A new, insider’s perspective of China’s mass detention of Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang province emerged this weekend. More than 400 pages of documents were leaked to The New York Times by a member of the Chinese political establishment. The release is further confirmation of reporting by the Monitor and other news and human rights groups. It shows Xi Jinping’s campaign to incarcerate more than 1 million people in “reeducation” camps since 2014, justified by a “struggle against terrorism, infiltration and separatism.” The documents suggest internal dissent among Chinese leadership and reveal the heroic efforts of a few local officials to counter the injustice, including one who released more than 7,000 detainees. In response to the documents, a Foreign Ministry spokesman told the Times that “preventive” measures in Xinjiang had helped to prevent terrorist attacks. Some analysts speculate the Times report could undermine US-China trade talks, which have been showing signs of progress.
2. Distrust rises, a blackout follows. The Iranian government shut down internet access across the entire nation this weekend to curb street demonstrations and violence (banks, gas stations, a police station, and stores were vandalized) in more than 100 cities and towns. The protests were triggered by a 50% hike in gasoline prices. US economic sanctions have helped undermine the Iranian economy, and there’s anger among people who have seen their savings evaporate and the collapse of the national currency. The price hike was endorsed Sunday by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who called the protesters “thugs.”
3. First, Kentucky. Now, Louisiana. Gov. John Bel Edwards defeated Republican Eddie Rispone in Saturday's Louisiana runoff election. Two Democratic wins in guberatorial races this month in states where Donald Trump won in 2016 by a wide margin have shown the limits of President Trump’s coattails. The results in these two states may not reveal much about the 2020 presidential election, except this: a strong turnout by black voters helps Democrats, and suburban women voters are also leaning Democrat.
Tuesday, Nov. 19
Impeachment TV: Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, is expected to be the first ear-witness to testify. She listened to the July 25th call between President Trump and Ukraine’s president.
British Brexit debate: Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn appear in their first live TV debate ahead of a Dec. 12 U.K. election.
Two bestsellers debut: “A Warning” by an anonymous senior Trump administration official, is breaking pre-order sales records. It alleges there’s a resistance within the White House to the president. And former first lady Michelle Obama’s second book, “Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice,” is released.
Wednesday, Nov. 20:
Impeachment TV: Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the EU, may be the most interesting of at least eight witnesses this week. Expect him to be grilled about a phone call with President Trump in a Ukraine restaurant on July 26, 2019.
Democrats debate, again: Ten presidential candidates have qualified for this two-hour TV debate in Atlanta, the fifth debate this year. A Des Moines Register poll, released Saturday, puts South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg at the head of the Democratic pack in Iowa. Could a Democratic moderate from a Midwestern state be the key to winning key 2020 swing states? Expect this debate to focus on Mr. Buttigieg's views.
Friday, Nov. 22:
Feel-good films: Brace for the opening of “Frozen 2,” and the return of Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Sven, and yes, Olaf. Also opening: “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” with Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers.
Two stories caught my attention this week. This one: Hate crimes fell slightly in 2018, but were more violent than the previous year, according to an annual FBI report.
And this one: “Why 2019 is the year compassion became cool” by a Yahoo UK style writer.
Google Trends data shares there’s been a more than twofold increase in searches for the words “kindness” in the past five years.
Additionally, the past year’s bestselling non-fiction books include Christie Watson’s The Language of Kindness: A Nurse's Story and Charlie Mackesy’s The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse, a book that focuses on the power of friendship and compassion.”
The Yahoo article cites such celebrity icons as the musician Pink, who described kindness as an “act of rebellion” in her acceptance speech at the People’s Choice Awards last week. “There is a planet that needs help, it feels good to help. Stop fighting each other and help each other. “
Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, said it is ‘cool to be kind,' at the British Fashion Awards nearly a year ago.
Arguably, kindness has always been cool - and an effective and contagious counter to hate. Perhaps, it just took awhile for the cool kids to figure that out. Here's to choosing kindness.
Start your week with a recent story that inspired Monitor readers:
In tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for the latest in our series about the 10 Commandments in modern life: A woman's story about honoring her parents.
Finally, the Monitor’s five best stories in Friday’s subscription-only Daily Edition:
- Who can win in 2020? Voters shift focus toward centrists.
- From shattered glass and broken tents, Lebanese draw resolve
- Mini but mighty: How microbes make the world
- Just the facts, but whose facts? College papers face student ire.
- TV that takes you from an alternate Oxford to a galaxy far, far away
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