Human Rights in China

Chinese round up the usual suspects

18th November

Update: Too Radical...

Chinese blogger Guo Quan arrested

Reporters Without Borders condemns the arrest of blogger Guo Quan, for posting blog entries deemed to be too radical . He is currently being held in a Nanjing police station on a charge of inciting subversion of state authority.

What the authorities regard as ‘too radical' is open letters to the government calling for democratic change, Reporters Without Borders said. Guo's arrest is further evidence, if any were needed, that the Chinese dictatorship systematically punishes those who express views different from the Party's. We unfortunately fear that Guo could be jailed for a long time, like the 49 other cyber-dissidents currently held in China.

Guo had been under house arrest since February after calling for the creation of a Chinese Netizen Party to combat online censorship. He also announced on 4 February that he intended to sue the US company Google for ensuring - at the Chinese government's request after he created the Chinese New People's Party - that searches for his name on its Chinese-language search engine ( yielded no results.

Guo has been posting open letters on his blog calling for pro-democracy reforms ever since he was fired from his post as philosophy professor at Nanjing university.


30th November

Update: Earthquake Victim...

Chinese webmaster imprisoned for action against authorities after earthquake disaster

Huang Qi, founder of Tianwang Center for Missing Persons (later renamed as Tianwang Human Rights Center), was sentenced to three year imprisonment on November 23 in Chengdu Wuhou district court for illegal possession of state secrets in connection with material published on his website.

According to BBC's report, Huang's wife Zeng Li, said the verdict was revenge for his involvement in the earthquake cases as the information he possessed is available to the public. And Amnesty International said Huang was a victim of China's vague state secrets laws and urged for his immediate release.

The Tianwang website was initially set up to help counter human trafficking problem in China in 1998, but later it was expanded to include campaign against human rights abuse. After the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, Huang helped the parents who lost their children because of the bean dreg construction problem and gave advice to the families of five dead children who wanted to bring a legal case against the local authorities following the earthquake. Huang was taken by the police in Chengdu in June 2008 and has been held in custody ever since.


6th September

Update: Ripper...

China rips out Ai Weiwei article from Newsweek

Censors in China have attempted to purge an essay written by prominent artist and dissident Ai Weiwei by manually tearing the pages of the article from a weekly news magazine.

The essay, which appears in the September 5 issue of Newsweek, urges Chinese citizens to speak out against what he says is the government's denial of basic rights. He also blasts the Chinese judicial system as being untrustworthy.

However, the article was still accessible online to English speakers.

Ai was understood to be barred from speaking to media or leaving Beijing after being released from jail in June. The internationally renowned artist was detained for almost three months after being charged with tax evasion.


29th December

Update: Spring Phobia...

Extreme jail sentence for dissident calling for a Chinese Spring

A Chinese court has sentenced a veteran democracy activist to nine years' imprisonment for inciting subversion.

Chen Wei was convicted of incitement to subversion over four essays he wrote and published online, according to one of his lawyers. He was detained in February amid an extensive government crackdown in response to anonymous online calls urging Chinese to imitate protests in North Africa and the Middle East.

Attorney Liang Xiaojun said: We pleaded not guilty. He only wrote a few essays. We presented a full defence of the case, but we were interrupted often, and none of what we said was accepted by the court.

Chen's wife Wang Xiaoyan denounced the punishment: He is innocent and the punishment was too harsh. The court did not allow him to defend himself and he was completely deprived of his right to free speech . What's wrong with a person freely expressing his ideas?

The sentence handed down to Chen appears to be the heaviest penalty meted out in relation to this year's crackdown, said Wang Songlian, a researcher with the Hong Kong-based advocacy group, Chinese Human Rights Defenders.

This severe punishment against an activist, caught up in the Jasmine crackdown, shows how the Chinese government's nerves are still jittery. All its latest moves, its attempts to control its microblogs, its crackdown on activists, show it is increasing tightening on freedom of expression and other civil liberties.


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