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January 2022
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Add The United Nations To The List Of Entities Helping The Chinese Government Oppress Its Minority Uighur Population

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It's no secret the Chinese government wants to control its population through pervasive surveillance. It's also no secret the government wants very badly to eliminate a certain sector of its population with (in every sense of the words) extreme prejudice.China's minority Uighur Muslim population presents an existential threat to a government that is tasked with controlling the hearts and minds of billions of residents. The Uighurs don't buy into the government narrative or whatever passes for a national religion in a country where almost every religious expression has been suppressed.The Chinese government claims to have no national religion. This may be true. But it will only tolerate so many, and Islam isn't one of them. The government has engaged in the mass disappearance of this minority. And it has done so with an alarming amount of assistance from non-Chinese entities, ranging from American tech companies to foreign government officials.It's not like anyone's having trouble divining the Chinese government's intent when it comes to its Uighur population. But even multinational entities charged with keeping the (worldwide) peace and preventing large-scale human rights abuses are giving China what it wants.Enter the United Nations, which has apparently become Nations United Against Uighurs, according to this report for Newsweek by Josh Feldman:

The United Nations, the very institution created to "reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights," is assisting China in its violent efforts to wipe out the Uyghurs by helping the CCP cover its tracks. These were the findings of a recent report in Le Monde about the efforts of UN human rights officer-turned whistleblower Emma Reilly. Reilly claims that prior to every UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session in recent years, China has requested the names of Uyghur and other Chinese dissidents who were scheduled to speak. And despite this being explicitly forbidden by the UN's own rules, the UN, according to Reilly, has made it a practice to share this information with Chinese authorities, who use it to harass the dissidents' families who are still based in China.
True? False? Unconfirmed? Gentlepersons, place your bets. But me personally? I'm siding with confirmed. These complaints about the UN's willingness to aid and abet at least indirect harassment of Uighur residents seem to have a pretty solid basis. This isn't a recent development. The Chinese government has wanted Uighurs regulated to the background of their own genocide for years.
Reilly says she first discovered the practice in 2013, when China's Geneva delegation requested confirmation that certain "anti-government Chinese separatists" were set to speak at the Human Rights Council. Listed individuals included, among others, Dolkun Isa, current president of the World Uyghur Congress.
Emma Reilly, of course, is now faring worse than either the UN or the Chinese government atrocities the UN is helping enable. Despite official confirmation of her allegations by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), she was fired from her position the day after French newspaper Le Monde reported on her accusations.Meanwhile, the UN tries to have it both ways.
The UN in fact confirmed Reilly's allegations in 2017, when the OHCHR acknowledged that it confirms attendees' names with Chinese authorities who "regularly ask the UN Human Rights Office... whether particular NGO delegates are attending the forthcoming session." So too, did a 2019 UN tribunal confirm "the practice of providing names of human rights defenders to the Chinese delegation."
Despite confirming the Chinese government's abuse of UN processes, the UN Secretary-General claimed it blew the Chinese government off when it determined it had no basis to request these names. This assertion was rejected by a UN judge, who said the OHCHR had lied about its actual responses to the Chinese government's demands for names of speakers it wished to silence.But this declaration hasn't changed the math much for the censorial and violent Chinese government. It still gets to participate in worldwide discussions about governance and demand information on UN speakers it doesn't agree with for the apparent purpose of engaging in witness intimidation. It's not that no one can see what's going on in China. It's that, for the most part, those with the power to attempt to force positive change have decided they're outmatched and outgunned by a government whose bark has proven so efficient it never needs to bite. Someone needs to call China's bluff. But those who can not only refuse to challenge the international bully, but actively participate in actions that consolidate its power.

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posted at: 12:00am on 21-Jan-2022
path: /Policy | permalink | edit (requires password)

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'Diablo 2 Resurrection' Includes 30 Day Online Check In For Reasons Nobody Can Figure Out

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When we've talked about any plans to put in online DRM pings when it comes to console gaming, we've typically centered that discussion around the console makers themselves. For older Xbox consoles and, well, all things Nintendo, this has been a particularly annoying problem. Nintendo wanting online checks is just so on brand so as to be only mildly annoying. If you buy Nintendo, you know what you're getting. Microsoft's plan to have online checks for the Xbox made less sense. Piracy of console games isn't nonexistent, but it isn't exactly a massively huge problem given the technical know-how needed in order to use pirated games on modern consoles. Even for game publishers like Activision Blizzard, which has found itself in the headlines for entirely more significant reasons as of late, DRM was typically only included on PC ports of games, not on the console versions themselves.Until now, it seems. Owners of Diablo 2 Resurrected have discovered that it has an online check that makes the game unplayable if the game hasn't checked in within 30 days, even on consoles.

Here’s an interesting turn of events: it seems that those who own Diablo 2 Resurrected, if you don’t log in (online) at least once in 30 days, you cannot play it offline regardless of platform. This was brought to our attention by Twitter user DoesItPlay1, who tweeted that this can be removed with hacks, and servers no real purpose.
This was later confirmed independently. As the post notes, there doesn't seem to be any real purpose to this. Again, console piracy is not to be equated with PC gaming piracy. Putting this check in place for thousands of legit customers to stave off whatever level of console piracy there is for this Diablo title is essentially solving the math problem wrong. On top of that, for those motivated enough, this online check is easily patched out of the game.So, annoying paying customers to combat a problem that really isn't that big a problem via a method that is wildly ineffective. Yup, sounds like DRM to me! As the post notes, this is both an annoyance and a poorly timed one.
Given how much bad publicity Activision and Blizzard Entertainment has been in the past few months, this is probably the last thing gamers want to see from the developers. While I understand that this is a way to combat piracy, why is it activated on consoles too? Or better yet, wasn’t there a better way of implementing it without restricting players who bought it legitimately?
With DRM? Nah, dawg. The only real solution here would be for Activision Blizzard to be more forward-thinking and realizing this online check DRM was fit only for the dumpster to begin with.

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posted at: 12:00am on 21-Jan-2022
path: /Policy | permalink | edit (requires password)

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