China´s communist government continues its shameful crackdown on human rights in 2012:
The Chinese government recently sentenced three prominent activists to lengthy prison sentences, confirming that human rights standards in the country continue to fall in 2012. This week Li Tie, a longtime human rights defender and writer, was sentenced to ten years after the court denied him his own lawyer, instead insisting he use a government-appointed one.
These three court decisions have fallen under the “subversion of state power” umbrella, enabling the authorities to hand down lengthy sentences.
The UN released a statement denouncing the recent crackdown: “We are very disturbed by this trend of severe suppression of dissent in the country, which appears to be designed to intimidate.” U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke corroborated this sentiment in an interview earlier this week, stating, “The human rights climate has always ebbed and flowed in China, up and down, but we seem to be in a down period and it’s getting worse.”
Yu Jie, who was able to flee China, has described how he was treated by Chinese security officers after publishing a critical book:
When Yu Jie wrote a book in 2010 slamming Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabo as a cynical actor at the head of a heartless Communist party, it was unknown how Beijing's authoritarian government might react.
Yu revealed the answer publicly this week: Chinese security officers dragged him from his home in December 2010 with a black hood on his head and then beat him until he convulsed with seizures.
The plainclothes men pummeled him in the head and face, Yu said in a statement released this week. They also kicked him in the chest, and a state security officer told Yu they could bury him alive and that no one would ever find out.
Chinese security continued to harass him off and on for more than a year after the beating, until earlier this month, when he fled China. He surfaced in Washington on Wednesday, where he gave a news conference and distributed his account.
U.S. ambassador Gary Locke must be congratulated for speaking out against China´s human rights violations. Western governments - including the Obama administration - have been much too passive in their criticism - mainly because they do not want to endanger their perceived economic interests in China. This opportunistic silence is, however, a very shortsighted policy, which in the long run does not benefit western economic or political interests in China.