» 04/29/2010, 00.00
Pre-Expo “cleansing”, dissidents arrested, sent to camps
The People’s Republic of China has begun cleansing Shanghai of its dissidents and human rights activists in preparation of the official opening of the Shanghai World Expo, scheduled for 1 May. Some undesirables are arrested; others are sent to láojiào (re-education-through-labour) camps; those from neighbouring provinces are “invited” not to come for the Expo.
Shanghai (AsiaNews) – Like an old worn-out script, the Chinese government before any major event on its territory launches a campaign of arrests and expulsions directed at dissidents and human rights activists. This time the major event is the official opening of the Shanghai World Expo, next Saturday. The authorities have warned dissidents elsewhere in the country not to travel to the coastal city, where some 100 million visitors are expected.
In order to prepare the world fair, the authorities have seized buildings and land, removed “undesirables” who lost their job, and imposed new and tighter censorship rules on media. As usual, those in power are afraid that the presence of world leaders at the inauguration ceremony might give dissidents an opportunity to denounce the country’s many human rights violations.
Chinese Human Rights Defender has for example reported the arrest of Feng Zhenghu, a veteran Shanghai activist who for years has sought to draw attention to the failures of the Shanghai judicial system, and who had planned to set up a “Shanghai Expo of Unjust Court Cases” during the Expo.
Around midnight on 19 April, Shanghai police raided his home, confiscated his computer equipment and took him away for a four-hour interrogation. Police threatened that if he spoke out during the Expo they would “make him disappear like Gao Zhisheng,” a Christian human rights activist who disappeared last year only to reappear later after he was sentenced to prison.
At least six other activists have been sent to láojiào or re-education-through-labour (RTL) camps to keep them out of the way during the Shanghai Expo. Another four were arrested for the same reason. One of them is Tong Guojing who was sentenced to 18 months of RTL after he turned activist following the forcible demolition of his home.
Similarly, Chinese security officials “invited” activists in provinces bordering Shanghai to stay home; otherwise, they would be arrested.
Shanghai Expo, turnout lower than expected, long queues, more arrests
Hour long queues to see most important pavilions, widespread protests of visitors. But visitors are much lower than estimates, which now appear completely wrong. Meanwhile, continuing arrests and convictions of rights activists to prevent any protest in Shanghai.
Shanghai gets ready for Expo 2010 with more than 6,000 arrests
Police describes the crackdown as routine security sweep ahead of expo, which opens on 1 May. Experts wonder whether dissidents and pro-rights activists are among the detainees. Mega security measures are being put in place. Some pavilions are already open.
More forced labour camps without trial for human rights defenders in Beijing
Hua Chunhui and Wei Qiang were sentenced to ‘re-education through labour’ camps. In China, at least 40 activists are held illegally and another 18 have “disappeared”. In Hong Kong, someone spray-painted stencil drawings of detained mainland artist Ai Weiwei. For police, it is an offence that deserves an investigation.
Party divided over arresting all (or some) Charter 08 signers
Some in the Politburo would like to repress the entire democratic movement; Hu Jintao is thinking only of blocking the core group of original signers. Party elders have published an open letter asking for political reforms - in the style of Charter 08 - to stop corruption and abuse of power.
UN committee: Beijing should apologize to Tiananmen victims
The committee against torture calls upon China to ask forgiveness for the massacre of students, and to provide information on the people still in prison. It also expresses the hope for "full and impartial" investigations to clarify the affair and punish the guilty. The UN also calls for an end to torture.
Card. Tong’s article on China-Holy See dialogue, arouses joy and dismay
The Hong Kong bishop’s optimism over a change in the method of appointing bishops and the function of the Patriotic Association. But it is unclear whether it is real change or just nominal, in words. Underground bishops are patriotic and love their country, but the Party is suspicious of them. Freedom in episcopal appointments is “essential", but the bishops are not free to exercise their ministry. Patriotic bishops controlled in their visits with members of the universal Church. The "bugs" (hidden microphones) in a bishop’s office.
Card. Tong: The future of Sino-Vatican dialogue from an ecclesiological point of view
Card. John Tong
The Hong Kong Cardinal outlines the steps that hope to propel dialogue between China and the Holy See. Themes include the Pope's role in the appointment of bishops; A change of vision in the Patriotic Association; the possible integration of the underground bishops in the Episcopal Conference. A new article by card. John Tong, following a previous article published a few months ago on "Communion of the Church in China with the universal Church."
18/02/2017 CHINA - VATICAN
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.