Category Archives: Part 7: Is it related to you in the world?

Your letters make a difference

AI Australia

Zeng Jinyan has received the letters that many supporters from around the world have written to her.

She and her husband, Hu Jia, are peaceful human rights activists in Beijing. Their activism included being advocates for human rights in China, blogging and making documentaries.

Following months of intimidation, Hu Jia was detained in December 2007 on suspicion of’inciting subversion of state power’. Zeng Jinyan has been under tight police surveillance since her husband’s arrest.

She has recently written to Amnesty International to thank all those who have sent letters encouraging her to remain hopeful, and informing her that international efforts continue to demand the release of her husband. [continues…]

China: Hu Jia’s Fate a Test of Beijing’s Human Rights Stance

Beijing Should Release Hu Jia and Drop Charges of Subversion(New York, February 26, 2008) – The Chinese authorities should release leading human rights activist Hu Jia and drop charges of subversion against him, Human Rights Watch said today. The case of Hu Jia, who will as of February 27 have been detained for two months, has become emblematic of Beijing’s broad attempt to suppress dissent ahead of the Olympic Games.

“The longer Hu Jia is in detention, the worse China’s image will be,” said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “With fewer than six months to go before the Olympics, the Chinese government has everything to gain and nothing to lose by releasing him.”

A leading activist who has called for greater attention to human rights issues around the Olympics, Hu was formally arrested for “incitement to subvert state power” on January 30, 2008, but has not yet been formally indicted. He is currently detained at Beijing’s Municipal Detention Center.

Human Rights Watch is concerned that Hu is being prosecuted simply for exercising his rights to freedom of opinion and expression as guaranteed by the Chinese constitution and international human rights law. The crime of “incitement to subvert state power” as defined under Chinese law criminalizes criticism of the government and the Communist Party of China in violation of human rights law. [continues…]

China’s gold medal gamble


With less than 200 days to go until the Olympics, China is preparing to dazzle the world with the most glittering spectacle ever seen.

This is the biggest “coming out” party of all. Now Beijing anxiously waits to see if its giant sporting gamble will reap the geo-political laurels it seeks.

Fifteen years after its failure to win the 2000 Games, which went to Sydney largely because of concerns over China’s human rights record, the planet’s most populous nation has transformed itself, overtaking Britain to become the world’s fourth largest economy after the US, Japan and Germany.

China has embarked upon a buying spree to secure energy and resources on every continent, including Aus tralia, unrivalled in scope since the US became the world’s dominant power.

… After losing the bid for the 2000 Games in 1993, China reluctantly changed tack in its campaign for the 2008 Olympic Games and pledged that the Olympics would improve human rights in China.

Now, with less than six months to go before the Games, a slew of detentions have cast doubt on that claim.

Last week, the trial began of a land rights activist, Yang Chunlin, accused of staining China’s inter national image because he has opposed the Olympics. [continues…]

China – Annual report 2008 – Reporters without Borders

Reporters without Borders have published their China 2008 Annual Report

An icy blast blew on press freedom in China ahead of the 17th Communist Party Congress in Beijing in October. Journalists were forced to put out official propaganda, while cyber-censors stalked the Net. Despite the introduction of more favourable rules in January, nearly 180 foreign press correspondents were arrested or harassed in 2007.

Reporters Without Borders representatives met for the first time Chinese officials in Beijing at the start of the year, including the deputy information minister. The authorities said they were ready to reconsider the cases of journalists and Internet-users currently in prison, including Zhao Yan, who worked for the New York Times and was sentenced to three years in prison on the basis of false accusations. But they did not keep their promises. Zhao Yan was released in September having served his full sentence. And all the other promises came to nothing. At the end of the year, the authorities refused to grant visas to five representatives of Reporters Without Borders who wanted to travel to Beijing.

The assurance given by a Chinese official in 2001 that, “We will guarantee total press freedom”, when Beijing was lobbying for the 2008 Olympics, was never kept. It was a year of disillusionment in 2007. Many observers had expected more tolerance to be shown to the press along with greater freedom of expression, as the authorities had pledged. But the government and in particular the political police and the propaganda department did everything possible to prevent the liberal press, Internet-users and dissidents from expressing themselves. Foreign correspondents experienced great difficulties in working despite new rules giving them greater freedom of movement until October 2008. [continues…]

The Olympic prisoners

From Mail&Guardian

The Olympic Games have their anthem, their rings, their heroes and their sponsors. And now, with the Beijing 2008 Games, they have their prisoners.

The Chinese government is not just building fine stadiums, it is also arresting those who dare to condemn the countless human rights violations taking place in China. The political police are getting ready for the Olympics in their own way, bringing charges of subversion against those who remind people of the promises the government made in 2001 to improve respect for basic freedoms. And so it was that a few days before New Year’s Eve, 30 police officers arrested leading human rights activist Hu Jia at his Beijing home.[continues…]

Links of 02 02 2008

1) A letter written to by Amnesty International to the Peoples Republic of China – The Olympics countdown – one year left to fulfil human rights promises.

Introduction – rights in the balance

With just one year to go before the Olympics take place in Beijing, many in China and abroad are beginning to look ahead to assess the likely legacy of the Games for human rights in China. In this update, Amnesty International summarizes recent developments on four key human rights issues the organization is monitoring ahead of August 2008 and assesses how far these meet promises made by Chinese officials to improve human rights in the run-up to the Olympics.[continues…]

2) China arrests prominent dissident

By Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer. December 30, 2007

The Internet activist and his wife were already under house arrest for criticizing the government online. As the Olympics approach, such detentions are on the rise.[continues…]
3) An open letter was sent to Gordon Brown on the 20th January 2008. Here is the “link” to the site.