Thursday, 31 March 2011

China continues its crackdown on human rights and democracy activists

The communist government of China continues its crackdown on human rights and democracy advocates:

BEIJING — A human rights advocate in Sichuan has been formally arrested and charged with inciting subversion against the state, according to a statement on Wednesday by China Human Rights Defenders, an advocacy group that tracks violations by the Chinese government. The advocate, Chen Wei, was charged on Monday, and his family was notified on Tuesday.

Mr. Chen is the third person in recent days to be charged with inciting subversion in an extraordinarily harsh crackdown on progressives in China that has been unfolding since late February. The other two, Ran Yunfei and Ding Mao, are also from Sichuan and are known, like Mr. Chen, to be promoters of the rule of law and democracy-oriented reforms.

Parts of Sichuan Province, a rugged, populous area in western China, are known to be havens for liberal thinkers, and the region has a long literary and philosophical tradition. The authorities there are now at the forefront of pressing charges against people advocating political reform.

On Friday, a court in Sichuan sentenced Liu Xianbin, a veteran democracy activist, to 10 years in prison for slandering the Communist Party in his writings; Mr. Liu was detained in June, before the current clampdown.

The recent wave of disappearances and detentions began when a Chinese-language Web site hosted in the United States posted a call in late February for frustrated Chinese to take to the streets in a so-called Jasmine Revolution to protest corruption and unjust rule. The Chinese government, fearing the kinds of protests that have swept through the Arab world, has apparently ordered that any signs of dissent be nipped in the bud.
China Human Rights Defenders estimates that at least 23 people have been detained for criminal investigation., an English-language Web site based in Beijing, compiled a list this week of about 50 Chinese who have been recently detained, arrested or made to disappear; the list is based on various reports and is incomplete.

Read the entire article here.

If you wonder why there are so few reports in Western media about protests in China, CNN gives the reason:

Authorities have deployed heavy security along major thoroughfares, especially in Wangfujing, a busy shopping street in downtown Beijing that had been designated by the online group for protests.
China also has tightened rules on foreign reporters, explicitly warning them that they risk detention, suspension of press cards and expulsion if they show up at planned demonstrations.

The Chinese government wants to prevent this kind of media coverage:

No comments: