Status of Chinese People

About China and Chinese people's living condition

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    1. A China More Just, Gao Zhisheng
    2.Officially Sanctioned Crime in China, He Qinglian
    Will the Boat Sink the Water? Chen Guidi, Wu Chuntao
    Losing the New China, Ethan Gutmann
    Nine Commentaries on The Communist Party, the Epochtimes
  • Did you know

    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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Archive for the ‘SW China’ Category

Chinese Earthquake Hero, Eulogized by State, Revealed As Fraud

Posted by Author on November 5, 2010

The Epochtimes, Nov. 5, 2010 –

An elaborate hero narrative that emerged in Chinese state media reports in the wake of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake has been revealed as a fabrication by a recent investigation.

A middle school teacher, Tan Qianqiu, was said to have gathered four of his students into his arms as the building crumbled, saving them, but losing his own life.

A report by the Southern Metropolis Daily in Guangzhou, however, indicates that three of those students do not exist, and that the entire story was concocted. The Daily is one of the few newspapers in China that pursues investigations sensitive to the authorities; its editors have been imprisoned for the trouble. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, Media, News, People, Politics, Sichuan, Social, SW China, World | Comments Off on Chinese Earthquake Hero, Eulogized by State, Revealed As Fraud

Chinese woman arrested for tweeting intention to march with a banner praising jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner

Posted by Author on October 26, 2010

Tania Branigan in Beijing and agencies,, Tuesday 26 –

Chinese police seized a woman from her house in the middle of the night after she tweeted her intention to demonstrate with a banner congratulating jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo on winning the Nobel peace prize, a friend said today.

The news comes amid a crackdown on Liu’s friends and supporters that has raised questions about who will collect his award next month.

His wife Liu Xia, who is under house arrest, has invited more than 140 dissidents, activists and celebrities to accept the prize because she fears she will be unable to go. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Blogger, China, Chongqing, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, News, People, Politics, Social, Speech, SW China, World | Comments Off on Chinese woman arrested for tweeting intention to march with a banner praising jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner

Tibetans Villagers Block Work on Dam Near Sacred Mountain

Posted by Author on September 30, 2010

Radio Free Asia, 2010-09-30 –

Local Tibetans have challenged Chinese work crews trying to build a dam near a mountain considered sacred by area residents, according to Tibetan sources.

The mountain, called Lhachen Naglha Dzambha, rises in Driru [in Chinese, Biru] county in the Nagchu Prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), a native of the region now living in exile said.

“The Gyalmo Ngulchu [Salween] river runs through the foothills of this sacred mountain,” the source said.

“Sometime in August this year, a large number of Chinese workers arrived in the area. Local Tibetans were told they were building a dam.”

Representatives from each village in the county then gathered at the site to protest the construction, another Tibetan living in exile said, citing sources in the region.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, Culture, dam, Life, News, People, Religion, Social, SW China, Tibet, Tibetan, World, Xizang | Comments Off on Tibetans Villagers Block Work on Dam Near Sacred Mountain

Open Letters by Chinese lawyers and scholars asking investigate the use of torture in the “hitting the black” campaign in Chongqing

Posted by Author on September 8, 2010

By Zhong Yuan, Epoch Times Staff, Sep.7, 2010 –

Two open letters signed by a group of Chinese lawyers, scholars, writers and journalists were sent to the Chinese Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate in late August, urging an investigation into the use of torture in the “hitting the black” campaign in Chongqing. The letters stated that although on the surface the purpose of the “hitting the black” campaign is to crack down on gangsters, in essence it is a campaign driven by political motives.

The “hitting the black” campaign was launched in June 2009 by Bo Xilai, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) chief for Chongqing, one of four provincial-level municipalities in China (Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjin are the others). The regime’s state-run media describes the “black” in “hitting the black” as either gangsters or corrupt Party officials.

This official view has come in for criticism. Because the organizers of a taxi driver protest and the lawyers of some political cases were among those arrested, the “hitting the black” campaign is widely regarded as a political campaign launched to boost Bo’s career.

Call for Investigation Into Torture

The letters refer to the February 2010 cases of Gong Gangmo and Fan Qihang. Gong Gangmo was sentenced to life in prison. Fan Qihang was sentenced to death and his sentence is currently under review by the Supreme People’s Court.

On Aug. 23, the lawyer Li Fangping, who signed the open letters, told the Chinese-language version of BBC News online that, according to a video published online by Fan’s lawyer Zhu Mingyong, Fan was “forced to confess through extremely severe torture.”

The video shows Fan Qihang dressed in a red prison uniform sitting behind bars describing how he was tortured during the criminal investigation. In the video, Fan said that he was hung up by handcuffs in a tiptoed position, and was deprived of sleep for over ten days. No longer able to endure the torture, Fan attempted to commit suicide twice by hitting his head on the wall and by biting off the tip of his tongue. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, Chongqing, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Politics, Social, SW China, Torture, World | Comments Off on Open Letters by Chinese lawyers and scholars asking investigate the use of torture in the “hitting the black” campaign in Chongqing

Chinese police shoot Tibetan dead during protest two weeks ago

Posted by Author on August 30, 2010

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese police “accidentally” shot dead an ethnic Tibetan during a protest in south-western China two weeks ago, state news agency Xinhua said Monday…….(more details from Reuters)

Posted in China, Incident, Killing, News, People, Politics, Religious, Social, SW China, Tibet, Tibetan, World, Xizang | Comments Off on Chinese police shoot Tibetan dead during protest two weeks ago

Massive dogs killed “cleanly” in southwest China by Authorities for fear of rabies

Posted by Author on August 17, 2010

Radio Free asia, Aug. 17, 2010 –

HONG KONG—Authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan have ordered the mass extermination of dogs following a wave of recent bites and amid growing fears of rabies, official media and residents said.

Animal activists have slammed the move as unnecessarily cruel, as it sanctions the indiscriminate slaughter of thousands of animals without any tests to determine if they are infected with the virus.

Figures from the Jiangchuan county center for disease control and prevention show that there have been 1,600 cases of dogs biting humans so far this year, with 77 people bitten in the space of just two weeks earlier this month.

“Are the dogs that are biting these people in fact infected with rabies?” said Lu Di, founder of the nongovernment Small Animal Protection Society.

“Have they been tested? If not, then it’s very doubtful.”

She said authorities in Yunnan are no stranger to the mass slaughter of dogs, citing a similar cull of 50,000 dogs in Mouding in 2006, and a smaller one in Miluo county last year.

“Now they have started doing it in Jiangchuan,” Lu said.

Official guidelines

The government said that three out of six dogs killed recently and tested for the rabies virus were shown to be infected.

Calls to the Jiangchuan county government went unanswered Monday, while an official who answered the phone at the local center for disease control and prevention declined to comment.

“We have to get approval from the health department before we can accept telephone interviews,” he said.

Jiangchuan county is home to an estimated 20,000 dogs, and local media reports said around 3,000 had already been killed.

Official guidelines ban the killing of dogs using knives or cudgels, and dogs are to be killed “cleanly,” without bloodshed, local news reports said.

Photographs on news websites showed dogs being hanged from trees, dragged along behind motorcycles, and being chased by officials with nets and clubs.

People who had been bitten by stray dogs are eligible for a set amount of compensation in order to help with medical costs, the reports said.

A Jiangchuan resident said many people were happy to carry out the slaughter.

“Of course if one of your family has been bitten, people are going to want to kill the dog that did it,” the resident said. “But not all dogs are likely to bite people.”

“Some people support [the cull], but others are against it.”

One anonymous guest on a Yunnan news website identified as writing from Beijing commented wryly on the story: “So if you find one corrupt government official, does that mean you are going to shoot all the officials?”……(more details from Radio Free Asia)

Posted in animal, China, Health, Life, News, Social, SW China, World, Yunnan | Comments Off on Massive dogs killed “cleanly” in southwest China by Authorities for fear of rabies

China jails Tibetan property tycoon for life time

Posted by Author on August 14, 2010

Jane Macartney, The Times, Via The australian, August 13, 2010 –

CHINA has sentenced to life imprisonment a property tycoon believed to be the country’s richest Tibetan businessman.

Once hailed by authorities as one of Tibet’s top ten outstanding young people, Dorje Tashi, 37, was sentenced on June 26 by the Lhasa Municipality Intermediate People’s Court, Tibetan sources told The Times.

Dorje Tseten, his elder brother, was jailed for six years.

Details of the charges were not available, but if they were political then such secrecy is not unusual in Tibet – where officials are anxious to avoid further unrest.

Many in the deeply Buddhist population resent Beijing’s rule and yearn for the return of the exiled Dalai Lama.

The absence of any reports in China’s state media underscored the possibility that the arrests may have been related to activities deemed political.

However, court sources said that the conviction was based on “illegal business operations” involving Mr Dorje’s Yak Hotel, the best-known and oldest in Lhasa – the capital of the region.

The court confiscated Mr Dorje’spersonal property, estimated to be 4.3 billion yuan ($707 million). He was arrested in March 2008, shortly after an anti-Chinese riot rocked Lhasa, even though he had been praised at the time for supporting the government crackdown and providing supplies to security forces.

Mr Dorje was well known in Lhasa after he founded the popular hotel.

He operated many other enterprises, from property to trading companies, and had close links with Chinese authorities. Shortly after his arrest, however, there were reports that he had made donations to monasteries, or even the Dalai Lama – donations which would have enraged Beijing.

The Australian

Posted in Business, Businessman, China, Company, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Politics, Social, SW China, Tibet, World | Comments Off on China jails Tibetan property tycoon for life time

Leading Chinese artist Ai Weiwei claims police attacked him

Posted by Author on August 10, 2010

Tania Branigan in Beijing ,, Tuesday 10 August 2010 –

Ai Weiwei, the Chinese artist commissioned to create an installation for the Tate Modern Turbine Hall, says that plain-clothes police assaulted him and his assistant today as he attempted to file a complaint about a previous attack.

The artist who designed the Beijing national stadium, known as the Bird Nest, said that he was kicked and shoved outside a police station in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province in south-west China.

“Some undercover police tore our shirts and tried to grab our cameras. There were maybe 10 of them. They pushed and kicked us,” he said in a telephone interview. “Now we are being attacked because we complained about last time. It is so ironic.”

Ai and several other activists were detained in Chengdu last year to prevent them attending the trial of a campaigner investigating schoolchildren’s deaths in the Sichuan earthquake of 2008. The subject has become highly sensitive because of allegations that shoddy construction, linked to corruption, was to blame for the high death toll in schools.

Ai said a policeman punched him in the head in that incident, leaving him with painful headaches, and he underwent surgery in Germany weeks later after doctors spotted internal bleeding.

Today he went to Chengdu’s city police department, but says it refused to take his complaint and referred him to the police station at Jinniu.

He said that as he arrived at that building he was surrounded by men who assaulted him and his assistant, and told him: “If you want justice, go back to the US.”

Ai lived in America for several years but is still a Chinese citizen…….(More details from The Guardian)

Posted in Activist, Artists, Chengdu, China, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Sichuan, Social, SW China, World | 1 Comment »

China opened fire on Tibetan demonstrators in at least four separate incidents, many people Killed in 2008 protest: Human Rights Watch Report

Posted by Author on July 22, 2010

Human Rights Watch, July 21, 2010 –

(New York) – Eyewitness accounts confirm that Chinese security forces used disproportionate force and acted with deliberate brutality during and after unprecedented Tibetan protests beginning on March 10, 2008, Human Rights Watch said in a new report  released today. Many violations continue today, including disappearances, wrongful convictions and imprisonment, persecution of families, and the targeting of Tibetans suspected of sympathizing with the protest movement.

The 73-page report, “‘I Saw It with My Own Eyes’: Abuses by Security Forces in Tibet, 2008-2010,” is based on more than 200 interviews with Tibetan refugees and visitors conducted immediately after they left China, as well as fresh, not previously reported, official Chinese sources. The report details, through eyewitness testimonies, a broad range of abuses committed by security forces both during and after protest incidents, including using disproportionate force in breaking up protests, proceeding to large-scale arbitrary arrests, brutalizing detainees, and torturing suspects in custody.

“Dozens of eyewitness testimonies and the government’s own sources show clearly the official willingness to use lethal force against unarmed protestors,” said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “This report decisively refutes the Chinese government’s claim that it handled the protests in line with international standards and domestic laws.”

The report also suggests that contrary to government claims, Chinese security forces opened fire indiscriminately on demonstrators in at least four separate incidents, including in one area of downtown Lhasa on March 14.

In order to avoid external or independent scrutiny of the security operations, the Chinese authorities effectively locked down the entire Tibetan plateau and dispatched massive numbers of troops across all Tibetan-inhabited areas. It expelled journalists and foreign observers, restricted travel to and within the region, cut or monitored telecommunications and internet, and arrested anyone suspected of reporting on the crackdown. The government has rejected all calls for independent investigations into the protests, including those from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and UN special rapporteurs…….(more details from Human Rights Watch: China: Witnesses Lift Veil on Abuses by Security Forces in Tibet)

Testimonies from “‘I Saw It with My Own Eyes’: Abuses by Security Forces in Tibet, 2008-2010”:

“They were firing straight at people. They were coming from the direction of Jiangsu Lu firing at any Tibetans they saw, and many people had been killed.”
– Pema Lhakyi (not her real name,) a 24-year -old Lhasa resident.

“She was shot by a single bullet in the head. Local people managed to take her body home to the village, which is about five kilometers from Tongkor monastery.”
– Sonam Tenzin (not his real name), a 27-year-old monk from Tongkor monastery.

“At first, the soldiers fired in front of the crowd a few times to scare them, but the crowd thought they would not dare to actually fire and continued crowding inside the compound. At that point, the soldiers started to fire.”
– Tenpa Trinle (not his real name), a 26-year-old monk from Seda county.

“The first thing I saw was a lot of soldiers and police beating the crowd with electric batons. Groups of four or five soldiers were arresting crowd members one by one and putting them in a truck.”
– Dorje Tso (not his real name) 55-year-old resident from Tongren.

(more details from Human Rights Watch: China: Witnesses Lift Veil on Abuses by Security Forces in Tibet)

Posted in China, ethnic, Human Rights, Lasa, Law, News, People, Politics, Social, SW China, Tibet, World | Comments Off on China opened fire on Tibetan demonstrators in at least four separate incidents, many people Killed in 2008 protest: Human Rights Watch Report

EU Should Demand Concrete Progress on Human Rights in Dialogue With China

Posted by Author on June 28, 2010

Human Rights Watch, June 28, 2010 –

(New York) – The European Union should set benchmarks for human rights improvements with the Chinese government during this week’s EU-China human rights dialogue, Human Rights Watch said today.

The EU should use the June 29 round of talks in Madrid as an occasion to press the Chinese government to repeal dangerously ambiguous “state secrets” and “subversion” laws, release dissidents, and set a timetable for China’s ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in order to address serious and ongoing violations of human rights in China.

“For too long, the EU-China human rights dialogue has been a toothless talk shop which has failed to meaningfully address the Chinese government’s poor record on human rights,” said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “The EU should use the upcoming Madrid meeting to express serious concern about the Chinese government’s violations of human rights, and to establish verifiable steps which will put an end to those abuses and provide redress for the victims.”

The EU-China human rights dialogues are usually held twice a year, with one session in Europe and one in Beijing. The dialogues began in 1995, but in part because they are not linked at the political or policy level to other key issues in the EU-China bilateral relationship such as trade, investment, and the environment, they have consistently failed to deliver any substantive improvements on specific human rights abuses in China.

The Madrid meeting will occur in the wake of a series of unusually blunt and high-profile official European criticisms of China’s human rights environment, which has worsened since the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

* On June 11, 2010, the Office of the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Catherine Ashton criticized a Chengdu court’s decision to uphold a five-year prison sentence for civil society activist Tan Zuoren on charges of “subversion of state power.” Tan was arrested while attempting to compile a list of names of child victims of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Ashton’s statement described the court’s move as “entirely incompatible with [Tan’s] right to freedom of expression and does not meet international standards of fairness.” …… (more details from Human Rights Watch)

Posted in Activist, China, Europe, Human Rights, News, People, Politics, Sichuan, Social, SW China, World | Comments Off on EU Should Demand Concrete Progress on Human Rights in Dialogue With China

Hydropower Plant May Have Triggered Deadly Landslide in Southwest China, says Expert

Posted by Author on June 20, 2010


On Tuesday at around 1:30 in the morning, part of a mountain collapsed in Kangding County in China’s southwestern Sichuan province. It killed 23 workers at a hydroelectric project construction site.

State media Xinhua reports that recent heavy rains triggered the landslide. But local geological expert Fan Xiao believes there may be another cause.

[Fan Xiao, Sichuan Geological and Mineral Bureau]:
“It’s mainly because of large scale work in recent years to construct the hydroelectric plant. Along the Dadu River there are over 20 hydropower stations which are all undergoing large-scale work… this has damaged the stability of the mountainsides, leading to mudslides when it rains. And digging also damages the stability of the mountain body, so eventually this creates a large scale mountain collapse.”

The part of the mountain that collapsed on Tuesday reached nearly 1.5 million cubic feet. It crushed a shed where construction workers slept, and temporarily blocked the water flow at a tributary of the Dadu River.

Fan Xiao, who is the chief engineer of the Regional Geology Investigation Team of the Sichuan Geology and Mineral Bureau, says hydropower construction in the region also poses other risks.

[Fan Xiao, Sichuan Geological and Mineral Bureau]:
“Many hydropower plants along the Dadu River are very large in scale. They have very tall dams that store a large amount of water. Coincidentally, the river is along an earthquake belt, and chances of these dams triggering an earthquake are very high too.”

In recent years, the Chinese regime has undertaken numerous hydropower projects to supply growing demands for electricity.

After the 2008 Sichuan earthquake Fan, and other experts, urged the suspension of new hydropower plants and a reassessment of geological risks posed by large-scale dams in the area.


Posted in China, dam, disaster, Environment, News, People, Politics, Sichuan, Social, SW China, World | Comments Off on Hydropower Plant May Have Triggered Deadly Landslide in Southwest China, says Expert

China Court Upholds Five-Year Sentence for Earthquake Activist Tan Zuoren

Posted by Author on June 10, 2010

Human Rights in China, June 9, 2010 –

The Sichuan Provincial Higher People’s Court has upheld the five-year sentence, with three years of deprivation of political rights, of Tan Zuoren (谭作人), the Sichuan environmental activist and writer convicted of “inciting subversion of state power.” The decision was announced on June 9, 2010, in a 12-minute-long hearing held in the Chengdu Municipal Intermediate People’s Court, the court that originally tried Tan on August 12, 2009.  In the appeal statement he filed after the original guilty verdict, Tan declared: “I am not guilty; I don’t accept [the verdict]; I protest; I appeal.”

Tan’s lawyer, Pu Zhiqiang (浦志强), told Human Rights in China (HRIC) that he did not expect a different outcome. “This was not a trial in accordance with law, but a trial to protect the interests of the local government,” said Pu.

Tan was first detained in March 28, 2009, three days after the online release of a report titled  Independent Investigation Report by Citizens, which presented findings of an investigation he conducted with a colleague, Xie Yihui (谢贻卉), into the causes of the widespread collapse of school buildings during the May 2008 earthquake in Sichuan. The subsequent indictment, which charged Tan with “inciting subversion of state power,” did not, however, mention his earthquake investigation.  Rather, the indictment cited as evidence his 2007 essay on the 1989 Democracy Movement, “Bearing Witness to the Ultimate Beauty—Diary of an Eyewitness from the Square” (见证最后的美丽——一个目击者的广场日记), and his proposal for a blood drive to commemorate the 20th anniversary of June Fourth.

Before the August 2009 trial, prominent artist Ai Weiwei (艾未未), who had traveled to Chengdu and prepared to be a witness for Tan, was beaten by Chengdu police and detained in his hotel room for 11 hours. The court did not allow any defense witnesses to attend the trial.  During the trial, the judge repeatedly interrupted Pu, and Tan was not allowed to make his final statement.

The Chengdu court announced its guilty verdict on February 9, 2010, nearly half a year after the trial, in violation of the Criminal Procedure Law which allows a maximum period of two-and-a- half months for a trial court to issue a ruling after accepting the case (Article 168). Tan appealed one day after the verdict was issued. The appeal decision, handed down today, four months afterwards, is also in violation of the Criminal Procedure Law which stipulates in Article 196 that an appeal trial should be concluded within one-and-a-half months after the filing of the appeal.

Human Rights in China

Posted in Chengdu, China, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Politics, Sichuan, Social, SW China, World, writer | Comments Off on China Court Upholds Five-Year Sentence for Earthquake Activist Tan Zuoren

Two Tibetan writers being arrested, attacked at Southwest China

Posted by Author on June 10, 2010

Reporters Without Borders, June 10, 2010 –

Reporters Without Borders condemns two new serious cases of detention and use of violence against Tibetan journalists and writers in the past few days.

Two magazine editors were arrested by police in Chengdu on 5 June and were mistreated all night before being released, while a writer and monk was arrested without a warrant for the second time in 13 months on 24 May in Ngaba, in eastern Tibet, and has been held ever since without being able to see his family.

“The Chinese authorities are offering an idealised vision of a peaceful Tibet in the 2010 Shanghai World Expo but the information coming from the Tibetan areas is very different,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Arrests, violence and surveillance are the common lot of those who defend Tibetan identity. We urge Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to give clear orders for the release of all imprisoned Tibetan intellectuals.”

Goyon and Thupten Gedun, the editors of the magazines Tibet and Purgyal Kyi Namshey (Soul of Ancient Kings), were circulating on foot in Chengdu on the evening of 5 June when around 15 policemen descended from two vehicles, used tear-gas on them, and then took them to a police station. After confiscating their mobile phones, cameras, ID cards and wallets, they tied them to chairs and interrogated them.

“The police officers used violence to interrogate us,” the journalists said. “They asked us about our work and our political activities, all the while hitting us. They also threatened us by putting guns against our heads. When we asked what we had done wrong, they hit us even harder.” One of them was tortured with electrical equipment to make him confess.

“The next day, the police checked our police records and discovered they were empty. So they let us go, but not without threatening to arrest us again.”

In Ngaba, writer Dokru Tsultrim was arrested on 24 May in Gomang monastery, where he has been staying for the past five years. A relative living in exile in the Indian city of Dharamsala said he was arrested because of two articles by him that have been published.

“Dokru Tsultrim refused to give his laptop to the police but they confiscated documents they found in his room,” the relative said. “Until now our family has been denied the right to see him.” Tsultrim is very involved in promoting literature among young Tibetans but is not a member of in any political movement, the source added……. (more details from Reporters Without Borders)

Posted in Chengdu, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Politics, Sichuan, Social, SW China, Tibetan, World, writer | Comments Off on Two Tibetan writers being arrested, attacked at Southwest China

China’s Three Gorges Dam Causes Quakes, Landslides and Cracks

Posted by Author on May 31, 2010

Michael Sheridan and Richard Jones, The Times, May 30, 2010 –

The Three Gorges dam
was so vast and sweeping a vision that nothing could stand in its way. Not the old cities of the Yangtze valley, storehouses of human toil and treasure for more than a thousand years. Not the lush, low-lying farmlands, nor the villages, nor even the pagodas and temples that graced the riverbanks.

The cries of dissenting scientists and the lamentations of more than a million Chinese people forced to leave their ancestral lands counted for nothing.

When the waters rose to 570ft last year, drowning all these things, it marked a triumph for the engineers at the top of the Chinese Communist party.

But in the past six months a sinister trail of events has unfolded from the dam all the way up the 410-mile reservoir to the metropolis of Chongqing.

It began with strange, small-scale earthquakes recorded by official monitoring stations and reported by the Chinese media.

Mysterious cracks split roads and sundered schoolhouses and apartments in newly built towns and villages on the bluffs looking down on the river.

The local government now says that 300,000 people will have to move out in addition to the 1.4m evicted to make way for the dam.

More than 50,000 residents have already been relocated owing to seismic problems that were not foreseen when the dam was built, according to the state news agency, Xinhua.

As the boats sail by, landslides can be seen from the river — some small, some big — staining the waters of the Yangtze with minerals and sediment.

Big pleasure cruisers, tramp steamers and shoals of sampans plough through waters that switch from hue to hue as their chemical composition changes.

In Badong county, midway through the Three Gorges, celebrated in Chinese painting and poetry, the citizens are troubled by a sense of foreboding.

The local government hastily moved out of a prestigious new block after experts warned that it was unsafe.

But ordinary folk and even schoolchildren have been left to fend for themselves. More than 3,000 children attend school every day in a building dating back to 1943 that officials know to be at risk of collapse. Nothing has been done to move them, supposedly because of a lack of funds.

The playground is riddled with cracks. One ominous jagged line runs down the side of the classrooms.

“The government agrees that our whole school must move,” said a worried teacher, who asked not to be named, “but so far it’s just talk.”

In a telling example of China’s glaring class differences, a group of unemployed workers live in housing provided by the state that is visibly cracking at the seams.

“What kind of dogshit government moves itself out and moves us into somewhere like this?” one of them complained.

“My house is like a fishing pond whenever it rains,” said Grandma Wang, 72. “I don’t mind for myself because I am old, but I care for my granddaughter, who is 10 and has to live in here.”

Badong is one of many places where the land and the water have interacted in ways that only a few scientists predicted before the dam was built. Their objections were overruled by the party.

But last week even the state media acknowledged that the Three Gorges area faced a “grim” situation. Officials have counted 97 significant landslides this year alone. These are linked to the worrying increase in seismic activity. ….. (more details from The Times)

Posted in China, Chongqing, dam, disaster, Environment, Life, News, People, Politics, Sichuan, Social, SW China, Three Gorges, World | 1 Comment »

Forced Evictions Over Dam in Southwestern China

Posted by Author on April 26, 2010

Radio Free Asia, 2010-04-26 –

— Authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan have begun demolishing houses and forcing people from their homes near the Pubugou hydroelectic power project, which is due to go into operation soon.

“They are forcibly demolishing houses,” a resident of Hanyuan county, where the evictions took place, said.

“They all came together in the night. The armed police, the regular police, the county Party secretary and officials,” said the resident, surnamed Cao.

The controversial Pubugou project, a series of ladder-like dams on Sichuan’s mountainous Dadu river, has sparked protests and armed confrontation in the past, with the army moving into the area to quell angry protests in 2004.

A total of 100,000 people will eventually be displaced by the project, which is part of Beijing’s key infrastructure investment program aimed at boosting economic growth and relieving poverty in China’s lagging western regions.

Villagers have kept up an angry and vocal protest, but according to a company announcement, the third phase of the Dadu project at Pubugou is scheduled to begin operation any day now.

‘Dead of night’

“By about 10 p.m. there were a few hundred [residents] surrounded by them,” Hanyuan resident Cao said.

“The Chinese Communist Party is supposed to be stout-hearted and honest. How come they are doing things in the dead of night?”

He said the demolition work went on until around 5 a.m. Sunday.

“They demolished one house,” Cao said.

“They were at work until dawn. They said it had to be demolished.”

He said the evicted family had nowhere else to go, and were now living in a tent on the mountainside.

A second Hanyuan resident surnamed Bai said the government was behaving unreasonably.

“They don’t listen to reason and they don’t even follow their own policies,” Bai said.

After the last violent standoff in 2004, the central government ordered more compensation for relocating residents from 320 yuan (U.S. $38) per square meter of living space to 428 yuan (U.S. $51), according to local media reports.( Radio Free Asia)

Posted in China, corruption, dam, Economy, Environment, Forced Evictions, housing, Life, News, Official, People, Politics, Sichuan, Social, World | 1 Comment »

Shocking Photos: Fish Left in the Cracked Dry Mud During the Drought in China

Posted by Author on April 18, 2010

The drought in south China’s Yunnan Province has lasted for more than 4 months. According to the weather forecast, there will not be any measurable rain in the coming days.

Following photos show a shocking sight at the Degehaizi Reservoir in Damogu Town of Luliang County, Yunnan Province, south China– fishes stuck in the dried land, with their mouths open wide, dead in their struggling position.

The Degehaizi Reservoir in Damogu Town of Luliang County, once with a capacity of 1.6 million cubic meters of water, is now arid dry. The palm-wide cracks were a stunning sight. Some of the cracks are as much as half a meter deep. Fish can be found stuck in the dried land, with their mouths open wide, dead in their struggling position.

Arid dry Degehaizi Reservoir in Yunnan Province, palm-wide cracks, with mouth-open fish stuck in.

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China-linked Cyberspies hacked government offices on several continents, security researchers say

Posted by Author on April 6, 2010

By JOHN MARKOFF and DAVID BARBOZA, New York Times, April 5, 2010-

TORONTO — Turning the tables on a China-based computer espionage gang, Canadian and United States computer security researchers have monitored a spying operation for the past eight months, observing while the intruders pilfered classified and restricted documents from the highest levels of the Indian Defense Ministry.

In a report issued Monday night, the researchers, based at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, provide a detailed account of how a spy operation it called the Shadow Network systematically hacked into personal computers in government offices on several continents.

The Toronto spy hunters not only learned what kinds of material had been stolen, but were able to see some of the documents, including classified assessments about security in several Indian states, and confidential embassy documents about India’s relationships in West Africa, Russia and the Middle East. The intruders breached the systems of independent analysts, taking reports on several Indian missile systems. They also obtained a year’s worth of the Dalai Lama’s personal e-mail messages.

The intruders even stole documents related to the travel of NATO forces in Afghanistan, illustrating that even though the Indian government was the primary target of the attacks, one chink in computer security can leave many nations exposed.

“It’s not only that you’re only secure as the weakest link in your network,” said Rafal Rohozinski, a member of the Toronto team. “But in an interconnected world, you’re only as secure as the weakest link in the global chain of information.”

As recently as early March, the Indian communications minister, Sachin Pilot, told reporters that government networks had been attacked by China, but that “not one attempt has been successful.” But on March 24, the Toronto researchers said, they contacted intelligence officials in India and told them of the spy ring they had been tracking. They requested and were given instructions on how to dispose of the classified and restricted documents.

Location of Sichuan, China

On Monday, Sitanshu Kar, a spokesman for the Indian Defense Ministry, said officials were “looking into” the report, but had no official statement.

The attacks look like the work of a criminal gang based in Sichuan Province, but as with all cyberattacks, it is easy to mask the true origin, the researchers said. Given the sophistication of the intruders and the targets of the operation, the researchers said, it is possible that the Chinese government approved of the spying. …… (more details from New York Times)

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Worst Drought in a Millennium Creates Severe Food Shortages in South China

Posted by Author on April 3, 2010

The Epochtimes, Apr. 1, 2010-

Southern China is experiencing its worst drought in living memory, impacting 61.3 million people in the provinces of Guangxi, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, the city of Chongqing, and surrounding areas.

The Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs has released a disaster brief, and second-in-charge of the Chinese Communist Party, Wen Jiabao, has done the rounds to the drought affected areas, rallying the troops.

The supply of drinking water for 18 million people, and water for 11.7 million large livestock and five million hectares (12.5 million acres) of farmland are compromised; more than 1.15 million hectares (2.9 million acres) of farmland already decimated.

The direct economic loss is estimated at 23.66 billion yuan (US$2.85 billion).

Wen Jiabao went to Qujing, a city in Yunnan Province from March 19-21 to inspect the region. Beijing News reported that he told local cadres to “prepare for the worst” after he was informed that millions of mu (one mu equals 7.176 sq. feet) in crops had perished from drought in the city.

In response, the Chinese Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Civil Affairs have allocated 155 million yuan for drought relief, an average of three yuan (US$0.5) per person.

Guizhou Province released an official announcement on March 19, reporting that severe drought has affected 84 counties, cities, and other areas with a population of 17.3 million. More than 3.1 million people are short of food.

Some of the reports were a throwback to more bitter times, during the disastrous agricultural collectivization known as the Great Leap Forward, when nearly the entire population was starved and many survived on leaves, wild vegetables, and half-rotting foodstuffs. Chongqing Morning Post reported that some villagers of Xiaowanshan Village in Yunnan Province are surviving on the so-called “starving sheep plant,” a wild plant that sheep normally refuse to eat. These villagers are said to have nothing more left at home to eat.

The drought affecting Yunnan exceeds any from over the past millennium, according to the local department of meteorology. It is estimated that by May, one out of four people will have no drinking water.

The drought began last fall and has persisted for three consecutive seasons. It could continue through early summer. Seven million people are expected to suffer the effects of the food shortage.

Guangzhou Daily quoted an official from Mile County of Yunnan, on March 22. He said, “Our harvest for early spring crops such as corn, wheat, and kidney beans is zero. We cannot seed for the late spring crops. If there’s no rain by May, major spring crops such as rice are at risk. People will face starvation.”

Shuitang of Wenshan is considered the driest village in Yunnan. It is located on a mountain peak 5,906 feet above sea level.

“There have been no fresh vegetables for three months. Many people forage for wild weeds in the mountains. There’s no drinking water, let alone water for irrigation,” according to Li Shaozhong, a Shuitang village staff member, as reported in City Express.

Li said he pleaded, in tears, for the villagers to leave. “Are you waiting to die of thirst?” he asked them.

In Shibanfang, Yanshan County of Yunnan, Wang Chaoyun, the village party secretary told The Epoch Times, “We are experiencing very severe drought. Villagers have to retrieve water from four miles away. Everyone’s doing nothing but fighting the drought.

“The rivers and ponds are completely dry. There’s no water in wells or cellars. There are no vegetables. The wheat is all dead. Even the mountain trees have wilted. There’s nothing left,” Wang said.

Yang Mingquan, a villager from Xingyi City, Guizhou Province told The Epoch Times, “There’s been no rain since June 15 of last year. Local natural wells have dried up, reservoirs are basically exhausted, and rivers have no water. All streams in the village are gone. Wheat and rapeseed are all dead. All vegetables are dead and gone.”

He said that locals have to retrieve water on a daily basis from streams located 19 miles away. The local government has had to provide the equivalent of five pounds of drinking water per person.

Yang said, “Basically, there’s no water for cattle, horses, or pigs. Most have either been killed or sold. No one can afford them. People are now struggling to survive.”

Yang reflected on Wen Jiabao’s instructions to Party cadres. He said that “Prepare for the worst” really means “This is a life-threatening disaster!” (the Epochtimes)

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China dam plans raise Mekong fears

Posted by Author on April 1, 2010

By Jamil Anderlini in Beijing and Tim Johnston in Bangkok, The Financial Times, Apr. 1, 2010-

China will ramp up construction of dams, reservoirs and wells in response to a severe drought in the country’s south-west, but the move is likely to raise tensions with downstream countries, which have already blamed reduced river flows on Beijing.

Most of south-west China has been affected by the drought, which began in November and has left more than 24m people without adequate access to drinking water. Downstream in Thailand, cargo boats have been stranded along the banks of the Mekong, which is at its lowest level in half a century, while fishermen complain of empty nets.

Beijing has launched emergency drought relief operations involving 260,000 soldiers and officials yesterday said this force had drilled 18,000 wells, built 4,307 emergency water diversion works and laid 20,000 kilometres of pipeline.

“We must prepare ourselves to fight a long war against this severe drought,” said Liu Ning, secretary-general of China’s State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters. “With so many government departments working in synergy, we will surely triumph in our battle,” he said, while forecasting the drought would last until mid-May.

The south-western province of Yunnan, which has been hit hardest by the drought, has allocated Rmb27bn ($4bn, €2.9bn, £2.6bn) to build reservoirs and dams, officials said.

China’s water management policies have come in for criticism from the countries of the Mekong basin, where 60m people are directly or indirectly dependent on the river.

“We can see the level of the water is getting lower,” Abhisit Vejjajiva, the Thai prime minister, said this month. “We will ask the foreign ministry to talk with a representative from China in terms of co-operation and in terms of management systems in the region.”

The Mekong River Commission, which includes Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, will meet this weekend to discuss the water shortage and future developments along the river……. (Financial Times)

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Southwestern China’s Post Quake New Home Construction ‘Flawed’

Posted by Author on March 27, 2010

Radio free Asia, Mar. 26, 2010-

HONG KONG— Residents of China’s southwestern province of Sichuan made homeless by the devastating earthquake of May 12, 2008 have called on the Chinese government to hold an inquiry into the construction of their new homes, which they say are substandard and unsafe.

The residents of Caoba village near the provincial capital Chengdu said the houses, built with some of the billions of yuan earmarked by central government for post-quake reconstruction, are already beginning to crack.

“We are calling on higher levels of government, Party discipline inspection committees, and law enforcement agencies to come out and conduct a fair and impartial investigation into the problems we have raised above,” the villagers wrote in an open letter, posted on the Internet and signed by more than 100 residents.

The villagers are complaining of cracks that have appeared in prefabricated concrete slabs, walls, structural concrete beams, and roofs across large areas of new housing constructed in Xiaoyudong township.

Some of the bathrooms and kitchens had already sprung serious water leaks, while structurally important parts of balconies had fallen off in some apartments, the residents said.

“The buildings have only just been completed and already they’re showing cracks,” one resident said. “We haven’t even moved in yet. They are still fitting them out, and already we have these kinds of problems.”

“We told [the construction company]. But they have ways of covering this up,” he said.

Moving in anyway

Villagers said some of their number had moved in to the apartments in spite of safety concerns.

“They don’t know what else to do. Their own houses have been completely demolished,” the Caoba resident said.

Villagers have accused the construction company of using substandard and even fake concrete, which was being delivered to the construction site in the middle of the night.

Protests to local government over these allegations have already resulted in clashes between protesters and the authorities, they said……. (more details from Radio Free Asia)

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China factory closed amid lead poisoning fears- at least 88 children tested positive

Posted by Author on March 15, 2010

AFP, Mar. 15, 2010-

BEIJING — Authorities in southwestern China have closed a factory after nearly 100 people — most of them children — tested positive for lead poisoning, state media said Monday.

A total of 94 people in Sichuan province, including 88 children, were found to have excessive levels of lead in their blood and officials suspect a nearby factory may be at fault, the province’s news website reported.

Seven children — the youngest of which is just over one year old — are being treated in hospital and the others are being monitored at home.

Local officials said a preliminary investigation had revealed a firm making lead out of used batteries — Longchang Zhongyi Alloy Company — could be the cause of the health scare.

It was not immediately clear how the residents were poisoned but officials are currently testing surface and well water, vegetables and soil within 800 metres of the plant.

It is the latest in a series of lead poisoning incidents across China that has highlighted the human cost of pollution in a nation that has so far prioritised economic growth over environmental protection.

Last year, authorities in central Henan province said they would relocate 15,000 people away from smelting plants in one area after nearly 1,000 children tested positive for lead poisoning.

Excessive levels of lead are considered hazardous particularly to children, who can experience stunted growth and even mental retardation……. (more details from AFP)

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China steps up security crackdown in Tibet- “strike hard storm” campaign ongoing

Posted by Author on March 11, 2010

By Robert Saiget (AFP) , Mar. 11, 2010-

BEIJING — Chinese security forces have stepped up a crackdown in Tibet’s capital Lhasa, two years after protests marking a failed 1959 uprising erupted in deadly violence, police and reports said Thursday.

More than 400 people have reportedly been rounded up so far in the “strike hard storm” campaign launched earlier this month, which has worried residents on edge since the March 2008 unrest in the remote Himalayan region.

A policeman at a Lhasa precinct who asked not to be named told AFP on Thursday that the campaign was aimed at cracking down on Tibetan independence activities and ordinary crime.

“I don’t know when we will end this campaign, but it could be at the end of March when this matter is over,” said the policeman, referring to the sensitive anniversaries.

More than 1,500 extra police and security personnel had been deployed as of last week, with more than 4,100 rented apartments or homes searched, according to the Lhasa Evening News.

The newspaper said while more than 400 people had been taken into police custody, only 14 had been formally arrested on unspecified charges. It was not immediately clear if the others were released or remained in detention.

Lhasa residents said Thursday the city was tense due to the heavy police and military presence.

“There are armoured vehicles patrolling the streets… the television is always talking about the need to ‘maintain stability’,” said a retired woman who identified herself as Ceyang.

“We don’t dare go out at night.”

Police are carrying out identification checks of the city’s migrant population as well as increasing routine traffic stops, the Lhasa Evening News reported…….(more from AFP)

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China says missing Panchen Lama Gendun Choekyi Nyima is living in Tibet

Posted by Author on March 8, 2010

Jane Macartney, Beijing, The Times, Mar. 8, 2010-

China shed a glimmer of light yesterday on the life of a young Tibetan man who vanished 15 years ago after the Dalai Lama declared him to be the reincarnation of the second-highest monk in Tibetan Buddhism.

The son of a Tibetan herder, Gendun Choekyi Nyima was only 5 when he was selected by the exiled Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama. Police swooped on the boy’s village in a county to the north of Lhasa and, pro-Tibet exiles say, removed the child and his parents.

He has not been seen or heard from since. But Tibet’s new governor, Padma Choling, revealed yesterday that the young man, now 20, is still living in Tibet, where “his brothers and sisters are at university or are doing regular work”.

He gave no hint as to the family’s whereabouts but repeated the Communist Party’s mantra: “As far as I know, his family and he are now living a very good life in Tibet. He and his family are reluctant to be disturbed. They want to live an ordinary life.”

The information amounts to a revelation compared with the secrecy that has surrounded the life of Gendun for the 15 years since he vanished and was described by human rights groups as the youngest political prisoner in the world.

The exiled Dalai Lama announced in 1995 that he had found Gendun and the move enraged Beijing: the Dalai Lama is revered by Tibetans and his decision was certain to win widespread respect.

The Chinese Government retaliated by naming its own Panchen Lama, Gyaltsen Norbu, while Gendun is known only from a photograph of a wide-eyed five-year-old with ruddy cheeks, his mouth open in surprise at the camera……. (more details from The Times)

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