How Much Does Your Internet Service Provider Spend On Lobbying?

Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 7, No. 10, October 2019

Comcast Headquarters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 2011. Wikimedia/Smallbones.

Paul Bischoff
Freelance Tech Writer

When people think of lobbying, they often picture backroom deals made by big pharma executives. In reality, though, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are one of the largest lobbying groups in the US. With this in mind, we analyzed publicly-available data to see just how much money your ISP spends on influencing legislators and regulators every year.

Why do ISPs lobby?

ISPs might provide a valuable service but they are, first and foremost, businesses. As such, they tend to lobby against anything which could impact profits. This might mean opposing bills that stop the sale of customer data, for instance, or scrapping rules that make it easier for competitors to get up and running.

Of course, this cuts both ways; if there’s the potential to make more money via lobbying, ISPs will almost always try. If your ISP has been trying to push through a massive merger or looking to scrap industry regulation so it can charge you for an inferior service, you can bet huge amounts of money has changed hands to expedite the process. Continue reading

What The Philippines Must Do To Defend Itself From China

Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 7, No. 9, September 2019

A U.S. marine watches as Philippine Marines raise their flag over the naval station, 1992. Source: NARA & DVIDS Public Domain Archive.

Sannie Evan Malala
West Visayas State University

The Philippines is strategically located in Southeast Asia, at the fault-line between Communist China and the democratic nations of the Americas and Europe. In the north is East Asia, full of wealthy market democracies in increasing conflict with China. To the southwest are countries seeking to defend their exclusive economic zones from China, including Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei. As China’s power grows, the fault-line is widening and trying to straddle the middle will only result in our falling into the chasm. The Philippines must choose a side – subservience to China or joining a coalition of the willing in defense of each country’s independence and democracy from the Chinese hegemon. The Philippines has yet to take advantage of its full potential and has become economically poor and militarily weak, primarily due to corruption, internal armed struggle, and its growing relationship with China. For the Philippines to avoid being a satellite of China, this is what we must do. Continue reading

Break Their Roots: Evidence for China’s Parent-Child Separation Campaign in Xinjiang

Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 7, No. 7, July 2019

A Uyghur woman holds her son outside her house in the Kashgar old town, northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China. Kashgar is located in the north western part of Xinjiang province where nearly 10 million Muslim Uyghurs are living. It is considered as the crossroads linking China to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, the city has changed under Chinese rule with government development, unofficial Han Chinese settlement to the western province, and restrictions imposed by the Communist Party. The central government of China says it sees Kashgar’s development as an improvement to the local economy, but many Uyghurs consider it a threat that is eroding their language, traditions, and cultural identity. The discord has created a separatist movement that has sometimes turned violent, starting a crackdown on what Chinese government see as ‘terrorist acts’ by religious extremists. Tension has increased with lot more security in the city including restrictions at mosques, after closing and removing most of them in the Xinjiang province, the Chinese authorities have also restricted to the women to wear veils and the young men to grow beards. Source: Flickr.

Adrian Zenz
Independent Researcher [1]

Introduction

In spring 2017, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) under its new Party secretary Chen Quanguo embarked on an unprecedented internment campaign. Subsequently, up to 1.5 million predominantly Turkic minorities (notably Uyghur and Kazakh) were swept into different types of political re-education, detention and “training” camps.[2]

About half a year after the onset of this horrifying campaign, first reports started to emerge that the children of so-called “double-detained” parents were being placed in state care. Due to a complete lack of official reporting and the state’s denial that this internment campaign is even taking place, it has been extremely difficult to ascertain the scale and exact nature of such intergenerational separation. Some informants claim to know that these children are kept in orphanages. Others, including some of the affected parents, were told that they are being sheltered in regular public schools with boarding facilities. This includes boarding preschools that can care for children who are younger than the regular school age.

The possibility that the Chinese state is implementing a larger-scale or even systematic policy of intergenerational separation of parents and children is a highly emotional topic among the affected exile communities. Few issues have the potential to inspire more concern about cultural or physical state-sponsored genocide than this one. Notably, Xinjiang’s government appears to be as nervous about the children’s situation as they are about the internment camps. When Associated Press (AP) reporters went to Hotan City’s “Kindness Kindergarten”, which reportedly shelters four children of one of their Uyghur informants and photographed the facility, they were immediately surrounded by armed police and ordered to delete their visual evidence.[3]

In the context of this urgent human rights crisis and challenging research context, this article attempts to systematically present and analyze all available evidence regarding state-initiated intergenerational separation in the context of Xinjiang’s political re-education and internment campaign. This evidence consists of government policy and implementation directives, different kinds of official reports and related state or private media articles, educational statistics, public construction and procurement bids, village-based work team reports, and official propaganda pieces that extol the benefits of the so-called “vocational training”.

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