Articles by Jonathan Tao

International Law

From an Iron Curtain to Steel Bars: Alexei Navalny and Russian Democracy

February 22, 2021 Jonathan Tao 0

Russia’s premier dissident, Alexei Navalny, was sentenced to serve three years in prison earlier this February. As Vladimir Putin’s most prominent political opponent, Mr. Navalny has spent the past 20 years exposing corruption and organizing anti-establishment protests. The latest ruling against Mr. Nalvany hails from a long string of attempts from Moscow to silence anti-establishment forces, ranging from a potentially state-sanctioned poisoning attempt to allegations of embezzlement and fraud. It also sparked the largest day of protest in Russia since 2017 and subsequently one of the country’s most severe crackdowns on civil liberties in recent memory. The Kremlin has moved swiftly to crack down on the freedom of assembly, dissident fundraising, and civil protections from law enforcement. Human rights watchdogs noted that an estimated 10,000 were arrested nationwide over the two weekend rallies alone, marking the most aggressive wave of detentions since Vladimir Putin’s election in 2000. Moreover, Russian activists […]

International Law

The Farm Bills Come Due: India’s Ongoing Protests

February 6, 2021 Jonathan Tao 0

From America’s ‘Summer of Racial Reckoning’ to Hong Kong’s tenacious struggle against legislation sponsored by pro-Beijing officials, protests have been a permanent hallmark of a changing political landscape. In India, the world’s most populous democracy, protestors are clashing against the central government to repeal a set of market-oriented, deregulatory farm laws. The conflict, now in its sixth month, has received international support from celebrities and activists ranging from pop-icon Rihanna to climate change activist Greta Thunberg. The Modi government is under increasing scrutiny for its ongoing crackdown on civil liberties, from free speech to internet access. Prime Minister Modi has not been shy of implementing harsh measures to quell dissent, most notably in supporting the Hindu Nationalist conflict in Kashmir and Jammu. Understanding how the protests arrived at this moment, and how the conflict will resolve, are critical to assessing the health of India’s liberal democracy today. The Farmers’ Produce […]

International Law

The Bible: Politburo Edition

November 7, 2020 Jonathan Tao 0

Under the Chinese Communist Party, there truly is nothing sacred. A report from National Review details that Chinese authorities have altered the famous Bible verse where Jesus forgives a woman who commits adultery, instead rewriting the story so that Jesus himself stones her to death . This is not only an egregious affront to the sacred text that Christians hold dear, but it is also one of many offenses committed by the CCP against persons of faith as the Party seeks to bring religion under state control.   For the Communist Party, the Sinicization of religion, codified in the 2018 “Regulations for Religious Affairs”, is part of a national strategy to heighten state power. Religious minorities across China have been subject to crackdowns from the local government for decades. In school, Chinese children are taught that religion is a “feudal superstition” that is both regressive and defunct. Moreover, the Party’s […]