Background Briefing: November 28, 2022
Aspirations for Freedom and Democracy Erupt in Demonstrations Across China
We begin with an outburst of demonstrations across China expressing pent up anger at the Draconian Covid restrictions that Xi Jinping has imposed on the people who rarely challenge a government with the world’s most pervasive surveillance systems and population control. Joining us is an expert on democratic aspirations in China that the Communist government appeared to have extinguished after the Tiananmen massacre. Perry Link holds the Chancelorial Chair for Innovative Teaching across Disciplines and is also a professor of comparative Literature and Foreign Languages at the University of California, Riverside. He is one of the world’s foremost experts on China’s language, culture, and people, and has translated many Chinese stories, writings and poems into English. In the 1990s, he edited the “Tiananmen Papers,” a collection of documents leaked by a high-level Chinese official that helped chronicle the events that led up to and followed the pro-reform student protests in June 1989. He was blacklisted by the Chinese government in 1996.
Maduro’s Deal With Chevron and the Venezuelan Opposition
Then we examine the deal brokered by Norway in Mexico between the Maduro government and the Venezuelan opposition to release frozen funds in European and American banks for critically-needed food and medical supplies as well as a move by the US government to allow Chevron to invest in Venezuela and import its crude oil. Joining us is Francisco Monaldi, the fellow in Latin American energy policy at the Center for Energy Studies in the Mexico Center and the Latin America Initiative at the Baker Institute as well as a lecturer in energy economics at Rice University. He is also the founding director and a professor at the Center for Energy and the Environment at IESA in Venezuela and previously was a professor of political economy at Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in Caracas.
Pledges by Billionaires to Give Away Vast Fortunes and What Charities End up With
Then finally with billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg pledging to give away their massive fortunes, we assess what extent of these benevolent offerings reach charities and how the taxpayer chips in 74 cents of those dollars in lost federal revenue as donors claim deductions. Joining us is Chuck Collins, a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, where he directs the Program on Inequality and co-edits Inequality.org. He is the author of Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Is Inequality in America Irreversible?, and his latest book, just out, is The Wealth Hoarders: How Billionaires Pay Millions to Hide Trillions. We discuss his article at CNN, “We should be skeptical of billionaires who pledge to share their wealth.”