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by Mary Margaret Olohan

 

Democratic California Sen. Dianne Feinstein praised China Thursday as a country “growing into a respectable nation” and cautioned against holding the country accountable for the coronavirus pandemic.

“We hold China as a potential trading partner, as a country that has pulled tens of millions of people out of poverty in a short period of time, and as a country growing into a respectable nation amongst other nations.

I deeply believe that,” Feinstein said during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting Thursday, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

The California senator added that stripping China of the country’s foreign sovereign immunity would be a “huge mistake,” noting that if China is held accountable for the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the United States may also be held accountable, the Washington Free Beacon reports.

Her support for China comes despite the country’s continuing human rights violations.

A June AP investigation found that the Chinese government is using forced abortions, birth control, mass detentions, and imprisonment to dramatically lower the birthrates of Uighur Muslims and other minorities while encouraging other populations to produce more children.

Drone footage has also captured blindfolded and chained Uighurs kneeling before they are forced onto trains, the Beacon notes.

In response to the footage, Xinjiang authorities told CNN in an October 4, 2019 statement that “cracking down on crimes in accordance with law is the common practice of all countries.”

“Xinjiang’s crackdown on crimes has never been linked to ethnicities or religions,” the statement said. “Transporting inmates by judicial authorities (is related) to normal judicial activities.”

And on Wednesday, an ESPN investigation found that coaches at the NBA’s training academies in China allegedly physically abuse players and fail to provide proper training and education for players. The investigation was based on complaints from American coaches at three different academies.

Feinstein formerly was found to have an alleged spy working in her office relaying information to Chinese intelligence services. The Daily Caller News Foundation identified the individual as Russel Lowe, who worked for Feinstein for 20 years, “attended Chinese consulate functions for the senator” and had been fired in 2014.

Feinstein had said that Lowe did not have access to “sensitive information or legislative matters” though he was listed on Feinstein’s payroll as an “office director” in 2013, according to records maintained by the Sunlight Foundation, the the DCNF previously reported.

“Five years ago the FBI informed me it had concerns that an administrative member of my California staff was potentially being sought out by the Chinese government to provide information. He was not a mole or a spy, but someone who a foreign intelligence service thought it could recruit,” Feinstein said in a statement following requests for comment from the DCNF in 2018.

“The FBI reviewed the matter, shared its concerns with me and the employee immediately left my office,” she said. “He never had access to classified or sensitive information or legislative matters. The FBI never informed me of any compromise of national security information.”

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Mary Margaret Olohan is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tags: ccp china dianne feinstein

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Russia becomes first nation to clear coronavirus vaccine

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during a video conference meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow in Moscow, Russia. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia on Tuesday became the first country to clear a coronavirus vaccine and declare it ready for use, despite international skepticism. President Vladimir Putin said that one of his daughters has already been inoculated.

Putin emphasized that the vaccine underwent the necessary tests and has proven efficient, offering a lasting immunity from the coronavirus. However, scientists at home and abroad have been sounding the alarm that the rush to start using the vaccine before Phase 3 trials — which normally last for months and involve thousands of people — could backfire.

Speaking at a government meeting Tuesday, Putin said that the vaccine has undergone proper testing and is safe.

Read More: Dr. Anthony Fauci says a coronavirus vaccine may be coming in 2021

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a cabinet meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020. (Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

“I know it has proven efficient and forms a stable immunity, and I would like to repeat that it has passed all the necessary tests,” he said. “We must be grateful to those who made that first step very important for our country and the entire world.”

The Russian leader added that one of his two adult daughters has received two shots of the vaccine. “She has taken part in the experiment,” Putin said.

Putin said that his daughter had a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 Fahrenheit) on the day of the first vaccine injection, and then it dropped to just over 37 degrees (98.6 Fahrenheit) on the following day. After the second shot she again had a slight increase in temperature, but then it was all over.

“She’s feeling well and has high number of antibodies,” Putin added. He didn’t specify which of his two daughters — Maria or Katerina — received the vaccine.

The Health Ministry said in Tuesday’s statement that the vaccine is expected to provide immunity from the coronavirus for up to two years.

Putin emphasized that vaccination will be voluntary,

Russian authorities have said that medical workers, teachers and other risk groups will be the first to be inoculated. Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said that the vaccination of doctors could start as early as this month.

Read More: U.S. government gives Moderna Inc $472 million for coronavirus vaccine development

Professor Alexander Gintsburg, head of the Gamaleya Institute that developed the vaccine, said that vaccination will start while the Phase 3 trials continue. He said that initially there will be only enough doses to conduct vaccination in 10-15 of Russia’s 85 regions, according to the Interfax news agency.

Russian officials have said that large-scale production of the vaccine will start in September, and mass vaccination may begin as early as October.

Russia has registered 897,599 coronavirus cases, including 15,131 deaths.

When the pandemic struck Russia, Putin ordered state officials to shorten the time of clinical trials for potential coronavirus vaccines.

Laboratory to conduct research on the coronavirus (COVID-19) in order to diagnose, test and develop a vaccine. (Photo by Pedro Vilela/Getty Images)

Becoming the first country in the world to develop a vaccine was a matter of national prestige for the Kremlin as it tries to assert the image of Russia as a global power. State television stations and other media have praised scientists working on it and presented the work as the envy of other nations.

Gintsburg raised eyebrows in May when he said that he and other researchers tried the vaccine on themselves.

Human studies started June 17 among 76 volunteers. Half were injected with a vaccine in liquid form and the other half with a vaccine that came as soluble powder. Some in the first half were recruited from the military, which raised concerns that servicemen may have been pressured to participate.

Read More: UK coronavirus vaccine prompts immune response in early test

Amid Russia’s rush to become the first to create a vaccine, the U.S., Britain and Canada last month accused Russia of using hackers to steal vaccine research from Western labs.

As the trials were declared completed, questions arose about the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness. Some experts scoffed at Russian authorities’ assurances that the vaccine drug produced the desired immune response and caused no significant side effects, pointing out that such claims need to be backed by published scientific data.

The World Health Organization said all vaccine candidates should go through full stages of testing before being rolled out. Experts have warned that vaccines that are not properly tested can cause harm in many ways — from a negative impact on health to creating a false sense of security or undermining trust in vaccinations.

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