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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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China: Hundreds Protest Shanghai Maglev Rail Extension, Dozens Detained

Posted by Author on January 15, 2008

By Royston Chan and Sophie Taylor, Reuters, Sat Jan 12, 2008-

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Hundreds of people marched through China’s financial hub of Shanghai on Saturday protesting a planned extension of the city’s magnetic levitation train, or “maglev”, worried it would emit radiation and sicken them.

Police initially detained dozens of people, bundling them into waiting cars, vans and buses, as protesters gathered in front of city hall shouting “We don’t want the maglev” and carrying placards reading: “No to maglev — bad for health”.

“We are afraid how the radiation will affect us. Why does the government not listen to our concerns?” said a protester surnamed Guan, adding the extension would pass within 100 meters (328 ft) of her house.

As police cordoned off the city government in People’s Square, once home to a race track in Shanghai’s colonial heyday, demonstrators took off down the fashionable Nanjing Road shopping area.

The protest was the largest the cosmopolitan and wealthy city has seen since thousands took to the streets in sometimes violent anti-Japanese demonstrations in 2005.

“I’m marching against the proposed line as it’s too close to town. It’s going to be noisy and emit pollution,” said another protester, who would only give his family name, Liu.

“If you have a house near the line, you will not be able to sell it for as much money,” he added.

Some demonstrators handed out anti-Nazi resistance poems in German, while others sang the Chinese national anthem.

In a prepared statement, a spokesman for the Shanghai city government said authorities had “persuaded” the protesters to disperse because they were affecting public order.

He said the government was still in the process of showing to the public a proposal for the maglev project, which would help to improve the transport system of the city and the whole country.

“We hope city residents will go through legal channels to express their opinions rationally, and not use methods that affect public order,” he added.

The protest gradually dispersed peacefully under a light drizzle in the early evening. The police kept their distance as people left.

The country is grappling with an acknowledged rise in unrest, driven by anger at illegal land grabs, corruption, environmental woes and a rising rich-poor gap, though large scale protests in big cities are rare.

“Yes, it’s an illegal protest. But we’ve been pushed into a corner,” said another protester……. ( more details from Reuters: Hundreds protest Shanghai maglev rail extension)

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