10/07/2009, 00.00
CHINA
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After 60 years in power, Communist regime still fears protesters

Ahead of 1 October celebrations, Chinese authorities arrested anyone who wanted to protest, whether in favour of human rights or against murders. For experts, suppressing all forms of dissent is a sign the regime is incapable of understanding and leading the population.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The lavish celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China covered up a long series of recurrent abuses that included arbitrary arrests as well as threats and violent actions against human rights and pro-democracy activists. As powerful as mainland China might appear to be, it is still very much afraid of such people to the extent that it is prepared to violate every one of their rights to silence them, at least for a while.

Liu Chunbao from Yingkou City (Liaoning Province) is one of them. On 12 September, he was stopped en route to Beijing to submit a petition, beaten and forcibly sent home. He is currently held at a retirement home in Yingkou, under the watchful eye of eight guards.

Bi Caizhen from Xiaoyi (Shanxi) was also seized after she travelled to Beijing on 23 September to complain about corruption at Shaanxi's Liuwan Coal Mine and the murder of her husband, which she believes was carried out by thugs hired by management at the mine.  She too was forcibly sent home where she is under close surveillance. According to the Chinese Human Rights Defenders organisation, friends and family have been unable to contact her.

Last Sunday night, Zhu Yingdi, who came to Beijing from Hangzhou to submit a petition, was seized by police. She was not formally charged but held at a guesthouse near Yongdingmen in the capital and prevented from contacting anyone. After that, she was forcibly brought back to Hangzhou and is now being held at a house in neighbouring Anji County.

According to Zhu's husband, Mr Dai, the couple's home in Hangzhou had been guarded around the clock by five men since 15 September; however, she managed to escape on the night of 1 October in order to present a petition against the forced demolition of their home many years ago, and to complain about local officials’ repeated threats against her to keep quiet.

Things were slightly better for Shaanxi Ma Xiaoming, whom police took on “tourist” tour of Shaanxi, Guangdong and Fujian, from 7 September until 5 October in order to prevent him from having any contact with foreign or Hong Kong journalists.

For many analysts, a country’s strength is not only measured by its military might or its technological prowess, but by its capacity to unite the population around a common goal. Beijing prefers instead to prevent people from protesting, even if it is against murder.

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See also
Cardinal Zen calls on China to release imprisoned bishops on its 60th anniversary
24/09/2009
Well-known lawyer and activist Xu Zhiyong in prison for “tax evasion”
19/08/2009
Chinese military to show off might at PRC’s 60th anniversary
24/09/2009
Tighter police controls imposed as protests increase
08/09/2009
60 years of the People’s Republic of China: the Party against the people
28/09/2009


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