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Wuhan residents decry ‘fake’ work as Chinese official tours city

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Videos showing residents at the centre of China’s coronavirus epidemic haranguing a top Chinese official have highlighted persistent anger at how authorities have handled the crisis.

The clips, which have been circulating online since Thursday, show occupants of an apartment block in the city of Wuhan yelling “it’s all fake” from windows during an official neighbourhood inspection by Vice Premier Sun Chunlan.

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According to Chinese media, the complaints were an outcry against the community’s property management, who were allegedly only pretending to have volunteers deliver vegetables and meat to inhabitants of the towers in the lockdowned city.

Surprisingly, China’s censors, usually quick to scrub any criticism of government officials, have allowed the homemade videos to remain on Weibo, the country’s Twitter-like social media platform.

But the central government appears to be seizing on the videos to craft a narrative that Beijing is listening to the demands of its people and that local authorities are to blame for the mistakes.

State news agency Xinhua reported late Thursday that Sun has asked for “in-depth investigations” to address problems raised by Wuhan residents, although there is no mention of the video.

The People’s Daily, the Communist Party mouthpiece, shared an edited version of one clip on Twitter, though it deleted the post on its English account while the Chinese version was still online.

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With no end in sight to the quarantine, which began in the city of 11 million people on January 23, many residents are depending on online group-buying services to get food.

Supermarkets and neighbourhood committees have scrambled to fill orders as demand rocketed, but some residents have told AFP that not everyone has been happy with the price and quality of mass-purchased food.

Families have had to depend on themselves for resources, despite official reassurances that supplies were being channeled to the struggling city.

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The nationalistic Global Times said Friday that the local government in Wuhan has been ordered to “investigate and solve the problem immediately”.

It added that a central government guiding group for the epidemic urged local authorities to ensure there are supplies for residents soon after the incident.

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Meanwhile, Wuhan has launched an investigation in the community of over 3,000 to understand their concerns, added the Global Times.

– Officials ‘sufficiently worried’ –

Observers said the edited video tweeted by People’s Daily seemed to be downplaying discontent.

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Carl Minzner, an expert on Chinese law at Fordham Law School, tweeted Friday that the clip suggested only one resident was shouting, instead of more heard in a longer version of the video circulating online.

He added that this suggests Party authorities were “sufficiently worried” about the original clip and suggestions of mass discontent in Wuhan that they came up with an alternative narrative.

China has been making rare exceptions to allow for criticism online in the epidemic, but mostly when directed at local officials, as the Communist Party attempts to shield itself from public rage.

In February, the death of whistleblowing doctor Li Wenliang, who had contracted the virus, had unleashed a wave of anger at how officials handled the crisis.

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People on Weibo voiced support for Wuhan residents, with one saying “I hope this has an effect”.

Another questioned why she could not find more information about the incident on social media despite official media reporting about it, wondering if it would make Weibo’s “hot search” list.


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‘Trump may well face charges’ after Supreme Court gave prosecutors access to financial records: Legal experts

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President Donald Trump could potentially face charges after the Supreme Court dealt him a loss in Trump v. Vance .

The ruling gives Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. the go-ahead to subpoena Trump’s accounting firm as part of his investigation into possible tax crimes involving hush money payments to his mistresses, according to attorneys Norm Eisen and Bassetti in Just Security.

"Trump has significant state law criminal exposure in connection with his hush money payments (for which his fixer Michael Cohen has already gone to jail on federal charges) — and more," the pair wrote. "Trump cannot pardon himself for state law offenses on his way out the door. And the Justice Department’s position that a sitting president cannot be indicted does not bind New York state authorities."

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WATCH: Drunk CEO brags about his wealth as he spews racist slurs at California bartender

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During her shift this Tuesday night at a bar in Fresno, California, Rebecca Hernandez found herself on the receiving end of racist slurs from an intoxicated man. Since she was with only one other co-worker in the bar and feared for her safety, she took out her phone and started recording the incident on video.

“You’re a dark-haired dumbass, sand-n****r motherf*cker,” the man said to her.

“You’re going to be on the internet,” Hernandez told the man, who identified himself in the video as Jason Wood.

“No honey, I drive the internet," he responded.

Hernandez posted the video to Instagram, where it's garnered thousands of views.

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Prosecutor spills details about Bill Barr’s ‘unprecedented, unnecessary and unexplained’ efforts to oust him

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Geoffrey Berman, the man who until recently served as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, told members of Congress on Thursday about Attorney General Bill Barr's "unprecedented, unnecessary and unexplained" efforts to oust him.

In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Berman explained how Barr contacted him and repeatedly pressed him to step down from his position at SDNY to take another high-profile position within the government.

Berman, however, told Barr that he wanted to stay at his current job until a replacement was nominated by President Donald Trump and confirmed by the United States Senate.

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