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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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Outrage As China Executes British Man

Posted by Author on December 30, 2009

JOHN GARNAUT HERALD CORRESPONDENT, Sydney Morning Herald, Australia, December 30, 2009-

BEIJING: The Chinese leadership has disregarded international opinion and allowed the execution of a British man with a reported history of mental illness.

Yesterday’s execution of Akmal Shaikh – the first death sentence carried out against a European in China in 50 years – follows the harsh sentence given to a democracy activist, Liu Xiaobo, on Christmas Day despite top-level advocacy from the United States and other Western nations.

”It’s one thing to turn your back on world opinion and put a man in prison, but another thing to execute somebody,” said Joshua Rosenzweig, head of research at the Dui Hua Foundation in Hong Kong.

Shortly after noon yesterday Beijing time, the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, confirmed that Shaikh had been put to death.

”I condemn the execution of Akmal Shaikh in the strongest terms, and am appalled and disappointed that our persistent requests for clemency have not been granted,” Mr Brown said.

He had personally pleaded with the Chinese President, Hu Jintao, and Premier, Wen Jiabao, to exercise leniency.

Shaikh’s family issued a statement saying they were saddened by China’s refusal to listen to their appeals. They said his execution ”was carried out … despite repeated requests for clemency and a proper appraisal of Akmal’s mental state”. Chinese authorities refused to investigate his mental health, his family said.

”China executes more people than all the other countries in the world combined,” said Mr Rosenzweig. He said the number of executions carried out this year was believed to be about 5000.

But in recent months China has shown a new willingness to ignore international opinion in pursuing its domestic and foreign policy objectives.

It dramatically upgraded ties with pariah states North Korea and Sudan, it rolled out an ice-cold welcome mat to the US President, Barack Obama, in his inaugural visit and, according to some Western observers, it systematically scuttled the prospects of reaching a more aggressive international agreement in Copenhagen to combat climate change.

In July the Australian iron ore executive Stern Hu became the most senior corporate leader to be arrested in China for stealing state secrets, before his charges were downgraded following an international outcry.

Some political observers in Beijing and overseas say a leadership succession battle can help explain how China has lurched towards old-style conservatism in the past 18 months……. (more details from Sydney Morning Herald)

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