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MANIFESTED EVENTS BRIEF - TOTALITARIANISM BY ANY OTHER NAME IS STILL TOTALITARIANISM
CHINA AND IRAN UNDERGOING PROTESTS OF STATE SPONSORED POLICIES
There is always some spark that lights the fire. In China after three years of draconian Zero Covid policies, the spark came on November 24th when a fire at an apartment block in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang region, killed at least ten people whose movements were restricted due to the Zero Covid policies. In Iran the trigger was the death of Mahsa Amini for not wearing a “proper” hijab when she was taken and confined by the “morality police” enforcing 43 years of draconian Shia Law separating men and women and treating women as an unworthy and submissive caste.
In Iran, women have been relentless and fearless in their unity to stop the oppressive government to such a degree that their cause and persistent protests struck a chord with millions of Iranians. Just like in China, Iranians have had enough of state dominated rule.
China which is often thought of as a Communist country governed by the CCP has morphed into a Technocracy. Iran is a Theocracy. Both countries are Totalitarian state - run governments which were pretty common in our world during the 20th Century.
If we are paying attention to events in our world we will observe that a Totalitarian philosophy of population control is resurging. The most prominent examples of this is the Covid Event and the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset which I will touch on later. Humanity is facing very precarious and dangerous times. Regardless of what evolves out of the China and Iran protests, they give us an important lesson which we must pay attention to. The people obtain their power in numbers and fearless unified actions against tyranny. Nothing less than this will allow us to maintain any semblance of freedom, even in America.
What are the greatest influences in our world today driving Technocratic Totalitarian states and the reactions of protest? Is America in danger of becoming a Totalitarian state? (Hint, as you read the last article on China’s Hazmat-suited Dabai, consider how Americans unquestionably followed the “Experts’” dictates during Covid.) What might derail the China and Iran protests and crush any further movement away from Totalitarianism? Any real or perceived threat perpetrated by the government in which the government becomes the ‘savior.’ Totalitarian regimes do not just give up their power to people’s protests. They adjust and find other ways to maintain control. More on this to come.
Iran Reviews Decades-old Hijab Law in Bid to Quell Ongoing Protests
December 3, 2022
Iran is reviewing a decades-old law that requires women to wear a hijab, as authorities struggle to quell protests over the dress code that have been ongoing for more than two months.
President Ebrahim Raisi said on Saturday in televised comments that Iran’s republican and Islamic foundations were constitutionally entrenched, but that there were “methods of implementing the constitution that can be flexible”.
It came a day after the country’s attorney general said parliament and the judiciary were reviewing legislation requiring a head covering.
“Both parliament and the judiciary are working (on the issue)” and results will be presented “in a week or two”, said Mohammad Jafar Montazeri.
The headscarf became obligatory for all women in Iran in April 1983, four years after the Islamic Revolution that overthrew the US-backed monarchy.
Hijab remains a highly sensitive issue
It remains a highly sensitive issue in a country where conservatives insist it should be compulsory, while reformists want to leave it up to individual choice.
The hijab has become the subject of daily nationwide protests since the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody in September after she was reportedly arrested for wearing her headscarf incorrectly.
According to human rights groups, so far, more than 460 people have been killed by security forces across the country, with 50 children among them. Anti-regime protests across Iran continued on Friday.
It came as Iran’s security forces reportedly demolished the home of the brother of Elnaz Rekabi, the country’s climbing champion who controversially competed without her hijab during a recent event in South Korea.
Footage posted online and shared by Davood Rekabi on Saturday showed a house reduced to rubble, with furniture and a box of medals piled up on the ground (see below).
An unidentified man off camera can be heard saying: “Where is the justice? This is the result of living in a country where its champion wins so many medals [but] her brother is hit with pepper spray and his modest working-class home demolished.”
Members of the regime’s cultural mobilisation force and security personnel were behind the demolition in the Zanjanrood city in the west of Iran, a source close to the Rekabi family told local press.
Mr Rekabi has also reportedly been fined 168m tomans (£4,000) for allegedly building his home without a construction licence.
Elnaz Rekabi received a hero’s welcome on her return to Tehran in October but later appeared on the state TV saying her scarf “had slipped off accidentally during the competition”. She has not been seen in public since and is believed to be under house arrest.
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Iran’s Rattled Government May be Backing Down
December 8, 2022
Unnerved by nearly three months of spreading protests, Iran’s theocratic regime seems to be dithering. In their first big concession since demonstrations erupted in September after the death of Mahsa Amini for not wearing a “proper” hijab, the clerics hinted that they are disbanding the morality police force in whose custody she died. It had been “shut down”, said the prosecutor-general, Muhammad Jaafar Montazeri, adding that unspecified “cultural” methods would be adopted instead. Come mid-December, he promised, a decision would be taken on whether to abolish the mandatory hijab altogether.
It has already been thrown off in the streets. The morality police’s “guidance patrol”, which combed public places to capture young women and haul them off for re-education, disappeared at the start of the unrest, once protesters began torching their vans. Millions of women have discarded their veils, sometimes burning them. Celebrities previously paid to sing the regime’s praises have followed the example of rebellious schoolgirls by appearing bareheaded. For weeks unveiled women have stridden past the security forces’ scathing eyes. “It’s a different country,” says a teacher, who marvelled at bareheaded women boarding flights and passing through passport controls.
Now the protesters want to change or overturn Iran’s institutions and rewrite the statute books. For 43 years, keeping women veiled has been a defining symbol of the republic, epitomising its strict enforcement of sharia (Islamic law). Ruhollah Khomeini, the Islamic Republic’s founder, called it the “flag of the revolution”. “It’s the regime’s Berlin Wall,” says a well-connected cleric. Knocking it down, he reckons, would “signal the theocracy’s collapse”.
The government’s men want to uphold the old code. Security guards enforce “proper” dress in government offices and in courts, where clerics are still sentencing scores of protesters to death. Officials threaten to shut down banks and shops that serve unveiled women. Regime voices insist that the prosecutor-general has been misunderstood. And the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, says that “each rioter, each terrorist”, as he terms his opponents, must be punished. Since the protests began, rights groups say that some 470 people have been killed and at least 18,000 detained (see Graphic Detail).
But the ruling clerics, sensing that the repression has failed to crush the unrest, are divided over what to do next. The usually hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, speaking on December 7th at a university in Tehran, the capital, accepted “fair criticism” of his administration. Yet his bully boys beat up students demonstrating outside. Some security people favour replacing the morality police with smart cameras that would link unveiled women to their mobile phones and send them text messages imposing fines.
But leaked transcripts of official meetings call for a lighter touch. A mouthpiece for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the regime’s praetorian guard, has suggested bringing back Muhammad Khatami, a former president censored for his reformist views, to bridge the gap between the rulers and the protesters.
Even the most reactionary clerics, the theocracy’s backbone, may be wavering. Most want to keep the veil and gender segregation but question their reimposition by force. “Khamenei is becoming a minority even among conservatives,” says one. From his seat in neighbouring Iraq, Shia Islam’s top cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has criticised senior Iranian clerics for damning the protesters.
But it may be too late for concessions to work, anyway. Trust in the ruling clerics’ word has sunk. Many saw the prosecutor-general’s remarks as a ruse to divide the protesters. Others thought it was simply a response to the weather. The morality police normally lower their profile in Iran’s cold winters, when women cover up. Some thought the government would just give the morality police a new name.
And many Iranians want more than just an end to the Islamic dress code. “With or without the hijab, onwards the revolution,” cried students at a polytechnic in Tehran on December 7th. Many Iranians, feeling emboldened, see the reformist clergy as a spent force and want the ayatollahs, whatever their stripe, to surrender power.
The call for a three-day general strike that began on December 5th was more widely observed than earlier ones. Many shops, including in the bellwether bazaars, lowered their shutters in Tehran. Officials warned that premises joining the strike would be closed down for good, but the protesters’ threats to boycott those that stayed open made a bigger impact.
Still, Iran’s pendulum has a habit of swinging wildly. In the 1930s the last shah’s secularising father banned the veil and ordered his police to rip it off women’s heads. Today’s protesters yearn for a day when, in matters of dress and much more besides, Iranians can choose for themselves.
This article and links can be accessed here.
COVID Spread Fears Grow as China Unwinds Zero-tolerance Curbs
December 8, 2022
BEIJING/SHANGHAI, Dec 8 (Reuters) - As many Chinese embraced new freedoms on Thursday after the country dropped key parts of its tough zero-COVID regime, there was mounting concern that a virus that had largely been kept in check could soon run wild.
Three years into the pandemic, many in China had been eager for Beijing to start to align its rigid virus prevention measures with the rest of the world, which has largely opened up in an effort to live with the disease.
Those frustrations boiled over into widespread protests last month, the biggest show of public discontent since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012.
Without saying it was a response to those protests, some cities and regions began relaxing COVID controls, in moves that heralded a nationwide loosening of the rules unveiled by the National Health Commission on Wednesday.
The NHC said infected people with mild symptoms can now quarantine at home and it dropped the need for testing and health status checks on mobile apps for a variety of activities including travelling around the country.
Domestic ticket sales for tourist and leisure spots have soared, according to state press, while some people took to social media to reveal they had tested positive for the virus - something that had previously carried heavy stigma in China.
Others expressed caution.
"I know COVID is not so 'horrifying' now, but it is still contagious and will hurt," said one post on the Weibo platform. "The fear brought to our heart cannot be easily dissipated."
"Too many positives!" said another Weibo user.
Some manufacturers and restaurants keen to stay open in China are preferring to err on the side of caution, by retaining COVID-19 curbs until they get a clearer picture of just how workplaces will be affected by the easing of stringent measures.
The Zhengzhou industrial park where Foxconn is located has been under a closed-loop system that isolated the plant from the wider world for 56 days.
China reported 21,439 new local COVID-19 infections on Dec. 7, down slightly from the previous day and below a peak of 40,052 cases on Nov. 27. Cases have been trending lower recently as authorities across the country dropped testing requirements.
China and Hong Kong stocks lifted Asian equity markets on Thursday, as these still cautious steps towards reopening were seen giving the world's second-largest economy a chance to regather momentum. Macau casino operators (.CSICESG10) in part led the rally, finishing up 12.2%, sending their quarterly gain to 46.5%.
China's yuan , which has also recovered some ground against the dollar in recent weeks, was little changed on Thursday.
More broadly, the shift will probably depress economic growth over the next few months as infections surge, bringing a rebound only later in 2023, economists said.
That growth will keep picking up pace with the implementation of relaxation measures, state media CCTV quoted Premier Li Keqiang as saying on Thursday.
China's most populous city Shanghai, which endured one of the country's longest and harshest lockdowns, on Thursday dropped the need for COVID tests to enter restaurants or entertainment venues.
There has been no mention of China's "zero-COVID" policy in recent announcements, raising suspicions that the term is becoming defunct.
Top officials have also been softening their tone on the dangers posed by the virus.
But, while adopting the new more relaxed controls, some cities urged residents to remain vigilant.
Some analysts and medical experts say China is ill-prepared for a major surge in infections, partly due to low vaccination rates among the vulnerable and its fragile healthcare system.
Amid reports of panic buying of fever medicine, financial news outlet Yicai, citing third-party data, said the average daily sales volume of home test kits had risen more than 400 times from November.
"It (China) may have to pay for its procrastination on embracing a 'living with COVID' approach," Nomura analysts said in a note on Thursday.
Infection rates in China are only around 0.13%, "far from the level needed for herd immunity", Nomura said.
Feng Zijian, a former official in China's Center for Disease Control, told the China Youth Daily that up to 60% of China's population could be infected in the first large-scale wave before stabilising.
"Ultimately, around 80%-90% of people will be infected," he said.
The country will probably face a large-scale outbreak in the next one to two months, state-owned magazine China Newsweek reported on Thursday, citing health experts.
China's current tally of 5,235 COVID-related deaths is a tiny fraction of its population of 1.4 billion, and extremely low by global standards. Some experts have warned that toll could rise above 1.5 million if the exit is too hasty.
But, even with the dangers, for many there is an acceptance that life must go on.
"It's impossible to kill this virus completely, maybe just live with it and hope it will evolve into flu," said Yan, a 22-year-old unemployed Beijing resident, who said he hoped a further opening up of China's economy would help him find a job.
Access to the article with links here.
China's Army of Hazmat-suited Covid Workers Were Once Seen as the People's Protectors - No More
December 9, 2022
For much of the pandemic, they were China’s protectors - medical staff, community workers, civil servants and volunteers on the frontline of the country’s battle against Covid-19.
While people in Europe banged pots in gratitude, Chinese people danced in schools and the streets to pay tribute to these heroes of the pandemic.
But three years later, China’s army of Big Whites - Dabai - have finally fallen from favour.
Anger and violence against hazmat-suited officials became a defining feature of the unprecedented protests against Xi Jinping’s controversial zero-Covid policy last month.
Video after video showed demonstrators staging rare challenges to these previously infallible symbols of Beijing’s authority, from arguing with them to throwing things at them.
It marked a huge shift for ordinary Chinese people, whose lives have for three years been ruled by anonymous groups of Big Whites.
Drawn from all parts of society, people in hazmat suits have spent years being assigned trivial work such as setting up testing stations, delivering groceries, taking people to quarantine, handling residents’ requests and registering cases.
Liu Shuang, a 38-year-old food editor turned housewife, said she was always cautious not to cause any trouble to the Dabai even when they offended her.
“Once my 4-year-old son touched the table in front of the Dabai while conducting a nucleic acid test and the Dabai rudely sprayed alcohol all over my son,” she told the Telegraph. “I was angry but just muttered and left.”
She said this attitude was partly to avoid getting into trouble and partly out of respect for their hard work.
“Our compound had the testing station open 6-7 hours a day for several months,” she said. “Many Dabai are just civil servants who normally work regular hours, but now they have to work until 10pm every day while wearing a white suit under 30 degrees, who wouldn’t have a temper under these circumstances?”
But anger has been building as reports of abuses of power piled up.
One of the most high-profile cases was one in May, when 26 million Shanghai residents were under lockdown. Videos show groups of Dabai kicking and beating residents on the ground, dragging residents out of their homes to the quarantine centre.
In another case, a dog was chased down and killed by Big Whites after its owner was sent for quarantine.
Many hope that with the relaxation of Xi’s zero-Covid policy, the reign of terror symbolised by the Dabai will finally come to an end.
But the testing stations and quarantine camps will not disappear overnight, and many fear the Big Whites will remain for a while as well.
Yu Wensheng, a prominent Chinese human rights lawyer, experienced it first hand earlier this month.
He was knocked down by a group of Big Whites trying to stop him and his wife from leaving their apartment building to throw out some rubbish after his compound announced a lockdown last Sunday.
“These Dabai can act this way because the authority gave them power, they abuse this power without knowing where the line is,” said Mr Yu.
“We need to reflect on what caused so many tragedies under this.”
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