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Blinken says ‘of course’ Biden admin supports Iran, China protestors amid GOP blasting response as ‘weak’

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday responded to criticism from Republicans like Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida for the Biden administration’s “weak” and “cowardly” response to protests over China’s “zero COVID” policy, insisting the administration fully supports the protestors.

Blinken appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” where he was pressed by anchor Jake Tapper about whether the administration supports these protests, prompting Blinken to say, “Of course we do.”

“We support the right of people everywhere, whether it’s in China, whether it’s Iran, whether it’s anyplace else, to protest peacefully, to make known their views, to vent their frustrations,” Blinken said. “And as that’s repressed in one way or another in any given country, we speak out against it. We stand up against it and we take action against it.”

“In the case of Iran, we’ve worked very hard to impose sanctions on those responsible for the crackdown on mostly Iranian women who have been leading in an incredibly courageous way these protests since the death of Mahsa Amini, as well as trying to make sure that Iranians have in their hands the communications technology to allow them to continue talking to each other and connect with the outside world,” Blinken continued. ” We’ve spoken out against the repression of protestors anywhere, including in China.”

PROTESTERS IN WUHAN, CHINA SEEN PUSHING THROUGH BARRIER AS US SENATORS WARN AGAINST VIOLENT CRACKDOWN

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks about the launch initiative to support Afghan women during the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks about the launch initiative to support Afghan women during the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. 
(David Dee Delgado/Pool Photo via AP)

Sen. Rubio and Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., released a joint statement late last month blasting the Biden administration regarding the “historic mass protests against General Secretary Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).”

“The Biden Administration’s weak rejection of the CCP’s zero-Covid policy and refusal to call out General Secretary Xi’s totalitarian grip is nothing short of cowardly. Just weeks after shaking hands with Xi in Bali, President Biden and his administration have once again demonstrated that they are unwilling to stand up to the CCP and stand in solidarity with the Chinese people,” the Republican lawmakers said.

Blinken went on to say that “this is not about us” and that the focus should be on the protestors in both countries who are “trying to have their aspirations met.” Blinken was then asked what he plans on telling Chinese President Xi Jinping regarding the protestors at the beginning of 2023 when he travels to China.

“We’ll say what we always say and what President Biden has said to Xi Jinping, which is that human rights and basic civil liberties go to the heart of who we are as Americans and no American government, no American president is going to be silent on that,” Blinken said. “It’s very important that we’re communicating directly and clearly with China. We want to make sure there are no misunderstandings, no miscommunication, that we have a floor under the relationship and that the president has had a productive conversation in that sense.”

Over the last week, protests in China have spread across approximately 20 provinces in China over the country’s “zero-COVID” policy. A deadly fire in a high-rise building in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province, that cost 10 people their lives a little over a week ago appears to have been a catalyst for many of the protestors who took to the streets and clashed with police. 

CHINA CONSIDERS EASING HARSH COVID POLICIES AMID PROTESTS

A person holds a banner during a protest in solidarity over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in mainland China, during a commemoration of the victims of a fire in Urumqi outside the Chinese consulate in Toronto, Ontario, Canada November 29, 2022. 

A person holds a banner during a protest in solidarity over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in mainland China, during a commemoration of the victims of a fire in Urumqi outside the Chinese consulate in Toronto, Ontario, Canada November 29, 2022. 
(REUTERS/Chris Helgren)

Last weekend, people gathered in the city center of Shanghai to light candles for the victims of the deadly fire. Around midnight, the crowd had swelled to over a thousand people, chanting, “apologize,” directed at the central government, as well as “Xi Jinping, step down” and “Communist Party, step down.”

Such slogans aimed directly at Xi and his central leadership committee are unprecedented. Even during the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, protesters demanded democratic reform, not regime change.

IRANIAN GENERAL ACKNOWLEDGES 300 PEOPLE HAVE BEEN KILLED IN UNREST DURING NATIONWIDE PROTESTS

In a bipartisan letter to China’s Washington ambassador, Qin Gang, a group of 42 Senators warned China that they were “closely” watching Beijing’s response to the unrest and said that any violent crackdown on the protestors would cause “extraordinary damage” to the U.S.-China relationship.

“We caution the CCP in the strongest possible terms not to once again undertake a violent crackdown on peaceful Chinese protesters who simply want more freedom,” the letter penned by Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan and Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley said.

Iranians protest a 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini's death after she was detained by the morality police, in Tehran, Sept. 20, 2022.

Iranians protest a 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini’s death after she was detained by the morality police, in Tehran, Sept. 20, 2022.
(AP Photo/Middle East Images, File)

Multiple reports over the last few days have suggested that Beijing is considering easing back its harsh COVID policies and that a top official reportedly claimed the virus was weakening. According to Reuters, sources said Beijing is considering making changes to its mass testing policy, as well as allowing those who have contracted the disease, or were in close contact with someone who tested positive, to quarantine at home under certain conditions. 

The deadly protests in Iran were sparked in mid-September in response to the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in a hospital after slipping into a coma after an alleged beating by the country’s morality police. Officers had arrested Amini for breaching the country’s hijab (headscarf) laws. 

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What started as demonstrations in the capital spread to over 140 cities and towns across the country, growing into the most significant challenges to the regime since its establishment following the 1979 revolution. An Iranian general acknowledged more than 300 protestors have been killed surrounding the unrest from the protests. However, a U.S.-based human rights group called Human Rights Activists in Iran estimates that the death toll is higher with over 450 protesters and 60 security forces killed. The group also says over 18,000 people have been detained.

Fox News Digital’s Caitlin McFall, Peter Aitken, Houston Keene, and Fox News Staff contributed to this report.

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/blinken-says-course-biden-admin-supports-iran-china-protesters-gop-blasting-response-weak

Politics

How to send Valentines to kids in hospitals, nursing home residents and more

Valentine’s Day is a day when we think of others. It also can be a day to spread love to people who are facing their own set of challenges.

Throughout the country, pediatric hospitals, nursing homes, shelters and even employers of frontline workers are currently accepting Valentine’s Day cards and other holiday goodies.

Here are a few organizations and gift ideas that you might want to consider extending kindness to.

VALENTINE’S DAY SECRET: SPECIAL OCCASION UP AHEAD IS NOT JUST FOR LOVERS 

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Valentine’s Day celebrants can send virtual cards to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for free on the pediatric hospital’s website. Virtual card creators get to pick from an assortment of colorful designs that feature artwork inspired by real patients of St. Jude. 

St. Jude recommends writing “encouraging notes” to its patients. Cards can also be sent all year round and not just on Valentine’s Day. 

Other ways people can support the hospital over the holiday include sending in monetary donations, hosting fundraising events and spreading awareness on social media, according to St. Jude’s website.

St. Jude is partnered with AmazonSmile, an online shop that processes cash donations and giftable items to charities at no cost.

VALENTINE’S DAY ‘SCRATCH-OFF CARD’ CRAFT ON TIKTOK LETS YOU HIDE MESSAGES FOR YOUR SWEETHEART 

HIS Radio’s Hearts for Kids Initiative

Non-commercial radio station WLFJ-FM (HIS Radio) is accepting handmade Valentine’s Day cards that’ll be distributed to children’s hospitals throughout North Carolina. 

The station will be delivering “cheer packets” made up of “cards and fun goodies” to children’s wards at the following seven hospitals: North Carolina Children’s Hospital, Chapel Hill; Wake Med, Raleigh; Duke Children’s, Durham; Vidant/Maynard Children’s Hospital, Greenville; Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, Fayetteville; Betsy Johnson Hospital, Dunn; and Nash General, Rocky Mount.

HIS Radio will screen cheer packets. Cards and goodies must be received no later than Wednesday, Feb. 8, according to the radio station’s website.

VALENTINE’S DAY: DO YOU KNOW THE ORIGINS OF THE HOLIDAY?

Valentine’s Day cards can be mailed or dropped off in person at the address below.

HIS Radio–Hearts For Kids

7610 Falls of Neuse Rd, Suite 155

Raleigh, N.C. 27615

The local radio station recommends card submitters refrain from using glitter and googly eyes, making references to illness or religion and providing candy or toys. Instead, HIS Radio suggests making uplifting and gender-neutral holiday cards that feature standard Valentine’s Day greetings. Cards written in Spanish are also encouraged.

ONE OF THE WORLD’S OLDEST VALENTINE’S DAY CARDS FROM 1818 REDISCOVERED AFTER 20 YEARS 

Wish of a Lifetime From AARP’s Cupid Crew

Spreading Valentine’s Day cheer to seniors is an easy task with AARP’s Wish of a Lifetime. The organization has a volunteer-driven Cupid Crew campaign that collects Valentine’s Day cards nationally and delivers these heartfelt notes to seniors who are socially isolated.

Pre-made Cupid Crew Valentine’s Day cards can be downloaded from the Wish of a Lifetime website. Once printed, holiday celebrants can personalize and drop off or mail the cards to local senior communities or someone they know personally.

“Since the pandemic’s start, many older Americans have become more isolated, missing out on chances to connect with their communities and passions in life,” Wish of a Lifetime’s website states. “Through Cupid Crew, you can help them feel more connected and loved.”

Love In Action Project

The Love in Action Project has already kicked off its annual Valentine’s Day card drive, which aims to create and deliver 5,000 cards to nursing home residents in North Carolina. The organization matches volunteers with nursing homes, so cards can be sent directly to these facilities.

According to the Love in Action Project, sending Valentine’s Day cards to seniors in nursing homes fosters human connection, curbs loneliness and aids physical and mental health. 

Volunteers who are interested in participating in this year’s card drive can email the Love in Action Project at info@iamlovenaction.org.

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Open Door Mission

Open Door Mission, a Nebraska-based shelter that offers temporary housing and food to people in need, is accepting handmade Valentine’s Day cards and decorations that’ll be distributed around the holiday. 

Both crafts should be dropped off at the organization’s administration building at the address below.

Open Door Mission

2828 N 23rd St East

Omaha, Neb. 68110

Valentine’s Day cards can include holiday candies and will be distributed to Open Door Mission residents, according to the nonprofit. Donated Valentine’s Day decorations will be displayed at the Open Door Mission’s Hearts of Hope Banquet.

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Send cards or meals to frontline workers

Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, citizens showed their appreciation and support to frontline workers with thank-you cards and meals.

Those considerate offerings can be brought back on Valentine’s Day for local hospitals, police departments, firehouses and other essential workers. 

Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, citizens showed their appreciation and support to frontline workers with thank you cards and meals. Those considerate offerings can be brought back on Valentine’s Day.

Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, citizens showed their appreciation and support to frontline workers with thank you cards and meals. Those considerate offerings can be brought back on Valentine’s Day.
(iStock)

Whether it’s a simple Valentine’s Day card, a homemade baked good or a store-bought breakfast, lunch or dinner, there are different ways you can spread holiday cheer. 

Just make sure to check with the organization you’d like to extend Valentine’s Day appreciation to in case there are specific gifting rules.

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If you’d like to send a Valentine to a veteran or an active-duty service member, read more here.

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Politics

Biden issues call for unity after insulting GOP as ‘fiscally demented’

President Biden called for unity, hearkening back to days when elected officials from both sides of the aisle got along, two weeks after he called Republicans “fiscally demented.”

Biden delivered the remarks during a Thursday morning address at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C.

“In our politics, in our lives, we too often see each other as opponents and not competitors,” Biden said. “We see each other as enemies, not neighbors. And as tough as these times have been, if we look closer we see the strength and determination that has long defined America.”

“There are those in the greatest need who are looking to us. They’ve elected us to help them. To really look at each other, not as Democrats, not as Republicans, but as who we really are – as fellow Americans, fellow human beings worthy of being treated with dignity and respect,” the president added.

PRESIDENT BIDEN CALLS REPUBLICANS ‘FISCALLY DEMENTED’ DURING MLK DAY SPEECH, AMID DOCS SCANDAL, INFLATION

President Joe Biden speaks at the National Prayer Breakfast on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, in Washington.

President Joe Biden speaks at the National Prayer Breakfast on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, in Washington.
(The Associated Press)

Biden stated that “so much more unites us than divides us,” and that his first two years in office showed that officials “can join hands and get things done.” 

It was just two weeks ago that Biden took a shot at Republicans during a speech at the National Action Network’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day breakfast. 

REPORTER CALLS OUT BIDEN FOR COMPLAINING OF ‘POISON’ POLITICS WHILE SMEARING REPUBLICANS AS ‘SEGREGATIONISTS’

President Joe Biden called Republicans 'fiscally demented' while speaking at the National Action Network's Martin Luther King, Jr., Day breakfast.

President Joe Biden called Republicans ‘fiscally demented’ while speaking at the National Action Network’s Martin Luther King, Jr., Day breakfast.
(AP)

“These guys, they’re fiscally demented. They don’t quite get it,” Biden said about Republicans who criticized Biden for signing large spending packages.

Biden has also called Republicans who support former President Donald Trump “a threat to this country,” and compared their political ideology to “semi-fascism.”

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Later in his remarks, the president recalled how things were different when he first joined the Senate in the 1970s, at a time when political opponents could still be friends. He illustrated his point by saying how when segregationists like Sens. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., and James Eastland, D-Miss., were in office, he would see Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., “argue like hell” with Eastland on the Senate floor, then eat with him afterwards in the Senate dining room.

“I don’t know how we go back to doing that anymore, but we have to,” Biden said.

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Politics

Hunter Biden’s lawyers demand criminal probe into laptop leakers, Giuliani and others, admit laptop is his

Hunter Biden’s lawyers called on federal and state prosecutors across the country to open criminal investigations into his critics on Wednesday – and in doing so, acknowledged that the notorious laptop is indeed Hunter’s.

Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, wrote letters to the Justice Department and the Delaware attorney general calling for investigations into Rudy Giuliani, Steve Bannon and John Mac Isaac, who owns the computer repair shop where Biden is said to have left his laptop. Biden’s lawyers also sent cease and desist letters to others who obtained and disseminated the laptop’s contents.

Lowell argued in the letters that Mac Isaac and the others had no right to inspect the contents of Biden’s laptop, much less make copies of it to share with the media.

“This failed dirty political trick directly resulted in the exposure, exploitation, and manipulation of Mr. Biden’s private and personal information,” Lowell wrote in a letter. “Politicians and the news media have used this unlawfully accessed, copied, distributed, and manipulated data to distort the truth and cause harm to Mr. Biden.”

The DOJ did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital.

COMER SOUNDS ALARM ON BIDEN’S MISHANDLING OF CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS: ‘NOTHING’ HE’S DONE IS ‘NORMAL’

Hunter Biden's lawyers are going on offense against his critics.

Hunter Biden’s lawyers are going on offense against his critics.
(Getty Images)

Hunter Biden's lawyers sent letters demanding a criminal investigation of Rudy Giuliani.

Hunter Biden’s lawyers sent letters demanding a criminal investigation of Rudy Giuliani.
(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

HUNTER BIDEN SEEN AT RITZY NYC ART GALLERY SELLING HIS PAINTINGS FOR UP TO $200K, DESPITE ETHICS CONCERNS

The letter went on to accuse Mac Isaac of “theft of computer services,” and Giuliani of “possession of stolen property.

“Mr. Mac Isaac chose to work with President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer to weaponize Mr. Biden’s personal computer data against his father, Joseph R. Biden, by unlawfully causing the provision of Mr. Biden’s personal data to the New York Post,” Lowell wrote.

Despite the appearances, a source familiar with Lowell’s move argued that Wednesday’s letters do not constitute an admission of the laptop’s validity. Biden’s legal team argues that the versions of the laptop released to the public may have been tampered with.

Hunter Biden's legal team is demanding a criminal investigation into Steve Bannon.

Hunter Biden’s legal team is demanding a criminal investigation into Steve Bannon.
(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

The First Son’s newfound legal aggression comes as Republicans on Capitol Hill are preparing their own investigations into both him and President Biden’s family more generally.

An upcoming hearing for the House Oversight Committee will focus on Twitter’s censorship of the New York Post’s original story on the so-called “laptop from hell,” which dropped just weeks before Election Day in 2020.

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Other House investigations are expected to focus on Hunter’s business dealings. Those investigations are likely to rely heavily on the contents of the laptop.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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