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In December 2021, I had the chance to talk with a bright 14-year-old girl named Maria Tunbonat, a fifth-grader in a state school in Tarakan, North Kalimantan. Her father, Ayub, also joined the video call as we spoke about her school and her…
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Xi Jinping’s tenure has been marked by harsh crackdowns on human rights activism.

“I refuse to accept the idea that the state’s authority can’t be opposed, challenged, or interrogated. In the face of power, I would always be at a disadvantage, I knew, but I was a born contrarian, and there’s no other way for me to live except by…
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On October 28, Egypt’s Interior Ministry released a slick, heavily produced video showcasing a new state-of-the-art prison mega-complex. The Wadi El Natrun Correctional and Rehabilitation Center complex is supposed to replace 12 prisons that currently…
A satellite photograph of Scorpion Prison taken in September 2016. Inmates suffer abuses in secret and are denied most access to the outside world. Satellite imagery
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By suspending tournaments in China over treatment of Peng Shuai, the WTA placed rights over profits. How will the International Olympic Committee react?

“None of this is acceptable, nor can it become acceptable,” said Steve Simon, CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), in a statement announcing the suspension of its tournaments in China, earlier this month. That decision was made in…
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How a Public Good Became a Tool of Personal Power

(New York) – The Chinese Communist Party does not usually air its dirty laundry in public. So it was an ominous sign last month when official Chinese media reported startling allegations against a disgraced senior police official: Sun Lijun, a former…
Macao Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng, left, reads his oath of office in front of Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the inauguration ceremony in Macao, December 20, 2019.
News

Israel, Like China, Has Weaponized Surveillance Technology to Suppress Peaceful Dissent

Tech-enabled control of a persecuted population. Abusive facial recognition. Severe restrictions on movement. Branding peaceful dissent as “terrorism”. For many readers, the scenario brings to mind China’s mass human rights violations against…
A display shows surveillance technology capable of analyzing body motion for specific actions like fighting, theft or fall during Security China 2018 in Beijing, China, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018.
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Hearing on Techno-Authoritarianism: Platform for Repression in China and Abroad

Chairman Merkley, Chairman McGovern, distinguished Members of the Commission, thank you for the opportunity to speak on this issue dear to my heart. I owe my presence here today to the relative internet freedom China once had, and to the respect for…
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“Nothing about us without us” – that was the call from the indigenous rights advocate Ghazali Ohorella from the Alifuru people in the Maluku Islands, Indonesia during a panel at the climate summit in Glasgow.  This plea was echoed by many…
Georgina Wabano and her mother cooking traditional food for school children in Peawanuck, ON, December 18, 2019. : © 2019 Daron Donahue
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By reforming its own system, Egypt can influence positive changes in other countries in the region and lead the way for clear and accessible legal gender recognition mechanisms.

August 26 should have been a day of celebration for Ezz Eldin, a 26-year-old transgender man, but it ended in tragedy. He bled to death after he was prematurely discharged following a gender-affirmation surgery in an underground clinic…
The transgender pride flag.
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On September 3, at least 130 Malay Sunni vigilantes attacked an Ahmadiyah mosque in Balai Harapan village, Sintang regency, West Kalimantan. The attack occurred after Friday prayers, during which the imam at a nearby Sunni mosque, Mochammad Hedi…
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Still Major Emitter Despite Coal Phase Out Announcements

“Glasgow must be the COP that consigns coal to history.” Those were the words in July of Alok Sharma, president of the United Nations Climate Conference (COP26). With world leaders gathered in Glasgow this week, the need to phase out coal has never…
Steam billows out of the cooling towers of a coal-fired power plant in Huai'an in east China's Jiangsu province, July 20, 2021.
News

Demand — for lumber, meat, soybeans, and other goods — is driving deforestation around the world. And China is a major customer.

“We need to have deep reverence for nature,” China’s President Xi Jinping told a crucial summit on biodiversity earlier this month. Yet he failed to mention that the Chinese government allows the import of millions of tons of beef, soy, and…
Fires near Novo Progresso, Brazil on August 23, 2020, burned land deforested by cattle farmers.
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A ChinaFile Conversation

In what many observers have termed a “regulatory crackdown,” a wave of new legal restrictions and bans on business, technology, and entertainment has broken across China over the past several months, with what appears to be escalating velocity…
Chinese President Xi Jinping is seen on a phone screen remotely addressing the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, September 22, 2020. 
News

Empowered Workers Would Be a Threat to the Chinese Communist Party

Chinese state media outlets are railing against groups they claim are involved in money laundering, inciting riots, and supporting gangsters. They warn against “a chronic poison of society” and “a malignant tumor that must be destroyed.” The situation…
Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions President Joe Wong Nai-yuen, third from right, with other members before a news conference on the possibility of disbanding, Hong Kong