Beijing imposes a 2011 of repression and torture to stop Arab Spring "contagion"
Beijing (AsiaNews) - The terror caused by the Arab Spring in the Chinese leadership has made 2011 the worst year in over a last decade in terms of human rights. While the whole world condemned the arrest of the architect and activist Ai Weiwei, 3,832 other dissidents were jailed. Of these, 159 were tortured repeatedly resulting in long term disabilities. In addition, 86% of these arrests have no legal basis. This is just some of the data in the Annual Report on the state of human rights in China published by the Chinese Human Rights Defender, an organization that monitors the state of dissent in the country.
According to the group's international director Renee Xia, "the Jasmine repression " - the name given by Chinese activists to Beijing's reaction against any activity similar to that of Arab and Middle Eastern countries - has led to "the lowest level ever recorded in the freedom of expression, religion and speech in China. Such a fierce policy has not been seen since the Movement for the Defence of Rights launched in early 2000. "
The most alarming case is of the "forced disappearances" of dissidents and human rights activists. The Chinese government approved last August, a new amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure, which in fact allows the authorities to detain any citizen for an indefinite period in a hidden place: although it is an open violation of the Constitution, the amendment was implemented since the first days after approval. Changes are due to be made in the course of the ongoing National Congress, but the text is still hidden.
With this new tool, in 2011 the police took 2,795 dissidents into so-called "black jails", hidden prisons, without notifying family or lawyers of the accused, 163 were forced to house arrest, 25 were forcibly removed to another province than the one in which they live 7 were forcibly hospitalized in psychiatric hospitals. Over 89 dissidents are in real prisons, 72 were sentenced to criminal detention, in the prison's special units and 60 condemned to hard labour. Of all these cases, 86% has no legal basis, 6% has a basis, but uncertain.
Another alarming fact regards freedom of expression. Again afraid of the spread of Arab-type riots, mostly conducted over the Internet, Beijing imposed the registration of personal data on 260 million Internet users: the cancellation of online privacy, however, has not stopped the criticism of the regime on Weibo, the popular domestic micro blogging site. Yet, 30% of users were identified during the year and told to "stop spreading false and anti-state" information.
Although not present in the Report, religious freedom is one of the most affected in this 2011. 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 increased to impressive levels. The government fears the religious freedom that helps people to emerge from the regime's indoctrination, and has always tried to limit it by every means available.