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“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘Beijing Dictatorship

Chen Guangcheng, A Blind Lawyer Beaten Up.

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We often think we have it hard in the West, but the reality is different. Particularly when you consider what happens to you in China if you step out of line. You get beaten up or jailed. That’s what happened to Chen Guangcheng, AFP reports:

“WASHINGTON — A blind Chinese activist who exposed abuses in Beijing’s population control policy was beaten unconscious by dozens of men led by a communist party official, his wife said in a letter released Thursday.

Human rights groups earlier reported an attack on activist Chen Guangcheng in February, but the account from his wife — who said she was also severely abused and remains under house arrest — offered graphic new details.

Wife Yuan Weijing said that 70 to 80 men stormed their home in February. She said around 10 beat her husband for more than two hours while the others trashed the place, taking away a computer, video-camera and even flashlights.

“Some of them twisted his arms forcefully while the others were pushing his head down and lifting his collar up tightly. Given his poor health condition of long-time diarrhea, Guangcheng was not able to resist and passed out after more than two hours of torture,” she wrote.

The letter was released by ChinaAid, a US-based rights group. It said it received the letter on Wednesday.

Yuan said the couple was not allowed medical treatment. She said she was covered with a blanket and beaten, which she believed caused her broken ribs. She said she could not see for five to six days and still cannot stand up straight.

Yuan said that the assailants were led by a local communist party vice secretary and included policemen, although they did not wear uniforms or show legal documents.

Yuan said that authorities have stepped up pressure on them since the beating, with their five-year-old daughter also under house arrest and Chen’s mother followed constantly by three men.

Previous attempts to verify the couple’s condition independently were unsuccessful. Reporters from Western news organizations said they were roughed up in February when they tried to reach Chen’s home in the city of Linyi.

Chen, a self-taught lawyer blind since childhood, served more than four years in prison after he exposed widespread late-term abortions and forced sterilizations under China’s policy of restricting most families to one child.

He was released in September and put under house arrest. He later made a daring video, also released by ChinaAid, in which he said police threatened to beat him or throw him back in jail if he spoke up.

Sinophobia Or Legitimate Political Criticism?

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Over the years we’ve heard of the l’exception française. More recently even l’exception American, but how about l’exception Sino?

Nor should we be too surprised when the supporters, excusers and apologists of Beijing regime bring out the accusation of “Sinophobia”?

Allegations of “Sinophobia” are used to close down criticism of those running the Chinese state.

It is beyond their ken, or understanding, that people might be concerned with the destructive activities of the dictators that run China, be it environmental, human rights or even trade union rights, in this instance all criticism can simply be dismissed as “Sinophobia”.

It is a perfect solution.

After all it doesn’t require engaging with the activities of the Chinese State, how they brutalised the population, enrich themselves or threaten others.

No. No criticism is acceptable, all of it is to be simply labelled as “Sinophobia”.

It is a marvellous tactic, as it requires no argumentation.

It doesn’t require any familiarity with China itself, how the ruling elites run the country, the barbarism inflicted on the population or the deaths caused by the headlong dash for industrialisation. [Warning, the pictures are rather distressing.]

It is a perfect ploy for the intellectually lazy or those incapable of substantiating their views with reason or evidence.

I wonder how the persecution of Liu Xiaobo will be explained away? The Guardian has more:

” One of China’s leading dissidents has been charged with “inciting subversion”, and faces a possible 15-year jail sentence, amid growing international outrage over his detention and forthcoming trial.

Liu Xiaobo was one of 300 democratic activists in China to author a bold call for constitutional reform last December. The manifesto was published under the name Charter 08, and called for greater freedom of expression, multi-party elections and independent courts. Seen as a figurehead for the movement, Liu was taken into detention shortly before the document was published online. Then, in June, he was formally arrested on suspicion of incitement to subvert state power.

In the latest development – which came on International Human Rights Day, a year and a day after the charter’s publication – officials told Liu’s lawyer they would charge him. He will almost certainly be convicted and sentenced to jail, say experts, probably within weeks”

China’s Black Jails.

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China has a multiplicity of mini Gitmos scattered around the country, more commonly known as “black jails”.

These black jails are outside the judicial system, where ordinary people who are perceived as troublesome are locked up for weeks or months at a stretch, Reuters explains:

“So why are petitioners being treated this way? Black jails emerged in 2003 after the Chinese government abolished laws permitting the arbitrary detention of any “undesirables.” But that progress was undercut by the introduction at the local level of guidelines that limit local officials’ prospects for promotions or raises if petitioners from their areas carried on their efforts to find justice in larger cities.

What might have been intended as an incentive to make local officials deal with local grievances became an incentive for those officials to keep petitioners off the streets and invest considerable resources in achieving that goal. Plainclothes thugs commonly known as retrievers, or jiefang renyuan, locate and abduct petitioners in Beijing and other cities for bounties as high as $250 per person. Operators of black jail facilities reap daily cash payments from local governments of up to $29 per detainee, helping to perpetuate black jail abuses.

Rather than crack down on these facilities, the central Chinese government denies that they even exist. In an April 2009 Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs press conference, a MOFA official responded to a foreign correspondent’s query about black jails by insisting, “Things like this do not exist in China.”

In June 2009, the Chinese government asserted in the Outcome Report of the United Nations’ Human Rights Commission’s Universal Periodic Review of China’s human rights record that, “There are no black jails in the country.”

Such denials make a mockery of the commitment in the first-ever National Human Rights Action Plan that, “The Chinese government unswervingly pushes forward the cause of human rights in China.” The Chinese government’s credibility would be considerably enhanced by acknowledging that black jails do indeed exist, shutting them down, liberating detainees, and bringing the perpetrators to justice.”

Update 1: HRW reports:

“Inside China’s black jails, detainees are denied access to legal counsel and in most cases contact with family and friends. Detainees are kept under constant surveillance, and subject to often arbitrary physical and psychological abuse including beatings, sexual violence, threats, and intimidation. In some black jail facilities, guards deprive detainees of food and sleep as mechanisms to punish, control, or elicit information from detainees. Black jail conditions are uniformly harsh. Detainees endure crowded sleeping quarters, unsanitary conditions, poor quality food in insufficient quantities, and violent reprisals for complaints about such conditions.

The guards at black jails routinely deny detainees access to needed medical care, even in cases of injuries from beatings. One former black jail detainee resorted to a three-day hunger strike to compel her captors to allow her access to a doctor. Former black jail detainees report that guards often steal detainees’ personal belongings, including petitioning documents, demand payment for food or lodging at the black jail facilities, and demand large lump sum payments as high as 15,000 yuan (US$2,205) as a condition of release.”

Written by modernityblog

18/11/2009 at 12:03