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

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

Life is a trial for Chinese lawyer Gao Zhisheng

Posted by Author on May 5, 2009


By Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Tijmes, May 5, 2009 –

Reporting from Beijing — For the family of Gao Zhisheng, a maverick lawyer under house arrest for years after confronting the Communist Party head-on, security was so tight that police sometimes sat in the bedroom of their Beijing apartment, insisting the lights remain on all night so they could keep an eye on them.

In order to keep the family incommunicado, authorities forbade telephones or Internet access. When Gao’s 15-year-old daughter went to school, her classmates were not allowed to carry cellphones lest she borrow one to make a call.

After more than four years under surveillance, Gao’s wife managed to slip out of the apartment in mid-January with their daughter and 5-year-old son. They traveled nearly 2,000 miles by bus, train, motorcycle and on foot to reach Thailand, from where they were allowed to fly to the United States.

The 45-year-old Gao disappeared weeks later and is presumed to be in the custody of Chinese secret police.

“We know nothing. We don’t even know if he is alive or dead,” said his wife, Geng He, in a tearful telephone interview. In the last month, she has talked to members of Congress, the press and human rights groups about what happened to her family.

Her story speaks to the unbearable pressure Beijing continues to apply on its citizens, even savvy lawyers, who cross an unstated line by taking on taboo causes.

In the first four months of 2009, Amnesty International has documented at least four cases of lawyers who were threatened with violence by the authorities as they defended their clients, and many more in which they were stopped from meeting clients, detained or barred from practicing law.

Beijing authorities in March issued a six-month suspension of the Yitong law firm, one of the country’s most prominent human rights practices, saying one of its lawyers was improperly licensed.

“That was just an excuse to punish us for accepting sensitive cases,” said Li Jinsong, head of the firm.

Yuan Xianchen, a lawyer in northeastern China who represented miners and farmers against state-owned companies, was sentenced in March to four years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power.”

Lawyers have also been blocked from bringing lawsuits on behalf of parents whose babies were sickened by melamine-tainted milk.

“In terms of China’s overall legal development, nobody ever said the road forward would be straight, but I think we are going backwards at the moment,” said Nicholas Bequelin of Human Rights Watch.

The crackdown has come in an era when Chinese lawyers have become bolder about pushing for the rights of the ordinary citizen in a culture where individual grievances have long been subordinated to the good of the collective.

China has a minuscule legal community — just 143,000 lawyers, or about 1 for every 9,090 people. (The U.S. has about 1 for every 300.)

Traditionally, Chinese who believe themselves wronged write up their own complaints and travel to Beijing to seek justice — a wildly inefficient system known as petitioning that dates back to Imperial times.

Among the new breed of lawyers, Gao wasn’t merely pushing the envelope — he was an in-your-face advocate, a large man with a booming voice who took on China’s leadership.

The Chinese government says he and his family have been treated responsibly.

At a Foreign Ministry briefing in March, spokesman Qin Gang said: “There’s no political persecution or limits on the freedom of the family. . . . We’ve handled the case in strict accordance with the law.”

Gao, born in a cave in rural Shaanxi province and self-educated, was named one of the top 10 lawyers in China in 2001 by the Chinese Ministry of Justice’s Legal Daily. He represented clients in medical malpractice and land confiscation cases, which in China meant suing the government. Over time, he grew more daring, taking as clients underground churches and members of the Falun Gong, who alleged they had been tortured for their participation in the banned quasi-Buddhist sect.

The government closed Gao’s law practice in 2004, and he was convicted of subversion two years later and given a suspended sentence that kept him under house arrest for much of the time after. Unable to practice law, he started speaking out publicly, giving interviews to the foreign press and dashing off letters to the European Union and the U.S. Congress.

As he became more strident, the secret police became more frantic to quiet him. They would pick him up frequently for questioning; at other times they kept him under house arrest. They set up camp in the stairwell outside his second-floor flat. At one point, while Gao was in custody, his wife said, an officer stayed in the bedroom as she and the children slept.

Police also followed family members onto buses and stood outside phone booths as they made calls.

Despite the intense surveillance, Gao managed to send letters in 2007 to the European Union and U.S. Congress urging a boycott of the following year’s Olympics in Beijing over alleged human rights abuses.

Shortly afterward, Gao was picked up by men in plain clothes presumed to be secret police and a black hood was placed over his head. During 59 days in custody, he was beaten and sexually abused, prodded with electric probes, bamboo skewers and burning cigarettes, according to a letter wife Geng wrote April 23 to Congress.

Oddly enough, she now says, it wasn’t the torture as much as the confiscation of her daughter’s classmates’ cellphones that drove the family to the brink.

“Her teacher told everybody in the class that because of her father, they can’t take any cellphones to school. They couldn’t go to computer classes like other students,” Geng recalled. “Everybody at the school was angry with my daughter.”

It was then that the family began seriously planning their escape. On Jan. 9, Gao abruptly walked out of the Beijing apartment. When the police rushed after him, Geng and the two children left, wearing as much clothing as they could fit under their winter coats. They dared not carry bags.

After a journey of nine days that included traveling by night over smugglers’ routes through Southeast Asia, they reached Thailand, where a Christian group helped them get to the United States.

Gao was seized at his brother’s home in Shaanxi the morning of Feb. 4 and has not been heard from since, his family told human rights advocates.

It is common in China for family not to be notified for weeks or even months after an arrest, but Gao’s fate is of keen interest because of his high profile. He was a nominee last year for the Nobel Peace Prize, and in 2007, the American Board of Trial Advocates tried to present him with its Courageous Advocacy Award at a dinner in Santa Barbara.

He was not permitted to attend.

Los Angeles Tijmes

Posted in Beijing, China, Family, house arrest, Law, News, Politics, Social, Torture, World | Comments Off on Life is a trial for Chinese lawyer Gao Zhisheng

Hundreds Missing Children in South China Spark Outcry

Posted by Author on May 4, 2009


Radio Free Asia, 2009-05-04 –

HONG KONG—The disappearance of hundreds of children in southern China has prompted an outcry among parents, who say the government has done little to locate their children or determine what may have happened to them.

Authorities have dismissed as rumor concerns that hundreds of missing children may have been subjected to organ harvesting.

Announcing the return of three out of four missing children in Heyuan city, in Guangdong province, in recent days, Huang Jinlai, director of the Yuancheng district Public Security Bureau, told reporters of the organ-harvesting allegations: “This is nothing but rumor.”

Huang Jinlai’s comments come amid growing concerns from the parents of the missing that their children may be being harmed or exploited by those who steal them.

A mother surnamed Huang in Guangdong’s Dongguan city said she was worried the children may have been crippled and used in begging gangs, or had their organs harvested and sold.

“The police are just like bandits,” Huang said. “They have no idea how we feel about this. I was crying at home last night. Why are they like this?”

“All these years, I haven’t even known whether my child is alive or dead. I’m worried that some of the children have been crippled and left by the side of the road to beg for money.”

“Other people say that they take their hearts for transplant. It makes me scared just to think about it. I can’t sleep, day or night. I just keep thinking about it,” Huang said.

Inaction alleged

Another mother, surnamed Zeng, whose seven-year-old daughter went missing in 2006, said the government didn’t appear to take the problem seriously enough.

“Because you [the government] ignored our cases and didn’t try very hard to solve them, there is little we can do [besides protest]. So many children disappear every year, and it’s because you, the local government, don’t take it seriously,” she said.

“If you did your job of enforcing the law properly, we wouldn’t be losing our children.”

An employee who answered the phone at the Dongguan municipal police department, and officials in the municipal government, declined to comment on the cases.

Repeated calls to the municipal Party secretary’s propaganda office went unanswered during office hours two weeks ago.

Other parents described a police crackdown when they protested last week.

“We wanted to see local leaders, but no leaders wanted to meet us. Therefore we decided to protest,” one woman, surnamed Zhang, said.

“We walked for several hours. There were many police following us and by early afternoon we had clashed with them. Many of us were injured. Some were bleeding,” said Zhang, who said her son, Wang Bin, was missing.

Another mother, surnamed Ye, said her son was abducted when he was nine months old.

“They overreacted by using riot police,” she said of the authorities. “All they need to do was to have police maintain order.” …… (more details from Radio Free Asia)

Posted in Children, China, Family, Guangdong, Health, Law, Life, News, People, Politics, SE China, Social, South China, World | Comments Off on Hundreds Missing Children in South China Spark Outcry

Disabilities in China’s polluted Shanxi Province

Posted by Author on April 25, 2009


By James Reynolds, BBC News, Shanxi, central China, Apr. 23, 2009-

For the Li family, the best part of the day comes at noon.

Every day, after school, Li San San picks up his children from school, jams them all onto the back of his motorbike and drives them through the hills back home.

The kids cling onto each other and laugh as they try not to fall off.

On the main roads nearby, lines of coal trucks head off to the rest of China. The valleys are full of steelworks and heavy industry.

The Li family get back to their home, which is carved into the side of a hill.

Six-year-old Hong Wei eats his noodles and sits quietly in front of his school notebook.

He has a shy smile and hides in his sister’s lap when we try to talk to him.

Hong Wei was born with an extra thumb on his right hand. His elder sister Lixia, who’s 14, was born with a twisted left foot and walks with a heavy limp.

Like many people in Shanxi, this family is too poor to go to the doctors. The parents don’t know why their children were born with defects. They’re simply left to guess.

“The air isn’t good around here,” says Li San San. “When it’s bad, it’s difficult to breathe, it looks gloomy and smoggy out there.”

The province of Shanxi is one of the most polluted places in the world.

The rate of birth defects in this region is six times higher than the national average.

In January, the director of family planning in Shanxi, An Huanxiao, told the China Daily newspaper that the province’s high rate of birth defects was related to environmental pollution. …… (more details from BBC News)

Posted in air, Central China, China, Environment, Family, Health, Life, News, People, pollution, Rural, Shanxi, World | Comments Off on Disabilities in China’s polluted Shanxi Province

China rights leader’s family ‘defects to US’

Posted by Author on March 13, 2009


AFP, Mar. 12, 2009-

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The family of Chinese rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who has been tipped for a Nobel Peace Prize and disappeared weeks ago, has defected to the United States, according to supporters.

The wife and two children of Gao — who said he was tortured after drawing international attention to China’s rights abuses — sneaked out by foot into Thailand and arrived in the United States on Wednesday, rights groups said.

“It was extraordinarily difficult to get us out of China. The friends who helped us escape took enormous pains, some even risking their own lives,” Gao’s wife, Geng He, told Radio Free Asia’s Mandarin service Thursday.

The defection came during a visit to Washington by Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, who has warned President Barack Obama’s administration to “stop meddling” in Beijing’s affairs over human rights.

Gao, once a prominent lawyer and communist party member, has been an outspoken defender of people seeking redress from the government including coal miners, underground Christians and the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement.

After he wrote an open letter to the US Congress in 2007, Gao said he was subjected to several weeks of torture including suffering electric shocks to his genitals and having his eyes burned by cigarettes.

In its latest annual human rights report, the US State Department said Gao’s whereabouts were unknown. Gao was considered among the front-runners last year for the Nobel Peace Prize.

New York-based Human Rights in China said Gao was again taken away by state security from his home village in central Shaanxi province on February 4 — about a month after his family fled — and has not been heard from since.

ChinaAid, a US-based group assisting Christians in communist China, said it helped the family fly to Los Angeles and then to Phoenix, where they are now staying.

Geng told Radio Free Asia that her daughter, 15, and son, 5, were under virtual house arrest in Beijing. The girl attempted suicide several times out of desperation as she was unable to attend school, Geng said.

“I had no place to turn. So I fled with my children,” she said. The US-based radio service said the family was seeking asylum.

Geng said Gao could not defect as he was under constant police surveillance. She said the family managed to evade detection by traveling by train and then crossing into Thailand on foot.

“We walked day and night. It was extremely hard,” Geng told Radio Free Asia.

She said that members of the Falun Gong helped her escape.

Her husband wrote a rare open letter in 2005 accusing Chinese authorities of persecution including torture of members of the movement.

Falun Gong, which combines meditation with Buddhist-inspired teachings, was banned in mid-1999 by Beijing as an “evil cult.” China has a long history of folk religious movements challenging the central government’s authority.

Gao, a Christian, resigned his membership in the Chinese Communist Party in 2005 to protest the repression of Falun Gong.

“It was the proudest day of my life,” he once told a Chinese journalist in an interview.

Gao could have enjoyed a more comfortable life. After he opened an office in Beijing in 2000, the justice ministry designated him as one of the country’s top 10 lawyers due to his service to the poor.

But Gao said he was inspired to defend the downtrodden due to his own background.

Born to peasants in Shaanxi, one of China’s poorest provinces, Gao lost his father at age 10, forcing his mother to care by herself for seven children.

“I know how poor people live and that’s why I know what I’m doing,” he said in a 2005 interview with a Chinese journalist.

In his 2007 letter to the US Congress, Gao hit on one of the most sensitive points for China, urging the United States to oppose the Beijing Olympics the following year because of human rights violations.

In the letter, Gao said he had twice read the debates of James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, during the 1787 Philadelphia convention that drafted the constitution.

“(I) admired the freedom and democratic constitution which China has not been able to enjoy,” he wrote.

– AFP: Chinese rights leader’s family ‘defects to US’

Posted in Asia, Beijing, China, Family, Gao Zhisheng, Human Rights, Law, Lawyer, News, People, Politics, USA, World | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Press release: Family of China’s Missing Rights Defense Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Arrives in U.S.

Posted by Author on March 11, 2009


Press elease, Human Rights in China, March 11, 2009 –

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has received news that rights defense lawyer Gao Zhisheng’s (高智晟) wife and children have safely landed in the United States on March 11, 2009. HRIC warmly welcomes the safe arrival of the Gao family.

Gao is well-known for representing politically sensitive cases and for his outspokenness. In 2005, he wrote a series of open letters to urge President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao to stop the repression of Falun Gong practitioners and dissidents. In December 2006, Gao was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment on conviction of “inciting subversion of state power.” Even though the sentence was suspended for five years, the suspension put not only him, but also his family, under heavy surveillance and frequent harassment. In addition, Gao was detained multiple times, including several weeks in September 2007 during which he was savagely tortured, an episode he described in an account that HRIC released on February 8, 2009. On February 4, 2009, Gao was seen forcibly taken from his hometown, Xiaoshibanqiao Village, in Shenquan Township, Jiaxian County, Shaanxi Province, by more than 10 state security policemen. He has not been heard from since.

HRIC calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Gao Zhisheng, who has sacrificed his freedom and suffered torture for defending the rights of others.

Gao Zhisheng’s Background

Voted in 2001 as “one of China’s top ten lawyers” by a publication run by the Chinese Ministry of Justice, Gao is a self-trained legal professional. He represented some of China’s most vulnerable people, including underground Christians and exploited coal miners. His 2007 detention immediately followed an open letter he sent to the U.S. Congress denouncing the human rights situation in China and describing his and his family’s treatment by security forces. In his account that HRIC made public, Gao describes violent beatings, repeated electric shocks to his genitals, and having his eyes burnt by lit cigarettes. After he was released, acquaintances described him as seeming to be “a broken man,” both physically and spiritually.

In June 2007, Gao received the Courageous Advocacy Award of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). His memoirs, A China More Just, were published in English the same year.

– from Human Rights in China

Posted in Beijing, China, Family, Gao Zhisheng, Human Rights, Law, Lawyer, News, People, Politics, World | 1 Comment »

Gao Zhisheng’s Wife and Children escaped from China with help of Global Organizations

Posted by Author on March 11, 2009


Epoch Times Staff,  Mar 11, 2009 –

The wife and two children of famous Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng arrived in the United States on Wednesday having successfully escaped from China.

Two organizations, Friends of Gao Zhisheng and the Global Association for the Rescue of Gao Zhisheng, indicated that Geng He and her children entered Thailand where they filed for asylum with the U.N. Refugee Agency.

They were accepted by the U.S. government and safely arrived in the United States today.

“This family needs a stable life. We are very happy the U.S. government has helped them,” said Sherry Zhang of Friends of Gao Zhisheng.

“This family has suffered greatly, particularly the daughter. She is a 16-year-old child who has suffered physical and mental abuse at the hands of the Chinese regime. The son is five and one-half years old, and has also suffered. He tends to be very emotional,” she said.

Their father, Mr. Gao, is one of China’s most respected lawyers. He is missing, widely believed to have been kidnapped again by Chinese authorities. Known as “the conscience of China,” Mr. Gao is noted for his efforts to defend democracy activists, underground Christians, and Falun Gong practitioners.

Beginning in 2004, Mr. Gao wrote a series of open letters to top ranking officials in the Chinese Communist Party including leader Hu Jintao. In the letters, Mr. Gao interceded for Christians and those who practice Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that was outlawed by the regime in 1999.

Many believe it was his defense of the latter and his call for an end to the ongoing persecution of Falun Gong practitioners that brought the full fury of the regime upon him.

Mr. Gao’s law business was shut down in 2005 and he and his wife and children were repeatedly harassed by the authorities. In September 2007, he was kidnapped for the second time and subjected to 50 days of torture, the gruesome details of which were revealed in a recently released letter.

Mr. Gao’s present whereabouts are unknown, but human rights organizations and his supporters fear that he is again being tortured.

“The Chinese regime has been using the family as a hostage. We are sure that their being in the United States is a big comfort to Gao. We don’t know his exact whereabouts but believe he is in the hands of the police,” said Ms. Zhang.

“We also believe he is being brutally tortured right now, and we are now even more concerned about his safety. The Chinese regime may even try torture him even more to try to find out the location of his family.”

Friends of Gao Zhisheng and the Global Association for the Rescue of Gao Zhisheng expressed thanks to those who helped in the rescue, including the U.N. Refugee Agency.

Special thanks were given to the U.S. government which quickly approved Geng He’s application and admitted the family into the United States.

To help Geng He and her family, Friends of Gao Zhisheng and the Global Association established a “Gao Zhisheng’s Family Aid Foundation.” The account information is as follows:

Future China Foundation, a special account for the support of Gao’s family: 781817259
Check title: Future China Foundation
40-46 Main Street, Suite 201, Flushing, NY 11354 USA
Routing No: 021000021
Swift No: Chasus33 (foreign wire)

The Epochtimes

Posted in Beijing, China, Family, Gao Zhisheng, Human Rights, Law, Lawyer, News, People, Politics, World | Comments Off on Gao Zhisheng’s Wife and Children escaped from China with help of Global Organizations

(video) China Mental Hospital Horror: elderly patient beaten to death

Posted by Author on January 13, 2009


By Jin Xin, Epoch Times Staff, Jan 12, 2009 –

Video footage revealing shocking abuse in a Chinese mental hospital has been circulating among Chinese bloggers recently.

The video footage shows three hospital staff workers in white lab coats kicking and beating an elderly patient with a mop and tying her to a bed. Staff are also shown making her sit naked from the waist down on top of a plastic cloth during winter.

The footage was posted by Zhu Chuanming, who claimed that nurses in Shandong Province’s Laiwu Mental Hospital abused his mother, Wang Xiuying. She died eight days after she was admitted to the hospital. The source of the footage is from a news report from Shandong Province’s Qilu TV station on Dec. 30, 2008.

Sparking great anger among Chinese bloggers, the footage also drew attention from overseas Falun Gong practitioners. Zhang Zhaojing, a representative of the Toronto Falun Dafa Association in Canada said that they were very concerned about this incident. The video is evidence of what Falun Gong practitioners have stated for the past nine-plus years—that the Chinese Communist regime has widely put Falun Gong practitioners in mental hospitals and used torture to force them to denounce their belief.

Mr. Zhang said that on the Minghui Web site there were 5,259 cases of persecution of Falun Gong practitioners that were linked to mental hospitals. Among the 3,231 death cases, 68 deaths were linked to detention in mental hospitals. In addition, several hundred Falun Gong practitioners also reported that they were subjected to the same kind of beating Wang Xiuying suffered in the mental hospital.

Mr. Zhang believes this video footage has revealed to the world the big dark secret of the Chinese Communist regime using mental hospitals to commit human rights violations against Chinese people on a large scale……. (more details from The Epochtimes)

Posted in China, East China, Family, Health, Incident, Law, Life, News, People, Shandong, Social, Video, World | Comments Off on (video) China Mental Hospital Horror: elderly patient beaten to death

China releases parents of melamine sickened children: lawyer

Posted by Author on January 3, 2009


AFP, Jan. 3, 2008-

BEIJING (AFP) — Chinese police have released five parents of children sickened by melamine-tainted milk, a day after detaining them to prevent them holding a press conference, their lawyer told AFP Saturday.

The five adults were preparing to speak to the media to demand better treatment for their sick children when they were detained on Thursday evening in Beijing.

“They have all been released,” said lawyer Xu Zhiyong. “Their (the police’s) aim was to stop them from holding a press conference.”

Police in Beijing were unavailable for comment.

Ma Hongbin, one of the parents held, refused to talk about his detention, but said his daughter’s health was still bad after she drank milk contaminated by the industrial chemical.

“Let’s not talk about this, ok?” he told AFP by phone on Saturday of his detention.

He said his 18-month-old daughter had developed kidney stones after consuming tainted milk powder made by Sanlu, one of the Chinese dairy firms at the heart of the scandal.

“She fell ill on September 1, and she had very large kidney stones, which have now been evacuated,” Ma said.

“But her situation is still not good, and when the weather changes, you can see her face is a bit bloated. Her fallopian tube has also expanded.”

The scandal of China’s milk scandal came to light in September and has had nationwide repercussions with at least six children dying and nearly 300,000 suffering from kidney and urinary problems after they drank contaminated milk.

Melamine, normally used to make plastic, was added to watered-down milk to make it appear higher in protein.

Journalists were alerted on Wednesday of plans by the parents of affected children to hold a press conference, but the five were held in a centre in the south of the city before being released on Friday evening……. (more from AFP)

Posted in Beijing, China, Family, Food, Health, Law, Life, News, People, Politics, scandals, Social, World | Comments Off on China releases parents of melamine sickened children: lawyer

China: Jailed Activist’s Children Rejected For Admission by Public Schools

Posted by Author on July 6, 2008


By Zhang Min, Radio Free Asia (RFA), via the Epochtimes, Jun 30, 2008-

CHINA—Recently, Human rights defender Guo Feixiong’s daughter and son were rejected for admission by the public schools. Guo’s wife said that in the past, the police had threatened that her children would not be able to attend school.

Guo’s wife Zhang Qing, applied for admission to an elementary school and a middle school for her son Yang Tiance, and daughter Yang Tianjiao, respectively. Yet, both requests were turned down by school administrators. Ms. Zhang is making an urgent appeal to the public to help her children into school.

(Photo: Guo Feixiong, photo taken in 2006, after being beaten up by the police. (photo provided by Guo’s friend)

Zhang Qing said in an RFA interview conducted on June 25, “Yesterday I was shocked to learn that Yang Tianjiao was rejected [by the school authorities]. I was really shocked and this is mind-boggling. I think this requires immediate attention. Last year Yang Tiance was after all still little, so basically I was able to handle him at home. However, Yang Tianjiao cannot stay at home.”

Guo Feixiong (real name Yang Maodong), is a lawyer and human rights defender who participated in the Taishi village protest incident in Guangdong Province and the rescue effort to free rights defense attorney Gao Zhisheng.

Held Without Bail

The regime accused Guo of being involved in the publication of a magazine called “Shengyang’s Political Earthquake” five years ago, which exposed the corruption of Shenyang officials.

The case was reopened and he was arrested in September 2006. Before Guo was sentenced, the court had rejected his case twice, asking the police to further investigate due to insufficient evidence. Guo was formally charged in November 2007 with running an “illegal business operation,” (i.e., publishing the aforementioned magazine) and sentenced to five years imprisonment and fined 40,000 yuan (approximately US$ 5,700).

Tortured While in Custody

When his lawyer visited Guo in the detention center, Guo told him that the police brutally tortured him, including shocking his genitals with an electric baton.

Zhang said, “When Guo Feixiong met with his lawyer on November 23, he mentioned that authorities had threatened him five or six times, and some of the threats have already been actualized. One of them is, “We will not let your son attend elementary school, and neither will we let your daughter attend middle school.”

Last year when her son was supposed to attend elementary school, the school authorities firmly rejected their request.

Natural Right

“What I can do now is to write public letters to government leaders and several organizations. Even if it doesn’t work, I will still continue to write [to them].”

Zhang added, “Going to school is a natural right for a child. I hope that people from all circles and just-minded media call for people’s attention on my behalf.”

– From the Epochtimes: Jailed Activist’s Children Rejected by Schools

Posted in Children, China, Education, Family, Guo Feixiong, Human Rights, Law, Lawyer, Life, News, People, Politics, Social, Student, World | Comments Off on China: Jailed Activist’s Children Rejected For Admission by Public Schools

China Cracks Down on Earthquake Protest, 100 Grieving Parents Dragged Away

Posted by Author on June 3, 2008


Tania Branigan in Beijing, guardian.co.uk, Tuesday June 3 2008-

Chinese police dragged away more than 100 parents as they protested today over the deaths of their children in schools which collapsed in the Sichuan earthquake.

Officers in Dujiangyan bundled away sobbing mothers clutching pictures of their sons and daughters, according to the Japanese news agency in Kyodo.

The Associated Press said the parents were kneeling in front of the courthouse yelling “We want to sue”, when police began to pull them down the street. Their children were among the 270 students who died at Juyuan school.

As many as 9,000 pupils and teachers died in schools destroyed in the disaster, according to figures compiled by Reuters. The government’s promise to investigate whether substandard building linked to corruption was to blame has yet to allay families’ outrage and wider public concern.

The incident is thought to be the first sustained attempt to halt or disrupt widespread demonstrations by families angry at their children’s deaths. At least one other protest appears to have taken place in Sichuan today – although at the ruins of a school, rather than the more prominent location chosen by the Juyuan parents.

A senior Chinese leader, Li Changchun, was touring other parts of Dujiangyan today.

The local police did not answer calls and the information department twice refused to take calls from the Guardian.

An official from the local government, Zao Ming, told AP: “This is not a good place to do interviews. … In a disaster like this, there will be a lot of opinions. The government will solve their problems.”

AP said its reporter and two photographers covering the protest were dragged into the courthouse by police trying to prevent them from seeing the demonstration. They were held inside, along with two Japanese reporters, and questioned for half an hour before they were permitted to leave.

A witness quoted by AP said police told parents: “The Japanese are reporting bad things about you.” …… (more details from The Guardian: Chinese police break up protest of grieving parents)

Posted in Children, China, disaster, earthquake, Family, Law, Life, News, People, Politics, Sichuan, Social, Student, SW China, World | 1 Comment »

Amnesty Calls For Release of China Beijing Olympics’ Forced Eviction Victim

Posted by Author on April 3, 2008


Amnesty International, 1 April 2008-

Housing rights activist Ye Guozhu is serving a four-year prison sentence after he applied for permission to hold a demonstration against forced evictions in Beijing.

In December 2004, Ye Guozhu, then aged 49, was convicted of “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble” because of his opposition to the seizure and demolition of property to make way for new construction projects for this year’s Olympic games.

Ye Guozhu’s restaurant and living quarters were among many properties seized when officials of Beijing’s Xuanwu District conspired with developers to forcibly evict a large number of city residents. He received no compensation.

He is reported to have been tortured while in detention. Suspended from the ceiling by the arms and beaten repeatedly by police before his trial, he was also beaten with electro-shock batons in Chaobai prison, Beijing, towards the end of 2006.

He was then sent twice to Qingyuan prison for periods of “discipline”, most recently in February 2007 for 10 months, apparently because he tried to appeal his conviction.

The Chinese authorities have failed to either confirm or deny these reports, but official sources have confirmed that he was receiving treatment for ‘hypertension’. They have also confirmed that he was held in Chaobai prison and due for release on 26 July 2008.

The prison authorities are reported to only be giving him basic medicine for high blood pressure and preventing members of his family from supplying him with medicine. Ye is believed to be held incommunicado while under “discipline” in Qingyuan prison.

Ye Mingjun and Ye Guoqiang, son and brother of Ye Guozhu, were detained by Beijing police on suspicion of “inciting subversion” at the end of September 2007. They had protested against forced evictions that were reported to have been carried out to clear space for construction for the Beijing Olympics.

Ye Mingjun was released on bail in October 2007, but warned not to speak to the media as this could have a “negative impact” on his situation and that of his father. Ye Guoqiang was released on bail in January 2008, but on condition that he did not contact anyone overseas or continue with his petitioning activities.

The development of Beijing in preparation for the Olympics has seen many homes torn down. Jiang Yu, spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry said that, as of June 2007, 6,037 families had been displaced by Olympics related projects since 2002.

The Geneva-based Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions estimates that more than 1.25 million people have been displaced in Beijing in connection to urban redevelopment projects, some of which are directly linked to construction projects for the Beijing Olympics, and that that number will rise to 1.5 million by August 2008. Many have reportedly been evicted without full procedural protection or due process and without adequate compensation.
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Most residents are relocated to what has been called poor housing on the outskirts of Beijing. Real estate companies – often owned by or affiliated with the local authorities carrying out the evictions – may then sell the land to developers for a profit.

Forced evictions are in violation of human rights including the right to adequate housing enshrined in Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, which China has ratified. While the Chinese government has taken steps to protect people from forced evictions – implementation of such laws and regulations remains weak.

Amnesty International considers Ye Guozhu to be a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely as a result of his peacefully held beliefs. Amnesty International calls for his immediate and unconditional release.

The organization further calls on the Chinese government to stop the forced eviction of individuals from their homes carried out without full procedural protection, due process, government provision of adequate alternative accommodation for those unable to provide for themselves, and adequate compensation for any property affected.

– Original report from Amnesty International: Call on the Chinese Prime Minister to release Ye Guozhu

Posted in Beijing, Beijing Olympics, China, City resident, Family, Forced Evictions, housing, Human Rights, Law, Life, News, People, Politics, Social, Sports, World | 1 Comment »

Modern China Life: Personal Experience of How Chinese People Quit the Communist Party (2)

Posted by Author on March 1, 2008


By Liu Mei, The Epoch Times, Feb 27, 2008-

My name is Liu Mei, a Falun Gong practitioner. I was born in the 70’s in Central China’s Henan Province and obtained a master’s degree from a reputable university in Beijing. I am now living abroad.

In the beginning of 2005, I saw the Epoch Times editorial series – Nine Commentaries on the Chinese Communist Party ( Nine Commentaries ), and learned about the mass withdrawal movement— Quitting the CCP, Communist Youth League, and Young Pioneers— that arose from the Nine Commentaries. The following are further experiences I have had in helping people understand the necessity to quit the CCP.

Head of a College Department and Her Husband Renounce the CCP and Its Related Organizations

At one time, the research director of the college where I had worked came to Beijing for an exhibition. When I was working at the college, this director was my immediate supervisor and she had always looked after me. She is now head of the department. We have not been in touch for years, so I planned to visit her at her hotel.

We were very happy to see each other again. We naturally talked about our lives during the interceding years. She told me her son, who was in high school back then, is now studying for his Master’s degree in England. Yet in comparison, I had started studying for a master degree at that time, but as of our visit I had not obtained my degree.

She said with a sigh that it has indeed been an eight year struggle. That is right, I was suspended from school because I practiced Falun Gong and subsequently I was put in prison. She told me that she had carefully kept the materials about the truth of Falun Gong that I sent her before I was imprisoned. She also mentioned that after me, she had taught other students who were practicing Falun Gong too.

I started to tell her about the Nine Commentaries on the Chinese Communist Party, when she said with emotion that it was indeed the truth because she had been through the days of the Cultural Revolution, and had experienced working on farms. She was only a teenager then. She even sat on the roof in the moon light singing revolutionary songs out loud.

She also told me about the “Three Years’ Famine,” she went through. She had been to Nanyang in Henan Province where she saw a small shop on the roadside and from a distance she saw a black cloth used to cover the basket of buns and wondered why. When she walked over to take a closer look she found out that it was actually a white piece of cloth with a thick layer of flies on it. She still had a creepy feeling every time she thought of it.

As it turned out, too many people died from hunger and the decomposed corpses polluted the drinking water. Because the water was filthy, no matter how they washed the clothes, the stench could be not removed, so it attracted many flies. She knew this was a man made calamity caused by the CCP.

I further told her that heaven will eliminate the CCP, one can save only oneself by quitting the CCP. I also told her about the “mark of the beast ” in the Bible, and “The Giant Stone in Guizhou Province with Hidden Chinese Characters” and ancient prophecies passed down from China and other countries. She held my hands tightly and said she knew I meant well, she wanted to quit the CCP, and also said her husband wanted to quit the CCP too. I told her one must personally agree to quit and she said her husband had wanted to quit a long time ago.

I asked if her son was a member of the CCP, she said no, because her son was a Christian since childhood, so he did not join the CCP and its affiliated organizations.

I was truly happy for her and her family. Although she has been taught to be an atheist all her life and was also a member of the CCP for several decades, she has not lost her belief in God and Buddha. It is indeed a blessing that this good family is able to formally depart from the evil CCP.

President of an Electronic Products Company Renounces the CCP and Its Related Organizations

A friend of my uncle Mr. Wang is the president of an electronics products company with branch offices overseas. Because I needed his help to go abroad, I met him at a coffee shop. Wang’s brothers and sisters all reside abroad because of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989. He himself did not leave the country but under that kind of circumstances, he chose to be in business. However he sent his daughter to study abroad.

As I talked about my experience in practicing Falun Gong, Wang sighed with emotion and said that, the CCP is leading the Chinese people purely in the path of economic development, and numbed the souls and minds of the Chinese people. Therefore, young people are only concerned about pursuing material satisfactions. Young people practicing Falun Gong with ideals and dreams are very rare.

I told him Falun Gong teaches one to do good deeds; it is a form of cultivation and has no interest in politics. I asked him if he knew the truth of the staged “self-immolation” incident on Tiananmen Square, if he knew about the inhuman live organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners.

He said he had read a little about them, because he often receives information about the persecution of Falun Gong from overseas on his company’s fax machine. Every time, he kept these materials in an appropriate place.

Mr Wang fully agrees with the Nine Commentaries on the CCP, so when I told him to quit the CCP as soon as possible, leave the evil organization, stay away with calamity, he agreed very quickly.

My Uncle, a Party Cadre Chooses to Quit

My uncle is a county level party cadre. I visited him during the Chinese New Year, and stayed in his home for two nights. After reading the Nine Commentaries he said that the Nine Commentaries does not expose the CCP thoroughly enough. The dictatorship, corruption, and evilness of the CCP are even worse than what is exposed by the Nine Commentaries.

My uncle said that he and his friends had already lost their faith in the CCP. They all believed that the CCP’s governance would end in ten years after the Tiananmen Massacre had just happened in 1989, but so many years (18 years) have passed. The CCP’s iron fisted control of the Chinese people is too tight and too brutal.

He believes that because the CCP controls the army, and its organization is very rigorous and complete, its control of Chinese people is very detailed, and it is very inhuman and has never hesitated to use extreme violence, so the current situation may still be maintained for some time.

Even though it is hardly a difficult thing to help my uncle quit the CCP, initially, he felt a little bit ashamed to let me, a younger generation, help him announce his withdrawal on the Epoch Times website, but soon he changed his mind. (to be cont’d……)

<< Modern China Life: Personal Experience of How Chinese People Quit the Communist Party (1)

– Original report from the Epochtimes: Falun Gong Practitioner Encourages People To Quit CCP (Part 1)

Posted in all Hot Topic, Central China, China, Family, Henan, Life, News, Party withdrawal, People, Politics, Report, Social, Spiritual, World | Comments Off on Modern China Life: Personal Experience of How Chinese People Quit the Communist Party (2)

Modern China Life: Personal Experience of How Chinese People Quit the Communist Party (1)

Posted by Author on March 1, 2008


By Liu Mei, The Epoch Times, Feb 23, 2008-

My name is Liu Mei, a Falun Gong practitioner. I was born in the 70’s in Central China’s Henan Province and obtained a master’s degree from a reputable university in Beijing. I am now living abroad.

In the beginning of 2005, I saw the Epoch Times editorial series – Nine Commentaries on the Chinese Communist Party ( Nine Commentaries ), and learned about the mass withdrawal movement—Quitting the CCP, Communist Youth League, and Young Pioneers— that arose from the Nine Commentaries. I was greatly shocked when I first read the Nine Commentaries, especially how the Cultural Revolution brought calamity to the country, the unforgivable sin of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989.

Although I too had been illegally sentenced for practicing Falun Gong, but from my childhood education, I had never thought of associating atrocity, bloodthirsty hoodlums, deceit, spirit possession, despotism and evil with the CCP, not to mention think about phrases like “disintegration of the CCP.” But as I became detached and calm, I knew the Nine Commentaries is merely revealing the true face of the CCP to everyone. There is justice in this world. The time for heaven to eliminate the CCP will be here soon.

The Epoch Times Solemn Statement(in Chinese) further points out that “On the day, when God commands to liquidate the Communist Party, those so-called “loyal” members of this evil party will also be included. We make this serious statement: Anyone who had joined the Communist Party or other organizations under it (those who had been marked by that evil), quit now, erase the evil mark…”

Quitting the CCP is a matter of life and death, but because of the CCP’s tight internet blockade, many Chinese are unable to obtain this information. This has made people unaware of the danger they are in. Because of this, I have decided to publicize my own statement to enable my family and friends to quit the CCP, Communist Youth League, and Young Pioneers, and to stay away from catastrophe and enjoy peace.

Parents Quit the Young Pioneers

Those closest to me are of course my family. I want them to be happy, peaceful and healthy. This is the earnest wish of every Chinese from the bottom of their hearts, therefore, advising my family to quit the CCP was what I thought of first. During my summer vacation at home, I played the documentary ( on Youtube, English) of the “Nine Commentaries on the CCP” to my father.

Having been through all previous CCP political movements, my father concurred that all that was covered in the tape was true; he also admitted that the CCP has committed great crimes against the Chinese people. However, unexpectedly, my father, who was not highly educated, firmly held on to the notion of “atheism” implanted by the CCP. He said he did not believe that heaven will eliminate the CCP. Nor did he believe that quitting the CCP, Communist Youth League, and Young Pioneers could save oneself. He thought that he had been good and honest, hard working, accommodating; so whether he quit the CCP or not should not matter.

Actually many years ago, my father had encountered supernatural phenomena that “atheism” was unable to explain. So I asked him, “Why did mother dream about how grandmother would die the day before it happened? Why is it that the soul of a relative who was thought to have committed suicide was able to attach to the body of someone else and talked about how he was actually beaten to death? How come the murderer who beat him to death but testified that he had committed suicide died suddenly at a young age? ” I also played several NTDTV programs such as the Unsolved Mysteries series. I also told him some famous prophecies originating from different countries such as the ancient Chinese Tui Bei Tu (Back Pushing Diagrams), Ma Qian Ke (Augury before the war), Shao Bing Ge (Pancake Song), the French Les Siecles, the Korean Gyeokamyurok, etc. I also showed him the report and pictures of “Guizhou’s hidden Chinese characters.” Father’s attitude changed gradually.

My father agreed that the CCP is not an upright or honest organization; therefore, as long as one is a member, even if he has not done anything bad, he is still tacitly abetting and strengthening it. Therefore when it is time to clear accounts with the CCP, he will be implicated.

Thus when my vacation was nearly over, one day, I once again asked my father if he wanted to quit the Young Pioneers, and he happily agreed this time.

To my mother, quitting the Young Pioneers was a good thing. She personally witnessed the torture her grand parents, parents, and relatives went through during the Land Reform and Cultural Revolution when she was a little girl and was deeply traumatized.

Furthermore, she had a deep understanding of the dealings of the lower ranking CCP cadre members and personally experienced the tyranny and corruption of the CCP’s autocratic system, therefore she quit right after she read The Epoch Times Solemn Statement.

Brother, Sister, and Brother-in-Law Quit the CCP, Communist Youth League, and Young Pioneers

My sister and her husband are young. Like most of their peers, they just want to have a good life, but they are also concerned about their future and direction. So, when I told them about the rationale of saving themselves by quitting the CCP, Communist Youth League, and Young Pioneers, they both readily agreed.

My brother used to be a student CCP member. When I was illegally sentenced by the CCP for practicing Falun Gong and locked up in a remote mountain prison in Southern China, my brother who had never been away from home traveled a long way to visit me.

But when I encouraged him to make the three renouncements, he was very against it, and was unwilling to read the Nine Commentaries. At that time, I thought maybe it was because he was still very young and stubborn. Hence he was egoistical and mistakenly thought the CCP was equivalent to China and being loyal to the CCP was the same as being loyal to China. Thus when I had the opportunity, I explained to him the present social situation in China, talked about how the CCP tortured the Chinese people in history, etc.

After a while my brother did not want to listen to me anymore. He said the CCP will improve. It will clean itself and will march towards democracy.

More than a year later, my brother started working. Due to the nature of his job we rarely talked, not to mention meeting up. But later on when we met, he unexpectedly talked to me about the corruption and despotic attitude amongst the CCP’s cadre members, and told me some hidden goings-on in their system. I think perhaps this is because he now has a personal realization of the CCP’s regime through his real life and work, so he no longer tenaciously holds on to his own opinion.

Eventually, I asked him over the phone if he wanted to quit the CCP and he happily agreed. (to be cont’d…… )

>> Modern China Life: Personal Experience of How Chinese People Quit the Communist Party (2)

– Original report from the Epochtimes: Falun Gong Practitioner Encourages People To Quit CCP (Part 1)

Posted in all Hot Topic, Central China, China, Family, Henan, Life, News, Party withdrawal, People, Politics, Report, Social, Spiritual, World | Comments Off on Modern China Life: Personal Experience of How Chinese People Quit the Communist Party (1)

China Threatens U.S. State Legislature on Lead Tainted Toys Bill

Posted by Author on February 12, 2008


By Annapolis Notebook, The Washington Post, U.S. Sunday, February 10, 2008-

When he introduced a bill in the Maryland General Assembly to prohibit the sale and manufacture of children’s toys containing lead, Del. James W. Hubbard (D-Prince George’s) said he could not have imagined it would set off a transcontinental diplomatic dispute.

But that’s what has unfolded.

Last week, the legislature received a letter from officials of the People’s Republic of China objecting to Hubbard’s bill. The comments, faxed from Beijing and written in English and Chinese, challenged the authority of the state legislature to enact such laws and said they would create “unnecessary barriers to international trade.”

It’s true that many of the lead-containing products recalled in recent months have been made in China. But how did the Chinese government catch wind of Hubbard’s bill, which hasn’t even advanced out of the House Health and Government Operations Committee?

It turns out that an official at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative tipped it off about the bill’s international trade ramifications. Hubbard wrote a sharply-worded letter last week to Ambassador Susan C. Schwab in the trade office:

“We cannot understand why any representative of the United States Government would suggest to a foreign government that it become involved in the legislative process of the State of Maryland,” Hubbard wrote.

Hubbard said the Chinese government’s position should not be a factor in Annapolis.

“I’ve got a billion and a half people opposed to a bill that’s going to pass,” Hubbard said, referring to China’s population. “We represent the citizens of the state of Maryland. I don’t worry about what the Chinese government thinks.

“They think this is a barrier to international trade. I view this as a public health issue.” …… (more details from the Washington Post)

Posted in Business, China, Economy, Family, Health, Law, Life, Made in China, News, People, Politics, products, Social, Tainted Products, Toy, USA, World | 1 Comment »

How Not to Fight HIV/ AIDS in China

Posted by Author on January 28, 2008


Joe Amon, The Guardian, January 28, 2008-

There’s a new public service announcement on HIV/Aids on Chinese TV. Starring Jackie Chan and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, it features a man and a woman spinning through the air in a not-so-subtle combat which includes elements of courtship, foreplay and climax. The ad ends with Chan saying: “In life, we need to be safe. Life is too good. Please protect yourself.” Sounds promising? Actually it’s a remarkable distillation of everything we know that doesn’t work in the fight against HIV/Aids.

More than 25 years into the global Aids epidemic, one thing we’ve learned is that you can’t fight HIV through artful, oblique messages approved by government ministries and broadcast on television. Where HIV prevalence has declined, what has made the difference is frank, specific discussion about HIV, why people are at risk and what can be done to avoid infection. Grassroots, community-led efforts which empower those at highest risk have been critical, and the emergence of an organised, vocal civil society, advocating an end to sexual violence and access to information, condoms, clean needles, and medicines, have changed the face of the epidemic in many countries.

While the Chinese government has taken some steps in this direction, too much of the response remains style over substance. Those groups most vulnerable to infection – injecting drug users, men who have sex with men, and sex workers – are still routinely harassed and abused by the police, and driven away from the information and services that could help them. Aids activists continue to be detained, intimidated and prevented from speaking out.

In 2007, public security forces in Guangdong, Guangzhou and Kaifeng cancelled meetings of Aids activists, academics and programme implementers, and ordered the closure of two offices of a nonprofit organisation working on Aids in Henan provinces. Eighty-year-old Aids activist Dr Gao Yaojie was barred from going to the US to receive a human rights award until an international outcry forced the Chinese government to relent, and 2005 Reebok human rights award winner Li Dan and the husband-and-wife HIV/Aids activist team of Hu Jia and Zeng Jinyan have been repeatedly detained and put under house arrest.

In November, two weeks before the advertisement by Jackie Chan launched, Hu was beaten up by the police on his way to the hospital to visit his pregnant wife, and in late December Hu was arrested for “inciting subversion”. His wife and infant have been prevented from leaving their home. Human Rights Watch has also learned that Hu’s lawyers have been denied access to their client because the case involved “state secrets”. At about the same time that Hu was detained, Dr Wan Yan Hai, a prominent Chinese Aids advocate and the developer of China’s first HIV/Aids telephone hotline and website was briefly detained.

Along with the unveiling of the Jackie Chan advertisement, the Gates foundation announced last month that it was launching a new $50m HIV/Aids programme. The foundation spent months negotiating its entry into China and plans to use nearly half of its money directly funding the Ministry of Health. Like the TV advertisement, the Gates Foundation’s decision to directly fund the Chinese government is a decision rooted less in what will be effective at driving down HIV prevalence, and more in what is considered “acceptable”. Not surprisingly, the foundation has had no comment on the detention of those activists working on the front lines in the fight against Aids in China.

It’s easy to ask people to protect themselves. To stop the Aids epidemic in China we also need to ask the Chinese government not to harass, intimidate and beat up those seeking the means to be protected.

Original report from the Guardian

Posted in Activist, AIDS, China, Family, Health, Hu Jia, Human Rights, Life, News, Opinion, People, Politics, Report, Social, World | 2 Comments »

(video) Modern China Life: AIDS Activist Hu Jia’s Family Traced and Monitord by Polices 24 Hours a Day

Posted by Author on January 25, 2008


From Youtube-

01/18, 2008: Zeng Jinyan remains trapped at home with her 2 month old baby and all communication with the outside world cut off. It is unknown whether they have anything to eat; what is known is that one blogger* sent a parcel of milk formula, but it was intercepted by police.

Prisoners in Freedom City (1)

Prisoners in Freedom City (2)

Prisoners in Freedom City (3)

Prisoners in Freedom City (4)

Prisoners in Freedom City (5)

Prisoners in Freedom City (6)

Prisoners in Freedom City (7)

– From Youtube

Posted in Activist, Asia, Beijing, Blogger, China, City resident, Family, house arrest, housing, Hu Jia, Human Rights, Law, Life, News, People, Police, Politics, Social, Video, Women, World, Zeng Jinyan | 1 Comment »

China Is Listening To Our Silence

Posted by Author on January 21, 2008


Sarah Cook, The National Post, Canada, January 18, 2008-

The fact that Time magazine named Zeng Jinyan, right, one of the world’s 100 most influential people did not help her much on Dec. 27, when 30 Chinese agents arrested her husband, prominent rights activist Hu Jia.

Security agents showed up at the couple’s Beijing apartment with a warrant for “subversion against the state,” a catch-all phrase used to lock up pretty much anyone who says something the Communist Party does not like. Despite liver problems and a two-month-old daughter, Hu now potentially faces years in prison.

He is not alone. Three months ago, one of his best friends — leading rights attorney Gao Zhisheng — met a similar fate. On Sept. 22, Gao, who like Hu had recently questioned the legitimacy of Beijing hosting the Olympic Games, was apparently taken by plainclothes police from the home he shares with his wife and two children. He has not been seen since.

To those who follow human rights in China, these may seem like common scenarios. But these two men are anything but common — they are key leaders of what is often termed China’s Rights Defence Movement, a diverse collection of lawyers, intellectuals and activists. Reaching beyond a narrow elite of dissidents, they have drawn support from large numbers of farmers and workers as they use nonviolent means to demand basic rights and challenge the Communist Party’s decades of repression.

Hu and Gao’s work has focused on different issues. Hu is an environmental and AIDS activist, while Gao has represented the gamut of China’s “have-nots,” from disabled children to coal miners to evicted tenants. As a Christian, he is particularly passionate about defending victims of religious persecution, especially house-church members and people who practise Falun Gong.

The duo’s approach for bringing change has been surprisingly bold. Besides publicly quitting the Communist Party, in February, 2006, they launched a relay hunger strike for human rights which quickly became one of the largest and most unified mobilizations in years.

Activists, farmers and workers from 29 provinces joined, as well as overseas democracy activists. Gao has received phone calls of support from sympathetic government officials.

In regular touch with activists and petitioners across the country, Hu Jia has acted as a funnel, channelling to the rest of the world how people on the ground in China actually feel.

No wonder the Communist Party fears them.

As the Olympics approach, there is a prevalent sense that the world is in for a spectacular display of anti-Communist Party demonstrations, potentially met by violent repression. Here in the West, this is often accompanied by an implied attitude of “let’s watch and see what happens,” as if we were not a party to this battle.

But we already are, certainly when these rights defenders are getting in trouble precisely for asking our help. Gao was detained in September within days of sending a letter to U.S. Congress stating the Olympics are hurting the Chinese people and should be boycotted. Hu Jia expressed similar sentiments last month when he testified via webcam at a European Parliament briefing on China.

Despite what our leaders may say, public international pressure makes a difference. It is what kept Hu and Gao out of jail for as long as they were. It is also what turned Gao’s three-year prison term in 2006 into a “suspended sentence,” which at least protected him from torture.

But the dynamic works both ways. With every arrest, Party leaders watch to see how the world will react. When there’s silence, when Western states continue to dutifully roll out the red carpet for every Chinese delegation, when abuses barely get mentioned at press conferences, then Chinese security agencies step up arrests. That is exactly what we have seen happen for the past year and a half.

And it is already playing out in Hu’s case. With no outcry from the International Olympic Committee or Western governments since his detention, his lawyers are now blocked from visiting him, placing him at greater risk of torture.

That is why the international community cannot stand on the sidelines. Silence is a stance in itself–a stance on the side of the authoritarian Communist

Party’s regime. And if Hu and Gao’s work shows anything, it is that this is not the side that tens of millions of Chinese people really want us on.

cook@freedomhouse.org. – Sarah Cook is a research assistant at Freedom House and co-editor of the English translation of Gao Zhisheng’s memoir, A China More Just.

– Original report from the National Post: Beijing is listening to our silence

Posted in Activist, Beijing, China, Family, Gao Zhisheng, Hu Jia, Human Rights, Law, Lawyer, News, People, Politics, Social, Spiritual, World, Zeng Jinyan | Comments Off on China Is Listening To Our Silence

Chinese Traditions Take Centre Stage– New Year Show Combines Ancient And Modern With Spectacular Pageantry

Posted by Author on January 15, 2008


By DENIS ARMSTRONG, the Ottawa Sun, Canada, Sat, January 12, 2008-

China’s former leader Chairman Mao couldn’t stand public holidays.

He thought they distracted the people from the sober utopia of the communist revolution. So Mao and his Gang of Four eliminated New Year’s, or any celebrations that might inspire pleasure or national pride, during the cultural revolution between 1966-1976.

But since trading Mao’s communism for some western-style capitalism, the Chinese have been not-so quietly reviving their holiday traditions in spectacular style.

To bring in the new Year of the Rat (which begins officially on the Chinese calendar on Feb. 7), New Tang Dynasty Television is throwing a Chinese New Year Spectacular, an Olympic-sized pageant of 100 dancers and musicians including a live symphony orchestra at the National Arts Centre, Sunday and Monday (in Ottawa).

The wholesome, family-friendly musical revives cultural holiday traditions, some dating back 5,000 years, which had all but been forgotten. Stylized ancient dances, Chinese and western orchestral music and fable storytelling with state-of-the-art digital video and live animation blend in an epic tale of good versus evil meant for both Chinese and Western audiences.

“We are trying to revive the culture and courageous spirit of the country,” explained the show’s local coordinator Jean Zhi. “We want to celebrate a traditional Asian way of life in which the family is central.”

BEAUTIFUL PICTURE

“As long as the curtain is raised, you see a perfectly beautiful picture,” Zhi adds. “The music and movement are gentle but there is also choreography based on martial arts, taken from ancient dynasties that have been thoroughly researched. Many of our cultural traditions were lost during the cultural revolution. We’re proud of our heritage and want to share it with the rest of the world.”

After generations of cultural repression, it’s not surprising that the show is both extravagant and a showcase for unabashed national pride.

Zhi notes that China’s historic transformation into one of the globe’s dominant economies and being chosen to host the 2010 Olympics has caused a renaissance in Chinese arts, and finally they’ve begun ramping up their cultural exports. Performed by the New York-based Divine Performing Arts Company, the multi-lingual show has become a popular annual holiday event in 34 cities worldwide, including Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton since it began touring 2004. Ottawa was added to the tour in 2007.

“Good values are universal,” Zhi concludes.

A complete program is listed on the show’s website at http://bestchineseshows.com/

Tickets for “Chinese New Year Spectacular” are $158-$38 at the NAC box-office and online at www.nac-cna.ca and www.ticketmaster.ca

Original report from the Ottawa Sun

Posted in all Hot Topic, Artists, Canada, celebration, China, Chinese Culture, Culture, Dance, Entertainment, Event, Family, Heritage, Life, Music, News, Overseas Chinese, People, shows, Social, the Chinese Spectacular, tradition, World | Comments Off on Chinese Traditions Take Centre Stage– New Year Show Combines Ancient And Modern With Spectacular Pageantry

China: One dream, One prison

Posted by Author on January 14, 2008


by Lindsey Hilsum, Channel 4, UK, 11 Jan 2008-

She’s the Chinese blogger who’s been dubbed “Tiananmen 2.0” and was selected for the TIME 100 list of heroes and pioneers. Lindsey Hilsum writes on the day she had to shout to Zeng Jinyan through a barred window.

I last saw Zeng Jinyan in December, a month after her baby was born. Jinyan is a sparrow-like woman, who looks even younger than her 24 years. She was in love.

Her mother looked on indulgently as Jinyan told my friend Bessie and me how beautiful the baby was, how perfect, how exceptional – until she giggled in embarrassment at her own enthusiasm.

We saw her again today.

She stood at the window of her fourth floor flat, behind the burglar bars, holding herZeng Jinyan and her baby sleeping daughter and shouting to us below. We couldn’t go in, because Jinyan is now under house arrest.

(photo by Channel 4)

Her slightly nerdy-looking bespectacled husband, Hu Jia, was arrested on December 27th and charged with “incitement to subvert state power,” a charge known as “counter revolution” in the bad old days.

Jinyan said the police cut her telephone line, and took her computer, mobile phone and bank card. Her mother is able to go and buy food, but they’re running out of cash. Friends who try to bring things for the baby are blocked.

For several days, the police camped in her flat – she protested and now they’re outside the door, day and night.

It’s hard to see how this couple, who seem like rather earnest and maybe naïve students, are a threat to the Chinese state. Hu Jia, who’s 33, started by campaigning for people with AIDS. Jinyan was catapulted into the spotlight in 2006, soon after their marriage, when he was first arrested.

She started a blog about her quest to find her husband and suddenly she was more famous then he. In 2006, Time magazine put her in their top 100 influential people in the world.

The Chinese government targets Hu Jia and Zeng Jinyan because they join the dots. They use the internet to express their opinion that issues like land rights and AIDS are indivisible – the fundamental problem in China is the abuse of power by the state and Communist Party officials.

The government can tolerate isolated protests, but it knows that if one angry community makes common cause with another, that could become a nation-wide movement. The only national organisation allowed in China is the Party.

The Chinese government is determined to show China in a good light during the Olympics this August. The slogan is “One World, One Dream”, the idea that China is a leader amongst civilised peoples, a full member of the community of nations.

It’s all about giving a good impression – there are campaigns to stop taxi drivers from eating garlic, and pedestrians from spitting in the street.

Earlier this week we watched Olympic hostesses being put through their paces – learning to smile showing only six to eight teeth, stand up straight (with an English grammar book on their heads) and bow while presenting a medal.

The government’s fear is that people like Hu Jia and Zeng Jinyan will spoil the party by presenting a bad image of China to the world – their solution is to lock them up.

But that will cause far more trouble. The images which will resonate around the world are not the identikit young women in immaculate uniforms learning to walk gracefully, but one young woman holding a tiny baby, shouting through the bars that they took her husband away and have imprisoned her at home.

Original report from Channel 4

Posted in Activist, Beijing, Beijing Olympics, Blogger, China, Family, house arrest, Hu Jia, Human Rights, Law, Life, News, People, Politics, Social, World, Zeng Jinyan | Comments Off on China: One dream, One prison

Censorship: Recent 3 Stories China’s Media Could Not Write

Posted by Author on January 9, 2008


By Michael Bristow, BBC News, Beijing, 6 January 2008-

When journalists at China’s national broadcaster CCTV log on, one of the first things that pops up on screen is a notice about what not to report.

These notices are often short and seldom say who has authorised them, but they all contain strict instructions about how to report a story.

Journalists were recently warned off a health scandal, told how to report the death of Benazir Bhutto and had to steer clear of a Hollywood film story.

Censorship has been an everyday feature of news reporting in China for as long as the Chinese Communist Party has been in power.

But this wide range of so-called sensitive stories shows that, in China, any story on any subject at any time can still fall foul of the censor’s red pen.

No explanation

As 2007 came to a close, it was three very different stories that received particular attention from censors working at China Central Television (CCTV).

On 19 December, journalists received a notice banning them from carrying reports about the death of a pregnant migrant worker.

The news had previously been widely reported in the Chinese media.

The saga began when the woman was rushed to a Beijing hospital with what her husband said was a simple cold.

But doctors said she was suffering from pneumonia and needed an emergency caesarean.

Her husband, believing the hospital wanted to charge him for an expensive and unnecessary operation, refused. Three hours later his wife was dead.

The terse notice banning CCTV journalists from reporting this story did not say why it was sensitive, but health is a hot topic for ordinary Chinese people.

Many suspect doctors prescribe expensive drugs and order unnecessary tests and treatment to boost their salaries.

Two days later, the CCTV censors were worried about another story – reports that China had banned some Hollywood films from Chinese cinemas.

Censors decided this story could not be reported at all.

Again, the notice did not say why, but there has been trade friction between China and the US for some time.

Perhaps the government did not want to add to the tension by talking about another potential trade dispute between the two sides.

‘Avoid drawing fire’

The third story that caused problems was the death of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto two days after Christmas.

China and Pakistan are close allies, and the government presumably did not want to cause a friend unnecessary trouble.

Of course, it would have been hard to simply ignore the assassination, so on 28 December CCTV journalists received explicit instructions on how to report the killing.

Reporters were told to stick to the facts and not connect the incident with Pakistan’s internal turmoil or mention the possibility of terrorism.

“Avoid drawing fire against ourselves. Avoid being drawn into Pakistan’s internal contradictions,” the notice read.

And this time journalists were told exactly who had authorised this order – the party’s Central Propaganda Department.

These three stories are just the tip of the iceberg, according to David Bandurski, a researcher with the Hong Kong-based China Media Project, which monitors the media in China.

“There are all kinds of bans and missives against all kinds of stories for different reasons,” he says.

Certain subjects are always out of bounds in China, such as speculation about China’s national leaders.

Other issues, such as health, education and inflation, are closely monitored because they are potentially controversial.

CCTV journalists were recently told to follow the lead of Xinhua, China’s national news agency, when writing reports about fuel price rises.

Sometimes even innocent stories can become sensitive, such as a recent debate about digital TV, because it touched on the issue of consumer rights.

‘Wriggle room’

Despite the obstacles, Mr Bandurski says many Chinese journalists are keen to push the boundaries of what is allowed.

“The media is becoming savvy about which stories are completely taboo and which stories have some wriggle room, even for a short time,” he says.

The media was not always so strictly controlled in China.

Zhan Jiang, a journalism professor at Beijing’s China Youth University for Political Science, says there was more freedom to report political issues in the 1980s.

But that relatively relaxed period came to an abrupt end in 1989 with the crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protesters.

The professor is not optimistic that things will improve in the short term for Chinese journalists.

“On one hand, (Chinese President) Hu Jintao suggests goals to aim for, such as democracy and the rule of law,” says Mr Zhan.

“But, on the other hand, the forces that oppose democracy, the rule of law and particularly freedom of speech are powerful.”

– Original report from BBC News: Stories China’s media could not write

Posted in Asia, Beijing, censorship, China, Family, Health, Incident, Killing, Law, Life, Media, News, People, Politics, Report, Social, Speech, Trade, TV / film, USA, Women, World | Comments Off on Censorship: Recent 3 Stories China’s Media Could Not Write

China 2007: The Year of The Peasants’ Revolt (cont’d)

Posted by Author on January 7, 2008


John Garnaut, The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia, January 5, 2008- (cont’d)

<< previous

Peasants in Yu’s village say they do not understand the concept of private ownership, let alone demand it. They are content to continue the system of collective ownership and individual farming rights. They are not closely linked with activists in other villages, let alone other provinces, and they are fiercely proud that China is hosting the Olympics.

Further, Yu’s son notes that his father is in effect illiterate.

But if Yu and his mysterious ghost writer had intended to unite peasants and make enough smoke to attract the country’s attention, then they have succeeded.

“In 10 years Yu has been our only hope,” says one village elder. “But now he’s in custody, we’re beginning to unite ourselves.”

Yu’s village is close to Fujin city, on China’s extreme north-east frontier. Russian Siberia lies just 60 kilometres away on the other side of two massive frozen rivers. Perhaps it is the cold, or the distance, but there can be few corners of the country where Beijing’s peasant-friendly rhetoric is so consistently and brazenly ignored.

Peasants have been the perennial losers in a 15-year, provincial cover-up of a project that started as a legitimate but misguided joint venture with a South Korean development entity and should have been aborted at the start – or at least when the joint venture partner walked away a decade ago.

Instead, each face-saving mistake has required an ever-more elaborate layer of tyranny to extort the money to pay back the debts of the previous mistake, and to prevent news getting out.

In 1995 Han Yin, then Fujin’s party secretary, told the then provincial governor, Tian Fengshan, that the agricultural project’s deep-seated woes had been caused by a map.

“It was an old map used before the 1980s,” said Han’s report, later obtained by affected peasants. “This caused a series of problems. The main problem is that most of the land is no longer wilderness.”

Tian, who did not act on Han’s report for two years, has since been jailed for corruption. One of his schemes was an auction of bureaucratic posts, where promotions were handed out to the highest bidder.

In 1997 the provincial government washed its hands of the project by transferring much of the appropriated land to the Fujin city government.

The Fujin officials acted like bandits when the party secretary sent his military police chief, Ma Chengxi, and his henchmen to enforce evictions and land transfers. One villager, An Fengzhen, still has an X-ray showing where a bullet lodged inside her skull.

Wang Xuejun, a villager who has since moved to Shandong, says Ma and Ge Qingxia, the city’s deputy party secretary, transferred vast tracts of farmland into their own names and started billing the peasants for rent.

“I have seen a copy of a rent receipt signed by Ge Qingxia,” says Wang. “It’s unimaginable for a government leader in China to have such a large amount of land in their own name.”

At Dongnangang, the land was carved in half and the best portion given to an unknown landlord. “They brought in peasants from Toulin town to farm the land,” says the village chief.

The land loss caused per capita incomes to drop by more than half, to about 2500 yuan.

Jon Unger, director of the Contemporary China Centre at the Australian National University, who has been studying land issues for decades, says the crudity and brazen nature of this land appropriation is extraordinary. “This is about as bad as I’ve seen.”

Through it all, Fujin officials have done everything they can to stop news getting out. One busload of villagers who tried to take their complaint to the petition office in Beijing never made it out of Fujin. They tried to explain that they were acting lawfully, but all they heard was one order: “fight”. Several were taken to hospital, most were left to tend to their own injuries in jail, says Wang Xuejun.

For the Fujin fiefdom to function requires that no information gets out, even at the cost of little coming in, and that the provincial government looks the other away. But Yu Changwu’s internet letter and some new high-level appointments might be breaking down that delicate bubble.

At the Fujin Public Security Bureau, where the Herald was being detained and interrogated, nobody was aware that reports of Yu’s letter were freely available on the internet. The Herald offered to direct officers to China’s year-old rules allowing foreign reporters to travel freely, only to be told sheepishly that there was no internet connection.

Later, the Herald was summoned to a luxury Fujin hotel room to meet a polite, stylish deputy mayor, who was part of the city’s new leadership team. “First, welcome to Fujin, the mayor hopes you enjoy your stay,” he said, over a cup of tea. “Two, next time you come to Fujin you must first report to us, so we can help you with your interviews.”

Questions about land and Yu Changwu were to go through “proper channels”. There are signs those channels may one day facilitate the flow of information, rather than only obstruct it. On Thursday the foreign affairs office in the next city, Jiamusi, said it was urgently investigating and would like to answer questions and ask some of its own.

Yu Gang, the son of Yu Changwu, is not sure how he is going to get back his land and his crazy-brave father, but he is sure it will happen. “My dream is to get my land back so I can work it, and to be reunited with my family,” he says.

with Sanghee Liu

Original report from The Sydney Morning Herald

Posted in Activist, censorship, China, corruption, Economy, Family, Heilongjiang, housing, Human Rights, Land Seizure, Law, Life, NE China, News, People, Politics, Rural, Social, World | Comments Off on China 2007: The Year of The Peasants’ Revolt (cont’d)

China 2007: The Year of The Peasants’ Revolt

Posted by Author on January 7, 2008


John Garnaut, The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia, January 5, 2008-

Officials acting like feudal landlords in north-east China may have met their match, writes John Garnaut.

It has been 15 years since the then Heilongjiang provincial governor decreed how his most ambitious agricultural project was to be evaluated: “The Touxing Project involves the credibility of the country and the reputation of Heilongjiang. It can only succeed, it cannot fail.”

In reality the project could never succeed. It was supposed to transform 100,000 hectares of swampy “wasteland” into farmland, but local peasants had mostly done that job already. Officials get around this fundamental problem by appropriating existing village farmland and rebadging it as “reclaimed” wasteland, while sometimes acting as feudal landlords on the side.

But recently there have been signs that this stubborn and quixotic agricultural enterprise in north-east China may finally have met its match: the equally stubborn, equally quixotic, accidental peasant leader Yu Changwu.

“Yu is a man of justice,” says the chief of Dongnangang, a village of 970 people.

“He asks for no money. Even when the village offered he rejected it,” says an old peasant, sitting on the village chief’s bed. “He’s persistent and he has never stopped fighting.”

Another adds “we all admire him”, prompting a ripple of nodding heads.

But Yu Changwu’s son, an unkempt, chain-smoking and charismatic lad named Yu Gang, is loafing silently on the floor. What does he think? “My father is frank and outspoken but he’s not a leader. He’s just an ordinary village man.”

What neighbours see as selfless determination looks more like self-righteousness, or pig-headed stupidity, inside the family home. A villager quietly notes that Yu Changwu’s diabetic wife, Yu Gang’s mother, died a preventable death last year.

“Of course I’m angry,” says Yu Gang. “If he hadn’t been spending all that money on fighting the Government he could have bought medicine for my mother.”

The villagers are all dressed in unwashed shades of black, brown and navy blue, without any hint of unnecessary consumption. But then a shiny red car pulls up and the driver steps out, all dressed in red.

“This is Yu’s number two,” says the village chief, as the new arrival takes her place in the room in the opposite corner to Yu Gang, who is soon to be her stepson.

Yu Changwu was first arrested after a shocking letter was posted on the internet in June, saying that local peasants wanted human rights rather than the cherished Beijing Olympics.

He was released, rearrested and released again, only to put his name to an even more revolutionary letter posted online on December 9. It called for private property rights, on top of human rights, to protect fellow villagers from predatory officials in the city of Fujin.

It read, in part: “They have actually become the landlords, and farmers have been forced to become serfs. We decided to change this structure of land ownership, and protect the land rights of farmers through family ownership or individual ownership.”

Two days later, the Fujin city police again hauled Yu away. He has not been seen since. But he had already set in train a resistance movement that will be hard to stop.

Anxious non-government lawyers in Beijing warned that Yu had directly challenged China’s constitutional prohibition against private ownership of rural land. Excited overseas China watchers, on the other hand, thought they were witnessing early cracks in the foundations of Communist China.

“If the movement indeed takes off, it will be a true, bottom-up land revolution,” wrote Professor Fei-Ling Wang, of Georgia Institute of Technology.

The reality is more prosaic. Yu’s Jeffersonian letter was purportedly written on behalf of 40,000 peasants but it is not a faithful account of their actions or intentions. (to be cont’d)

Original report from The Sydney Morning Herald

Posted in Activist, China, corruption, Economy, Family, Heilongjiang, housing, Human Rights, Land Seizure, Law, Life, NE China, News, People, Politics, Rural, Social, World | Comments Off on China 2007: The Year of The Peasants’ Revolt