’s Saad Hariri, has been detained against his will. In a violation of all diplomatic convention, the Saudi consulate in Istanbul was used to kill and dismember the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Almost all observers, including the CIA, say that that killing was authorized by the crown prince himself. But in a grisly act of betrayal, the blame has been shuffled off onto the men who carried out those orders, who now face the headsman’s sword. So much for loyalty to subordinates.

Why is Donald Trump propping up this spoiled, peevish, vindictive creature? Did Crown Prince Mohammed and Jared Kushner, as is alleged, come to some understanding that blended business with geopolitics? Or is it simply President Trump’s constant fascination with strongmen, from Russia’s Vladimir Putin to Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan?

In the absence of evidence to the contrary, let’s consider the president’s own justification. He says that he is backing the desert despot for two reasons. First, that the crown prince is anti-Iranian; and second that “after my heavily negotiated trip to Saudi Arabia last year, the kingdom agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States.”

The first assertion is true, but irrelevant. American policy has been to contain and squeeze the ayatollahs. It may quietly have facilitated targeted strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities and technicians. But it is hard to see how inflaming the war in Yemen, and so increasing Sunni-Shia tensions in the region, complements that policy. As for the “American jobs” argument, it is based on a profound misunderstanding of money and power.

For one thing, America’s economy and population are roughly ten times the size of Saudi Arabia’s. You can see why Saudis might fawn and fret and fuss about that relationship, but not why Americans should. For another, trade is not an act of kindness. By definition, it is about mutual advantage. If another country has to be coaxed and flattered into buying things from you, it’s not trade, but corporatism.

I worry that the United States is making an epochal error here. Once again, it has bet on a strongman and then continued to back its bet as that strongman tightens his grip. We saw the same pattern with Gamal Abdel Nasser, with the shah, with Saddam Hussein. This never ends well, neither for the country concerned nor for America.

Saudi Arabia rejects Amnesty, HRW report as ‘baseless’

November 24, 2018

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Saudi Arabia has rejected as “baseless” recent reports published by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch alleging that detainees in the Kingdom were exposed to torture.

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“These recent reports by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are baseless,” the Ministry of Media confirmed in a statement on its official Twitter account, in response to a report published on Nov. 20.

The ministry said it categorically denies the allegations that are quoted from unknown “statements” or “uninformed sources” and are “simply fabricated and incorrect.”

Arab News

See also:

Saudi Arabia: Detained Women Reported Tortured

Trump asked to determine Saudi prince’s ‘role’ in Khashoggi murder — US Senate Foreign Relations Committee

November 21, 2018

US President Donald Trump has been asked to ascertain whether Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman played a role in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

Republican and Democratic leaders of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday sent a letter demanding a second investigation.

Mr Trump earlier defended US ties with Saudi Arabia despite international condemnation over the incident.

US President Donald Trump (R) meets with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office of the White House on March 20, 2018 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN

US President Donald Trump (R) meets with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office of the White House on March 20, 2018 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN

Khashoggi was killed on 2 October inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mr Trump acknowledged that the crown prince “could very well” have known about Khashoggi’s brutal murder, adding: “Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”

He later stated that the CIA had not made a “100%” determination on the killing.

Following the president’s comments, Republican Senator Bob Corker and Democrat Bob Menendez issued a statement on behalf of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

In it they called on Mr Trump to focus a second investigation specifically on the crown prince so as to “determine whether a foreign person is responsible for an extrajudicial killing, torture or other gross violation” of human rights.

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The request, issued under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, requires a response within 120 days.

Saudi Arabia has blamed Khashoggi’s death on rogue agents but denied claims that the crown prince had knowledge of the operation.

US media have reported that the CIA believes Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder.

In an interview on Sunday, Mr Trump told Fox News that he had refused to listen to a recording of Khashoggi’s murder provided by Turkey, calling it “a suffering tape”.

A dark shadow for years to come

By the BBC’s chief international correspondent, Lyse Doucet, in Riyadh

For Saudis, and especially Saudi leaders, there will be a sigh of relief. But, it’s also what they expected, and what they’ve always said about President Trump – he will be a true friend of the Kingdom.

Both sides want to draw a line under this major crisis – and global outcry. But as Mr Trump acknowledged, and Saudis know, it won’t go away. Not for many in the US Congress, as well as for many others, including countries who will continue to call for greater clarity.

Many Saudis say they don’t believe their country’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, would have ordered such a despicable act. Many, who’d long been hoping to see their country move forward, have been shaken by this shocking murder, and regret it will cast a dark shadow for many years to come.

In the words of one prominent Saudi: “It has brought Saudi Arabia 10 steps back.”

Meanwhile, Lindsey Graham, a senator from Mr Trump’s Republican Party, has predicted strong bipartisan support in Congress for sanctions against Saudi Arabia “including appropriate members of the royal family”.

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What does Trump’s statement say?

“The world is a very dangerous place!”, Mr Trump states, before holding up Saudi Arabia as an ally of the US against Iran.

The kingdom spent “billions of dollars in leading the fight against Radical Islamic Terrorism” whereas Iran has “killed many Americans and other innocent people throughout the Middle East”, it says.

Mike PompeoImage copyrightEPA
Image captionMike Pompeo backed Mr Trump, saying “it’s a mean, nasty world out there”

The statement also stresses Saudi investment pledges and arms purchases. “If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries,” it adds.

While admitting the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was “terrible”, Mr Trump wrote that “we may never know all of the facts” about his death.

“The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region.”

Mr Trump later said he would meet Mohammed bin Salman at a G20 meeting in Argentina next week if the crown prince attended.

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The essence of America First

By Anthony Zurcher, BBC senior North America reporter, Washington

Donald Trump is a different kind of president, and nowhere is that more clear than in his foreign policy, exclamation points and all. His release on the death of Jamal Khashoggi is remarkable for many reasons, and not just its blunt language.

The president quickly tries to change the subject to Iran. He dismisses reports that Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder with a maybe-he-did, maybe-he-didn’t shrug. He cites the economic impact of $450bn in investment and arms sales to the Saudis, although much of that is little more than paper promises.

Perhaps most jarring is his casual observation that the Saudis viewed Khashoggi – a permanent US resident – as an “enemy of the state” with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Mr Trump has distilled his “America First” worldview down to its very essence. Morality and global leadership take a back seat to perceived US economic and military security.

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How will the statement play out internationally?

What the take-away will be in the Middle East and beyond is a serious issue, says BBC diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus.

US policy in the region is so closely aligned with that of two key individuals – Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia and PM Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel – that it is increasingly hard to see how the US can play a role as an independent arbiter, our correspondent says.

Mr Trump’s narrow, interests-based approach will further dismay Washington’s allies in the West, he argues, reinforcing those in Moscow and Beijing who are already applying a “Russia First” and a “China First” approach in international affairs.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted his disgust at the Trump statement, calling it disgraceful.

BBC News
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Rights group sues Abu Dhabi Crown Prince in France over Yemen

November 21, 2018

A rights group filed a lawsuit against Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan during his visit to France on Wednesday, accusing him of war crimes, complicity in torture and inhumane treatment in Yemen, a lawyer for the group said.

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Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan

The complaint by the International Alliance for the Defence of Rights and Freedoms (AIDL) said Prince Mohammed, who is Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, is responsible for attacks that hit civilians.

“It’s in this capacity that he has ordered bombings on Yemeni territory,” said complaint filed on behalf of the AIDL, which is based in France.

There was no immediate response from the Crown Prince’s court or the UAE government media office to an emailed request for comment.

Diplomatic efforts to halt the war in Yemen have proved unsuccessful and attempts by rights group’s to hold the war’s protagonists to account have gained little international traction so far.

The complaint, filed in a Paris court, comes as pressure grows on French President Emmanuel Macron to curb arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which head a coalition fighting the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels who control most of northern Yemen and the capital Sanaa.

France also has a military base in Abu Dhabi.

A number of Yemenis have joined the legal action, AIDL lawyer Joseph Breham said.

Prince Mohammed, a close ally of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is due to have lunch with Macron on Wednesday.

French prosecutors are already studying a similar complaint filed in April against the Saudi crown prince, starting a legal process likely to last years.

The complaint against Abu Dhabi’s crown prince cites a report by U.N. experts that said coalition attacks may have constituted war crimes and that torture was carried out in two centers controlled by Emirati forces.

The complaint makes reference to the bombing of a building in Sanaa in October, 2016, where a wake was taking place for the father of the Houthi administration’s interior minister.

The Yemen war has killed more than 10,000 people and forced from their homes more than 3 million – more than 10 percent of the population.

Documents from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Oxfam on arbitrary detentions and the use of illegal cluster bombs are also referenced in the complaint.

The lawyers said French courts were competent to handle the case in line with the United Nations convention against torture.

Reporting by Emmanuel Jarry in Paris; additional reporting by Alexander Cornwell in Dubai; Writing by John Irish; Editing by Richard Lough and Matthew Mpoke Bigg


Saudi Arabia Accused of Torturing Jailed Women’s-Rights Activists

November 21, 2018

A new report from the Wall Street Journal details evidence that the Saudi Arabian security officers have tortured at least eight of 18 women’s rights-activists in captivity this year. The torture and detention of the activists is reportedly a part of an effort to put an end to criticism of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

According to WSJ, the torture reportedly includes lashings and electric shock. Additional reports from human rights organizations outlined further details of alleged torture.

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Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Human Rights Watch report on the torture allegations also detailed accounts of forced hugging and kissing. The women who endured the torture reportedly showed physical signs including “difficulty walking, uncontrolled shaking of the hands, and red marks and scratches on their faces and necks.” A statement from Amnesty International stated that the abused included that “one of the activists was made to hang from the ceiling,” and that others were “reportedly subjected to sexual harassment, by interrogators wearing face masks.” According to both reports, one woman who suffered the abuse repeatedly attempted to commit suicide.

Some of the women who were allegedly abused include activists who were prominent in the campaign for women to have the right to drive in the country, which was officially granted on June 4 of this year. Loujain al-Hathloul, Aziza al-Yousef, Eman al-Nafjan, Nouf Abdelaziz, Mayaa al-Zahrani, Samar Badawi, Nassima al-Saada, and Hatoon al-Fassi are all being detained without being charged.

The report comes as Prince Mohammed and Saudi Arabian government face international backlash over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey. The Saudi Arabian government denied the allegations in a statement to WSJ: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s judiciary system does not condone, promote, or allow the use of torture.”

The same afternoon that the report detailing the alleged torture was published, President Donald Trump restated the United States’ committed relationship to the Kingdom in an official White House statement. “The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country,” the statement read. “It is our paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world!”

Read the Wall Street Journal report:

Saudi Arabia Accused of Torturing Women’s-Rights Activists in Widening Crackdown on Dissent

China’s Social Credit System is Nothing To Worry About

November 17, 2018

China’s sweeping, data-driven “social credit” initiative is sounding alarms. In a speech on Oct. 4, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence described it as “an Orwellian system premised on controlling virtually every facet of human life.” But there’s a small problem. The system doesn’t actually exist—at least as it’s generally portrayed.

It’s not surprising that myths about the system are spreading, given the shrinking space in China for civil society, rights lawyering, speech, investigative journalism, and religious belief; its increasingly ubiquitous, invasive surveillance capability; and the Chinese Communist Party’s push to apply big data and artificial intelligence in governance. China’s party-state is collecting a vast amount of information on its citizens, and its social credit system and other developments internally and overseas raise many serious concerns. But contrary to the mainstream media narrative on this, Chinese authorities are not assigning a single score that will determine every aspect of every citizen’s life—at least not yet.

Foreign Policy
AI (Artificial Inteligence) security cameras using facial recognition technology are displayed at the 14th China International Exhibition on Public Safety and Security at the China International Exhibition Center in Beijing on October 24, 2018. (NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s true that, building on earlier initiatives, China’s State Council published a road map in 2014 to establish a far-reaching “social credit” system by 2020. The concept of social credit (shehui xinyong) is not defined in the increasing array of national documents governing the system, but its essence is compliance with legally prescribed social and economic obligations and performing contractual commitments. Composed of a patchwork of diverse information collection and publicity systems established by various state authorities at different levels of government, the system’s main goal is to improve governance and market order in a country still beset by rampant fraud and counterfeiting.

Under the system, government agencies compile and share across departments, regions, and sectors, and with the public, data on compliance with specified industry or sectoral laws, regulations, and agreements by individuals, companies, social organizationsgovernment departments, and the judiciary. Serious offenders may be placed on blacklists published on an integrated national platform called Credit China and subjected to a range of government-imposed inconveniences and exclusions. These are often enforced by multiple agencies pursuant to joint punishment agreements covering such sectors as taxation, the environment, transportation, e-commerce, food safety, and foreign economic cooperation, as well as failing to carry out court judgments.

These punishments are intended to incentivize legal and regulatory compliance under the often-repeated slogan of “whoever violates the rules somewhere shall be restricted everywhere.” Conversely, “red lists” of the trustworthy are also published and accessed nationally through Credit China.

The scope, scale, diversity, and language of the evolving system have caused a lot of confusion, particularly with respect to the existence of a single social credit scoreThere is no such thing as a national “social credit score.”

There is no such thing as a national “social credit score.”

A few dozen towns and cities in China, as well as private companies running loyalty-type programs for their customers, do currently compute scores, primarily to determine rewards or access to various programs. That was the source of at least some of the confusion. Alibaba’s Sesame Credit program, for instance, which gives rewards on Alibaba’s platforms and easier access to credit through a linked company, was often cited as a precursor of a planned government program, despite being a private enterprise.

The government does assign universal social credit codes to companies and organizations, which they use as an ID number for registration, tax payments, and other activities, while all individuals have a national ID number. The existing social credit blacklists use these numbers, as do almost all activities in China. But these codes are not scores or rankings. Enterprises and professionals in various sectors may be graded or ranked, sometimes by industry associations, for specific regulatory purposes like restaurant sanitation. However, the social credit system does not itself produce scores, grades, or assessments of “good” or “bad” social credit. Instead, individuals or companies are blacklisted for specific, relatively serious offenses like fraud and excessive pollution that would generally be offenses anywhere. To be sure, China does regulate speech, association, and other civil rights in ways that many disagree with, and the use of the social credit system to further curtail such rights deserves monitoring.

China’s credit reporting system, whose financial reports comprise a core component of what is considered “social credit,” may also have contributed to the  myth. The Chinese term for credit reporting (xinyong zhengxin) is often translated as “credit scoring.” However, the primary financial credit reporting system for companies and individuals overseen by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), China’s central bank, does not provide credit scores or assessments with its standard reports and does not mention “scoring” in its definition of credit reporting. The PBOC’s Credit Reference Center, like licensed private credit reporting agencies, does offer financial credit scores (xinyong pingfen).

Widely reported private credit scoring programs launched not by credit reporting agencies but by some payment platforms such as Alibaba’s, which consider e-commerce and social media interactions as well as financial histories to determine customer scores, likely also contributed to the misconception of a social credit score. The PBOC, looking to expand its consumer credit coverage by sourcing data from online lenders and other nontraditional sources, in 2015 authorized eight companies—some of which, including Sesame Credit, ran customer scoring programs—to seek credit reporting agency licenses. None of those companies qualified.

However, this year the PBOC did license a national agency called Baihang Credit (Baihang Zhengxin), with those eight companies as shareholders, to provide credit reporting services to clients and contribute data from online microlenders and peer-to-peer lending platforms to the PBOC for compiling more accurate consumer credit histories. Baihang may offer credit scoring products, but those scores, as opposed to the data on which they are based, are not part of the official social credit system yet.






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“Maybe I did a better job because I’m good with the Twitter”

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Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter


Young people

The study found widespread apprehension about the future. Seeking intimacy? Or isolation?

Pakistan PM orders probe after policeman found dead in Afghanistan

November 15, 2018

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday ordered an inquiry into the death of a senior police officer who disappeared from Islamabad last month and whose body was found in Afghanistan.

The body of Tahir Dawar, a superintendent of police in the northwestern city of Peshawar, was recovered on Tuesday in the Afghan province of Nangarhar, nearly three weeks after he went missing.

SP Tahir Khan Dawar. — Photo courtesy Facebook
SP Tahir Khan Dawar. — Photo courtesy Facebook

Khan said he had ordered authorities to carry out “an inquiry immediately”.

Pakistan’s foreign office said it had twice summoned the Afghan Charge d’Affaires to “seek clarity”. Afghan officials were not immediately available for comment.

“His abduction, move to (Afghanistan), murder and follow up behavior of (Afghan) authorities raise questions which indicate involvement or resources more than a terrorist organization,” military spokesman Major General Asif Ghrafoor said on Twitter.

It was not immediately clear how he knew Dawar had been adducted and murdered.

The governor’s office in Nangarhar said it had delivered the body to tribal elders near the Pakistani border.

Rights activists have questioned how Dawar, who was visiting family in Islamabad from Peshawar on Oct. 26, came to be in Afghanistan.

“The police cannot tell us anything and the entire state is silent about the investigation,” parliamentarian Mohsin Dawar (no relation) told Reuters.

Editing by Nick Macfie



Pakistan Says Afghanistan Still Holding Body of Kidnapped, Tortured Pak Police Officer

November 14, 2018
Peshawar police still wait to receive from Afghanistan the tortured body of a police officer who was kidnapped in Islamabad last month

November 14, 2018
SP Tahir Khan Dawar. — Photo courtesy Facebook
SP Tahir Khan Dawar. — Photo courtesy Facebook

PESHAWAR: Police and civil administration kept waiting at the Pak-Afghan border at Torkham on Tuesday night to receive from Afghanistan the body of a police officer who was kidnapped in Islamabad last month.

SP Tahir Khan Dawar, the head of Peshawar police’s rural circle, was kidnapped from G-10/4 area of the federal capital on Oct 26. On Tuesday, a body said to be of the officer was found in Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

Officials say the military authorities were in contact with their Afghan counterparts to facilitate the transportation of the body, but it was not likely to reach here on Tuesday. “We may get the body tomorrow,” a senior official said.

The photos of a badly tortured body of the SP and a hand-written Pashto letter, purportedly written by a yet unidentified militant group, went viral before police could officially confirm the happening, but a senior official said a “source” had informed them about the tragic news.

A survivor of two suicide attacks, the victim was kidnapped in Islamabad

On Tuesday, pictures of the body with a letter written in Pashto placed on the chest were shared on social media. After the post started to circulate on social media, KP police refused to confirm it, saying it was not possible for them to verify the reports.

However, a senior government official told Dawn that the police had been informed that the SP’s body was being brought to Khyber district via Torkham border crossing.

The official said that the deputy commissioner of Peshawar and the SSP operations were on their way to Torkham border crossing to receive the body.

A senior KP police official told Dawn that a source alerted them about the discovery of the body inside Nangarhar province of Afghanistan and it was later followed by the appearance of the pictures on social media.

The official said that Islamabad police had shared nothing with KP police about the investigation. He said that KP police and local administration officials were there at the Torkham crossing to coordinate with Afghan authorities to receive the body.

The official said that there was no indication or information about the kidnapping of SP Dawar and that he had been shifted to the other side of the border.

He said that they would investigate where the officer was exactly killed in Afghanistan and which group was responsible for his murder.

The official said that the paper found on the body mentioned no militant outfit and they would also investigate it later.

Meanwhile, Ahmaeduddin, a brother of SP Dawar, told reporters at his residence in the phase-VI area of the Hayatabad that they had yet to receive any official confirmation of his death. A large number of people were turning up to sympathise with the family after the news of his death spread on social media.

The pictures shared on social media showed the body of a man clad in a pair of black trousers and a maroon shirt with a crumpled piece of paper on the chest.

The bloodied face and arms showed that the victim had been tortured to death.

The note written in the Pashto language carries the name of the Wilayat Khorasan, the nomenclature the Islamic State (IS) militant organisation uses to refer to the Pak-Afghan region. It refers to SP Dawar with his first name and said that the “cop who had arrested and killed several militants has met his fate”. The note also warns other people to take caution and threatens that otherwise they would also meet the same fate.

Mr Dawar had travelled to Islamabad from Peshawar on Oct 26 only to disappear on the fateful day. His family told Islamabad police that the officer’s phone went off at around 7:45pm.

Mr Dawar hailed from North Waziristan district and earlier this year was made acting SP and given charge of rural circle. Prior to that he had served as DSP of University Town and Fakirabad and had also had a stint with the Federal Investigation Agency.

SP Dawar had also survived two suicide attacks while he was posted in Bannu district.

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2018