Bush, Prez and patriarch, is home for Texas burial 800,000 to two million religious minorities detained in Chinese internment camps: US
HOUSTON: George H.W. Bush, who shaped history as 41st president and patriarch of a family that occupied the White House for a dozen years, is going to his final rest Thursday in Texas.
More than 11,000 people paid their respects to Bush as his casket lay in repose all night at a Houston church where his family worshipped. Some visitors waited for hours to pay tribute to Bush, who will be buried Thursday following a funeral at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church.
The country said goodbye to him Wednesday in a national funeral service that offered high praise for the last of the presidents to have fought in World War II and a hefty dose of humor about a man once described as a cross between Mister Rogers and John Wayne.
After three days of remembrance in Washington, a plane brought Bush’s casket for his funeral’s closing ceremonies in Houston and burial Thursday at his family plot on the presidential library grounds at Texas A&M University in College Station. His final resting place is alongside Barbara Bush, his wife of 73 years, and Robin Bush, the daughter they lost to leukemia at age 3.
In the service at Washington National Cathedral, three former presidents and President Donald Trump looked on as George W Bush eulogized his father as “the brightest of a thousand points of light.”
The cathedral service was a tribute to a president, a patriarch and a faded political era that prized military service and public responsibility. It was laced with indirect comparisons to Trump but was not consumed by them, as speakers focused on Bush’s public
life and character with plenty of cracks about his goofy side, too.
“He was a man of such great humility,” said Alan Simpson, former Republican senator from Wyoming. Those who travel “the high road of humility in Washington, D.C.,” he added pointedly, “are not bothered by heavy traffic.”
Trump sat with his wife, a trio of ex-presidents and their wives, several of them sharp critics of his presidency and one of them, Hillary Clinton, his 2016 Democratic foe. Apart from courteous nods and some handshakes, there was little interaction between Trump and the others.
George W Bush broke down briefly at the end of his eulogy while invoking the daughter his parents lost in 1953 his mother, who died in April.
He took comfort in knowing “Dad is hugging Robin and holding Mom’s hand again.”
It was a family that occupied the White House for a dozen years the 41st president defeated after one term, the 43rd serving two. Jeb Bush stepped up to try to extend that run but fell short when Trump won the 2016 Republican primaries.
The elder Bush was “the last great-soldier statesman,” historian Jon Meacham said in his eulogy, “our shield” in dangerous times.
But he also said that Bush, campaigning in a crowd in a department store, once shook hands with a mannequin. Rather than flushing in embarrassment, he simply cracked, “Never know. Gotta ask.”
Meacham recounted how comedian Dana Carvey once said the key to doing an impersonation of Bush was “Mister Rogers trying to be John Wayne.” WASHINGTON: An estimated 800,000 to 2 million religious minorities are currently being detained in internment camps in China, the Trump administration has told lawmakers, who have expressed serious concerns over the massive human rights violations in the Communist nation’s Xinjiang province.
The situation in resourcerich Xinjiang has been restive as the native Muslim Uighurs have been resisting increasing settlements of majority Han Chinese from other provinces.
China appears to have set up a series of secret internment camps used to lock up hundreds of thousands of ethnic Chinese Muslims, whose existence has long been denied by authorities.
At a Congressional hearing, Scott Busby, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State at the Bureau of the Human Right Democracy and Labour, alleged that Beijing was supporting similar repressive moves by other authoritarian regimes across the globe.
“The US government assesses that since April 2017, Chinese authorities have indefinitely detained at least 800,000, and possibly more than 2 million, Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and members of other Muslim minorities in the internment camps,” he said.
Testifying before a Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee, Busby said reports suggested that most of those detained were not being charged, and their families had little or no information about their whereabouts.
At first, China denied the existence of such camps, but as public reports have emerged, Chinese authorities now assert that they are “vocational education centres”, which glosses over the fact that many renowned Uighur intellectuals and retired professionals are also detained in these camps, he said.
Former detainees, who have reached safety, have spoken of relentless indoctrination and harsh conditions for example, praying and other religious practices are forbidden.
“The apparent goal is to force detainees to renounce Islam and embrace the Chinese Communist Party,” Busby said.
Life outside the internment camps is not much better, he noted. Neighbourhoods have entry and exit checkpoints manned by armed police. Families have been forced to accept Chinese officials into their homes for extended home-stays. Thousands of mosques have been shuttered or destroyed, while some turned into communist propaganda centres, Busby alleged.
“Unfortunately, fleeing China is not enough to escape the long arms of the government. China has routinely pressured other countries to return Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and members of other Muslim minority groups, which has often proven successful,” he told the lawmakers. Even when such individuals reach safely, China continues to harass and intimidate them. China’s repression of minority groups does not end in Xinjiang, he said.
Its policies have spread hundreds of miles away, for instance to the Hui Muslim communities. Tibetans also face continued repression and pervasive surveillance. The Tibetan Autonomous Region was the testing ground for many of the techniques now used in Xinjiang, Busby claimed. Senator Cory Gardner said the socalled authoritarian closing under President Xi Jinping has resulted in an unprecedented and intensifying crackdown on civil society, ethnic minorities and religious freedom in China.
“The news of mass concentration camps for Uighur Muslims and the Xinjiang Autonomous Province has shocked the conscience. And this necessitates a serious response from the US and the international community,” he said. Senator Ed Markey said it was clear there was a systematic effort by Chinese government, not just within China, but also around the world, to back those policies which are most repressive and which allow for a compromise of human rights.