Tag Archives: China

Ex-Con White Supremecist Caught with 40,000 Rounds and a List of Black and Jewish Leaders in Detroit

Federal agents were tracking Richard Schmidt’s counterfeit sports jersey imports when they stumbled upon his arsenal of eighteen guns, more than 40,000 rounds of ammunition, and bulletproof body armor. Schmidt, an ex-felon who killed a Hispanic man and wounded two others twenty-four years ago, also had lists of Jewish and black leaders in Detroit.

Before December, no one noticed that Schmidt, 47, was amassing weapons, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Federal investigators zeroed in on his sports memorabilia shop around September 2011, tracking his shipments of knock-off jerseys from China for over a year before they discovered the cache of firearms.

Schmidt plead guilty to federal gun charges and the counterfeit racket last month and will be sentenced in October.

Schmidt is banned from possessing a gun for the rest of his life. In 1989, he pulled a gun on three men during a traffic argument, killing one and wounding the other two. He was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and served twelve years in prison.

Scott Kaufman, the head of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, was spooked after discovering he was on Schmidt’s list. “For a convicted violent felon to amass an arsenal with 40,000 rounds of ammunition with no red flags popping up is problematic,” he told the Plain Dealer. “No matter where you stand on the gun issue, it makes you wonder. The moment I saw my name in this guy’s notebook, I freaked out.”

Indeed, Schmidt was able to stockpile firearms easily thanks to decades of hard work by the the gun lobby. Combating calls for stricter background checks on private gun sales, the National Rifle Association insisted the bill would create a national registry of gun owners which would be used to confiscate weapons and enact tyranny. This fear mongering has also hobbled federal law enforcement agents, who are forbidden from keeping any records of gun purchases. That means people like Schmidt can avoid background checks when they buy firearms, or they can get guns through a straw purchaser that law enforcement cannot track because records revealing the purchaser’s activities would have been destroyed. It was luck that Schmidt was caught before he could wreak havoc — but Americans won’t get so lucky every time.

Via ThinkProgress.

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Chinese Prime Minister Calls for End of Corrruption

Wen Jiabao, Premier of the People's Republic o...

Wen Jiabao, Premier of the People's Republic of China, speaks at the Opening Plenary session at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Tianjin, China 27 September 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao issued a new call on Monday for the government to end a culture of graft lest it lead to the end of Communist rule.

In an article in the Communist Party journal Qiushi, or Seeking Truth, Mr. Wen said the government must hold officials more accountable for corruption that occurs on their watch.

The article is the latest in a string of anti-corruption broadsides aired since the former Politburo member Bo Xilai was ensnared in a murder investigation.

Mr. Bo was removed from the Politburo after party officials issued a report accusing him of “serious disciplinary violations” and accusing his wife, Gu Kailai, of arranging the killing of Neil Heywood, a British business person.

Via The New York Times.

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On This Day…

Soviet Premier Nikita Khruchchev in Vienna.

Soviet Premier Nikita Khruchchev in Vienna. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1958, Nikita Khrushchev became Soviet premier in addition to first secretary of the Communist Party.

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Ban Ki-Moon Concerned about Tibetan Hunger Strikers

English: Ban Ki-moon, South Korean politician

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U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced concern for the well-being of three Tibetan activists who launched a hunger strike more than three weeks ago.

Mr. Ban said he “affirms the right of all people to peaceful protest.” However, he said he remains concerned about the health of the strikers.

The three wheelchair-bound protesters, weakened by their fast, said they were visited by top U.N. human rights official Ivan Simonovic on Monday. The protesters said they told Mr. Simonovic they want Chinese authorities to ease the ongoing crackdown on Tibetan dissent in their homeland.

At least twenty-six Tibetan Buddhists have set themselves on fire in the past year to protest China’s ongoing crackdown. Protesters are also demanding the safe return of their exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

Activists accuse Beijing of suppressing Tibetan culture, religion and other freedoms. For its part, Beijing calls the Dalai Lama a “splittist” (separatist), and accuses him of fomenting rebellion in Tibetan regions.

Via VOA.

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Death Row Reality Show a Hit in China

Map of death penalty

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Think American television programming leaves something to be desired?

“Interviews Before Execution” is a sensation in China, with 40 million viewers tuning in Saturday nights to watch the last moments of death-row prisoners and their families. Forty million is nearly every living soul in Paris, New York, Los Angeles, and London.

The Chinese government approved the show as a deterrent, a way to show the misery that awaits those convicted of capital crimes.

The host of the show is a journalist, Ding Yu, who has now interviewed more than 225 murderers, rapists, drug dealers, and other felons. Half her interviewees are women.

Ms. Ding is hardly passive in her role. Face to face with one prisoner, she says, “Fortunately, you’re in jail. You’re dangerous to society. You’re shit.’’

China last year removed thirteen nonviolent offenses from the list of crimes punishable by death. About forty-seven crimes now carry possible death sentences.

Although the exact number of annual executions is a state secret, China remains by far the leading executioner in the world.

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China Sends North Korean Refugees Back Over South Korean Objection

China repatriated at least nine North Korean refugees last weekend, despite requests by Seoul not to send them back.

Seoul will bring up the issue at a meeting with the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva next week.

At least thirty North Koreans were detained in China in separate incidents this month.

The South has called on China to follow international law in its treatment of the refugees and has also adopted a resolution asking China to stop repatriating North Koreans.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak also spoke out on the issue earlier this week.

Activists in the South have urged China not to send the North Koreans back, saying they face severe punishment or even death.

China has said that the North Koreans are “illegal economic migrants” who must be returned home. It has sent back those it finds within its borders for many years.

More than 20,000 North Koreans have fled to the South since the 1950s. Most of them escape via China.

Via the BBC.

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Chinese Dissident Freed after 12 Years

Emblem of Communist Party of China defined in ...

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Qin Yongmin, co-founder of the China Democracy Party, was released after twelve years in prison for endangering state security. At his release, officers seized his notes and warned him not to speak to reporters or meet other dissidents.

Once home in Wuhan, his home city, Mr. Qin told friends by phone that he “tried to tell them it was illegal but they just stole everything I had written.”

Mr. Qin was one of the founders of the China Democracy Party as an alternative to the one party state led by the Chinese Communist Party.

In 1998, he and others tried to have the new party registered but were accused of anti-state activity and jailed.

Wang Youcai and Xu Wenli were convicted on the same charges but were given lighter sentences. After years of US diplomatic pressures, they were exiled to the United States.

Mr. Qin is now fifty-seven years old. He was given eight years for “anti-revolutionary propaganda and subversion” in 1981 for his activities in the pro-democracy movement.

In 1993, he was given two years of hard labor in a ‘re-education-through-labor’ camp for writing a ‘Peace Charter’.

Via AsiaNews.

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