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S Korean Activists Marched At Japan’s Embassy With Kim Bok-dong’s Coffin

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After the death of human rights activist, Kim Bok-dong, South Korean comfort women activists protest on Japanese Embassy

South Korean activists marched along with the coffin of Kim Bok-dong, one of the last survivors of comfort women, to the Japanese embassy on Friday, February 1, to protest against Japan’s sex slavery before and during World War II.

Kim Bok-dong, a human rights activist and a comfort woman survivor who experienced forced labor into Japanese-military manned brothels died on Monday at the age of 92. Her stories and personal testimonies led the formation of different active groups urging apologies and compensation from Japanese government. Kim traveled across the globe, including Los Angeles to advocate for the construction of peace monument devoted for comfort women.  She was one of the first comfort women who is not ashamed to speak out and appeared personally at the United Nations World Conference on Human Rights in 1993 to testify and defend their rights. Until then, she became a constant figure on weekly protest outside Japanese embassy in Korea.

A mortuary vehicle carried the casket of Kim towards the embassy as part of the protest, while campaigners were chanting for apologies and compensation from Japan. They were also accompanied by mourners who carried banners thanking Kim for her unwavering devotion to the cause, and some held signs of yellow butterflies as a symbol of freedom for suffering women.

Meanwhile, in Glendale California, flowers were decorated on a statue dedicated for comfort women, as a commemoration for Kims death. She visited Glendale in 2012 and 2013 then helped in the formation of the said monument. A statement from Korean American Forum of California (KAFC), a comfort woman advocacy group, said Kim will be remembered for her determination to inform younger generations about the atrocities so the same thing will not happen to them. The group expressed deep sympathies and promised to continue Kims advocacy and will bring justice for victims of sex slavery during her time.

Kim died in the hospital after battling cancer and even on her last breath, she urged her advocacy group to never stop asking for a sincere apology from Japan. Kim started to serve in the brothels as early as 14. From then on, she was forced to provide sex for Japanese soldiers in China, Hongkong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. According to research by professors from Vassar College and Shanghai Normal University, Kim together with an estimated 200,000 women from other Asian countries served five to 60 soldiers a day.

For almost seven decades now, sexual slavery and discussion on comfort women have been a controversial issue not only in Korea but also in neighboring countries. Japan reiterated that they already apologized for the atrocities and it is strong on its stand that no women were forced to sex labor. Advocates firmly believe that the Japanese government has long denied justice for comfort women but the adversary claimed there were no evidences or proofs of sex slavery during the war other than testimonies of the comfort women. But isnt the mere presence of Kim be the living proof and history that Japan is asking?

Today, only 23 South Koreans survivors were listed being alive. The advocacy groups said that even if numbers of ‘comfort women survivors diminish, they will continue the call for justice until Japan government apologizes sincerely. With Kims death, her good deeds and contributions on empowering women will live until the end.

I've been contributing news since 2010, both online and print. Aside from Z6Mag, I manage independent news blogs that provide awareness on a diverse list of topics to every reader.

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Huawei Allegedly Helped North Korea Build Surveillance Infrastructure

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Photo by Random Institute on Unsplash

When you think of espionage, two things will probably cross your mind: Huawei and North Korea. Worse, recent reports have shown that Huawei has been working with the North Korean government for a project that aims to build a spy-friendly telecom network.

In a joint report by The Washington Post and 38North, Huawei has allegedly helped North Korea in building Koryolink, NoKor’s highly restrictive and invasive telecom network that went live back in 2008.

A year into operation, according to 38Noth, Koryolink had 91,000 subscribers, and that rose to 432,000 after two years and to just under a million subscriptions after three years. Today, there are estimated to be around 5 million cellular subscribers in North Korea split between Koryolink and Kang Song NET, a government-owned operator.

Documents uncovered by journalists had shown that Huawei, China’s leading telecommunication development company, had partnered with Panda International Information Technology, a company owned by the Chinese government to help North Korea with its telecom projects with cooperation starting when then-dictator Kim Jong Il visited Huawei’s headquarters in 2006.

According to the leaked documents, Huawei was responsible for providing the project with key technological infrastructures such as cellular infrastructure, network management, and encryption with the help of Panda to transport Huawei’s tech infra.

“It was clear that if the regime was going to attempt reintroducing telecommunications technology to the North Korean people, tight controls were needed to ensure it would not be used in subversive ways. Working together with Chinese technology companies, KPTC and Orascom created one of the most restrictive cellular environments in the world,” reads 38North’s report.

While it has been established that NoKor’s Koryolink has enabled the government to spy on its citizens, the discovery has shed light to the extent of spying that is done by the restrictive telecom project.

Aside from restricting NoKor’s locals from making international calls and access to search the internet, as well as tourists from making local calls and accessing local internet servers, the report reveals that there exists an elite organization in the North Korean government that use domestically-made encryption to make sure that phone calls cannot be monitored.

“Both sides recognized the importance and urgency of encryption in mobile communication and agreed that they would work together in this field. Both sides had a common agreement that the ordinary people will use the internationally standard mobile phones, and special users will use different mobile phones which contain locally-developed encrypted algorithm. KPTC explains the necessity and priority of encrypted mobile phone for special users, and OTH agreed with KPTC,” reads the minutes of a May 28, 2008 meeting in Kuala Lumpur between engineers from the Korea Posts and Telecommunications Co. (KPTC) and Orascom Telecom

Huawei’s role in NoKor’s surveillance project

And where is Huawei’s part in this? Well, Huawei was the one who tested the encryption while Panda was the one who provided the support software. While NoKor’s elites have built a fortress to make sure that their conversations are encrypted with the help of Huawei, everyone else in the country was subjected to government eavesdropping using a Huawei-powered software that lets law enforcement intercept citizens’ calls, texts, data, and even faxes.

This surveillance software was said to be initially made to target 2,500 people but was later scaled to 5,000 target citizens. It is unclear how big is the surveillance system is now but what’s certain is that North Korea has strengthened its surveillance efforts since then to block unapproved apps and take random screenshots to record users’ activity.

“Eavesdropping on communications was not a concern when it came to regular users of the network; however, at the same 2008 meeting in Kuala Lumpur, the two sides discussed the specifications for a legal interception gateway, or “LIG.” Such systems are used in cellular networks worldwide and are usually how law enforcement can monitor communications from targeted phones,” penned by 38North in their report.

Aside from eavesdropping its citizens, Chinese companies were said to have assisted North Korean dictatorship in building jamming devices to intercept international signals in their bid to isolate the nation.

The discovery made by 38North only strengthened Donald Trump’s accusation that Huawei is being used by the Chinese government as a trojan horse to carry out espionage and economic sabotage.

While Huawei has been defensive in saying that it “has no business presence” in North Korea, it’s rather interesting that the statement from a spokesperson is in the present tense and it is still unclear whether or not Huawei had a past relationship with the North Korean Dictatorship.

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‘Men in White’ Violently Attacks Protesters In Hong Kong

Protesters accuse the police and government in working with mob gangsters to carry out the attack.

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Photo: Studio Incendo | Flickr.com | CC BY 2.0

On Sunday, dozens of men in white shirts attacked protesters and passengers in the Yuen Long MTR station at around midnight.

The mob in white shirts are suspected to be triad gangsters — whose goal is to hurt pro-democracy protesters who were traveling back from a rally. Armed with long sticks and batons, the gang started beating people in the station randomly. Most of the people targeted are the ones wearing black, which is the color of protest.

Videos of the attacks were posted via social media. Men in white can be heard shouting while brandishing batons and long sticks. An estimate of 45 people was sent to the hospital following the violence. According to Hong Kong’s Information Services Department, one person is in critical condition, and five are in serious condition.

Gywneth Ho, a journalist for Stand News HK, filmed the attack via her mobile phone. In the video, multiple men in white started walking towards her with long sticks. She was beaten but was able to get away temporarily. She continued filming only to be hit from behind. That’s when she (and her phone) went down.

Citizens and lawmakers had criticized how there was a lack of police officers when the attack happened. Responding police officers were not in protective gears and had to wait for back up.

Before the attack in the Yuen Long station, protesters also found themselves violently dispersed. At least 400,000 people marched to the city’s Central and Sheung Wan districts. Protesters wore black and chanted, “Free Hong Kong!”

Following the seventh week of mass protests, police used tear gas and rubber bullets on a group of young activists who marched beyond the designated endpoint of the rally.

According to CNN, the protesters retaliated by throwing bricks at the police officers. They also spray-painted on the walls near the Chinese government’s liaison office.

Protesters continued with the protest marches despite the suspension of the controversial Extradition Bill. The citizens are calling for the total withdrawal of the bill. Calls for Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam to step down from office is also one of the protester’s demands.

Recently, protests have turned violent. On July 16, police also clashed with rioters that led to the arrest of 40 people and the hospitalization of 28 others.

Speculations of Government and Triad Gangster Alliance

Opposition lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting suggested that the attack is carried out by the organized crime syndicate. Lam was on the train when the attack happened. Similar to Ho, Lam also took to live broadcast the attack using his mobile phone.

Ray Chan, a pro-democracy lawmaker also tweeted about his thoughts on the attack. He asked, “Hong Kong has one of the world’s highest cop to population ratio. Where were @hkpoliceforce?”

Due to the surprising lack of police on site of the attack, government critics are now speculating that the police and the mob, also known as the Triad, are working together.

Zachary Wong Wai-yin, Democratic Party lawmaker and Yuen Long district councilor, told CNN, “We believe that police and Triads are linked to manage Hong Kong.”

What’s more baffling is that there has been no arrest of any men in white since Sunday. According to Chief Superintendent John Tse Chun Chung, arrests were not made because the two responding officers were still waiting for back-up when the men have finished with the attack and left the station.

One of the fuel to the speculation is a video of pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho coming up to men in white on the street. He was captured shaking hands with the group and giving them a thumbs-up. The men were also holding sticks in the video.

Ho denied any connection with the attack and mentioned that he only responded to the greetings of his supporters.

Government Response

In a press conference, Chief executive Lam expressed her disapproval for the violence that took place over the weekend. She further asserts that the government will launch an investigation on the incident at Yuen Long station.

“Let me make this clear: violence is not a solution to any problem, violence will only breed more violence,” Lam says.

Lam also condemned the violence done by the protesters; specifically showing disapproval on the defaced building of the Chinese Liaison Office.

Prior to Lam’s press conference, the Hong Kong government issued a statement. It said, “This is absolutely unacceptable to Hong Kong as a society that observes the rule of law. The SAR Government strongly condemns any violence and will seriously take enforcement actions.”

Police Commissioner Stephen Lo also address rumors of the government working with mobsters. During the press conference with Chief executive Lam, Lo emphasized that they will investigate the actions (or inaction) of the police force during the incident.

“We will investigate whether we were inefficient, but we are not related to triads. I ask you to trust the police force. Last night, we were all focusing on Hong Kong island. We needed to regroup for Yuen Long. I hope you have confidence in us,” Lo said.

In response to the attack, pro-democracy protesters have announced that the pre-planned rally next Sunday will be held in Yuen Long, instead of in Central district.

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Environmental Documentary-Maker Hugo Clement Arrested Amidst Adani Mine Protests

Clement is skeptical about Adani’s capabilities to prevent media coverage on the on-going construction of its coal mine

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Source: ABC News | Sofie Wainwright

The Australian police arrested French journalist and reporter Hugo Clement in northern Queensland as he was reportedly in the middle of an on-going protest against the construction of the Adani coal mine in the area.

Clement and his team were in the area to cover the protests and was doing interviews with the protester when police arrested them and were charged for trespassing.

Police noted that Clement and his team were covering the news on top of a railway line at the entrance to Adani’s Abbot Point coal-loading facility in north Queensland.

Three other French nationals, a Victorian man, was also charged with the same violations. Meanwhile, two Victorian women, aged 20 and 22, have been accused of trespassing on a railway, obstructing a railway, and contravening a police direction.

In Clement and his team’s defense, the protesters were already locked in position on the said railway line when he approached them for interviews and to cover the scene.

Clement said he was surprised to be arrested and that the police did not ask him any questions, ABC reported.

“We were just filming the action of those people, and we don’t know why, but police decided to arrest us,” he said.”I still don’t understand why. We are not part of the action; we are not activists, just journalists. It’s just difficult to understand why police decided to do that because we are not a danger, we did not block the railway, we are just filming, reporting what is going on here.”

The police charge sheet shows strict bail conditions have been applied to Clement, banning him from being within 20 kilometers of Adani’s Carmichael mine site or less than 100 meters from any other Adani site. Furthermore, Clement and his team are currently in bail and is set to appear at the Bowen Magistrates Court in early September.

In light of the situation, Clement speculated that Adani had a lot of power if police were stopping working journalists. “I think it could be a good example of the power of the big private company,” he said.

“That is very strange. Is it like [authorities] have something to hide, right? Because if you arrest a journalist, and then you say to the journalist that he has to keep away from Adani’s sites, what’s happening on these sites?”

Clement is well known in Europe for his work on climate change and the environment and has previously told stories on e-waste being dumped in Africa, marine debris, and the export of waste from France to South East Asia. His current work now involves French national broadcaster, France2.

The journalist has been in Australia for almost a week shooting for a documentary about the Great Barrier Reef and talking to scientists about the world’s oceans.

Regarding his involvement in the Adani mine controversy, he noted that not many people in France knew about the Carmichael mine and thinks that it is an “interesting topic to talk about.” Also, because “Adani is a big news topic here, so it’s not illegal to talk about it. Maybe it is.”

The demonstrations come after reports Adani would begin clearing land on Galilee Basin mine site this week after the Queensland government granted the mining company a water license that allows them unlimited access to groundwater for 60 years last month.

Environmentalists and water experts pointed out that the mine could result to permanently drying up the Doongmabulla Springs, a wetland desert oasis and its possible dire effects on the health of the Carmichael River.

The fundamental concern involves contamination of nearby rivers, lakes, and aquifers by what comes out of a coal mine—usually highly acidic water containing heavy metals like arsenic, copper, and lead. Particularly for Andani, it could seep through nearby aquifers supplying the springs.

Furthermore, water is an essential resource during coal extraction; in fact, it ensures a safe extraction process. According to mining industry data, companies use 800-3000 gallons of water to mine and process and transport one ton of coal.

Specific in Australia, such supplies account for nearly a third of our total water consumption, according to Geoscience Australia. Competitors for the water to be used by the Adani mine include local towns and the region’s farmers.

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