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Sen. Cruz On Biden Admin’s Response To China’s Lockdown Protests: ‘Pure Weakness’

On Monday, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) slammed the Biden administration’s statement responding to the Chinese people’s protests of the Communist country’s strict COVID-19 lockdown policies that protestors say contributed to the deaths of 10 people in a fire last week at a residential building in Urumqi, the capital of China’s far western region of Xinjiang.

The Biden administration’s response focused on the lack of efficacy of a “zero COVID” approach instead of the freedom of the Chinese people.

“We’ve said that zero COVID is not a policy we are pursuing here in the United States. And as we’ve said, we think it’s going to be very difficult for the People’s Republic of China to be able to contain this virus through their zero-COVID strategy,” a National Security Council spokesperson said in a statement.

“For us, we are focused on what works and that means using public health tools like: continuing to enhance vaccination rates, including boosters and making testing and treatment easily accessible,” the statement added. “We’ve long said everyone has the right to peacefully protest, here in the United States and around the world. This includes in the PRC.”

Senator Cruz called the Biden administration’s response “Pitiful.”

“At a potentially historic inflection point, Dems shill for the CCP. Pure weakness from the Biden administration,” he continued.

“It’s almost as if Biden wishes he was driving a tank in Tiananmen Square,” Cruz added, referring to the 1989 pro-democracy protests in Beijing that ended in the massacre of at least 10,000 civilians by the Chinese government.

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BBC Journalist ‘Beaten And Kicked’ By Chinese Police After Being Arrested For Covering Protests

Chinese police kicked and beat a BBC journalist after he was arrested for covering the biggest protests by the Chinese people since the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests during which the Chinese government massacred over 10,000 civilians.

BBC reporter Edward Lawrence was arrested by Chinese police while covering protests of China’s strict COVID-19 lockdowns that erupted following last week’s deadly fire at a residential building in Urumqi, the capital of China’s far western region of Xinjiang, that killed 10 people and injured nine others. Protestors say that the lockdowns contributed to the deaths as residents of the city have been prevented from leaving their homes for months.

“I’m at the scene of last night’s extraordinary anti Covid-zero protest in Shanghai. Many people are gathered here quietly watching. Lots of cops. Two girls laid flowers which were promptly removed by police. One man drove past with middle finger up at police,” Lawrence reported. “[S]ome small crowds are gathered on the sidewalks quietly watching the scene and the police presence.”

“I’ve seen several people with flowers. One girl was holding a blank piece of paper. One man has just approached me to say his flowers were confiscated by police. As he tells me this, two cops come over to listen to our conversation,” he added. “The crowd has grown from maybe a few dozen to several hundred. I’ve seen the police arrest three people – two of whom then fought with police. There’s a silent tension until one person shouts, and then the crowd chants and claps in support. I’m told by friends that police have blocked the roads around this area and they’re not letting people through.”

Lawrence was then arrested by Chinese police and was “beaten and kicked” while he was detained, according to the BBC.

“The BBC is extremely concerned about the treatment of our journalist Ed Lawrence, who was arrested and handcuffed while covering the protests in Shanghai,” the BBC said in a statement. “He was held for several hours before being released. During his arrest, he was beaten and kicked by the police. This happened while he was working as an accredited journalist.”

“It is very worrying that one of our journalists was attacked in this way whilst carrying out his duties,” the statement added. “We have had no official explanation of apology from the Chinese authorities, beyond a claim by the officials who later released him that they had arrested him for his down good in case he caught Covid from the crowd. We do not consider this a credible explanation.”

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White House Defends Granting Immunity To Saudi Crown Prince Despite Biden Vow To Make ‘Pariah’ Of Kingdom

During Friday’s press briefing, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre defended President Biden’s decision to grant immunity to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman despite Biden promising during his 2020 presidential campaign to make the kingdom “pay the price” for human rights abuses and “make them in fact the pariah that they are.”

“On the brief the State Department filed last night in the Jamal Khashoggi litigation, does the President have any concerns that the administration may be sending the wrong message about his commitment to holding the Saudis accountable on human rights?  And can you say whether he signed off on that brief?” a reporter asked.

“So, just — just let me just say at the top, just so that there’s clarity — and I know that you’ve heard from the State Department on this as well, and other colleagues,” Jean-Pierre responded. “At the request of a federal district court for U.S. government views on whether Mohammed bin Salman enjoys head of state immunity, the Department of Justice, at the request of the Department of State, informed the court that Prime Minister bin Salman is immune from suit in the U.S. — in U.S. courts while he holds the office of prime minister.”

“It’s nothing to do with the merits of this case; I want to be very clear on this.  But this is something that State Department and the Department of Justice has more details on, so I would certainly refer you — refer you to them,” she added.

Biden’s decision to grant immunity to Salman despite his campaign promise comes after he visited Saudi Arabia in July as part of a diplomatic effort to discuss energy production and other matters. During the visit, Biden greeted Salman with a fist bump, drawing backlash from those who pointed out his human rights abuses. For example, the Saudi ruler notoriously approved the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 and defended the genocide of Uyghur Muslims in China in 2019, saying that “China has the right to carry out anti-terrorism and de-extremization work for its national security.”

MTG Calls For Audit Of US Aid ‘Given In Any Form’ To Ukraine

During a press conference on Thursday, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) called for an audit on the more than $60 billion in aid sent to Ukraine by the Biden administration.

“Is American peoples’ taxpayer dollars going to fund aid in Ukraine, but yet it’s really funding something else that’s happening, maybe lining up Democrat donors’ pockets? Was that helping Democrat campaigns and candidates get elected?” she said.

“$8.9 billion is for humanitarian assistance, including emergency food and assistance for Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees in the region and for other countries directly impacted by the conflict,” she continued. “Again, what other countries and how much money went to the other countries, and what organizations are involved? Who runs these organizations, and why did they get the contracts?

“$11.8 billion in other assistance, including for direct budget support to Ukraine and development aid and other assistance to Ukraine and other affected countries. What development aid? What assistance? Who is running this? These are all the questions the American people have,” Greene said.

Separately, Greene outlined her plan.

“Today, I’m introducing a House resolution,” Greene said. “This is going to enquire requesting the president and directing the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State to transmit, respectably, certain documents to the House of Representatives relating to congressionally appropriated funds to the nation of Ukraine from January 20, 2021, to November 15, 2022. Basically, I’m demanding an audit of all US taxpayer dollars that have been given in any form to Ukraine. We’re defending our nation’s border, we want to understand how Americans’ tax dollars are defending another nation’s border.”

“So, here’s what it looks like,” Greene said as she showed the resolution. “In order to introduce a resolution as a member of Congress, we have to have this form filled, I have to sign the top right-hand corner, and then I’ll go into the House chamber and I will submit this and ask for a number. They’ll give me a number assigned to the House resolution so that it goes up on our government website and anyone can pull it up and look at it.”

“So I’ll sign it right here,” she said as she signed the paper. “Now it’s ready to go.”

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FBI Is ‘Extremely Concerned’ About TikTok’s Potential Threats To National Security

On Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray told lawmakers that he is “extremely concerned” about TikTok’s operations in the United States.

“We do have national security concerns, obviously from the FBI’s end, about TikTok,” Wray told the House Homeland Security Committee in a hearing. “They include the possibility that the Chinese government could use it to control data collection on millions of users, or control the recommendation algorithm which could be used for influence operations if they so choose, or to control software on millions of devices.”

While TikTok claims it doesn’t store U.S. user data in China, the Chinese government has the ability to force companies to hand over internal information.

Wray explained that law alone was “plenty of reason by itself to be extremely concerned.”

“As Director Wray specified in his remarks, the FBI’s input is being considered as part of our ongoing negotiations with the U.S. Government,” a TikTok spokesperson told CNBC. “While we can’t comment on the specifics of those confidential discussions, we are confident that we are on a path to fully satisfy all reasonable U.S. national security concerns.”

However, national security experts have raised doubts about TikTok’s security of user information. According to materials reviewed by Forbes, ByteDance – TikTok’s China-based parent company – planned to “use the TikTok app to monitor the personal location of some specific American citizens.”

“[I]n at least two cases, the Internal Audit team also planned to collect TikTok data about the location of a U.S. citizen who had never had an employment relationship with the company, the materials show,” Forbes reported last month. “It is unclear from the materials whether data about these Americans was actually collected; however, the plan was for a Beijing-based ByteDance team to obtain location data from U.S. users’ devices.”

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