Status of Chinese People

About China and Chinese people's living condition

  • China Organ Harvesting Report, in 19 languages

  • Torture methods used by China police

  • Censorship

  • Massive protests & riots in China

  • Top 9 Posts (In 48 hours)

  • All Topics

  • Books to Read

    1. A China More Just, Gao Zhisheng
    2.Officially Sanctioned Crime in China, He Qinglian
    3.
    Will the Boat Sink the Water? Chen Guidi, Wu Chuntao
    4.
    Losing the New China, Ethan Gutmann
    5.
    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.”
  • RSS Feeds for Category

    Organ Harvesting

    Human Rights

    Made in China

    Food

    Health

    Environment

    Protest

    Law

    Politics

    Feed address for any specific category is Category address followed by 'Feed/'.

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 223 other followers

Archive for the ‘disaster’ Category

China drought leaves 24 million short of drinking water

Posted by Author on March 31, 2010


AFP, Mar. 31, 2010-

BEIJING — China said Wednesday that more than 24 million people were short of drinking water because of a crippling drought, the worst to hit the country in a century.

Most of those affected live in the southwest where meteorologists say the situation will not improve until the rainy season, which should kick off after May 20, vice minister of water resources Liu Ning told reporters.

Authorities have set aside 6.3 billion yuan (923 million dollars) to help mitigate the immediate effects of the drought and bring drinking water to the affected population.

Over the long term, the government plans to launch water conservation projects such as the construction of new reservoirs.

Liu insisted food supplies would not be affected by the dry spell, which has spread across Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan provinces, the Guangxi region and the mega-city of Chongqing.

“This drought will not have an impact on food production and security in our nation,” Liu told a press conference.

– AFP

Posted in China, disaster, Food, Life, News, South China | Comments Off on China drought leaves 24 million short of drinking water

RSF condemns China’s long jail sentences of two earthquake rights activists

Posted by Author on February 10, 2010


Reporters Without Borders, Feb. 9, 2010-

Reporters Without Borders condemns the long jail sentences that judges in Chengdu (in the southwestern province of Sichuan) have imposed on two human rights activists and netizens in the past 48 hours. A three-year sentence was upheld for Huang Qi  yesterday while Tan Zuoren was given a five-year sentence at a hearing today during which police arrested and manhandled nine Hong Kong journalists.

“Bloggers and human rights defenders who dared to contradict official reports about the victims of the May 2008 earthquake in Sichuan are being treated like criminals,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We deplore the severe jail sentences that have been passed without due process and we appeal to the supreme court and justice ministry to review these two cases and to investigate the use of violence against the Hong Kong journalists who wanted to cover Tan’s hearing.”

The press freedom organisation added: “After convicting human rights activist Liu Xiaobo on Christmas Day, the authorities are now using the Chinese New Year period to announce very harsh sentences for dissidents who are well known in China and abroad.”

Tan, who was tried last August, seemed to be in good shape when he appeared in court today to hear the court’s verdict and sentence. According to one of his lawyers, he thanked those who have supported him, reaffirmed his innocence and described the proceedings as “illegal.” The court imposed the five-year sentence after finding him guilty of subverting state authority. His lawyers said they would appeal.

Tan’s wife was not allowed into the courtroom for today’s hearing, while nine journalists who had come from Hong Kong to cover the hearing were briefly detained and roughed up, and their press cards were taken. Two of the journalists were injured. The press cards were returned after the hearing.

Tan, who had urged fellow netizens to come to Sichuan to cover the plight of the families of the earthquake victims, was arrested in March 2009. Several journalists and activists were manhandled when they tried to attend his trial in August.

Yesterday’s decision by a Chengdu intermediate court to reject human rights activist Huang Qi’s appeal against his three-year sentence was taken without any hearing being held, thereby denying his defence lawyers a chance to present arguments. Huang was notified by letter that his sentence had been upheld.

His lawyers, including Mo Shaoping, have repeatedly complained of irregularities in the proceedings and submitted to a petition to the court last month listing their complaints, including the fact that they were being denied access to case documents……. (more from  Reporters Without Borders)

Posted in Activist, Chengdu, China, earthquake, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Politics, Sichuan, SW China, World, writer | Comments Off on RSF condemns China’s long jail sentences of two earthquake rights activists

Doctor in Southern China said four or five H1N1 patients die in his hospital every day

Posted by Author on January 1, 2010


By Fang Xiao, Epoch Times Staff,Dec 29, 2009 –

A doctor in Yulin City (玉林市), (Guang Xi Province) Southern China said four or five H1N1 patients die in his hospital every day.  “Every hospital has deaths,” he said. “We have deaths in the morning, the afternoon, and at night.”

When a reporter asked the Yulin City doctor about the victims’ details, such as names, ages, and occupations, the doctor was extremely cautious. “I dare not tell you any specific information. Victims are both young and old,” he said…….. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, disaster, Guangxi, Health, News, Plague, Politics, South China, World | Tagged: | Comments Off on Doctor in Southern China said four or five H1N1 patients die in his hospital every day

China swine flu death toll triples in two weeks

Posted by Author on December 2, 2009


AFP, Dec. 2, 2009-

BEIJING — China’s official swine flu death toll has tripled in the past two weeks after the government ordered more accurate reporting of fatalities amid suspicions of a cover-up.

A statement posted on the health ministry’s website late Tuesday said the number of people reported killed by the influenza A(H1N1) virus had jumped to 178 at the weekend, up from a previously reported nationwide tally of 53.

The statement gave no reason for the sharp increase but it comes after the ministry on November 19 ordered more transparent reporting following comments by a renowned medical whistleblower who questioned official tallies.

The statement noted that “the number of severe cases and deaths continues to rise.”

“The epidemic situation in our nation remains grim,” it said.

Despite reporting tens of thousands of confirmed A(H1N1) cases in China since the virus first emerged this spring in North America, the reported death rate here has remained far below that of other countries.

Cover-up suspicions were fuelled last month when medical expert Zhong Nanshan was quoted by a Chinese newspaper saying he suspected authorities in some areas were under-reporting fatalities to convince superiors they were containing the virus.

Zhong’s opinion carries weight after he earned wide respect in 2003 for defying the official line on the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak to help reveal the true extent of the illness.

The government had initially tried to hide the SARS outbreak and only owned up after it began to spill over into other countries.

The health ministry order for better reporting came shortly after Zhong’s comments were published.

Chinese officials including Health Minister Chen Zhu have warned repeatedly in recent months that China was likely to see a sharp increase in overall cases of swine flu and deaths during the winter, when flu is most virulent.

Tuesday’s health ministry statistical statement said more than 91,000 people had been confirmed to have contracted the virus in China, the vast majority of whom had already recovered.

AFP

Posted in Bird flu, China, Health, News, Plague, World | 3 Comments »

China’s Three Gorges Dam ‘a model for disaster’

Posted by Author on October 31, 2009


The Ecologist, 30th October, 2009 –

International Rivers has highlighted the environmental damage caused by the world’s biggest hydropower project amid concern about plans for two new dams in China

China’s Yangtze River hydropower project has been a ‘model for disaster’, according to a river protection charity, which is concerned about new proposals for similar projects.

The Three Gorges Dam, whose reservoir is due to reach its final height of 175 metres over the next few weeks, will be able to produce enough electricity to meet close to one tenth of China’s current electricity demands.

However, Rivers International say the Dam has driven fish species to extinction, caused frequent toxic algae blooms and is subjecting the area to erosion and frequent landslides.

Future warnings

The group says that the environment impacts of the dam are likely to worsen with time.

‘The submergence of hundreds of factories, mines and waste dumps and the presence of massive industrial centers upstream are creating a festering bog of effluent, silt, industrial pollutants and rubbish in the reservoir,’ the report’s authors write.

Policy director Peter Bosshard said the Chinese government was attempting to replicate the model of the dam. More hydropower proposals have been put forward for the Lancang (Upper Mekong) and Nu (Salween) Rivers.

‘The Three Gorges Dam is a model of the past,’ he said. ‘Its impacts need to be independently evaluated before more dams are being built on the Yangtze River. There are smarter ways of generating energy and managing floods than by building outdated mega-projects.’

The Ecologist

Posted in China, dam, disaster, Environment, News, Three Gorges, World | Comments Off on China’s Three Gorges Dam ‘a model for disaster’

China Sichuan quake was once-in-4,000-year event: scientists

Posted by Author on September 27, 2009


AFP, Sep. 27, 2009 –

PARIS — People who were killed, injured or bereaved in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake had the cruel misfortune to be victims of an event that probably occurs just once in four millennia, seismologists said on Sunday.

In a paper published in the journal Nature Geoscience, Shen Zhengkang of the China Earthquake Administration and colleagues said the May 12, 2008 quake comprised a strong seismic wave, unusual geology and the failure of three subterranean “barriers” to resist the shock.

Using Global Positioning System (GPS) markers and data from satellite-borne interferometric radar, the scientists built up a picture of the Longmen Shan fault, on the northwest rim of the Sichuan basin, as it was gouged open by the 7.9-magnitude temblor.

Nearly 88,000 people were killed in what was the largest seismic event in China in more than 50 years.

The investigators said the sub-surface geometry is complex, varying significantly along the length of the fault zone……. (more from AFP)

Posted in China, disaster, earthquake, News, Sichuan, SW China, World | Comments Off on China Sichuan quake was once-in-4,000-year event: scientists

China Officials ‘Ordered Town Drowned’

Posted by Author on September 24, 2009


Radio free Asia, 2009-09-23 –

HONG KONG— Police are guarding local government offices in China’s southern Guangdong province after dozens of villagers tried to storm the buildings in protest at deliberate flooding of their land in the wake of a major typhoon.

“More than 100 people stormed the government offices three times, but they wouldn’t let them in,” said a resident, surnamed Luo, of Chuanbu township near Guangdong’s Luoding city.

“Right now there are more than 100 police standing guard there.”

Luo said local township officials had refused all along to meet with villagers.

“The villagers are very angry,” he said.

“The township Party secretary has even said that it doesn’t matter if 100 or so villagers die. The most important thing is that not a single official died.”

Order to flood

The township government was ordered by Guangdong provincial authorities to flood the countryside around Chuanbu last week after water levels at the township’s Shandong Dam rose to dangerous levels in the wake of Typhoon Koppu, which left at least three dead.

A teacher surnamed Li at the Chuanbu Middle School said the school buildings were only a few hundred meters (yards) from the dam and described scenes of panic as teachers and students fled upstairs from the rising floodwaters.

“The water came in so quickly. Within two or three minutes the entire school was under water,” Li said.

“There was nowhere to run to. Several thousand teachers and students tried to escape to the upper storeys of the school buildings.”

Calls unanswered

“At the time, all we could think about was how to survive. There was no time to grab any belongings. We were running for our lives,” Li said.

“When the water reached the second floor, we ran up to the third floor. Then the third floor went under, so we ran up to the fourth floor. There are only five storeys in the school. We wondered at the time what would happen if we ran out of storeys,” she added.

An official who was similarly stranded at the Chuanbu township government confirmed that a total of 5,000 students at the middle school were left stranded by rising floodwaters, which also destroyed hundreds of houses.

“No one expected the water to rise so fast,” the official said.

“It was as deep as two meters. They were stranded for a whole day and night.”

“The government building was also surrounded by water. We too were very hungry and thirsty. We only had something to eat after the water retreated,” he said, adding that no casualties were reported from among the students.

The mother of Chuanbu Middle School student Qu Mingjie said her son was on the third floor when the waters started to rise.

“They were told to remain in their classroom by their teacher. The water was two meters high.”

Repeated calls to the Chuanbu police station and the Luoding municipal government went unanswered during office hours Wednesday.

Villagers were unable to confirm any deaths, but rumors were rife that dead bodies were carried to government offices in protest, and that a number of teachers and students from a local kindergarten were missing.

Guangdong-based civil rights activist Tang Jingling said local officials were refusing to give out details of loss of life and property caused by the flooding for fear of being held accountable……. (more from Radio Free Asia)

Posted in China, disaster, Flood, Guangdong, Incident, Life, News, People, Protest, SE China, Social, World | Comments Off on China Officials ‘Ordered Town Drowned’

University Town Quarantined after H1N1 Outbreak in China

Posted by Author on September 16, 2009


By Fang Xiao, Epoch Times Staff, Sep 15, 2009 –

A H1N1 flu outbreak has lead to the closure of a university town in Langfang, a city in China’s Hebei Province. Students now carry thermometers with them as they walk

There were over 300 suspected H1N1 cases on the campus of the People’s Armed Police Force Academy, according to an instructor there who spoke to The Epoch Times under condition of anonymity.

The instructor said those infected were all transferred to Beijing for treatment, and a series of preventative measures taken on campus.

“They have found two more H1N1 cases in the cafeteria, so [the cafeteria] was closed… School authorities have disinfected and cleaned the campus. Every student carries a thermometer with them,” the instructor said.

Although death rates are low among the infected, the instructor said that in the future victims might suffer complications, such as partial paralysis or damage to the neurological, respiratory, or circulatory systems.

One clerk who works in Langfang told The Epoch Times that there are 14 universities with about 40,000 to 50,000 students in the university town, and over 10,000 people have been quarantined since last Wednesday.

The Public Security Bureau was issuing passes in and out of town.

The library had been closed since the outbreak, according to someone who works there contacted by telephone.

Rumors circulated on the internet that authorities in Xiong County, Baoding City, Hebei Province, had issued an order to towns and villages in the area to not report any fever cases, to not confirm any H1N1 cases, and to treat H1N1 flu like the regular flu. The Epoch Times was unable to verify these claims.

The state’s Xinhua News Agency recently reported a new confirmed H1N1 flu case in the Hebei Technical College of Petroleum Profession and those who were infected with H1N1 in Langfang City had all been hospitalized for quarantine and medical treatments.

Xinhua News Agency also reported on Sept. 12 that the Hebei Province Education Department had ordered schools in the province to report any H1N1 cases to their local Education Bureaus, which will then report to the Provincial Education Department.

The Epochtimes

Posted in China, disaster, Health, Hebei, Life, News, North China, Plague, World | Comments Off on University Town Quarantined after H1N1 Outbreak in China

Allegedly 10 Died in Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease Outbreak in Northeast China

Posted by Author on August 29, 2009


By Fang Xiao, Epoch Times Staff, Aug 28, 2009-

Nearly ten children have allegedly died in a hand, foot, and mouth Ddsease (HFMD) outbreak in China’s northeast city of Gongzhuling, Jilin Province, according to a resident there. However, the local regime has not sounded an alarm despite the severity of the situation.

The disease started to spread in Gongzhuling in August, after mainland media reported an HFMD outbreak in central and eastern China in May, and in neighboring Heilongjiang Province in June.

A local resident, who does not want to be named, told the Epoch Times that many large kindergartens announced indefinite closures, only reopening several days ago after the holidays. Many of the infected children have been sent to hospitals in nearby Changchun as local hospitals are full.

Another local resident reported that staff from the local infectious disease office warned of the seriousness of the outbreak saying, “About 10 children have died from the disease.”

An Epoch Times reporter made phone calls to Gongzhuling Municipal Health Bureau. One female staff member confirmed three deaths and 730 current admissions due to the disease according to the Bureau’s information at the time.

“The weather in August is very hot, and the population is very mobile, so the disease has spread quite fast,” the official said, adding that the Bureau had ordered all kindergartens to close.

However, no official report regarding the outbreak could be found on the regime’s official Web site—nor do the local media report on this issue, according to local residents.

Some residents also revealed the hospitals reported some of the diagnoses as herpangina instead of HFMD. The residents suspected that this was the result of pressure from the regime to disguise the number of victims.

A resident said almost all the children have the same symptoms—first, a high fever, then redness and festering in the roof of the mouth, followed by the development of a red rash on the fingers and feet.

Some parents also complained that primary schools have not instituted any preventive measures. For example, all students still eat their lunches together.

“I personally think that the elementary schools should also be closed, as the situation is severe and several kids have died,” one parent said.

The Epochtimes

Posted in Children, China, disaster, Health, Jilin, Life, NE China, News, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on Allegedly 10 Died in Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease Outbreak in Northeast China

China Police Kidnapped and Prevented Court Appearance by Witness for earthquake activist ’s Case

Posted by Author on August 5, 2009


Human Rights in China, August 05, 2009 –

On Aug 5, a closed hearing was held in Chengdu Wuhou District Court on the case of Sichuan rights activist and founder of Tianwang Human Rights Center (天网人权) Huang Qi (黄琦), who was suspected of “illegal possession of state secrets”. Huang Qi was arrested by authorities after actively participating in Sichuan earthquake relief activities and helping parents who had lost their children seek justice. Huang Qi’s lawyers, Mo Shaoping (莫少平) and Ding Xikui (丁锡奎) appeared in court to enter a not guilty plea on his behalf. The court said the verdict will be pronounced at another time.

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that Pu Fei (浦飞), a volunteer for Tianwang Human Rights Center who was taken away by unidentified people along with Huang Qi last June, was prepared to appear in court to testify in support of Huang Qi. On August 3, however, after speaking on the telephone with Huang Qi’s wife, Zeng Li (曾丽), Pu Fei was kidnapped in Chengdu by four police officers, brought to Nantong and prevented from appearing in court. When he protested, the police threatened him, saying, “Our public security offices are doing this to prevent you from continuing to commit crimes.” Pu Fei was detained by the police for two days, and was only released after the conclusion of Huang Qi’s hearing.

“Authorities who violate the law by abducting witnesses in broad daylight cause serious doubt that justice will be served in Huang Qi’s trial”, said Sharon Hom, executive director of Human Rights in China. “This case, which is already tainted by suspicious politicization of the legal process, demonstrates that it is, as rights defender Teng Biao (滕彪) noted recently, the rule of law that is on trial in China. The Chinese authorities need to take immediate and public steps to assure domestic and international confidence in the fairness and openness of the trial.”

Zeng Li said that her son, Huang Qi’s parents, and 40 or 50 other supporters of Huang Qi were blocked from entering the court by a human wall of about a dozen policemen in the entryway of the courthouse. Zeng Li said that when four or five policemen pushed and pulled a handcuffed Huang Qi into the court, she “saw through the thick glass that Huang Qi made a ‘V’ for victory sign with his fingers at us.” The supporters that came were farmers who had lost land, evicted petitioners, and other rights defenders that Huang Qi had helped in the past.

Zeng Li told HRIC that she had delivered two applications to the court, one requesting to be present at the hearing and another requesting that Huang Qi be allowed to see his seriously ill father. Before the start of the hearing, the director of the court designated a judge to speak with her and inform her that her application had been denied. Zeng Li said, “I patiently explained to him that Huang Qi’s father is in the late stages of lung cancer and his condition is very serious. But this judge persisted to tell me that it was not allowed and also refused to tell me his name.”

Zeng Li said that Huang Qi’s lawyer, Mo Shawping, entered a not guilty plea, pointing out that the prosecutor’s evidence was insufficient, the legal documents not properly prepared, and a lot of the accusations did not hold up.

Zeng Li expressed that if Huang Qi was found guilty, the family will appeal to higher courts.

After the hearing ended, Huang Qi was led out of the court. Zeng Li said that at the time, “My son was shouting ‘Dad, Dad’ very loudly. The other people were also shouting, ‘Huang Qi, your mom is calling for you to go home to eat.’” Zeng Li said, “By the time we helped Huang Qi’s father to stand up, Huang Qi was out of site.”

Huang Qi disappeared suddenly on June 10, 2008, two months before the Beijing Olympics, because of his reports of the situation in earthquake-affected areas. It has been over a year since he was arrested by the authorities on the charge of “illegal possession of state secrets.”…… (More details from Human Rights in China )

Posted in Activist, China, earthquake, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Politics, Sichuan, SW China, World | Comments Off on China Police Kidnapped and Prevented Court Appearance by Witness for earthquake activist ’s Case

Fresh aftershock hits China quake region: USGS

Posted by Author on July 12, 2009


AFP, July 12, 2009 –

BEIJING (AFP) — A fresh aftershock jolted China’s southwest Monday, three days after an earthquake in the same area killed one person, injured hundreds and directly affected two million people, state media said.

The US Geological Survey said the magnitude 4.9 quake struck a minute after midnight (1601 GMT) and was centred 95 kilometres (60 miles) east northeast of the tourist city of Dali in Yao’an county, a mountainous area of remote Yunnan province.

The quake was recorded at a shallow depth of 10 kilometres, it said.

Official news agency Xinhua said there were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries from the aftershock, which lasted about 10 seconds.

More than to 250,000 people in several counties in Yunnan were displaced after a 5.7-magnitude quake struck Yao’an on Thursday evening……. (more from AFP)

Posted in China, disaster, earthquake, News, SW China, World, Yunnan | 1 Comment »

(Video) Hong Kong Magazine Editor Questions Accuracy of China’s Earthquake Death Toll

Posted by Author on May 10, 2009


NTDTV, Via Youtube, May 09, 2009-

Chinese communist authorities have suddenly released last years Sichuan earthquake death toll numbers just days before the one-year anniversary on Tuesday. The announcement also denies that shoddy or tofu construction is to blame for school buildings that collapsed, killing thousands of students and teachers inside.

Ahead of the one year anniversary of last years devastating earthquake in Sichuan Province, communist officials announce that the number of students missing totals 5,335.

But Hong Kong Open Magazine executive editor Cai Yongmei doubts the figure, and she is not alone.

A Reuters news polls suggests it could be closer to 9,000. Other experts say it may actually be closer to 10,000.

[Cai Yongmei, Executive Editor, Open Magazine]:
They manipulate the statistics. When faced with disaster they reduce the figure. They have this tradition.

Ms. Cai says that the Chinese communist regime usually reports the good but not the bad.

[Cai Yongmei, Executive Editor, Open Magazine]:
If the truth was revealed, many officials would lose their jobs, so they will try to protect themselves. How do they protect themselves? They have to completely cover up the whole truth about the tofu construction.

Cai believes that the Chinese Communist Partys denial of poorly built schools will lead to public anger.

[Cai Yongmei, Executive Editor, Open Magazine]:
The Chinese communists blocked it. As the result of the blockage, social conflicts and crises have no way to be vented or resolved. The more it accumulates, the greater the explosion will be in the end.

Hu Liyun works for the International Federation of Journalists and is in charge of Hong Kong and China projects. He says that some foreigner reporters who received clearance to report were blocked from doing so by local authorities.

[Hu Liyun, International Federation of Journalists]:
The problem is some officials and unknown people have been trying to obstruct them. It is necessary to register as a procedure, but they kicked them out before they could even register.

At least 69,000 people died in the disaster.

NTD, Hong Kong.

– From NTDTV on Youtube

Posted in Asia, China, disaster, earthquake, Journalist, News, People, Politics, Sichuan, Speech, SW China, World | Comments Off on (Video) Hong Kong Magazine Editor Questions Accuracy of China’s Earthquake Death Toll

China quake parents ‘harassed’

Posted by Author on May 7, 2009


By Michael Bristow , BBC News, 6 May 2009, Beijing –

Parents who lost their children in China’s earthquake fear they will not be allowed to properly commemorate the disaster’s first anniversary.

Many parents want to return to the site of the schools in Sichuan that killed their children when they collapsed.

But the authorities have previously stopped them going to the schools on sensitive occasions, and are said to be monitoring the parents ahead of 12 May.

China has not said how many children were among the 90,000 dead and missing.

The government has admitted that nearly 14,000 schools – some of them poorly or hastily built – were damaged in the magnitude-8 earthquake.

Schools sealed off

One mother, Hu Hongfang, wants to return to Juyuan Middle School to mark the first anniversary of the death of her 15-year-old son Guo Jun.

But she is not hopeful that she will be allowed to get to the collapsed school site, in the city of Dujiangyan in northern Sichuan Province.

“On every occasion parents have wanted to pay their respects to their children, the whole school and nearby area have been sealed off,” she said.

Other parents told the BBC a similar story.

Zhou Siqiang, whose daughter died at the Juyuan school, said parents have been prevented from visiting the site on a number of occasions.

He said they were stopped from going to the site on last month’s Tomb Sweeping Day, when Chinese people traditionally visit family graves.

But he was undeterred. “I think I will join others and go to the school on the first anniversary of the earthquake,” he said.

Across Dujiangyan, parents at another collapsed school detailed some of the methods used by the authorities to prevent them from staging public displays of grief.

These includes stopping them from leaving their homes and taking them away from the city during sensitive times. …… (More from BBC News)

Posted in China, disaster, earthquake, Family, Human Rights, Life, News, People, Politics, Rural, Sichuan, Social, SW China, World | Comments Off on China quake parents ‘harassed’

Media Watchdog Fears China’s Control on Swine Flu Reporting

Posted by Author on May 7, 2009


By Lin Yi, Epoch Times Staff,  May 6, 2009 –

The Chinese regime’s media control machine has imposed a restriction on reports about swine flu (H1N1) cases, drawing criticism from media watchdog, International Federation of Journalists (China and Hong Kong).

Ms. Serenade Woo, project coordinator of the federation, said the regime is requesting all media follow its official reports—using the excuse of avoiding a mass panic. Woo said it is a repeat of the SARS coverup in 2003.

“The SARS outbreak in 2003 was a painful lesson, because the government delayed releasing the news by suppressing the information. [As a result,] more people were infected and the delay of the information caused many deaths and unnecessary panic,” Woo said.

The public will miss out on timely alerts if information is blocked, said Woo, questioning the regime’s excuse of avoiding a public panic.

“The question is, when you release the information, is the information released with all possible means, in an honest way? If the situation is not clear, let people understand, because the public is not stupid.”

Recently, media in Guangzhou were warned by officials for reporting a suspected swine flu case.

Woo criticized the regime’s use of media as a propaganda tool and said she feared some Hong Kong media were now being influenced by the Chinese Communist Party.

The Epochtimes

Posted in Asia, censorship, China, disaster, Hong kong, Human Rights, Journalist, Media, News, People, Plague, Politics, Press freedom, World | Comments Off on Media Watchdog Fears China’s Control on Swine Flu Reporting

China Quake Zone: Officials Still Harassing Relatives, Arresting Activists, Obstructing Media

Posted by Author on May 6, 2009


Human Rights Watch, May 6, 2009 –

(New York) – The Chinese government should mark the first anniversary of the devastating May 12, 2008, Sichuan earthquake by offering legal redress to surviving relatives, making public all information about quake-related deaths and damages, and dropping onerous requirements for media who want to report from the area, Human Rights Watch said today.

Human Rights Watch urges the Chinese government to allow relatives who lost family in the quake to freely bring lawsuits against those they believe are responsible for allegedly shoddy school construction linked to the deaths of thousands of children in the quake zone.

An estimated 70,000 people died in the May 2008 quake, many of them students whose schools collapsed. Over the past year, some parents have demanded an official inquiry into the buildings’ deficiencies, a completion of DNA testing to identify quake victims, and a complete list of victims’ names and ages. There are parents who have filed lawsuits alleging that faulty construction contributed to the collapse of their children’s schools, but to date no courts have accepted the cases. Not only have many of these parents been harassed, detained, and in some cases kicked or punched by officials and security forces, but the government has also pressured many of the victims’ families to accept one-time compensation payments in exchange for ceasing demands for a public accounting.

“Parents of student quake victims, who are trying to understand how and why their children died, deserve answers and compassion, not threats and abuse,” said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “Persecuting quake victims and their relatives adds cruel insult to already grievous injury.”

Such harassment is occurring despite the Chinese government’s specific pledge in its new National Human Rights Action Plan, published on April 13, to protect the rights of Sichuan quake victims. The National Human Rights Action Plan commits the government to “Respecting earthquake victims (and) registering the names of people who died or disappeared in the earthquake and make them known to the public.” Some victims’ family members suspect that the government is delaying DNA identification and victim list publication for fear that a disproportionate percentage will have been students, and that public demands for accountability will resume.

“The Chinese government should take up this important opportunity to prove it’s serious about delivering on the action plan’s promises to protect the rights of Sichuan earthquake victims,” Richardson said.

In addition to harassing victims’ family members, state security forces have also targeted individuals trying to investigate the possible causes of school collapses or compile lists of quake victims. Those individuals include:

* Huang Qi, a veteran dissident and founder of http://www.64tianwang.com/, a website dedicated to publicizing human rights abuses across China. Huang was detained on June 10, 2008 in Chengdu, while investigating allegations that shoddy construction had contributed to the collapse of schools in the earthquake. He was formally charged with “possessing state secrets” on July 18, 2008, and his trial was indefinitely postponed for undisclosed reasons in February 2009.
* Zeng Hongling, a retired university professor. After posting online critiques of building standards in the Sichuan earthquake zone, Zeng was arrested in May 2008 and faces “subversion” charges.
* Liu Shakun, a teacher. Liu was reportedly arrested and sentenced in August 2008 to one year of “re-education through labor” on the charge of “disseminating rumors and disrupting social order” for posting on-line photographs he had taken of collapsed schools in the Sichuan earthquake zone. Liu was released from a labor camp and allowed to serve the remainder of his sentence outside of custody on September 24, 2008.
* Tan Zuoren, a literary editor and environmentalist. After trying to compile a name list of children killed in the Sichuan earthquake, Tan was detained in March 2009 on suspicion of subversion.

“From the 1976 Tangshan earthquake to the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown to the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, the Chinese government has repeatedly defaulted to a strategy of obscuring public safety information and persecuting those who try to reveal it,” said Richardson. “Such tactics aren’t just harmful for China, they can be a potential danger to the international community as food safety scandals and outbreaks of communicable diseases can rapidly escalate from local problems to global threats.”

Human Rights Watch said that in the run-up to the one-year anniversary of the Sichuan earthquake, some foreign journalists returning to document the region’s reconstruction are also being obstructed by quake zone government officials and security forces.

The Chinese government won justifiable praise in the weeks immediately following the 2008 Sichuan earthquake by allowing foreign media relatively unrestricted access to the disaster zone. However, by mid-April 2008, some foreign correspondents reporting from the quake zone were noting an increase in obstruction and harassment by government officials, state security forces, and plainclothes thugs who appeared to operate at official behest. Such harassment was particularly prevalent if foreign journalists were attempting to interview bereaved parents……. (more details from Human Rights Watch)

Posted in Activist, China, disaster, earthquake, Family, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, Life, Media, News, People, Politics, Sichuan, Social, Speech, SW China, World | Comments Off on China Quake Zone: Officials Still Harassing Relatives, Arresting Activists, Obstructing Media

Between China and a flu pandemic: EDITORIAL by Taipei Times

Posted by Author on April 28, 2009


Tuesday, Taipei Times, Taiwan, Apr 28, 2009 –

Amid reports that more than 100 people have died in Mexico from what is believed to be H1N1 swine influenza, 20 confirmed cases in the US and daily reports of possible cases in every corner of the world, Taiwanese health authorities have reacted with propriety: They have called for calm, reassured the public that the disease cannot be transmitted via food and heightened monitoring at ports of entry.

Fears of a pandemic and its impact on the global economy’s recovery sent most stock markets down yesterday, with the TAIEX dropping 2.99 percent. Economists in Australia, meanwhile, were saying that even a mild outbreak of swine flu could result in 1.4 million deaths worldwide and US$330 billion in lost production. (To put things in perspective, the Asian Development Bank said the cost of the SARS outbreak in 2003 for East and Southeast Asia was about US$18 billion.)

While it would be premature to call this “the big one” scientists have long been predicting, swine flu was responsible for three major pandemics in the past century — in 1918, 1957 and 1968.

Modern travel and the sheer number of people traveling daily have made it far easier for communicable diseases to spread. Given this, and in light of reports of possible outbreaks in countries such as New Zealand, which has ordered 50 people there to be quarantined, it is only a matter of time before cases start appearing close to home. In fact, it would not be a surprise if China already had some, which raises the specter, once again, of Chinese authorities’ tendency to muzzle reports of disease outbreaks — as it did in 2003.

The likelihood that an outbreak in China would go unreported is perhaps even greater today given the economic situation and fears of social instability. Confirmation of an outbreak and its consequences for the tottering economy would risk exacerbating social problems and undermine the Chinese Communist Party’s image as a totem of stability. Even if China had learned its lessons from 2003, institutional friction and the fact that information on disease outbreaks in China is a “state secret” means that by the time the information is made public, it may be too late to prevent the disease from spreading, especially in densely populated areas.

Aside from highlighting the urgent need for Taiwan to gain WHO representation, as well as the importance of direct connection to the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network, which Taiwan obtained earlier this year, the present scare raises questions about additional risks created by the recent rise in tourist arrivals from China and increases in the number of direct cross-strait flights.

While there is no question that checking body temperature at points of arrival is a necessary first line of defense, the short distance that needs to be covered for Chinese to travel to Taiwan means that by the time they arrive, people infected with swine flu may not have begun displaying telltale symptoms of the disease — sudden fever, coughing, muscle aches and extreme fatigue — and can remain contagious for as long as a week, the US Centers for Disease Control says.

Faced with so many uncertainties concerning China’s ability or willingness to be a responsible stakeholder when an epidemic occurs, and given Beijing’s poor track record, how would the Taiwanese government react? If the situation takes a turn for the worse and cases start appearing in China, would Taipei, given the position of dependence it has burdened itself with vis-a-vis China, be able to unilaterally suspend cross-strait flights?

Taipei Times

Posted in Asia, China, disaster, Health, Life, News, Plague, Politics, Taiwan, travel, World | Comments Off on Between China and a flu pandemic: EDITORIAL by Taipei Times

Bird flu outbreak in North-west China

Posted by Author on February 11, 2009


AFP, Feb. 11, 2009-

BEIJING (AFP) — China has reported its first bird flu outbreak among poultry this year, with thousands of fowl destroyed in the nation’s far northwest to prevent an epidemic.

The alert was raised after 519 fowl died in the Xinjiang region that borders Central Asia, the agriculture ministry said in a statement posted on its website late on Tuesday.

They were confirmed on Tuesday to have died of the H5N1 strain of bird flu that is responsible for killing about 250 people around the world since 2003.

Emergency measures were introduced in Xinjiang, which included killing 13,000 more fowl, the ministry said, without specifying if the animals were chickens or other types of poultry.

The ministry said the situation was under control. Officials at the ministry’s media department were unavailable on Wednesday to comment further.

China previously reported that eight people were infected with bird flu across the country this year, five of whom died.

However until Tuesday, authorities said no outbreaks of bird flu had been detected in poultry, raising questions as to how people contracted the disease.

Experts fear the H5N1 virus could mutate into a form easily transmissible between humans, rather than from poultry to humans, with the potential to kill millions in a pandemic.

But there has been no evidence yet of this happening.

The fourth person to die of bird flu in China this year, a 31-year-old woman, was living in a city neighbouring Xinjiang’s capital of Urumqi and contracted the disease on January 10, officials said previously.

However the outbreak among poultry reported on Tuesday was in Moyu county, about 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) away, indicating no obvious connection.

Twenty-five people have died from bird flu in China since the disease re-emerged in 2003, according to World Health Organisation figures.

AFP

Posted in Bird flu, China, Health, News, NW China, Plague, World, Xinjiang | Comments Off on Bird flu outbreak in North-west China

Bird flu poultry outbreaks in China possible: UN

Posted by Author on February 4, 2009


AFP, Feb. 4, 2009-

BEIJING (AFP) — China may have experienced outbreaks of bird flu among poultry recently, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation said Wednesday, even though the government had yet to report any cases this year.

The FAO’s comments come after eight people contracted the H5N1 bird flu virus in China this year — five of whom died — compared with just three cases in all of 2008.

“There must have been some virus circulation or possibly some outbreaks lately,” Vincent Martin, senior technical adviser on bird flu for the FAO in China, told AFP.

But he said the FAO had received no reports of bird flu cases in poultry from the agriculture ministry since December, when an outbreak occurred in the eastern province of Jiangsu.

“There must be some suspicions of the disease reported to the Ministry of Agriculture, and some of those suspicions might have come up positive,” he said.

“We are waiting to receive some reports describing the overall epidemiological situation and the results of investigations.”

The number of cases in China this year has aroused some public concern, although the World Health Organisation has said the overall situation is “within expectations at this time of the year.”

Cold weather encourages the spread of the virus, and the Lunar New Year holiday — a risky period when hundreds of millions of people move across the nation to see relatives and eat meals that include poultry — has just ended.

But Martin said the pattern this year was unusual.

“There are more cases than last year, including in places where the disease was not reported before like in Jiangsu province (poultry outbreak) or Shandong province (human case),” he said.

Lo Wing-lok, an infectious disease expert in Hong Kong, said that if no poultry outbreak in China was accompanying the current human cases, the latter could have been triggered by a mutation in the H5N1 virus.

“Maybe the virus has been changing, so that it becomes a more easily transmittable virus between bird and man,” he said.

Experts fear the H5N1 virus could mutate into a form easily transmissible between humans, with the potential to kill millions in a pandemic, but there has been no evidence yet of this happening.

So far, 25 people have died from avian influenza in China since the disease re-emerged in 2003, according to World Health Organisation figures.

AFP

Posted in Bird flu, China, disaster, Health, Life, News, People, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on Bird flu poultry outbreaks in China possible: UN

China’s change of student quake death toll angers parents

Posted by Author on November 21, 2008


By John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times, USA, November 21, 2008 –

Reporting from Beijing — Jiang Xujun felt the stab of his daughter’s death all over again today when Chinese officials acknowledged for the first time that 19,000 students perished in May’s deadly earthquake — and then immediately backed off the estimate.

Jiang used his bare hands to dig the body of his 7-year-old daughter, Jiang Yao, from the rubble of her primary school. Since then, he has fought the government for compensation for the death and assistance in finding a new home.

The months have brought only misery. On Friday, Chinese officials added insult to Jiang’s injury.

At a news conference on preparations for the winter in the quake zone, Wei Hong, executive vice governor of Sichuan, gave the student death toll as 19,065 — nearly a quarter of the total death count — a figure that was immediately quoted in stories by Chinese state-run and foreign news services.

Soon, however, an officer from the Sichuan provincial propaganda office said an official translation at the news conference misconstrued Wei’s remarks. He said the 19,065 figure was the total number of earthquake victims who have been identified.

For many, including the angry parents of children who died when their unstable schools collapsed, the about-face spoke volumes of how Chinese officials deal with sensitive revelations: a moment of candor followed by a contradictory reversal.

A Xinhua news agency report of the news conference reported Wei’s original remarks, but a second story on the state-run site claimed his estimate referred to a detailed list of identified dead and not specifically students.

A veteran reporter for the China Youth Daily today said it was still confusing whether Wei inadvertently released the real student death toll number, or was misquoted.

“I don’t know whether it’s true or not,” he said. “I have been to several earthquake zones, and I only know the death toll there, but for an overall death toll, I really have no way to know.”

For months following the 7.9-magnitude quake, officials had declined to offer a precise toll of the number of students who died. The topic has raised the ire of many Sichuan residents who watched schools collapse while other nearby buildings suffered little damage.

“We don’t trust the local government, they are too deceptive,” said Jiang, a 37-year-old former home-renovator. “School buildings are of shoddy construction. I am afraid the real number of dead students is more than 19,000.”

Jiang said the Fuxin No. 2 school where his daughter died was built in 1997. A total of 127 students at the school died in the earthquake, including 27 of the 41 in his daughter’s classroom.

“Other teachers’ office buildings did not collapse,” he said. “The school fence walls did not collapse, even our rural buildings did not collapse, just the [classroom] building collapsed.”

In the face of angry residents, local officials have also tried to quell protests from parents who have demanded an investigation into school construction. Police have been called in to silence rallies and some parents of dead or missing children say they have been either intimidated or even bribed to remain silent.

A local official at the heart of the quake zone killed himself this week, the second such suicide in two months, state media said, another sign of the emotional toll.

On Friday, Wei estimated that 1,300 schools have been rebuilt or are currently under construction. He said 200,000 homes had been rebuilt and another 685,000 dwellings were under reconstruction. Still, 1.94 million households still needed to be rebuilt or repaired, he said.

Jiang is among those waiting for their homes to be repaired.

“The local government did not realize their commitments to us,” he said. “We still have to borrow money from friends and relatives, we have to live our lives. Our [home] is not suitable to live, there are splits, winter is coming. It’s very cold.”

Along with the chill of winter, Jiang shivers over the loss of his little fifth-grader. “At 11:40 a.m., on May 13th, the second day after the quake, I finally dug out my daughter with my own hands,” he said.

The biggest pain comes from seeing the children who survived. “Watching others’ children bounce lively — they are lovely like flowers — it’s painful,” Jiang said.

“My wife suffers much more.”

Glionna is a Times staff writer.

– Los Angeles Times: China’s shifting student death toll from quake angers parents

Posted in censorship, Children, China, disaster, earthquake, Life, News, People, Politics, Sichuan, Social, SW China, World | Comments Off on China’s change of student quake death toll angers parents

Cholera Outbreak in South China Spreads to University, Seven Students Infected

Posted by Author on November 7, 2008


Epoch Times Staff,  Nov 4, 2008-

A cholera outbreak recently spread to Haikou, the capital of China’s Hainan Province, forcing the quarantine of Hainan University.

Most dining halls are closed in Hainan University.

Seven students have been confirmed with having the disease, bringing the total confirmed cases in the province to 51, according to a local medical official on Sunday.

More than 70 other students were in the hospital with stomach ailments. The university had barred outside personnel from entering the campus and prevented students from leaving, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The outbreak has left Chinese internet users and students at the university questioning the response time of school authorities who did little to react after cases first sprung up in the school on Oct. 30. Students are now also complaining of being restricted to campus grounds, “We don’t even know the situation until our parents called after watching the news!”

Three of the five campus dining halls are closed, making life increasingly difficult for students. Some students believe that the outbreak of the disease was due to bad hygienic conditions in the dining hall. “We see rats and flies all over the place,” reported one student.

Frustration is developing rapidly among Hainan students, and some suggest that the university president should resign from his post.

– The Epochtimes: Cholera Outbreak Spreads to Hainan University

Posted in China, cholera, disaster, Haikou, Hainan, Health, Life, News, People, Plague, Social, South China, Student, World | Comments Off on Cholera Outbreak in South China Spreads to University, Seven Students Infected

Cholera Outbreak in South China Resort Island

Posted by Author on November 1, 2008


Reuters, Oct 31, 2008-

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s southern resort island of Hainan has confirmed 30 cholera cases and nearly 300 suspected cases in the last few days, the provincial government said on Friday.

No deaths had been reported, the government website said, but Xinhua news agency said on Thursday an eight-year-old girl died of congenital heart disease triggered by suspected cholera.

Continuous torrential rains on the island this month may be one reason for the epidemic, the website said.

Cholera is transmitted by contaminated water or food. At its most acute, it causes diarrhea that can lead to death by severe dehydration and kidney failure.

Reuters

Posted in China, disaster, Hainan, Life, News, Plague, Social, South China, World | 1 Comment »

China: Hundreds of peasants’ protest of official corruption suppressed by police

Posted by Author on October 9, 2008


Press Release, Human Rights in China (HRIC), Oct. 8, 2008-

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that on October 8, 2008, around 1:00 P.M., hundreds of peasants organized a peaceful sit-in and blocked traffic at a major road in Sanjiang town (三江镇), Guangdong province. Witnesses reported that more than five hundred police officers, military police (武警), and riot police were deployed to disperse the crowd. Witnesses also said that police detained protesters and used batons to beat them, leaving some seriously injured and unconscious. Several observers who used their mobile phones to record the incident were also taken away by police.

Villagers staged the sit-in after Typhoon Hagupit (黑格比) destroyed a river dam in Shenlei village (深呂村). The resultant flooding destroyed farmland, fish ponds, shrimp ponds, and other property on which village farmers depended for their livelihood. Villagers reported that a few months ago, local officials removed and sold all of the fountain palm trees which had been planted next to the dam, leaving the dam unprotected against extreme weather. Local peasants attributed the collapse of the dam to the removal of the trees and had previously approached the local government to request assistance after the flood. So far, they have received nothing.

“This is not only a case of police brutality,” said Sharon Hom, executive director of Human Rights in China. “This involves a bigger issue of official theft of public property—cutting down and selling the palm trees—resulting in a man-made disaster that wiped out the peasants’ livelihood.”

This kind of violation by local officials is a pervasive phenomenon in China. HRIC urges the Central government to take action to prevent these illegal acts and protect the people’s property rights enshrined in the Constitution.

Villagers reported that their phones were blocked and the village is now under tight security, and is guarded by plainclothes policemen.

Human Rights in China (HRIC)

Posted in China, corruption, disaster, Guangdong, Law, News, Official, People, Politics, Rural, SE China, Social, World | Comments Off on China: Hundreds of peasants’ protest of official corruption suppressed by police

Detained for earthquake photo posting, China teacher to serve sentence outside of labor camp

Posted by Author on September 28, 2008


Human Rights in China (HRIC), Sep. 26, 2008-

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that Liu Shaokun (刘绍坤), who was sentenced to one year of Reeducation-Through-Labor (劳动教养) (RTL) after posting online his photographs of collapsed school buildings in quake-affected areas, was released by the authorities on Wednesday, September 24, to serve his sentence outside the labor camp.

Following Liu’s sentencing in July, HRIC reported his case and urged the Chinese government to release him, which drew the attention of the international community. Liu’s family expressed gratitude to HRIC and the international community for their concern.

“It is absurd that the authorities imposed RTL on Liu merely because he attempted to document the situation in the quake-hit zone,” said Sharon Hom, executive director of Human Rights in China. “Accurate and timely information about the earthquake damage is important to both reconstruction efforts and to informed responses to future earthquakes.”

Liu’s family told HRIC that, following the decision of the RTL Committee of Deyang City, Sichuan (四川德阳市劳动教养委员会), Liu returned home around 5 p.m. on September 24. He remains under residential surveillance. The police agreed to return Liu’s computer and other belongings that they confiscated.

Liu Shaokun, a teacher at Guanghan Middle School, Deyang City, Sichuan Province (四川省德阳市广汉中学), traveled to heavily hit areas after the May 12 Sichuan earthquake, took photos of collapsed school buildings, and posted them online. In a media interview, he expressed his anger at “the shoddy ‘tofu’ buildings.” Liu was detained on June 25 at his school.

On July 23, when Liu’s wife went to the Guanghan City Public Security Bureau to pick up a letter from her husband, she was told that Liu was sentenced to one year of RTL for “inciting a disturbance” (煽动闹事). Since then, Liu’s family and Liu’s work unit have been appealing for a sentence “outside the RTL camp” for Liu. On September 12, Liu’s family was told that the RTL Committee of Deyang City had finally approved their application.

As China prepares to host the 14th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering on October 12–17, 2008, HRIC urges the Chinese authorities to also immediately release Huang Qi and Zeng Hongling, who were both detained by the authorities for reporting activities following the Sichuan earthquake.

Human Rights in China

Posted in censorship, China, City resident, corruption, disaster, earthquake, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Politics, Sichuan, Social, SW China, World | 7 Comments »