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About China and Chinese people's living condition

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  • Books to Read

    1. A China More Just, Gao Zhisheng
    2.Officially Sanctioned Crime in China, He Qinglian
    3.
    Will the Boat Sink the Water? Chen Guidi, Wu Chuntao
    4.
    Losing the New China, Ethan Gutmann
    5.
    Nine Commentaries on The Communist Party, the Epochtimes
  • Did you know

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

Chinese SARS Hero Declines International Human Rights Award for Political Reason

Posted by Author on August 23, 2007


By He Shan, from Radio Free Asia, Via The Epochtimes, Aug 21, 2007-

Jiang Yanyong, a Chinese military physician who bravely disclosed the cover-up of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic in China was presented with the 2007 annual Human Rights Scientist Award by the New York Academy of Sciences. The award was presented to recognize the two Chinese medical doctor’s outstanding contribution in the medical field, especially their continuous effort in preventing the spread of SARS and AIDS in China. The other awardee is Dr. Gao Yaojie, a retired gynecologist from Henan Province who helped to prevent the spread of AIDS in China. The New York Academy of Sciences had arranged to cover both the hotel and travel expenses between New York and China for the two awardees.

In an interview with Radio Free Asia (RFA), Dr. Jiang confirmed that he would not attend the award ceremony. He had already written to the chairman of the awards committee in August.

In his letter Jiang stated, “The Human Rights Award is a political award, it is not a scientific award.” For this reason, he will not accept the award. When a reporter asked whether he was under pressure to refuse the award, Jiang responded in the same simple manner he always has—”A person in the military doesn’t have the convenience to say too much.”

Reporter: “Why are you unable to attend?”

Jiang: “My apologies. As a member of the military I am not allowed to answer political questions.”

Jiang faxed his letter on August 1, Chinese Army Day. The letter said, “Considering the fact that I am engaged in medical practice, while the Human Rights Scientist Award completely comes from a political aspect, therefore, it is not a scientific award. Because of this reason, I have decided not to accept this award.”

Reporter: “Are you under pressure? Was that yourself…”

Jiang: “I prefer not to answer this question. Is that all right?”

Reporter: “Was it because you didn’t want to go yourself? Or was it for some other reason?”

Jiang: “My apologies on this matter, you need to ask the Chairman. I have sent my response to him.”

While on the phone, Jiang didn’t repeat what was stated in the fax, “The Human Rights Scientist Award is given for political reasons, therefore, it is not a scientific award.” Mr. Sun Wenguang, a retired professor from Shandong University said. “The military has put a lot of pressure on his relatives including his children. I think Dr. Jiang is keeping quiet to protect his retirement status with the Army. In the past, he disclosed the cover-up of SARS, which shocked the world. Later, he openly expressed his attitude toward the military’s role in the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989, stating this it was wrong. This is not an easy thing at all.”

Sun also said, for seniors like Jiang, the pressure on relatives is enormous. While Jiang himself is not willing to be completely separated from the existing system, he is also not willing to bring troubles to his family members. Even though he is being presented with the Human Rights Scientist Award by the New York Academy of Sciences, he is unwilling to attend the award presentation. Now the political situation in China is similar to the Soviet Union. The dictatorship controls all areas of one’s life and how it is lived.

Overseas, members of the Committee for Human Rights of the New York Academy of Sciences, Liu Gang, Wei Jingsheng, and Wang Dan have sent an open letter to President Hu Jintao, asking him to allow Jiang to visit New York and accept the award.

On October 25, 1958, The Swedish Academy awarded the Nobel Price for Literature to Boris Pasternak, the writer of the former Soviet Union, recognizing his renowned long novel, Dr. Zhivago . Mr. Pasernak wrote back stating, “Unlimited thanks, inspiration, pride, shock and regret. Considering the effect and difficulty brought to my country from presenting me the Nobel Prize, I must decline it. Please do understand the declination from the bottom of my heart.” The award ceremony in 1958 could not be held because the Pasternak couldn’t attend.

– O riginal report from the Epochtimes: SARS Hero Declines Human Rights Scientist Award

Related:
China Hero Doctor Who Exposed SARS Cover-Up Barred U.S. Trip For Rights Award, July 13, 2007

Posted in Activist, Beijing, Central China, China, Family, Freedom of Speech, Health, Henan, Human Rights, Life, News, People, Politics, SARS, USA, World | 1 Comment »

China Hero Doctor Who Exposed SARS Cover-Up Barred U.S. Trip For Rights Award

Posted by Author on July 13, 2007


By JOSEPH KAHN, New York Times, July 13, 2007-

BEIJING, July 12 — A Chinese doctor who exposed the cover-up of China’s SARS outbreak in 2003 has been barred from traveling to the United States to collect a human rights award, a friend of the doctor and a human rights group said this week.

The doctor, Jiang Yanyong, a retired surgeon in the People’s Liberation Army, was awarded the Heinz R. Pagels Human Rights of Scientists Award by the New York Academy of Sciences. His army-affiliated work unit, Beijing’s Hospital 301, denied him permission to travel to the award ceremony in September, Hu Jia, a Chinese rights promoter who is a friend of Dr. Jiang’s, said Thursday.

The Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy, which is based in Hong Kong, also issued a statement reporting the rejection of the travel request. The doctor could not be reached at his home for comment, and a person who answered the phone in the director’s office of Hospital 301 said the situation was unclear, declining to provide further details.

Dr. Jiang rose to international prominence in 2003, when he disclosed in a letter circulated to international news organizations that at least 100 people were being treated in Beijing hospitals for severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. At the time, the Chinese medical authorities were asserting that the entire nation had only a handful of cases of the disease.

The revelation prompted China’s top leaders to acknowledge that they had provided false information about the epidemic. The health minister and the mayor of Beijing were removed from their posts.

SARS eventually killed more than 800 people worldwide, and the government came under international scrutiny for failing to provide timely information that medical experts said might have saved lives.

Dr. Jiang was initially hailed as a hero in Chinese and foreign news media. He used his new prestige in 2004 to press China’s ruling Politburo Standing Committee to admit that the leadership had made a mistake in ordering the military to shoot unarmed civilians on June 3 and 4, 1989, when troops were deployed to suppress democracy protests that began in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

Dr. Jiang, who treated Beijing residents wounded in the 1989 assault, contended that the official line that the crackdown was necessary to put down a rebellion was false. His statement antagonized party leaders, who consider the crackdown a matter of enormous political sensitivity.

Jiang Zemin, then the leader of the military, ordered the detention of Dr. Jiang, who spent several months in custody, people involved in his defense say. Dr. Jiang was eventually allowed to return to his home but remained under constant watch. He has not been allowed to accept press requests for interviews or to visit family members who live in the United States, friends and human rights groups say.

Mr. Hu said that Dr. Jiang’s superiors at Hospital 301 had told him that he could not travel to New York to collect his award because the ruling Communist Party was seeking to maintain an atmosphere of social and political stability in the period leading up to the 17th Party Congress in the fall, when party leaders decide on a new leadership lineup.

“There is always some big political event they can use as an excuse to put pressure on human rights defenders,” Mr. Hu said. “The real reason is that they want to keep him under house arrest so he has no opportunity to speak the truth to the outside world.”

– Original report from New York Times: China Bars U.S. Trip for Doctor Who Exposed SARS Cover-Up

Posted in Asia, Beijing, censorship, China, Doctor, Health, house arrest, Human Rights, Jiang Yanyong, Jiang Zemin, June 4, Law, News, Official, People, Politics, SARS, Social, Special day, Speech, Tiananmen, travel, USA, World | 1 Comment »

China’s State Secret Law ‘deadly to society’

Posted by Author on June 12, 2007


By Clifford Coonan in Beijing, The Independent, UK, 12 June 2007-

China is classifying more and more activities as state secrets to allow police to charge dissidents and activists, a report said yesterday. The expansion of secrecy laws has huge implications for freedom of expression in the country, says the campaigning group Human Rights in China (HRIC).

“The complex and opaque state secrets system perpetuates a culture of secrecy that is deadly to Chinese society,” says the report, which details laws, regulations and documents – many in English translation for the first time – to show how many charges now qualify as state secrets.

Speaking from New York before the launch of the 279-page document, State secrets: China’s legal labyrinth, Sharon Hom, executive director of HRIC, said the report would “tunnel down and look at the state secret system and see what is its impact on policy and the practice of the rule of law and governance”.

Under a 1998 law, state secrets are defined as “all other matters classified as state secrets by the national State Secrets Bureau”, a catch-all phrase which can be used against almost anyone the government pleases. The report shows how China’s secrets system is used as both a shield – classifying a broad range of information and keeping it from the public, and a sword – using it as a means to crack down on individuals who are critical of the government.

It also has case studies of people who have been jailed under the pretext of stealing state secrets. Some are well known, such as Zhao Yan, the New York Times researcher who was detained in September 2004 in connection with an article which predicted the resignation of Jiang Zemin as head of the military. He was held in detention for more than 19 months without trial and then charged with leaking state secrets to the newspaper. In August last year, Mr Zhao was unexpectedly cleared of the state secrets charge and sentenced to three years in prison on an unrelated charge of fraud.

The reporter Shi Tao attended a meeting in April 2004 at which the contents of a Communist Party propaganda bureau document were read out. Using email, he sent notes to a New York-based website, for which he was detained and tried for “illegally providing state secrets overseas”. As the document was certified “top secret”, he was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.

There are also lesser known cases, such as Tan Kai, a computer repair technician from Zhejiang, who was formally indicted on 29 April 2006 on charges of “illegally obtaining state secrets,” ostensibly for information he had obtained while doing routine file back-ups for an employee of the Zhejiang provincial party committee. Mr Tan is also an environmental activist who founded a group called Green Watch, which was declared illegal in November 2005. Mr Tan was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment by the Hangzhou municipal people’s intermediate court on the state secrets charge.

“In these cases, the state secrets charge opened the door,” said Ms Hom. “The scope and comprehensiveness and retroactivity of this system is not really known. Environment issues, natural disasters, population statistics, health hazards – all of these can be swept in and retrospectively classified as state secrets.”

China’s secrets system violates the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Beijing has signed but not ratified, said Ms Hom. She added: “China says it wants to be a respected international player. There is a need to move from a culture of secrecy to a culture of tolerance, which means they have to allow dissenting voices.”

How the wall of silence works

* Officials dealing with the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) at first refused to provide information or confirm reports, pointing to rules classifying infectious diseases as state secrets.

* Ambiguities in secrecy rules led to delays and confusion after a chemical leak in the Songhua river in 2005 which forced taps to be shut off in a city of nine million people.

* Lu Jianhua, a sociologist, was reportedly jailed for 20 years for leaking state secrets to a Hong Kong reporter who was sentenced to five years for spying. The trial was held in secret.

* Tohti Tunyaz, an academic, was sentenced to 11 years for spying. Supporters say the secrets he was accused of stealing were 50-year-old documents.

* Shi Tao, a journalist, was jailed for 10 years after emailing a propaganda circular to a US human rights forum.

– original report from The Independent: China’s culture of secrecy ‘deadly to society’

Posted in Activist, censorship, China, Health, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, News, People, Politics, pollution, SARS, Social, Speech | Comments Off on China’s State Secret Law ‘deadly to society’

China Tries To Cover Up Epidemic in Shandong Province

Posted by Author on May 19, 2007


Reporters Without Borders, 16 May 2007-

Reporters Without Borders today voiced indignation that national and Shandong provincial authorities in eastern China tried to censor news about an epidemic of hand-foot-mouth disease which has reportedly infected scores of children since the end of April 2007.

And the worldwide press freedom organisation urged the World Health Assembly currently meeting in Geneva to formally respond to “this unacceptable censorship of news” about the Chinese epidemic.

“One thought that the local and national authorities had learned their lesson from the results of imposing media censorship at the start of the SARS epidemic in 2002,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Evidently, bad habits die hard. Chinese officials prefer to silence the media rather than protect the people.”

Chinese officials finally acknowledged on 12 May that an infant had died and several dozen other children had been infected with the disease in Linyi, Shandong province since the end of April. The Shandong Health Bureau condemned “rumors” that 26 children had died in the epidemic, in a statement on its website on 13 May.

A number of Chinese websites and newspapers, including the Shanghai Morning Post, reported that the authorities had covered up the epidemic, prompting panic in Linyi. Nearly 300 people, mainly children, are being treated in the city’s hospitals.

Hand-foot-mouth is a viral infection which starts in the throat and is caused by the Coxsackie virus. It can be fatal if there are complications.

The Chinese authorities in 2002 and 2003 after banning publication of articles about the SARS epidemic for several months went in for a rapid turnaround in which they involved the media in a national propaganda campaign to fight the disease.

original report

Related:
Mystery Disease Kills Pigs in Southern China: press, Reuters, May 7, 2007

Posted in censorship, China, East China, Health, Media, News, Politics, SARS, Shandong, Social, Speech, World | Comments Off on China Tries To Cover Up Epidemic in Shandong Province

Taiwan Urges China to Come Clean On Suspected Sars Cases

Posted by Author on January 23, 2007


Gulf Times, Qatar, 22 January, 2007-

TAIPEI: A Taiwan health official yesterday asked Beijing to verify and publicise “immediately” suspected severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) cases in China’s Guangdong province.

“According to the Hong Kong press, some people have been isolated at the No 8 People’s Hospital in Guangzhou and are suspected of having Sars,” Shih Wen-yi, deputy director of the Centres for Disease control (CDC), told the Central News Agency (CNA).

“We hope the Chinese authorities can immediately verify and publicise the information, to avoid delayed treatment and epidemic control,” Shih said.

“So far all our information is from the Hong Kong press. Taiwan has not received notice about the suspected Sars cases from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention,” Shih said.

Shih said that late last year, there was a case of avian influenza in Anhui province, but China did not report it to the World Health Organisation (WHO) until early this year, causing a delay of one month.

“CDC is closely monitoring Guangdong’s suspected Sars cases. We urge Taiwanese who have travelled to Guangdong to see doctor if they have fever or other discomfort,” CNA quoted Shih as saying.

According to Hong Kong’s Singtao Daily, reports about the suspected Sars cases in the Guangdong capital Guangzhou appeared on the internet on Friday.

It was rumoured that dozens of people had been isolated at the No 8 People’s Hospital, suspected of having Sars. Several Guangdong military hospitals have been instructed to stand ready to receive emergency patients, Singtao Daily reported yesterday.

On Saturday, a Singtao Daily reporter phoned the No 8 People’s Hospital and was told by one staff member that there were suspected Sars cases at the hospital, but when the reporter asked a doctor at the same hospital to confirm it, the doctor refused to comment.

Sars is believed to have erupted in Guangdong in November 2002 and quickly spread to the rest of the world via Hong Kong.

Between November 1, 2002 and July 31, 2003, 8,096 people around the world had contracted Sars, and out of them 774 died, according to WHO figures.

China had the largest number of Sars infections (5,327), followed by Hong Kong (1,755), Taiwan (346), Canada (251) and Singapore (238).–DPA

———
original report from Gulf Times

Posted in Asia, China, Guangdong, Health, medical, News, Politics, SARS, SE China, Social, Taiwan, World | Comments Off on Taiwan Urges China to Come Clean On Suspected Sars Cases

Editorial: 9 Channels of Distortion, From China, to Canada

Posted by Author on January 13, 2007


Editorial, The Asian Pacific Post, Canada, Friday, Jan. 12, 2007-

Over Christmas and without much ado, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), our guardian of the airwaves, approved nine Chinese state-run television networks to broadcast their shows in Canada.

The networks called the “Great Wall package” are wholly-owned by China Central Television, the main state-run television network in China.

The nine channels will carry news, sports, and entertainment programming in several Chinese dialects to capitalize on Canada’s rapidly growing Chinese-speaking market.

The networks’ journalists and producers are overseen in China by the China Radio Film and Television Group, which describes itself as “an important mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee, an important cultural battlefield for the CCP and our country.”

As such these channels give voice to Beijing’s defamation of the Dalai Lama, why China should rule democratic Taiwan, attack Falun Gong practitioners as members of an evil cult and promote the defiance of the Vatican in the middle kingdom.

China-state run media is also infamous for its reality-deficient reports laden with political prejudice.

Remember how China suppressed the outbreak of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) epidemic in the summer of 2003, which killed 800 people around the world, including 44 in Toronto.

In June 2005, the Publicity Department of the Communist Party told China Central Television, which owns the nine stations given the green light by CRTC, that national press must “communicate” with officials in the area being investigated and inform them of the content of the critical reporting before publishing the article or airing the programme.

Chinese television news producers were also instructed to highlight the positive. Even in exposés on corruption, they must emphasise that the sleaze was an exception while the overwhelming majority of officials had high moral standards.

This simply means there will be no coverage by these channels on China’s lack of accountability or the destruction of its environment.

Don’t expect news on the air pollution that kills 400,000 people a year, chemical spills that contaminate rivers or that 660 Chinese cities face extreme water shortages.

What you will get is the Communist party’s version that will paint the internationally acclaimed human rights advocate as corrupt or the whistleblower as being an agent for a foreign government.

You will be force fed views that the individual being detained without trial for years in a Chinese labour camp is a terrorist.

You will be told that nothing untoward happened in Tiananmen Square, there is no cultural genocide in Tibet, Taiwan is a rebel province and there is no widespread torture and killing of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners in China.

The core mandate of CRTC is to ensure that what is broadcast in Canada reflects Canadian identity, attitudes and opinions.

Maybe the CRTC can tell us when the suppression and distortion of news became a Canadian value.

The Chinese ambassador to Canada, Shumin Lu says the nine new channels would “help diversify the cultural life of the Canadian people.”

We say thanks but no thanks.

original article: Editorial: Channels of distortion, The Asian Pacific Post

Posted in Activist, Asia, Canada, censorship, China, Communist Party, corruption, Crime against humanity, Dissident, Environment, Falun Gong, Health, Human Rights, Killing, Law, Life, Media, News, Opinion, People, Politics, pollution, Religious, SARS, Social, Speech, Tiananmen, Tibetan, Torture, TV / film, World | 1 Comment »