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Jennifer Lopez Performs in Country With Questionable Human Rights Record
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J. Lo performed in Turkmenistan over the weekend at the request of a major Chinese state owned oil company, only to be dismayed when she discovered Turkmenistan’s tarnished human rights record, according to Breakingenergy.com.

The corporation that reportedly requested her to sing “Happy Birthday” to Turkemenistan’s president Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov was the parent company of listed subsidiary Petro China, China National Petroleum Corporation. J. Lo received the request during a concert in the former Soviet Republic.


Turkmenistan has the fourth largest natural gas reserve in the world along with a GDP growth rate of 11 percent as of 2012. It has an undiversified economy powered by a single export that is natural gas. Most of the country is covered by black sand desert, and it’s arid and rugged for the most part. Turkmenistan also possesses substantial oil reserves. The largest buyer of Turkmenistan’s energy is China, while two thirds of Turkmen natural gas goes through Russia’s giant energy extraction and processing state owned company Gazprom. An East to West pipeline is planned to be around 1,000 km long at a cost of between one and one and a half billion US dollars.

Turkmenistan was a part of the former Soviet Union but became independent when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. Since then it has had one president who granted himself the right to rule for his life’s duration. This was ‘president for life’ Saparmurat Niyazov. There was a strict dictatorship under his regime and a dismantling of press, libraries, schools and hospitals. Currently the leader of Turkmenistan is Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, who was elected president in February 2007. During his presidency, Turkmenistan’s leader Berdimuhamedov has visited China in signing the natural gas pipeline deal, has visited oil giants in Saudi Arabia to meet with King Abdullah, and has met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Russian Gazprom executives.

While there is no doubt that natural gas and oil are powerful movers in the world, there is more to a country than simply its potential resource valuation. Human prosperity and wellbeing also plays a critical role in the development of societies. In terms of human rights, Turkmenistan has a poor record. According to Transparency International, only 6 countries in the world are more corrupt than Turkmenistan. The country scored second-to-last of all the countries on Revenue Watch Institute’s most recent Resource Governance Index, with a 5/100. “Turkmenistan is one of the most closed countries in the world and has a record of arresting and harassing journalists,” said Rachel Denber, deputy Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

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According to the USA Today: “Lopez’s publicist says the event was vetted by Lopez’s staff, “had there been knowledge of human rights issues any kind, Jennifer would not have attended.”


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