Monks And Lawyers in China.
It doesn’t pay to be a human rights lawyer in China, as the Times relates:
“Last month, government officials closed Gongmeng, also known as the Open Constitution Initiative, a legal aid and research group of which Mr Xu was a leading member. The group worked on public interest law, addressing issues such as death penalty cases and the existence of unofficial “black jails”. Most recently, Gongmeng lawyers represented parents whose children fell ill last year after drinking milk contaminated with the chemical melamine. The tainted milk was blamed for the deaths of six babies and made nearly 300,000 other children ill.
The centre’s closure came after the tax authorities said the group faced a fine of 1.4 million yuan (£140,000) for failing to pay taxes. Mr Xu was scheduled to meet tax officials on July 30, the day after he was detained. Colleagues say formal notification of the unpaid taxes has yet to be issued, meaning that his arrest is a violation of due process
Representatives of Gongmeng have paid back about 700,000 yuan. Under Chinese law, if the taxes are repaid a defendant can face only civil and not criminal charges.
Mr Xu’s work has clearly angered the authorities.”
Elsewhere under the boot of China’s rule:
“The head prefect and the chant master of a monastery were among eight Tibetans sentenced to prison terms for taking part in one of the biggest protests against Chinese rule since last year’s riots in Lhasa.
The court in a remote county of western Qinghai province sentenced six monks and two members of the public for attacking a local police station in March. They had been enraged after a lama from the Ragya monastery escaped from police custody and apparently leapt to his death in a fast-flowing river that passes through the hillside town.
Palden Gyatso, head prefect or disciplinarian at Ragya, received the heaviest sentence, of seven years, on charges of inciting the attack, said the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, a group based in the Indian town of Dharamsala that has been home to the Dalai Lama since he fled into exile 50 years ago.
The other monks were sentenced to between one and four years in prison. The two other Tibetans were jailed for six months and one year respectively.”