Monday, December 31, 2018

Rose Parade includes tribute to Chinese railroad workers

The float is being prepared before it gets covered with flowers for the Rose Parade.

By Ann Thuy Nguyen

THE INCLUSION of a New Year's Day float in the  2019 Tournament of Roses Parade marking the contributions of Chinese American workers made in completing the transcontinental railroad is bringing attention to the near omission of Chinese Americans in that history-making event.

Nearly 150 years ago in Promontory Point, Utah, employees from the Central Pacific Railroad and Union Pacific Railroad companies gathered around two locomotives to celebrate the completion of the first transcontinental railroad. The photograph taken on that May 10, 1869 day has become iconic in U.S. history, but fails to represent the overwhelming majority of the railway’s workforce, the thousands of laborers brought from China.

Wilson Lee, the great-great-grandson of a transcontinental railroad worker, is determined to include Chinese laborers in the railroad’s 150th anniversary in 2019. He serves as co-founder of the Boston-based Chinese American Heritage Foundation (CAHF), a nonprofit “dedicated to celebrating the rich history of Chinese Americans’ contributions to the American spirit” according to its website.

Lee proposed a float for the 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California to commemorate the Chinese and ethnic immigrant laborers’ achievements and hardships.

“We wanted to celebrate the contributions of not just the Chinese immigrants, but all immigrants responsible for the building of America,” he said in a phone interview with AsAmNews. “Not just the ones from 150 years ago, but also the current immigrants today.”
RELATED: Chinese American railroad workers finally get their 'day'
Even though CAHF had zero funding and sponsors when the Rose committee accepted the organization’s application to showcase a float—projected to cost $300,000—Lee did not hesitate to pay the $5500 deposit for the event.

He asked Esther Zee Lee, board chair and president of CAHF—and his wife—to send in the check. She asked if he was sure, and he responded that he was as determined as the day he had asked her to marry him.

Thanks to community partnerships and a primary sponsorship from Union Pacific, CAHF will have the longest float on the 5.5-mile route New Year’s Day 2019.

The float will also be the first Rose Parade float to be sponsored by a Chinese American nonprofit organization.

The 95-foot-long “Harmony through Union” float will feature a one-to-one scale replica of the two train engines from the iconic photograph and large-scaled hands holding a hammer and the iconic golden spike.

What differentiates the “Harmony through Union” and the historic moment is it includes the faces of Chinese people.

Joining CAHF on the float will be retired Major General William (Bill) S. Chen, a descendant of a Chinese railroad worker and the son of a Chinese American veteran of World War II.

Chen, who is also the first Chinese American to achieve 2-star rank in the U.S. Army, is honored to be a part of a float that commemorates the Chinese American railroad workers.

The contributions that Chinese Americans and immigrants like Chen and his family have made to the United States’ economic and political infrastructure have not been fully told.

“For so long, all of my life and for many generations, Chinese Americans and Asian Americans are seen as foreigners. And that we’re visitors or newcomers, but certainly not truly an American,” said Rep. Karen Kwan, the first Chinese American to be elected to the Utah State House of Representatives.

“The thing is that the Chinese have been involved, but they’ve been overlooked like they’re not a true part of American history.” Kwan adds, “All of a sudden, to me, this [float] reminds me of what it’s like to be a part of America and not pushed aside as an other.”[It’s] an integration that doesn’t say we now belong, but we have been here since the beginning, and we have built America

Kwan, who will ride the float with her youngest daughter, also views this float as something larger than oneself—“an integration of American traditions.”

“[It’s] an integration that doesn’t say we now belong, but we have been here since the beginning, and we have built America, ” says Kwan.

Following the float’s debut in the Rose Parade, CAHF will continue to honor the 150th-anniversary of the transcontinental railroad with the “Rebuild America” educational initiative—raising funding to offer free books to various young students on stories about early Chinese pioneers in the United States.

“We want young people to know their stories and those of their ancestors,” says Lee. At the end of the conversation with Wilson Lee, he wanted to emphasize that this float is not for a single audience.

“This is not just a Chinese American float, this is an Asian American float, and this is an immigrant float. He says, “This is America’s float.”
* * *
The Rose Parade begins at 8 a.m. PST on Tuesday, January 1, 2019, in Pasadena, California. Check local listings for detail.

Meet the Asian American Rose Parade princesses

The Tournament of Roses royal court is a picture of inclusion.

LOUISE DESER SISKEL is the first Rose queen with glasses, the first Jewish queen and first LGBTQ queen. 
It's 2019 and California continues to change as immigrants continue to make the state their home as exemplified by the barrier-breaking royal court of the Tournament and Parade of Roses held in Pasadena.
The 2019 Rose queen and her court that will reign over the New Year's Day Rose Parade and traditional Rose Bowl football game, reflect the demographic changes occurring in California, often the harbinger of things to come for the rest of the nation.
Among the six princesses in her court are two high school seniors, Rucha S. Kadam and Sherry Xiaorui Ma, representing the Asian American communities in the San Gabriel Valley where Pasadena is located. The valley's AAPI population about a half-million - more than 42 states - is perhaps the largest concentration of Asian Americans in the country according to a report issued earlier this year from the nonprofit legal advocates, Asian Americans Advancing Justice. 
Rucha, from La Canada High School, told the Pasadena Star-News about her favorite family tradition:
"Both of my parents are from India. While we celebrate all of the traditional American holidays, we also celebrate some Indian holidays. One of my favorites is Diwali, which is the Festival of Lights. We light candles all around the house, and make lots of food and eat a lot. And we do Rangoli, which is colored powder that we make shapes and art from. It’s a very fun time of year."

Sherry, who attends San Marino High School, said her favorite family tradition was the making of New Year dumplings:

"I have an Asian background, so my family would celebrate Chinese New Year. We would spend the entire day making homemade dumplings. Our tradition was we would hide one clean penny in one of the dumplings and a candy in another one. When we ate that night, whoever ate the dumpling with the penny in it has luck in business and wealth, and whoever ate the one with the candy in it would have good luck. My mom has gotten the dumpling with the candy in it every single year. One year I told her she’s not allowed to eat any dumplings until (after dinner). … I ate plates and plates of dumplings and I didn’t get it. It wasn’t until all the guests went home and she finally sat down and had dumplings, the first one she ate had the candy in it, which felt crazy. It just showed me how blessed we are, whether it was real or not (that she would have luck)."

Celebrity chef's criticism of Chinese American restaurants gets his TV shows canceled


THE TRAVEL CHANNEL has stopped production in midseason of Andrew Zimmern’s two programs on the cable network, reports the New York Post.

In a video promoting his new restaurant Lucky Cricket, Zimmern said: "I think I’m saving the souls of all the people from having to dine at these horseh*t- restaurants masquerading as Chinese food that are in the Midwest.”

The network confirms the remaining episodes of Bizarre Foods and The Zimmern List are no longer airing in prime time, but instead can be seen on a rotation basis on Saturday mornings. Filming has been discontinued.

More than one month after Zimmern’s comments, the backlash has not died down. The Washington Post this week ran a story featuring comments from Minnesotans about the chef, a resident of the Twin Cities.

“If we have to be the generation that is going to be calling out problematic behavior, because in the past it hasn’t been, then I’m going to do it. . . . I will do a 100-year war with him,” said Eve Wu, a baker.

Eve along with her husband and chef, Eddie Wu, and Hmong American chef, Chris Her, held a popup to generate a discussion around the controversy.

Zimmern made his comments in a video interview meant to promote his fusion Chinese restaurant, Lucky Cricket outside Minneapolis.

“I let myself get carried away and have too much fun as opposed to realizing that I was working,” he said to the Washington Post. “You stop being mindful, and you say something flippant. You’re not being precise with your words.”

The Travel Channel denies it fired Zimmern because of his comments, saying the decision had been made prior to the controversy.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Sunday Read: Growing anti-China rhetoric and policies may spill over on all Asian Americans

China President Xi and Donald Trump met in early December to try calm trade war anxiety.

IF PAST HISTORY is any indication, Asian Americans could be victims of the growing anti-China sentiment emanating from the White House as the world powers play a game of chicken in the trade wars and tit-for-tat detentions of citizens of the other's countries.

The growing incidents of "go-back-to-your-country" verbal and physical attacks on Asian Americans riding subways, or going about their ordinary humdrum business could just be the beginning of renewed anti-Asian assaults 

Assaults while driving, buying groceries or simply purchasing a cup of coffee could just be the beginning of new anti-Asian sentiment hasn't been seen since the last time the U.S. felt its economic prominence was challenged in 1982 when two Detroit auto workers beat Chinese American Vincent Chin to death because they thought he was Japanese. 

The ongoing Trump-instigated trade wars between the U.S. and China is at the heart of the matter but China's alleged attempts to steal U.S. industrial secrets, alleged hacking into American business and government computer systems and it's aggressive PR campaign targeting U.S. Asians are adding fuel to the fire.

From China's perspective, the U.S. started the trade war and they would be right. Trump added a 25% tariff on $34 millions of Chinese goods last summer. In retaliation, China added a 25% tariff on U.S. products. The two countries went back and forth and to date, the U.S. has already put tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods, and could slap duties on an additional $267 billion in imports. Beijing has responded with tariffs on $110 billion in U.S. goods targeting politically important industries such as agriculture.

Then, when it looked like there might be some thawing on Dec. 1, the same day as President Trump and President Xi sat down at the G20 to work on easing the trade war, Canada arrested Sabrina Meng Wanzhou of Huawei Technologies CFO, China's equivalent to Apple. She now faces extradition to the U.S. over possible violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran by Huawei.
In apparent retaliation, China arrests three Canadian citizens Michael Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat, Michael Spavor, a China-based business consultant, on December 10, along with teacher Sarah McIver. The latter was released Saturday (Dec. 28) but Spavor and Kovrig remain detained  on allegations of “engaging in activities that endanger the national security” of China.
Sabrina Meng Wanzhou is out on bail.
The U.S. and Canada have demanded the release of Spavor and Kovrig, callling their detention arbitrary and compared their arrests to Meng's whose arrest is transparent and who will retain the rights of a person who is innocent until proven guilty.
China spokeswoman Hua Chunying shot back, according to the South China Morning Post, blasting the involvement of the U.S. Britain and the EU weighing on behalf of Canada:

“I wonder how they are involved in this case? Where were their voices when the senior manager of the Chinese company was illegally detained by the Canadian side at the behest of the US?” asked Hua, in comments published in English on the ministry’s website.

“It is quite obvious that the human rights they are talking about have different standards when it comes to citizens of different countries.”
As the report's warnings are disseminated, the Department of Justice appears to have stepped up its surveillance and indictments against Chinese and Chinese American students, scientists and employees of American companies.

Disputes between China and the U.S. include market access, intellectual property, industrial policies and cybersecurity.

In the past month, U.S. authorities arrested or indicted several Chinese Americans allegedly stealing trade secrets and accusing Chinese hackers for breaking into the Marriott Hotel computers to gather information on 50 million guests.

Earlier this month, the U.S. indicted Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilong with conspiracy to commit computer "intrusions, conspiracy to commit wire fraud" and identity theft. 

“The indictment alleges that the defendants were part of a group that hacked computers in at least a dozen countries and gave China’s intelligence service access to sensitive business information,” said Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein.

"More than 90 percent of the Department’s cases alleging economic espionage over the past seven years involve China," Rosenstein stated. "More than two-thirds of the Department’s cases involving thefts of trade secrets are connected to China."

It's not surprising that the Republican dominated Congress got into the act. Consider the Stop Higher Education Espionage and Theft Act, a bill introduced by Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., to help colleges protect against malicious foreign actors. The bill would ask the FBI to designate a list of “foreign intelligence threats to higher education,” which would be subject to heightened scrutiny and transparency.

In a statement, Rooney claimed the Confucius Institutes, a program funded by the Chinese government that partners with U.S. universities to promote Chinese language and culture was part of China's "Infiltration" strategy. Rooney labeled the institutes as “a front by the Chinese Communist Party to infiltrate American campuses to gather information and steal American technologies.”

Cruz and Rooney cite Chinese-government programs as a source of potential threats to the integrity of American colleges and universities,. Rep. Judy Chu, D-CA, objects to their bill as an “irresponsible” attempt to “categorize an entire country of people en masse as spies.”

Civil rights advocates have said the bill is just an attempt to whip up fear and animosity towards Chinese and Chinese Americans. The suspicions and fear raised by that mindset  the bill perpetuates has led to several baseless and dismissed charges against Chinese academics and scientists.

Rooney was just repeating comments by FBI Director Christopher Wray’s remarks in a February hearing that drew a backlash from Asian-American civil rights organizations. Wray had labeled China a “whole-of-society threat” and accused Chinese individuals in academia of “taking advantage” of the American universities open environment.

In response, Wray noted that “in almost every field office” the FBI sees China’s “use of nontraditional collectors (of information), especially in the academic setting, whether it’s professors, scientists, students.”

Just a few days before Canada arrested Meng, a report was released that outlined China's propaganda campaign meant to gain support for the authoritarian government of the Peoples' Republic of China. The report titled “Chinese Influence & American Interests.” in which longtime China watchers warned of the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to influence U.S. universities, media, think tanks and companies—but haven't included election-meddling—have become so pervasive that they are undermining democratic processes.

“The ambition of Chinese activity in terms of the breadth, depth of investment of financial resources, and intensity requires far greater scrutiny than it has been getting, because China is intervening more resourcefully and forcefully across a wider range of sectors than Russia,” said the report, published by the conservative think tank Hoover Institute out of Stanford University.
For example, WeChat, the immensely popular messaging app that connects Chinese Americans with each other and relatives in China, is owned by Ten-Cent, whose CEO, multi-billionaire Jack Ma, is a card-carrying member of China's Communisty Party. Relatively unknown outside of the Chinese American community, the app was successfully used to mobiliize Chinese Americans against the affirmative action programs at elite Ivy League collleges, which its users believe discriminate against qualified Chinese American applicants. 
WeChat was the megaphone and bulletin board for a small, but organized group of Chinese Americans to make it appear that it had widespread support among the Asian American community even though the AAPI community backs the goals of affirmative action. Eventually get their claims heard in a U.S. court that will most likely make its way up to the Supreme Court.
The Hoover report goes on to say that Beijing targets the Chinese American community, viewing them as members of a Chinese diaspora with an “allegiance to the so-called Motherland.”

China's media strategy creates the risk that Chinese Americans will be caught up in anti-China rhetoric considering the inability of most non-Asians to distinguish between Chinese Americans and citizens of China. Chinese Americans already suffer from being viewed as  perpetual foreigners no matter how many generations their families have been in the U.S.   

Chinese Americans have historically been viewed suspiciously within the U.S. even though few may accept Beijing’s directives, the report says. The report urges against demonizing any group of Americans or visitors to the U.S.

Susan Shirk, a professor at the University of California, San Diego, and the lone dissenter to the report's conclusions of her fellow academics, said she took no issue with the evidence gathered but felt the report’s conclusions overstated the threats.

“Especially during this moment in American political history, overstating the threat of subversion from China risks causing overreactions reminiscent of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, including an anti-Chinese version of the Red Scare that would put all ethnic Chinese under a cloud of suspicion,” she said.

CORRECTION: Earlier versions of this post misidentified FBI director Christopher Wray.

Asian American classic novel to be republished

Comedian Hasan Minaj reads 'America Is In the Heart.'


America Is in the Heart, a must read in many classrooms, will be republished by Penguin Classics 73 years after its debut, reports CNN.

Written by Carlos Bulosan, the book follows the journey of an immigrant, Allos, as he treks from poverty in the Philippines to a migrant life during the Depression era of the United States. Through his travels, Allos experiences rampant racism, police brutality and labor struggles.

Poet, essayist, novelist, fiction writer and labor organizer, Bulosan wrote one of the most influential working class literary classics about the U.S. pre-World War II, a period and setting similar to that of Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and Cannery Row.

The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center last year held a reading of Bulosan’s novel-relating it to the immigrant experience today. The reading featured Junot Díaz, Hasan Minhaj and Ivy Quicho.

Penguin Classics will release the new edition of America Is in the Heart in May 2019 in time for Asian American History Month. Three other Asian American books will be released at the same time- The Hanging on Union Square by H.T. Tsiang, the first Japanese American novel No-No Boy by John Okada, and East Goes West by Younghill Kang.


Saturday, December 29, 2018

Arrest made in fatal shooting of Newman police officer Ronil Singh; Trump weighs in

Reggie Singh, brother of slain police officer Ronil Singh, reacted to the arrest of the shooting suspect.



DONALD TRUMP used the death of Newman police officer Ronil Singh as an argument for his wall because the arrested suspect turned out to be undocumented.

Police captured Gustavo Perez Arriaga in the Kern County town of Lamont, California, a couple of hundred miles south of where Singh was shot during a DUI traffic stop.

His older brother Reggie Singh reacted to the arrest in a Friday (Dec. 28) press conference.

“Yes, he’s not coming back,” Singh said tearfully speaking about his brother. “There’s a lot of people out there that misses him.” Reggie thanks a long list of law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation that lead to the arrest.

Newman Officer Ronil Singh
“Officer Singh’s handcuffs were brought down, and they’re on that guy for his trip home,” Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said.

Police have connected Arriaga to the Sureños street gang. Five other people have also been arrested, including Arriaga’s brother, Adrian Virgen , and a co-worker, Erik Razo Quiroz. They are accused of aiding and abetting in the killing.

Arriaga was believed headed back to Mexico, according to CNN. He has been described as being in the country illegally. The president has used that as justification for his proposed border wall.

Arriaga's arrest was used by Donald Trump to stoke fear and argue for his Stupid Wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. He tweeted, that it was “time to get tough on Border Security. Build the Wall!”

Numerous studies have demonstrated that undocumented immigrants are less likely to be engaged in criminal activity than native-born Americans.

“We can’t ignore the fact that this could have been preventable,” Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson told reporters, asking why the state was “providing sanctuary for criminals (and) gang members. It’s a conversation we need to have.”

Earlier this year, California pass laws that limited cooperation between local authorities and federal immigration officials. and bars police from asking people about their citizneship status. However, the so-called sanctuary law includes more than 800 exceptions fro violent crimes and felonies.

The earlier charges against Arriega fall under those exceptions, notes Sen. Kevin de Leon, who crafted the legislation. “He should’ve been in the physical custody of law enforcement,” de Leon said. To blame the law “is highly irresponsible.”

Rural Newman with a population of about 11,000 was hit hard by Singh's death, especially its 12-person policed department.

About 1000 mourners made up of Singh's relatives, fellow officers and other sympathizers gathered Friday night for a candlelight vigil honoring the fallen officer in Newman.

“This is a man that loved his country," said Newman Police Chief Randy Richardson at the  vigil. "This is a man that worked hard for what he believed in. He believed in this community.”

Friday, December 28, 2018

TGIF Feature: Sneak peek of 'Deadly Class' starring Lana Condor

Lana Condor as Sya Kuroki in 'Deadly Class.;

LANA CONDOR's first television series, 'Deadly Class' is set to officially kick off on Jan. 16 on the SyFy channel but you can get a sneak peek at the first episode.

Condor's role as Saya Kuroki, a katana-wielding badass, is about as far from Lara Jean Covey of To All The Boys I Ever Loved, tNetflix's romantic comedy that made her a teen favorite.

Set in 1986 San Francisco, Deadly Class is based on a dark comic novel. Although it's a Marvel product, it's not in the same universe as Marvel's other superheroes so don't expect Iron Man to pop up.

King's Dominion is the school where the world's killers send their kids (including th eCIA and FBI).The rest of the student body come from crime families. The big men on campus are from the drug cartels. Condor's character comes from a Yakuza crime family. I doubt the school has a marching band.

The official description reads:
Deadly Class follows Marcus, a disillusioned teen recruited into an elite private academy where the world’s top crime families send their successors. Maintaining his moral code while navigating a ruthless curriculum, vicious social cliques, and his own adolescent uncertainties may prove fatal. Set against the backdrop of late 80s counter culture, Deadly Class is a coming of age story unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Based on the smash hit comic series of the same name by Rick Remender.

The show also stars Benedict Wong (Marco Polo, Dr. Strange) as head instructor in the deadly arts.

You can watch the first episode of Deadly Class here, or do a search on your DVR.

The concept sounds interesting. I'll give it a shot for a few episodes. 


Multi-lingualism doesn't hamper one's education, say researchers.

MY PARENTS came to this country from the Philippines in 1950. I was 3-years old and was just learning to speak Tagalog, the Filipino dialect my parents used at home.

As new immigrants of that era, they wanted their kids to fit in this new country as soon as possible. They came from the school that their children learn English as quickly as possible. 

With my parents' encouragement, I quickly learned English but unfortunately, along the way, I lost what little Tagalog that I had learned in the Philippines. 

My parents did what they thought was best for me and I don't fault them for that. But, damn! I wish I was fluent in a language other than English.

Educators today, now know that the ability to speak more than one language doesn't hamper one's ability to learn and communicate. In fact, researchers say bilingual speakers may have an advantage in learning.

The following article is from AsAm News:

By Mahchid Namazi, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Kean University &Betty Kollia,
Ph.D., CCC-SLP, William Paterson University

AS CLASSROOMS are becoming increasingly diverse, professionals are continually learning to provide services to bilingual children. In the last 30 years, as the number of children has increased by 10 percent in the U.S., those whose home language is not English has more than doubled.

Speech Language Pathologists (SLP) and teachers are focused on young “English Language Learners” (ELLs) and their skills in English vs. their native language. Children’s ability to understand and express themselves in English will be enhanced when their first language is supported and included.

Studies associate bilingualism with many positive outcomes. These include intellectual benefits such as increased metalinguistic awareness, better attentional control and enhanced problem-solving.

Research studies indicate that bilingualism creates high-level language skills. Bilingual children have also been found to perform better than their monolingual peers on tasks that require selective attention.

With the growing number of bilingual students in our schools, it’s time to dismiss common myths such as bilingualism causing language confusion and language difficulties, or that children learn a second language simply by watching television or using an electronic device.

The New Jersey Speech-Language-Hearing Association (NJSHA) urges parents to embrace bilingualism by:
  • Pursuing ongoing opportunities to expose children to your home language (e.g., spending time every day reading a book, listening to a story, or playing a game.)
  • Increasing the opportunity to practice each language in culturally rich activities that include stories told by others, songs, traditional games, reading and writing.
  • Exploring culturally specific activities and functions with family members and in the community.
  • Creating situations that require a child to use your home language (e.g., making phone calls to relatives).
  • Encouraging children to speak your home language. Avoid correcting mistakes. Instead, model the appropriate way to say what the child is trying to communicate.
Learning a language is a complex process for everyone. Children need to learn vocabulary, grammar, and other rules of language as they are working to become competent speakers. This is true, regardless of the language being learned. As bilingual children become more and more proficient in English, they may code switch. This is normal.

Bilingual children must learn the speech sounds of two different languages and sound systems usually vary. Some English sounds do not exist in other languages and there are sounds in other languages that are not part of English. Therefore, sound substitutions may occur as children learn to speak different languages. This will most likely result in speech errors until children discern which speech sounds go with each language. This is normal.

If speech sound errors persist beyond age 5, or if the child’s speech remains difficult to understand by people in the child’s linguistic community, then an SLP should conduct an assessment.

Parents who notice problems are urged to learn more by calling NJSHA at 888-906-5742 or by emailing

The authors are members of the New Jersey Speech-Language-Hearing Association.


Thursday, December 27, 2018

FBI accuses hackers of stealing U.S. identities, trade secrets for China

A MASSIVE hacking operation allegedly by China was revealed in indictments against two men for hacking attacks on the U.S. Navy and on NASA, and who also stole information from private companies in 12 different countries

The unsealing of an indictment in the Manhattan federal court charged Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilong, both nationals of the People’s Republic of China, with conspiracy to commit computer intrusions, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft was announced 
Dec. 20.

DOJ officials say Zhu and Zhang were members of a hacking group operating out of China known in the cyber security community as Advanced Persistent Threat 10 (the APT10 Group). The defendants worked for a company in China called Huaying Haitai Science and Technology Development Company (Huaying Haitai) and acted in association with the Chinese Ministry of State Security’s Tianjin State Security Bureau. 

Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilong
“The indictment alleges that the defendants were part of a group that hacked computers in at least a dozen countries and gave China’s intelligence service access to sensitive business information,” said Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. “This is outright cheating and theft, and it gives China an unfair advantage at the expense of law-abiding businesses and countries that follow the international rules in return for the privilege of participating in the global economic system.”

Through their involvement with the APT10 Group, from at least in or about 2006 up to and including in or about 2018, Zhu and Zhang conducted global campaigns of computer intrusions targeting, among other data, intellectual property and confidential business and technological information at managed service providers (MSPs), which are companies that remotely manage the information technology infrastructure of businesses and governments around the world, more than 45 technology companies in at least a dozen U.S. states, and U.S. government agencies. 

According to court documents, the APT10 Group targeted a diverse array of commercial activity, industries and technologies, including aviation, satellite and maritime technology, industrial factory automation, automotive supplies, laboratory instruments, banking and finance, telecommunications and consumer electronics, computer processor technology, information technology services, packaging, consulting, medical equipment, healthcare, biotechnology, pharmaceutical manufacturing, mining, and oil and gas exploration and production. 

According to a statement by Hua Chunying, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, called the charges a defamation and false, then turned around and accused U.S. agencies of the same crimes.

'It has long been an open secret that U.S. federal agencies hacked and monitored foreign governments, companies and individuals', Hua said.

In or about 2006, members of the APT10 Group, including Zhu and Zhang, accessed the computers and computer networks of more than 45 technology companies and U.S. government agencies, in order to steal information and data concerning a number of technologies (the Technology Theft Campaign). 

Through the Technology Theft Campaign, the APT10 Group stole hundreds of gigabytes of sensitive data and targeted the computers of victim companies involved in aviation, space and satellite technology, manufacturing technology, pharmaceutical technology, oil and gas exploration and production technology, communications technology, computer processor technology, and maritime technology.

The victimized companies included: a global financial institution, three telecommunications and/or consumer electronics companies; three companies involved in commercial or industrial manufacturing; two consulting companies; a healthcare company; a biotechnology company; a mining company; an automotive supplier company; and a drilling company.

Finally, the APT10 Group compromised more than 40 computers in order to steal sensitive data belonging to the Navy, including the names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, salary information, personal phone numbers, and email addresses of more than 100,000 Navy personnel.

If found guilty, Zhu and Zhang could face up to 27 years in prison. However, because there is no extradition agreement between the U.S. and China, the two men would likely never serve their sentences.

Police seek suspect in fatal shooting of Fijian American police officer

AUTHORITIES IN CALIFORNIA are asking residents to be on the lookout for a man who shot and killed a police officer in California's Central Valley town of Newman.

KCBS Radio reports the suspect is believed to have shot the officer during a traffic stop at 1 a.m. Wednesday (Dec. 26).

The officer has been identified as Newman Police officer Ronil Singh, a native of Fiji who has been with the department since 2011.

Singh could be heard screaming “shots fired,” over his police radio. When officers arrived, they found him wounded. Emergency units rushed Singh to the hospital where he later would die.

“Our Newman Police family is devastated by the loss of Ronil,” said Newman Police Chief Randy Richardson. “If anyone has any information regarding the identity of the suspect, please contact law enforcement immediately so we can get this cop-killer off the streets.”

The suspect is described as an Hispanic man, heavyset, with close-cropped black hair. He was last seen driving a silver Dodge Ram 1500 extended-cab pickup truck, model year 2002 to 2009. The truck did not have a license plate, but instead had an “AR Auto” sign where the license normally would be.
An uncle, Ugesh Yogi Singh, said in a Facebook post that his nephew had been “working overtime on Christmas night to provide the best for his family,” referring to the slain officer as “my adventurous nephew” and “my family’s action hero.”

Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department spokesperson Raj Singh told KCRA-TV that he knew the Officer 
Ronil Singh.

"He was living the American dream. He immigrated here from the Fiji islands, just like my parents did, and was definitely enjoying the American dream," Deputy Raj Singh said. "(He) loved camping. He loved hunting. He loved fishing. He loved his family. He loved visiting them back in Fiji. He loved having his family come over here."

A resident of northeast Modesto, Ronil Singh is survived by his wife, Anamika, and their 5-month-old son.

The police are seeking the suspect as seen here by security cameras.

Views From the Edge contributed to this report.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Christmas Eve pardons include six Cambodians detained by ICE

Supporters created this flyer to keep Sear Un (shown with his wife) from being deported.
ON CHRISTMAS EVE, six Cambodian refugees slated for deportation were pardoned by California Gov. Jerry Brown.
In the waning days of his final term in office, Brown pardoned 131 individuals including six Cambodian refugees including one who was on a flight was to Texas last week to join other detained Cambodians for deportation to Cambodia.
Because of Brown's action, Sear Un was able to spend Christmas with his family. Sear immigrated to the United States from Cambodia in 1984, fleeing genocide at the age of 7. 
In 1998, Sear was convicted for a residential burglary that netted him a total of $120. In the two decades since, Sear never committed another crime and instead dedicated himself to his family and community.
The past year has been devastating for Southeast Asian refugee communities as ICE carried out the largest raids on the Cambodian and Vietnamese communities in U.S. history. 
Last week ICE was flying Sear and 35 other Cambodians to Texas, where another flight was scheduled to deport them to Cambodia. During the flight, Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus attorneys learned of Brown’s pardon. That pardon pulled Sear off of this deportation flight and allows him time to reopen his case in immigration court.
“I have a lot of gratitude for my family and community for standing up for me,” said Sear Un. “I hope that future California governors will continue to recognize the injustice afflicting our communities today and act to end the suffering that continues to tear our families apart.”
“We are profoundly grateful that Sear is home for the holidays and that he was released from ICE custody in time for his daughter’s 4th birthday,” said Kevin Lo, Staff Attorney at Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus. 
“While we applaud Governor Brown for pardoning Sear, ICE continues to raid the Cambodian community every four months. We hope Governor-Elect (Gavin) Newsom will continue using pardons to prevent these unjust deportations.”

The deportations are part of Donald Trump's immigration policy of deporting individuals with criminal records even if they had served their sentences. About 2000 Cambodian Americans, many who had never set foot in Cambodia, are on ICE's list to deport.
Brown's pardons don't automatically stop deportation proceedings, but they eliminate the state convictions on which federal authorities might base deportation decisions. That gives the men's lawyers strong legal arguments before immigration judges to try to prevent their removal from the country.
"I would say that it is absolutely certain that there are other people on board who could have reopened their removal orders," Lo added in an email to Voice of America.

ANALYSIS: Signs point to Kamala Devi HarrIs running for president

Kamala Harris paused with a photo with old friend and possible rival former Vice President Joe Biden.
AT LEAST ONE PUNDIT has proclaimed Sen. Kamala Harris as the next president of the United States.

After blasting Donald Trump for not being strong enough on building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, radical conservative rabble-rouser Ann Coulter wrote in her online column, that because of Trump's (in her eyes) waffling on the border issue, she "absolutely" guarantees "that the next president is a Democrat. And given today's Democratic Party, that president will be Kamala Harris."

Considering the source, I'm pretty sure that's more of a threat intended to stir up conservative voters and certainly not an endorsement.

As we await Harris' expected announcement after the holidays, more and more signs point towards her candidacy. The No. 1 sign? Conservatives are stepping up their attacks on the California senator. 

Harris' critics don't like what she is saying. When she praises Dr. Christine Blasey Ford for coming forward to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct; when she says that Trump's policies against immigrants is not represent America; when she tells Democrats to not shirk from talking about the far right's racism; when she says America's criminal justice system is weighed against the poor, the voiceless and especially against African American males, when tells women to run for office

Last week's trip to Afghanistan -- with two Republican peers, no less -- appears to be an attempt to bolster Harris' foreign policy credentials.

Her trips to Iowa and New Hampshire introduced her to Democratic or liberal activists in those early primary states.

A very prominent endorsement of Stacey Abrams in her campaign for Georgia's governor made a strong statement to African American women, one of the steadiest, reliable voting blocs.

In fact, criss-crossing across the country endorsing candidates here and there, win or lose, stashed away a bunch of political IOUs that she can draw on during the brutal Democratic endorsement campaign that will weed out the almost two dozen Democrats who want to challenge Donald Trump.

Harris has placed No. 1 in CNN's 2020 power rankings for the last few months even though recent polls show her behind former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders and newcomer tot he national scene Beto O'Roarke, who almost upset Texas Senator Ted Cruz last November.

However, Harris virtually swept the field of would-be candidates in the She the People. poll, claiming more than 71 percent support. Trailing in second place was O'Rourke with a little more than 38 percent, the survey found.

The straw poll released Tuesday (Dec. 18) of politically involved women of color by the group She the People cannot be ignored.

It's hard to find a more important primary group than women of color, reports CNN. They are by far the most Democratic aligned major demographic group. Women of color powered Hillary Clinton's sweep of the Southeast in the 2016 primary. Just last year, they were the base for Democrat Doug Jones's shocking victory in the Alabama special Senate election.

Those survey results are encouraging for Harris and sets the stage expected this week or next. She said she would announce her decision after the holidays after discussing with her family the pros and cons of a campaign in the context of a country driven to the extremes by the current administration. 

As a woman of color -- Asian and black -- and the daughter of immigrants, running in a campaign against mainly white men (although we shouldn't discount the handful of other women who have expressed interest in joining the fray, including Hawaii's Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Hindu American) her gender and her race will likely be targets of dispersion by her opponents. Watch for code words if not outright sexist or racist statements from those rivals and from the White House. 

Sen. Kamala Harris polls well with women.
In the era of a growing awareness of women to take charge in order to create the necessary changes we need to make government work for the people, not just the privileged few; and with the demographics that show that women and people of color when joined together could be a formidable force if not the majority of voters -- sooner than the mid-century predictions by demographers; her gender and her racial heritage could be seen more as assets rather than liabilities.

She is not naive. Harris expects a difficult race to garner the Democratic nomination given the number of aspirants and if she gets the nomination, the contest vs. the Republican candidate will likely be even bloodier. 

Harris is no pushover and has shown she knows how to punch as well as to weather blows. She will likely be pressured by liberal interest groups to forego money from special interest PACs, so her ability to raise funds from the traditional Democratic donors, labor and a talent for generating millions of dollars from small online donations from ordinary voters will be even more important in order to run not only against a Republican candidate but also against her Democratic rivals.

The advantage of being the first out of the gate is first dibs on asking donors for their support, securing important endorsements from local and nationally known politicians, and commitments from activists who will form the infastructure and boots-on-the-ground needed for a national campaign.

The disadvantage is that the candidate becomes an easy target for Democratic rivals and the effective Republican hit machine, led by Fox News and the First Twitterer, which is far better than the Democrats at exaggerating flaws and just outright making things up. 

Let's also not discount the Russian Internet strategy and the U.S. citizens who assist them in magnifying issues, real or fictional, and misleading and firing up conservative-leaning voters and racists and confusing American voters on both sides of the political spectrum.

"I always start my campaigns early, and I run hard," said Harris. "Maybe it comes from the rough-and-tumble world of San Francisco politics, where it's not even a contact sport - it's a blood sport. This is how I am as a candidate. This is how I run campaigns."

If she chooses to join the scramble for the White House, Harris will need that determination and endurance for the upcoming gauntlet. The Iowa Caucuses are a little more than a year away and we will learn the decision from Kamala Devi Harris soon enough.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Updated Dec. 26 for clarity and addition for information about Russians.