Legal action against those who put human rights before the Olympics
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The trial began today against Yang Chunlin, who is accused of "inciting subversion of state power" for having promoted a petition that says that human rights are more important than the Olympics. Meanwhile, China is using increasingly harsh tones in the controversy over Darfur.
Yang, an unemployed laborer from Jiamusi (Heilongjiang), has been jailed since July because, in helping some rural dwellers draft petitions over their confiscated land, he wrote: "We don't want the Olympics, we want human rights". Moreover, he posted writings critical of the communist party on the internet. His lawyer, Li Fangping, says that Yang has the right to criticise public authorities. But two other persons, Yu Chanqwu and Wang Guilin, who have also supported the requests of the rural population, have been condemned to 18 months of detention in the camps of "re-education through labour".
The judge has arranged for the trial to take place behind closed doors, because it concerns "state secrets" - even Yang's sister, Yang Chunping, was unable to enter. She complains of not being able even to visit her brother in jail.
Meanwhile, Beijing continues to accuse of bad faith those who criticise its policy on Darfur, after Steven Spielberg broke off his collaboration with the organisers of the games, because of China's insufficient intervention to halt the massacre taking place there.
Liu Naiya, of the Institute of West Asian and African Studies, maintains that the "so-called human rights organisations" are, in reality, supported by Western governments and companies, and want only to "[damage] China's image because they do not wish to see China gaining a bigger say in international affairs or a better international reputation". Liu says they are "only waving the banner of human rights to express their discontent with China's growing relationship with Africa". The China Youth Daily says that Spielberg "completely lives in his sci-fi world and cannot distinguish dreams from reality".