04/05/2012, 00.00
CHINA
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Regime “shuts down” Weiwei’s webcam

The saga of the dissident, 81 days under house arrest. Beijing imposes a blackout on cameras installed at home against repression. China continues to smother freedom of thought and religious freedom: still no news of two Catholic bishops and six priests arrested without charge and disappeared into thin air.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The Chinese government has ordered Ai Weiwei - architect, artist and dissident of international fame - to shut down the 4 webcams that he had installed in the house to protest against the repression and control that the regime has imposed on him during more than 80 days of house arrest. According to authorities, Ai was found guilty of tax evasion: the sentence of imprisonment was suspended in exchange for payment of huge fines and house arrest. However, many believe the real reason behind these accusations is the artist's commitment in the field of human rights.

Speaking to the BBC, Ai claims not to know the reason for the ban: "I do not even know why I have been kept hidden for these 81 days. It is never possible to have a clear and rational discussion." According to the dissident, the design of the camera "is a negotiation, a comparison between private, public nature of the security and state power." In addition, the cameras reassured "family, friends and even authorities. Who can see all my movements."

The case of Ai Weiwei has attracted international attention and has turned the spotlight on the human rights situation in the country. However, in addition to the artist, in 2011, 3,832 other dissidents were jailed. Of these, 159 were repeatedly tortured resulting in permanent physical damage. In addition, 86% of these arrests has no legal basis. Among those arrested without grounds are two Catholic bishops - Mgr. James Su Zhimin, 80, who has spent 40 years in prison and Msgr. Cosmas Shi Enxiang, 90, of which 51 in prison, - and 6 other priests.

The self-immolations in Tibet, the crackdown against Protestant house churches, the illegitimate ordinations of Catholic bishops and the harassment of priests, the military presence in Muslim Xinjiang have all grown to impressive levels. The government fears the religious freedom that allows people to escape from the regime's indoctrination, and has always tried to limit with every available means.

 

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