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    » 05/16/2008, 00.00

    CHINA

    China, earthquake isn't halting arrests and controls



    The monthly report of the Chinese Human Rights Defenders emphasises the violations and abuses against troublesome journalists, dissidents, and ordinary faithful during the month of May, while the country is mourning the victims of the quake in Sichuan. For the Olympics, the government is paying attention only to social stability. Tibet is still in the grip of repression: anti-Chinese demonstrators are dying from torture in prison.

    Beijing (AsiaNews) - While the death toll continues to rise from the disastrous earthquake in Sichuan, the Chinese government is not stopping its campaign of repression against troublesome journalists, dissidents, and ordinary faithful.  A few months from the beginning of the Olympics, in fact, Beijing wants to guarantee the greatest "social stability" possible, and to do this, it is using summary arrests, arbitrary detentions, and threats against the population. 

    This is the claim of the monthly report of Chinese Human Rights Defenders, which says that the corruption of local officials and the rising levels of pollution are among the main causes of popular dissatisfaction.  But outweighing all of this are the upcoming Olympics, which have increased the risks for those who denounce the government's wrongdoing.

    Pollution, the text states, continues to prompt spontaneous demonstrations all over the country.  On May 4, the police in the eastern province of Zhejiang severely beat seven demonstrators who were trying to shut down a highly polluting factory, and four activists were arrested for having "incited" a protest against industrial waste. 

    In the meantime, while the number of victims of the earthquake in Sichuan continues to rise, the local population accuses the government over the poor quality of the materials used to construct buildings that collapsed.  The day after the quake, on May 13, the authorities of Shandong sentenced a well-known anti-corruption journalist to four years in prison. He had exposed the deception of officials in awarding public contracts.

    The same fate was reserved for the well-known writer and activist Zhou Yuanzhi, arrested on May 3 for "endangering state security" and "communicating state secrets abroad".  In reality, Zhou was punished for his articles, which denounced the violations of human rights committed in the central province of Hubei.

    The situation in Tibet also remains tense.  According to local sources, some of the anti-Chinese demonstrators arrested after the clashes in March have died in prison after being tortured.  Moreover, the families of those arrested have been forced to pay enormous sums of money to bail out their loved ones.  Outside the temple of Ramoche in Lhasa (one of the most important in the region), plainclothes police officers are permanently stationed to monitor those who enter and leave. 

    The aspect of the Olympics is not lacking from all of this.  On May 6, the police in Beijing arrested the well-known activist Wang Guilian, "guilty" of presenting a petition of protest to the central government.  His detention, according to some sources, will be prolonged until the end of the games.  Together with him, hundreds of other citizens have sought in vain to make their voices heard against the appropriation of land and abuses on the part of the local governments.

    Finally, there is no lack of religious persecution.  On May 11, the Beijing police forcibly entered the Christian church of Shouwang, and interrupted the service being held inside.  The participants were forced to show their documents and were registered by the police.

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    See also

    08/02/2008 CHINA
    Olympics: homes forcibly destroyed, prison for those who request compensation
    About 1.5 million people have been driven out of their homes for the sake of preparation for the Olympics, and many have not received another house or any compensation. A few ordinary stories of those who are in prison for having requested reimbursement, or who have been beaten to death for protesting.

    02/05/2008 HONG KONG-CHINA-TIBET-SUDAN
    Three billion dollars a year from China for the genocide in Darfur
    Tomorrow, two envoys from the Dalai Lama in Beijing to begin the scheduled talks. In Hong Kong, actress Mia Farrow asks Beijing to "use its great influence" to stop the massacre in Darfur. Meanwhile, the torch passes through Hong Kong without serious problems.

    19/06/2008 CHINA - TIBET
    Amnesty: more than a thousand Tibetans in prison without proof
    In a long report, the group asks China to take advantage of the passage of the Olympic torch through Lhasa to shed light on the repression in March. Demonstrators in prison without any accusation, subjected to violence and privation.

    06/05/2008 CHINA - JAPAN
    President Hu is in Tokyo, another step in a long journey
    It is the first visit of a Chinese president in 10 years, and Hu's first trip abroad since the repression in Tibet. In five days, there is a packed agenda of meetings and issues: trade, military spending, cooperation, international security, contested gas reserves, food safety, but also human rights and Tibet.

    25/04/2008 INDIA - TIBET - CHINA
    The Panchen Lama turns 19; 13 years spent as prisoner of Beijing
    He was abducted in 1995, when he was 6 years old, and since then there has been no news of him. The requests of the UN are futile. Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama offers to help "calm" the situation in Tibet, but China "gives no concrete answer".



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