Global Briefs: Searching for Pinochet’s victims
Fifty years after a military coup in Chile, the government is launching an initiative to search for people who disappeared
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Fifty years after a military coup installed Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s authoritarian regime, the government is launching an initiative to search for people who disappeared during his 17-year rule. President Gabriel Boric announced the plan on Aug. 30. A total of 1,469 people are missing. Of those, 1,092 disappeared after being imprisoned, while 377 were executed. In the years since Pinochet’s regime, authorities discovered several mass graves but have not prioritized identifying the remains. Families and friends of the victims are pushing the Chilean military to release more information about its involvement in the disappearances. —Elizabeth Russell
The National Religious Affairs Administration enacted new measures on Sept. 1 that further limit religious activities. The regulations replace previous rules adopted in 2005. The updated measures mandate registered religious groups support the Chinese Communist Party, study government documents, and “thoroughly implement” Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ideology of “socialism with Chinese characteristics.” Groups must have management personnel who “love the motherland.” The rules also prohibit groups from naming their venues after “churches, sects, or persons,” building “large open-air religious statues,” and holding unauthorized religious activities outside their premises. According to Bob Fu, president of Texas-based human rights group ChinaAid, “The only correct perspective in the eyes of the Communist government is the worship of the state and placing faith in Xi Jinping Thought.” —Erica Kwong
Internet service providers began blocking access to TikTok on Aug. 24 following a government order. Communications Minister Jama Hassan Khalif said the ban, which also extends to messaging app Telegram and online betting website 1XBet, will limit the spread of indecent content and violent extremism. The social media restrictions come amid similar efforts in other countries. Chinese tech giant ByteDance, which owns TikTok, agreed to moderate content in Kenya in late August after the country’s parliament received a petition to ban the app over violence and obscenity. On Aug. 2, Senegal also suspended the app. —Onize Ohikere
The government has released a U.S. travel advisory for citizens who identify as LGBTQ. In a statement to the Associated Press, a spokesman for Canada’s Global Affairs department said the decision came after some U.S. states banned drag shows, restricted transgender procedures for children, and limited sports participation to teams based on biological sex. He acknowledged no Canadians have complained about freedom of speech or treatment in the United States. In June, the pro-LGBTQ group Human Rights Campaign declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ Americans. The NAACP also issued a travel advisory for Florida in May. Canada’s former ambassador to China, David Mulroney, called the Canadian government’s warning “virtue signaling.” —Anna Mandin
State television representatives announced they would no longer broadcast Orthodox services after one recently included prayers for the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. Patriarch Kirill has been outspoken in his support of Vladimir Putin and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Following the invasion, religious leaders assured Latvian Television (LTV) the broadcast services would not include such prayers. The station records and broadcasts services of the four largest Christian denominations in Latvia: Lutheran, Catholic, Orthodox, and Baptist. LTV chief Sigita Roque insisted the move is not an attempt to curtail Orthodox worship: “We respect all religions. This does not mean that we will at some point stop broadcasting ecumenical services.” —Jenny Lind Schmitt
President Ilham Aliyev canceled his meeting with Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib during her four-day peace trip to the region. While in Armenia days before, Lahbib expressed concern for the 120,000 Armenians living in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Since Dec. 12, Turkic-Muslim Azerbaijani protesters have blocked the Lachin corridor to a region home to Christian Armenians. The blockade has created a humanitarian crisis, with dwindling supplies of food, electricity, and medicine. The two countries fought a long-running war until Russia brokered a cease-fire between them in 2020. In recent weeks, both sides claim shots have wounded or killed their servicemen. —Amy Lewis