William Shakespeare is widely regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time and one of the most important and influential people who has ever lived. His written works (plays, sonnets, and poems) have been translated into more than 100 languages, and these are performed around the world. There is also an enduring desire to learn more about the man himself. Countless books and articles have been written about Shakespeare’s life. These have been based primarily on the scholarly analysis of his works and the official record associated with him and his family. Shakespeare’s popularity and legacy endures, despite uncertainties in his life story and debate surrounding his authorship and identity. The life and times of William Shakespeare and his family have also recently been informed by cutting-edge archaeological methods and interdisciplinary…
In a bold move to call the Chinese Communist Party to account for its role in what U.S. officials say are crimes that range from theft of intellectual property on a broad scale to human trafficking to the deliberate spread of the lethal coronavirus throughout the world, a coalition of human rights activists and organizations has sent an open letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr urging him to designate the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as a “transnational criminal organization” (TCO).
In laying out the case, the authors cite the Trump administration’s Executive Order 13773 as the legal framework supporting the designation of the CCP as an organization that has been committing often audacious crimes not only in the United States, but across the world, for decades.
The letter was drafted largely by well-known human and religious rights and children’s welfare lawyer Liz Yore, based on the vision and input from Hong Kong businessman-turned-activist Elmer Yuen, the non-profit Save the Persecuted Christians, and the Committee on the Present Danger: China.
Yuen has been active in recent months in seeking a legal basis by which to disarm the CCP, in order to ultimately cause its fall from power and complete dissolution, as reported previously.
The Executive Order, signed by Trump on Feb. 9, 2017, states that it is the “policy of the executive branch…to strengthen enforcement of Federal law in order to thwart transnational criminal organizations and subsidiary organizations, including criminal gangs, cartels, racketeering organizations, and other groups engaged in illicit activities that present a threat to public safety and national security.”
Among the offenses which such groups may be related to are included human, drug, wildlife, and weapons trafficking.
The Executive Order goes on to cite “corruption, cybercrime, fraud, financial crimes, and intellectual-property theft” as activities in which TCO’s may be engaged, which also include hiding or transferring the illicit profits from crimes committed by the organization.
A Litany of Crimes
The letter to Barr lays out a litany of the most egregious of the crimes that the authors say underpin the case to slap the TCO designation on the CCP, beginning with fentanyl and the deliberate cover-up of the human transmissibility of the coronavirus.
Identifying the CCP as a TCO is “clearly justified,” the letter states, “by the epidemic of American citizens victimized and killed by the Chinese manufactured and transmitted lethal synthetic drug, Fentanyl.”
The letter cites Centers for Disease Control figures showing that over 31,000 Americans overdosed on fentanyl and other synthetic narcotics in 2018.
China’s handling of the coronavirus, known as Covid-19, is bluntly cited as a crime by the authors, as well. The virus, which is having “debilitating health and economic effects” in the United States and around the world, could have been contained, the letter suggests, had CCP authorities not “knowingly and maliciously failed to warn the world…and covered up its transmission and lethality,” causing, at time of writing, over 140,000 deaths in the United States alone.
Yore said that she has been “seeing the administration lay out one speech after another” over the last few weeks accusing China of illegal behavior and crimes against humanity, giving her the evidence to cite case after case of criminal activity by the CCP in the letter to Barr.
In a June 24 speech National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien listed the hacking of the personal data of 145 million Americans from Equifax in 2017, and the 2019 hack of Marriott which garnered the CCP personal details on 383 million guests as examples of China’s malfeasance in the cyber environment.
Then on July 7, FBI Director Christopher Wray reported that the FBI is “opening a new China-related counterintelligence case about every 10 hours,” and that of the 5,000 counterintelligence cases currently on the FBI’s books, “almost half are related to China.”
And then, in a press conference on July 8, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in laying the blame for the spread of the coronavirus directly at the feet of the CCP, said that the CCP has “an enormous credibility problem.”
Pompeo said of the camps holding Muslim Uyghurs in China’s northwest Xinjiang Province that “new reports of forced abortions and sterilizations add to a body of evidence” indicate that they are not the educational and training camps that the CCP characterizes them as.
The letter also highlights the March 2020 findings of the China Tribunal, which found the CCP guilty of forced organ harvesting on an industrial scale, labeling it “one of the worst atrocities” in the world.
The Power of a Name
“You know, if he [Trump] designates the CCP as a criminal organization, it’s a sensational act, globally,” Yuen said.
“Everybody keeps talking about all of the crimes” committed by the CCP,” Yuen said, “but nobody put it all together and called it organized crime.”
“All I’m doing is giving it a collective name,” he continued.
Sean Lin of the Committee on the Present Danger said if more countries “can adopt similar measures, that would be more powerful.”
“I think that it’s a long-time frustration for anyone who works on the human rights issue,” Lin said.
“China has committed so many crimes. In the Congress, we have hearings, and reviews, testimony, but no fundamental attacks on the CCP,” Lin continued.
“So, this designation is a powerful tool.”
Yore said that the designation of the CCP as a criminal organization “triggers what is embodied in the presidential order.”
“There are ….layers upon layers of sanctions and criminal penalties that can be put in place not just against the CCP once it’s designated a TCO,” but also against other organizations who are complicit in the crimes being perpetrated by the criminal organization, in this case the CCP, Yore said.
“You have to designate a disease before you can begin to treat it or to fight it,” Yore continued.
“The Trump administration has made great strides in the first three-and-a-half years to begin to educate the public on what the CCP is doing,” she added.
“I’m a great believer in if you describe and label behavior as criminal you begin to have a sea change in the public’s view of it,” Yore stated.
Yuen said, “in China, every company with over three Party members, you have to form a branch, which will have its own secretary, so every company in China is basically controlled by the Communist Party, and it goes back to Xi Jinping.”
So now, Yuen said, “if you try to do business in China, and it [the CCP] is a criminal organization, and…you know that you’re doing business not with a company, you’re doing business with the CCP, then it’s a whole different ballgame.”
In China, Yuen said, the CCP is “way above the CEO of a company.”
“If it’s an investment banker…and they want to lend money to a criminal organization, they will have second thoughts. Or if they want to take [a company] public, and they find out, oh, they have a Party branch inside, they will have more second thoughts. It’s a totally different feeling,” Yuen added.
Focus News: AG Barr Urged to Designate the CCP a ‘Transnational Criminal Organization’
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday continued to defend his decision to require public schools to reopen in August for in-person learning, saying he would “absolutely” send his own children back to classrooms if they were old enough. During a round-table meeting held at a school for special needs students, the republican governor restated the reasons why reopening Florida’s schools is necessary, including the difficulties of distance learning for special education students, the heavy burden on parents who have to earn a living while taking care of children, and low-income families that rely on school meals for nutrition. DeSantis moved on to say that although his children aren’t old enough, he would still feel comfortable sending them to school for in-person learning. “I would have no problem, and I would…