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China’s repression continues after Beijing Olympics, media and dissidents fight back (3)

Posted by Author on February 8, 2009

Reporters Without Borders, 5 February 2009 –

Just as many journalists and bloggers still in prison

The Olympic Games did not in any way help to obtain the release of imprisoned journalists and cyber-dissidents. In all, 79 are currently detained in China, many of them in appalling conditions.

The journalist Qi Chonghuai, for example, was beaten by fellow inmates in a prison in the eastern city of Tengzhou in November. He is also being forced to do difficult work in a mine run by the prison authorities. His wife said he has lost weight and is exhausted by the forced labour.

Journalists continue to be arrested. Guan Jian, a reporter with Wangluo Bao (网络宝,Network News), a Beijing-based weekly, was arrested on 1 December while looking into allegations of corruption in the real estate sector in Taiyuan, in the central province of Shanxi. A CCTV reporter, Li Min, was placed in detention in the same province four days later. She was accused of corruption by the provincial authorities, including prosecutor He Shusheng, after she had accused the prosecutor of “abuse of authority” during a TV report on the air. In both cases, the threat came from political or judicial provincial officials who refused to permit any attempt by the national press to take an interest in the murkier side of their activities. Blogger Guo Quan (郭泉) was arrested in mid-November in the eastern province of Jiangsu by police who said his articles were too radical. Prior to his arrest, he had called for the creation of a netizens party to combat online censorship. He had also announced his intention to sue the US company Google for ensuring that a search for his name on its Chinese-language search engine (http://www.google.cn) yielded no results.

As Hu Jia’s wife Zeng Jinyan (曾金燕), herself a blogger, said in a message thanking the European parliament for awarding Hu the Sakharov Prize: “There are now a great many exceptional people and people of goodwill in Chinese society who are going to great lengths to find ways to make the real situation in China known, and to express deeply-felt views, and the Internet is providing them with a very interesting platform. But unfortunately there is sometimes a very high price to be paid for this.”

Cracking down on dissidents

Wang Rongqing (王荣清), one of the leaders of the banned China Democracy Party and the editor of a dissident magazine, was sentenced to six years in prison for “subverting state authority” by a court in the eastern city of Hangzhou on 8 January. He was arrested a few weeks before the start of the Olympic Games. One of his relatives told Reporters Without Borders that his state of health was very worrying.

The repression has above all focused on the initiators of Charter 08, a call for democratic reforms that has been signed by 8,100 Chinese. One of its authors, leading free speech activist Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波), was arrested shortly after its release on 9 December and is still being held in a Beijing police residence. In all, more than a hundred signatories throughout China have been detained, questioned or threatened by the political police.

Liu Di (刘荻), who is better known by her blog name of “Stainless Steel Mouse,” was summoned for questioning by the Beijing police on 25 January. According to Chinese Human Rights Defenders, the police interrogated her about the blog entries she had written about Charter 08 and the photo of Liu Xiaobo she had posted online, and they told her she was being placed under surveillance. The next day, a police car took up position outside her home and she can no longer go out without the Public Security Bureau’s permission.

Investigating the human rights situation during the Olympic Games period is not very safe either. In January, Beijing-based activist Wang Debang was interrogated for six hours by the Public Security Bureau, which accused him of helping to write a human rights report. His home was searched and his computer was confiscated.

Wang Lianxi (王连玺), a worker who spent 18 years in prison for his role in the Tiananmen Square democracy movement in 1989, was confined against his will in a psychiatric hospital before the Olympic Games for fear he would stage demonstrations in Beijing……. (to be cont’d)

Repression continues six months after Beijing Olympics opening ceremony, but media and dissidents fight back, The Reporters Without Borders

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