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29th December
2007
  

PreOlympic Repression...

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China arrests human rights activist Hu Jia

Olympic handcuffs The recent arrest of leading human rights activist Hu Jia at his Beijing home is condemned with the utmost firmness by Reporters Without Borders. Hu is accused of subverting state authority, a charge often used by the Chinese government against dissidents. 

Reporters Without Borders added: Together with the Fondation de France, we had just awarded Hu and his wife, Zeng Jinyan, a special prize on 5 December for their courageous stance in defence of human rights in the approach to next year's Olympic Games in Beijing.

We express our solidarity with Hu and Zeng and their six-week-old daughter and we urge the European Union and the rest of the international community to rally to Hu's defence so that he does not become another victim of China's pre-Olympics repression.

Hu was at home with his wife, Zeng, who is also a blogger and activist when 20 policemen burst in, disconnected their Internet connection and phone lines to prevent them from telling the outside world, and arrested Hu.

According to Chinese Human Rights Defenders, police officers remained in the house after Hu had been taken away in order to prevent Zeng from telling anyone what had happened. They showed her a warrant for his arrest for subverting state authority . No one knows where he is now being held.

Both Hu and Zeng are human rights and environmental activists and bloggers. They had been under a form of house arrest in Beijing since 18 May. 

Hu participated in a European parliamentary hearing in Brussels on 26 November on the human rights situation in China. He said at one point during the hearing: It is ironic that one of the people in charge of organising the Olympic Games is the head of the Bureau of Public Security, which is responsible for so many human rights violations. It is very serious that the official promises are not being kept before the games.

 

3rd April
2008
  

Update: Marathon Sentence...

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Pre-Olympic round up of China's usual suspects

Olympic handcuffs After spending over four months in detention, Beijing-based blogger Hu Jia has now been sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for “state subversion,” which, according to his lawyer Li Fangping, is a decision that is likely to draw more international criticism of the country's political controls ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

Hu has ten days in which to file an appeal.

Reporters Without Borders previously said: Together with the Fondation de France, we had just awarded Hu and his wife, Zeng Jinyan, a special prize on 5 December for their courageous stance in defence of human rights in the approach to next year's Olympic Games in Beijing.

We express our solidarity with Hu and Zeng and their six-week-old daughter and we urge the European Union and the rest of the international community to rally to Hu's defence so that he does not become another victim of China's pre-Olympics repression.

Hu participated in a European parliamentary hearing in Brussels on 26 November on the human rights situation in China. He said at one point during the hearing: It is ironic that one of the people in charge of organising the Olympic Games is the head of the Bureau of Public Security, which is responsible for so many human rights violations. It is very serious that the official promises are not being kept before the games.

 

14th April
2008
  

Offsite: Marathon Sentence for Chinese Blogger...

Zeng Jinyan speaks out on Hu Jia's sentencing

Olympic handcuffs On the day after her husband's sentence to 3.5 years in prison for his blogging activities, house arrested blogger Zeng Jinyan wrote a letter explaining her side to their story....

...Read the full article

Zeng Jinyan asks for harassment to stop

Zeng Jinyan wrote last week on her Twitter account that the heavy surveillance she and her daughter are under has been stepped up in recent days and now includes regular physical harassment.

...Read the full article

 

20th April
2008
  

Update: No Appeal in China...

Hu Jia blocked from lodging an appeal

Olympic handcuffs The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns actions by officials of the Beijing Municipal Detention Centre in denying human rights activist Hu Jia his right to lodge an appeal against his jail sentence.

Hu was sentenced on April 3 to three-and-a-half years' jail and one year's denial of political rights for making comments to foreign media and publishing articles on Boxun, a banned Chinese-language website based in the United States, that were critical of China's record on democracy and human rights.

According to Section 180, Chapter 3, Part 3, of the Criminal Procedure of the Chinese Constitution, all defendants have the right to appeal.

Hu's lawyer, Li Fangping, has told the IFJ that he was not allowed to see Hu on April 13, which was the last possible day to lodge an appeal.

Li had planned to meet Hu to seek his approval to lodge an appeal, but an officer at the detention centre denied his request, saying that Hu was undertaking a physical examination, a requirement of his transfer from the detention centre to prison.

 

12th May
2008
  

Update: Olympic Sport of Dissident Arresting...

China already world champions

Olympic handcuffsA dissident Chinese writer in police custody faces trial for inciting subversion as part of an apparent government crackdown on dissents ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

Zhou Yuanzhi, a former tax official, and his wife were taken away by the National Security Bureau of Zhongxiang city.

Zhou is a freelance writer who has published two books in Hong Kong and more than 500 articles under several pen names in overseas Chinese-language magazines and Web sites. Many of his articles have been critiques on social issues and official corruption.

He lost his job in Zhongxiang city's taxation bureau in 1992 and was stripped of his Communist Party membership for contributing an article to Voice of America in defiance of a ban.

 

18th May
2008
  

Update: Repressive Epoch...

Chinese journalist imprisoned for 4 years

China flagQi Chonghuai, a journalist in China'
s Shandong province who had written critically about local officials, has been sentenced to four years in prison for fraud and extortion in a trial that lasted 12 hours, according to his wife and lawyers.

Access to the trial was limited, and reporters were not allowed to attend. According to Qi'
s wife, Jiao Xia, and his defense lawyers, Li Xiongbing and Li Chunfu. Qi denied the charges.

Qi said two police officers hit his head against the floor during a break in the trial, Li told CPJ by phone from Tengzhou after emerging from court. Qi reported being beaten while in prison in August 2007.

We condemn Qi Chonghuai'
s sentence and the brutal treatment he has received throughout his detention,
said CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Bob Dietz. This case, coming less than three months before the Olympics, illustrates the government'
s failure to institute the freedom of the press promised when the Games were awarded to China in 2001.


Qi and a friend, Ma Shiping, wrote a June 8, 2007, article accusing a low-level Tengzhou official of beating a local woman for arriving late to work. The article was published on the Web site of the U.S.-based Falun Gong-affiliated Epoch Times, according to a written report provided to CPJ by Li. Qi and Ma also posted photographs of a luxurious Tengzhou government building on the anti-corruption Web forum of the government-run Xinhua News Agency on June 14. Officials questioned Qi about the article and the photographs before his arrest on June 25, according to Li.

 

22nd May
2008
  

Update: China Quaking over Criticism...

So the critic is arrested

Olympic handcuffsChinese police have detained a political dissident because of remarks he made about the government's handling of the Sichuan earthquake, according to his family and supporters.

Guo Quan, the founder of the China Democracy party, was seized outside his home by seven or eight police officers four days ago. They searched his house and confiscated his computer.

The following day, police officers told his wife Li Jing. that her husband was being detained for at least 10 days because of false information he posted online.

It was unclear which comments upset the authorities. Guo has written a string of critical articles on the communist one-party political system. He was stripped of his professorial post at Nanjing university last year.

In the past week, he is said to have raised questions about the emergency services' response to the quake and the safety of nuclear facilities in Sichuan. Fellow members of his small party believe his detention is connected to last week's disaster.

Guo Quan is a co-founder of China'
s Netizen Party and litigant in a recent lawsuit against Yahoo!

 

24th October
2008
  

Update: Prize Whinge...

China whinges at human rights award for jailed dissident

Hu Jia Beijing has furiously denounced the award of a major European Union human rights prize to a "criminal" Chinese dissident as a major Europe-Asia summit on the financial crisis begins in China.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has denounced the European Parliament for giving the prestigious Sakharov Prize to Hu Jia, an imprisoned human rights activist.

We express strong dissatisfaction at the decision to issue such an award to a jailed criminal in China, in disregard of our repeated representations, said a foreign ministry spokesman: This is gross interference in China's domestic affairs.

Hu received a three and half year jail sentence last April for subversion , becoming China's best-known human rights campaigner for his work highlighting government abuses, environmental degradation and the plight of China's HIV-Aids sufferers.

Hans-Gert Poettering, the president of the European Parliament, made it clear on Thursday that the prize sent out a signal of clear support to all those who defend human rights in China. Hu Jia is one of the real defenders of human rights, he said.

 

18th November
2008
  

Update: Too Radical...

Chinese blogger Guo Quan arrested

China flag Reporters Without Borders condemns the arrest of blogger Guo Quan, for posting blog entries deemed to be too radical . He is currently being held in a Nanjing police station on a charge of inciting subversion of state authority.

What the authorities regard as ‘too radical' is open letters to the government calling for democratic change, Reporters Without Borders said. Guo's arrest is further evidence, if any were needed, that the Chinese dictatorship systematically punishes those who express views different from the Party's. We unfortunately fear that Guo could be jailed for a long time, like the 49 other cyber-dissidents currently held in China.

Guo had been under house arrest since February after calling for the creation of a Chinese Netizen Party to combat online censorship. He also announced on 4 February that he intended to sue the US company Google for ensuring - at the Chinese government's request after he created the Chinese New People's Party - that searches for his name on its Chinese-language search engine (http://www.google.cn) yielded no results.

Guo has been posting open letters on his blog calling for pro-democracy reforms ever since he was fired from his post as philosophy professor at Nanjing university.

 

30th November
2009
  

Update: Earthquake Victim...

Chinese webmaster imprisoned for action against authorities after earthquake disaster

China flag Huang Qi, founder of Tianwang Center for Missing Persons (later renamed as Tianwang Human Rights Center), was sentenced to three year imprisonment on November 23 in Chengdu Wuhou district court for illegal possession of state secrets in connection with material published on his website.

According to BBC's report, Huang's wife Zeng Li, said the verdict was revenge for his involvement in the earthquake cases as the information he possessed is available to the public. And Amnesty International said Huang was a victim of China's vague state secrets laws and urged for his immediate release.

The Tianwang website was initially set up to help counter human trafficking problem in China in 1998, but later it was expanded to include campaign against human rights abuse. After the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, Huang helped the parents who lost their children because of the bean dreg construction problem and gave advice to the families of five dead children who wanted to bring a legal case against the local authorities following the earthquake. Huang was taken by the police in Chengdu in June 2008 and has been held in custody ever since.

 

13th May
2011
  

Diary: Dangerous Art...

Ai Weiwei exhibition at Somerset House

ai wei wei exhibit Circle of Animals
Somerset House, Londonuntil June 26.
Exhibition at the Lisson Gallery, London until July 16.

Ai Weiwei's bronze Circle of Animals in the courtyard of Somerset House make a surreal spectacle, but the subtle irony of the work is what makes it so appealing.

After the enormous acclaim he received for his show of a hundred million porcelain sunflower seeds at Tate Modern earlier this year, Ai Weiwei should have been in London this week for the opening of two major displays of his work. But last month the artist, writer, political activist and provocateur was detained by the authorities in Beijing, and has not been seen or heard from since. The international outcry grows louder by the day.

Ai Weiwei often uses art and the internet to expose the repression and corruption in the country of his birth. But just as often his work looks at Chinese history and culture without overtly engaging in political confrontation.

His first public sculpture to be shown in London will be displayed in the courtyard of Somerset House. In a semi-circle behind the fountains at Somerset House he's arranged 12 oversized bronze heads of animals, each about 4ft high and weighing about 800lb, and each representing a sign of the Chinese zodiac - rat, tiger, rabbit goat, pig and so on.

 

6th September
2011
  

Update: Ripper...

China rips out Ai Weiwei article from Newsweek

newsweek chinaCensors in China have attempted to purge an essay written by prominent artist and dissident Ai Weiwei by manually tearing the pages of the article from a weekly news magazine.

The essay, which appears in the September 5 issue of Newsweek, urges Chinese citizens to speak out against what he says is the government's denial of basic rights. He also blasts the Chinese judicial system as being untrustworthy.

However, the article was still accessible online to English speakers.

Ai was understood to be barred from speaking to media or leaving Beijing after being released from jail in June. The internationally renowned artist was detained for almost three months after being charged with tax evasion.

 

29th December
2011
  

Update: Spring Phobia...

Extreme jail sentence for dissident calling for a Chinese Spring

China flag A Chinese court has sentenced a veteran democracy activist to nine years' imprisonment for inciting subversion.

Chen Wei was convicted of incitement to subversion over four essays he wrote and published online, according to one of his lawyers. He was detained in February amid an extensive government crackdown in response to anonymous online calls urging Chinese to imitate protests in North Africa and the Middle East.

Attorney Liang Xiaojun said: We pleaded not guilty. He only wrote a few essays. We presented a full defence of the case, but we were interrupted often, and none of what we said was accepted by the court.

Chen's wife Wang Xiaoyan denounced the punishment: He is innocent and the punishment was too harsh. The court did not allow him to defend himself and he was completely deprived of his right to free speech . What's wrong with a person freely expressing his ideas?

The sentence handed down to Chen appears to be the heaviest penalty meted out in relation to this year's crackdown, said Wang Songlian, a researcher with the Hong Kong-based advocacy group, Chinese Human Rights Defenders.

This severe punishment against an activist, caught up in the Jasmine crackdown, shows how the Chinese government's nerves are still jittery. All its latest moves, its attempts to control its microblogs, its crackdown on activists, show it is increasing tightening on freedom of expression and other civil liberties.