Hong Kongers Have Had Enough of Beijing’s Deception

6 September, 2014 at 09:29 | Posted in China, human rights, Society | Leave a comment
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By Li Zhen
Epoch Times

HONG KONG—For decades Hong Kong democrats have dreamed of universal suffrage. On Aug. 31, the Chinese communist regime officially shut the door on this possibility for the next election, infuriating Hong Kongers and moving them to action.

Since Britain agreed to return Hong Kong to China in 1984, democracy supporters in the city-state have hoped to someday elect their chief executive and Legislative Council members by true universal suffrage without control by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The CCP has repeatedly postponed its promise of true universal suffrage. Their most recent decision is that Hong Kong can have universal suffrage as long as a Beijing-controlled nominating committee selects the chief executive candidates and Beijing gets the final say in the election.

As a result, many Hong Kongers feel that they have been deceived for 30 years.

One Lie Too Many

Alex Chow Yong-kang, Secretary General of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, broke into tears during a rally on the evening of Aug. 31.

“We were all saddened at how much the efforts of young men have been wasted for the past 30 years, going around in circles on the issue of democratic development,” Chow said. “After this battle, the majority who support democracy, including the moderates, have been pushed into a dead end by the CCP.”

“Who would still hold out hope of negotiating with the Communist Party? Who would still believe in the lie of ‘one country, two systems’ and the high degree of autonomy?”

Chow was referring to the CCP’s promise in 1984 that Hong Kong would have a high degree of independence from mainland China, with the principle of “one country, two systems.”

Chow told Epoch Times that in the future Hong Kongers will fight for their autonomy, including launching student strikes, instead of trusting the CCP.

Nearly 800 thousand Hong Kong people voted for democracy in June during an informal civil referendum held by Occupy Central with Love and Peace, a nonviolent movement for universal suffrage. With their hopes of democracy dashed, Hong Kong citizens are rallying together to oppose the CCP.

“This is not the darkest day in Hong Kong, but the beginning day of Hong Kongers’ awakening,” said Occupy Central co-organizer Chan Kin-man.

Chan has participated in politics for years as a moderate scholar, attempting to negotiate with the CCP to carry forward Hong Kong’s democratic development. He supported Hong Kong’s political reforms in 2005 and 2010.

Now Chan is deeply upset with the decision by the CCP’s National People’s Congress (NPC) to deny true universal suffrage. He said the decision shows that the CCP would never grant any real power to Hong Kong.

Chan said that in the early 1980s some students from the University of Hong Kong were concerned with Hong Kong’s future after the handover, so they demanded democracy.

“[Former Chinese premier] Zhao Ziyang wrote a letter to the students and promised there would be universal suffrage in Hong Kong’s future. But to this day, you can tell that the universal suffrage is in fact a fully manipulated election,” Chan said.

After the handover in 1997, Hong Kongers continued to put their hopes in Beijing for universal suffrage. Chan said that they knew it wouldn’t be granted in the first ten years after the handover, so they pinned their hopes on 2007. In 2004, however, the NPC vetoed the plan of universal suffrage for 2007.

Later the hope was to achieve universal suffrage in 2012, but the CCP delayed it again. Chan said that the moderates and the democrats, including the Democratic Party, all feel like they have been deceived.

“When we accepted the time frame, we thought 2017 was the finishing point. But now 2017 is just a starting point, and democratic development is to be carried forward slowly, step by step [according to the CCP],” Chan said.

However, Chan sees hope in the darkness.

“We are willing to protect our way of life with the power of the people, which is a gratifying thing,” he said. “We hope that society will not develop a pessimistic mood just because the political reform has encountered a dead end. I hope we all stay in this place to protect our homeland, making this the beginning of a new chapter.”

Double Deception

Cheng Yu-shek, convener of the Alliance for True Democracy, thinks the CCP has deceived Hong Kong in two major aspects in the past 30 years. The first is the promise of a high degree of autonomy.

“Now some Beijing officials have said Beijing must take control over Hong Kong. This is a dramatic change,” Cheng said.

The second deception is the promise to achieve democracy in Hong Kong step by step. The NPC’s recent decision is a regression, Cheng said.

“How is ‘step-by-step’ reflected in this? They often say that Hong Kong will have democracy when conditions are ripe, but how to tell when the conditions are ripe?” Cheng said. “Therefore, we can see clearly that the Party will hold on to the power over Hong Kong, and it will certainly not allow genuine democracy in Hong Kong.”

Cheng places his hope in long-term and persistent fighting, and never giving up.

“We shall safeguard our core values, lifestyle, and dignity,” he said. “We refuse to let Hong Kong become another mainland city.”

Taiwan political critic Lin Baohua held a press conference in Taiwan echoing Hong Kong’s democratic campaign. He said the NPC’s decision has shown that the CCP no longer needs to make Hong Kong an example of “one country two systems” to show to Taiwan.

Lin said the CCP is deceptive by nature, putting on a show for the public and letting them have fantasies. Before the NPC meeting, both Beijing officials and Hong Kong CCP supporter Lau Siu-kai said that NPC’s decision wasn’t final, and there was still room for discussion.

“However, this [political reform] draft was a step backward,” Lin said.

According to Lin, the previous rule “allows one to become a chief executive candidate with just one-eighth of all nominating committee votes, but now at least a 50 percent nomination is required.”

‘CCP Must Be Overthrown’

Lin added that only by disintegrating the CCP will Hong Kong have democracy.

“The CCP must be overthrown,” he said. “The CCP itself is opposing democracy, and it’s impossible to let Hong Kong develop democracy.”

“If it did, Guangzhou, Beijing, and Shanghai would all want democracy, and then what? So it’s impossible to grant democracy to HK,” Lin said.

Senior political commentator Lin Yuet-tsang wrote in his column in the Hong Kong Economic Journal that political circumstances have entered a sharp downturn. He said the CCP has shown its true nature, shocking many moderates, centrists, and those who are not usually concerned with political affairs.

Lin Yuet-tsang said he never believed Hong Kong could obtain democracy from the CCP’s hands. He added that he has been fighting for three decades, and it is important to spread democratic awareness.

Epoch Times columnist Xia Xiaoqiang said Hong Kong’s democratic system has demonstrated the universal values of freedom and human rights to the mainland Chinese people. This is what the CCP fears, Xia said.

Translated by Michelle Tsun. Written in English by Sally Appert.

via Hong Kongers Have Had Enough of Beijing’s Deception


Abuse Leaves Chinese Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Barely Able to Speak, Wife Says

18 August, 2014 at 11:20 | Posted in China, Gao Zhisheng, human rights, persecution, Society | Leave a comment
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Abuse Leaves Chinese Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Barely Able to Speak, Wife Says: photo 2

By Matthew Robertson
Epoch Times

Once dubbed the “conscience of China,” Gao Zhisheng spoke out powerfully for the persecuted and dispossessed. Now, after five years of abuse, the voice that challenged injustice is, for the moment at least, almost silenced.

Since Gao, a celebrated Chinese human rights lawyer, was released from custody last week, news about his condition has trickled out through his wife, Geng He, who lives in California with their two children.

Geng He has only been able to have a few brief conversations with her husband, but she has spoken extensively to her sister, who is with Gao in Urumqi. Chinese security officials live in their home and monitor them, while others are stationed outside.

Geng He described her conversations with Gao both on Twitter and in discussions with a family friend, Sherry Zhang, who visits and spends time with the family in the Bay Area, where they live. Geng He has declined interviews with the media, but publishes updates about Gao’s condition on Twitter.

A note from Aug. 12 is chilling in its depiction of Gao’s degraded faculties: “When I was speaking with Gao the phone cut off, so I called him back and asked: ‘What were we talking about?’ Gao said: ‘I don’t know.’ I asked: ‘How did the call get cut off?’ Gao said: ‘I don’t know.’ I said: ‘Look, do you understand what I’m saying or not? Can you not hear, or do you not understand?’”

At that point the phone passed to Geng He’s sister, who said: “He’s been locked in a dark cell by himself for five years, fed a steamed bun and a bowl of cabbage every day. You have to patiently help him learn to speak again,” according to Geng He’s account on Twitter.

Tianyu, Gao Zhisheng’s young son, was disappointed and confused after attempting to speak with his father on the telephone. He had been practicing Chinese in order to speak with his dad, but after getting off the phone simply said: “Dad can’t speak Chinese!” according to Sherry Zhang, who visited the family.

“He can barely talk—and only in very short sentences—most of the time he is unintelligible,” Zhang said in an email viewed by the Epoch Times. “Gao’s son was incredibly excited to speak to him on the phone, and was completely shocked that he barely understood his father, that his voice was monotone, and that he was only giving 2 or 3 word answers to questions and wasn’t initiating any of the discussion,” the email continued.

“Gao has been utterly destroyed,” said a recent statement from Freedom Now, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., which has followed Gao’s case for several years. “Guards were strictly instructed not to speak with him. He was not allowed any reading materials, television, or access to anyone or anything. … He has lost many teeth from malnutrition. It is believed he was also repeatedly physically tortured.”

Jared Genser, president of Freedom Now and a pro bono attorney for the Gao family, said in a telephone interview, “We hope the U.S. impresses on China the need to allow him to leave for medical treatment in the U.S. Without that help and support, Gao’s future physical and mental health is very much in question.”

Genser continued: “The only thing worse than Gao being killed was for him to be horrifically mentally and physically tortured. He’s a shell of his former self, and it’s devastating for Geng He and her family. She just wants to take care of him, and that’s what we’re hoping will happen. But the Chinese government doesn’t make anything easy there.”

Additional reporting by Ma Youzhi

via Abuse Leaves Chinese Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Barely Able to Speak, Wife Says

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Chinese Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Freed From Prison, but Not Yet Free

9 August, 2014 at 09:07 | Posted in China, Falun Dafa/Falun Gong, Gao Zhisheng, human rights, persecution, Society | Leave a comment
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By Matthew Robertson
Epoch Times

After close to five and a half years in detention, some of it in mountain torture chambers, anonymous apartment buildings cut off from his family, and most recently in a remote prison, one of China’s most prominent human rights lawyers, Gao Zhisheng, has been released.

The news trickled out on Twitter soon after his brother, Gao Zhiyi, collected him from the Shaya Prison in Xinjiang Province on Aug. 7. Both the men appear to be accompanied by security agents who continue to surveil and limit their movements.

When a reporter with Voice of America attempted to speak to Gao Zhisheng on the phone, he only had the chance to say a few words before his sister said “someone’s coming,” and quickly took the telephone away from him.

After years of mistreatment in prison, Gao Zhisheng’s lower teeth are loose and his upper teeth hurt to eat food, his family said. Gao Zhiyi will first accompany his brother to a dentist to repair the teeth.

Gao’s wife and two children live in California and have not seen their husband and father since they hastily fled China in January 2009.

“I spoke to my husband for the first time in four years. While the conversation was brief, I could tell that he wasn’t the same. I am deeply concerned that he has been seriously tortured in custody,” said Geng He, his wife, according to Freedom Now, a human rights advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. She held a press conference for local media in the Bay Area, California, in the morning and took interviews throughout the afternoon.

Veneer of Due Process

Gao is being released after completing a three-year prison term that was widely seen to be imposed arbitrarily.

The sentence was the authorities’ first attempt to add a veneer of due process to its punishment of Gao, which they had carried out in secret and with extreme brutality since 2006, following advocacy on what the Chinese regime has regarded as the most sensitive issue.

In 2004, Gao began representing Falun Gong practitioners, and then in 2004 and 2005 he published three open letters to the Communist Party’s leadership demanding an end to the persecution of Falun Gong. In late 2005 Gao published an open letter withdrawing from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The prison sentence was widely seen as no more than a continuation of the same, long-running violent farce. It earned this reputation because it was couched as a punishment for the crime he had originally been charged with in 2006, “inciting subversion of state power.”

He was originally given a three-year prison sentence that was suspended for two years, meaning he did not actually go to prison in 2006. Even though he was not held in prison, from 2006 onwards he was primarily in the captivity of the authorities. When the time for the suspension of the sentence was set to expire in 2011, security authorities hastily threw him in jail, claiming Gao had violated the terms of his parole.

In his periods in and out of detention in China, accounts by Gao describe in detail terrible torture and physical and psychological abuse. One noted letter, written in 2007, titled “Dark Night, Dark Hood and Kidnapping by Dark Mafia,” says that he was tortured for 50 days, including with an electric batons, cigarettes held to his eyes, and toothpicks inserted into his genitals.

‘Not yet free’

The news of Gao’s release has met with both wariness and relief by observers. His family lives abroad, but observers think it is unlikely that Gao will be allowed free passage to the United States in order to reunite with them.

“While Gao has been released from prison, it is abundantly clear he is not yet free,” said Jared Genser, Gao’s pro bono legal counsel with the group Freedom Now. “Until he is reunited with his wife and children, our work will continue. I call on the Chinese government to remove the security cordon around Gao, to let him speak freely and meet with anyone he chooses, to allow him to travel freely, both in China and abroad.”

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), a longtime supporter of Gao Zhisheng, who took on his cause as part of a human rights project, said he was “relieved to hear that Gao has been granted his freedom from torture and seclusion, though I fear that he may not be truly free outside prison.” Rep. Wolf added, in the statement: “I hope that, if he chooses to apply, he will be granted asylum in the United States.”

After years of running a successful legal practice in Beijing, defending minority groups, abused workers, and house Christians, Gao’s law firm was suspended in November 2005, after he began taking on the cases of persecuted Falun Gong practitioners and writing two open letters urging an end to that persecution.

After Gao’s law firm was closed, he penned an open letter to the head of the CCP and China’s premier in which he described in detail the torture suffered by Falun Gong practitioners. Then, a few days later, he released his letter withdrawing from the CCP.

“Over a dozen days’ close touch with Falun Gong believers was a shocking experience to my soul,” he wrote in the letter, based on his time living with and interviewing Falun Gong practitioners in China about their persecution.

“I had lost my hope for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) completely. This CCP has employed the most barbarous and most immoral and illegal means to torture our mothers, our wives, our children, and our brothers and sisters. It has made this kind of torture part of the Party member’s job and raised the political standing of torture,” he wrote in the letter.

Gao continued: “From now on, Gao Zhisheng, a Party ‘member’ who hasn’t paid the membership fee for a long time and has been absent from the “Party activities” for many years, declares that he quits the cruel, untrustworthy, inhumane, and evil party.”

“This is the proudest day of my life.”

via Chinese Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Freed From Prison, but Not Yet Free

China’s Bar Association Tells Lawyers to Shut Up

29 June, 2014 at 19:11 | Posted in China, Gao Zhisheng, human rights, persecution, Society | Leave a comment
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By Lu Chen
Epoch Times

“Improper speech” by lawyers on the Internet is no longer allowed, according to the All China Lawyers Association, the state-controlled equivalent of the country’s bar association.

A draft version of new rules and penalties prepared by ACLA was leaked to social media platforms by disgruntled lawyers on June 12.

They found the prohibitions galling, including a ban on the publication of open letters “to provoke protests or incite public opinion,” or the making of “extreme or improper comments to attack or deframe China’s judicial system, political system, and the Party’s principles and policies” on the Internet.

The muzzling will probably have the most impact on lawyers that take on sensitive political cases associated with the persecution of religious followers, Falun Gong practitioners, and advocates of democracy and the rule of law in China.

If the revised draft is passed, violators will face public censure and potential expulsion from the Association—the equivalent to no longer being allowed to practice law in China.

The All China Lawyers Association is in charge of all licensed lawyers and law firms in China, and acts under the authority of the Ministry of Justice. The People’s Republic of China’s laws on the legal profession says that attorneys and legal firms in China are required to join the ACLA.

While not publishing their views on the Internet, lawyers may also be prevented by their firms from “founding, participating in, or supporting any organizations or activities that damage the image of the ACLA or do not align with the duty of lawyers.”

Law firms are no longer to “indulge” their employees by allowing them to engage in these unspecified subversive behaviors, the notice says.

The move by the ACLA, which is controlled by the government, is the latest move by the Chinese regime to punish advocates of a freer political system in China.

Several well-known rights lawyers have been arrested for “causing trouble” before the 25th anniversary of the June 4 massacre, including Pu Zhiqiang and Tang Jingling.

Predictably, attorneys in China have expressed their outrage at the proposed new rules.

“I was frightened after reading that draft,” said Zhou Ze, a well-known lawyer who also advocates for democracy and human rights in China. “The new rules are obviously for cracking down on dissident lawyers,” he said on Weibo.

He remarked that part of the reason for the proposed rules may be to prevent lawyers from speaking out against the Ministry of Justice, whose own questionable, and sometimes allegedly illegal operations many lawyers in China suffer under.

“If the draft is adopted, there may not be any more dissident lawyers,” Zhou wrote. “The judiciary will be more domineering and less just, and corruption in the judiciary will be more severe!”

Others formed a petition on Tuesday to protest against the proposed rules, and called for the ACLA president, Wang Junfeng, to step down. Over 50 lawyers signed the petition the day it was launched, according to Zhang Lei, a lawyer in Beijing.

“The All-China Lawyers Association is not protecting the rights of lawyers any more, but has become an accomplice in repressing lawyers’ rights,” the petition says. It added that the rules violate China’s own constitution.

“The Lawyers Association shouldn’t listen to the ruling Party’s orders to restrict us, said Xie Yang, an attorney in Hunan Province, in an interview with Sound of Hope Radio. “It’s doing everything to show its loyalty to the authorities. We just can’t accept that.”

via China’s Bar Association Tells Lawyers to Shut Up – The Epoch Times

Torture Camp Rebranded in China

23 June, 2014 at 10:07 | Posted in China, Falun Dafa/Falun Gong, human rights, persecution, slave labor camps, Society | Leave a comment
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The Masanjia Women’s Labor Camp was supposed to be closed down, but now it simply has two names

By Carol Wickenkamp
Epoch Times

For years the tales of torture that came out of Masanjia Women’s Labor Camp in China’s northeast were a potent demonstration of the abuses of the country’s forced labor system. In turn, Masanjia’s apparent closure last year was seen as a hopeful sign that the system was, in fact, being closed down, as authorities had promised.

But recent reports from China tell a different story: the Masanjia Forced Labor Camp is alive and well, except for the fact that it’s no longer called the Masanjia Forced Labor Camp. Instead, the same sprawling set of buildings and facilities appears to be now put to use as both a “drug rehabilitation center” and as part of the Liaoning Province’s prison system. These bureaucratic modifications disguise the fact that the same guards, in the same buildings, abuse and exploit the same or similar prisoners—just as before.

Masanjia made world headlines in 2013 when an Oregon woman, Julie Keith, discovered a letter from the labor camp in a plastic Halloween kit shipped from China. Shocked, she contacted the media, which set about exploring the background of the camp.

It was exposure of that kind that the Chinese Communist Party found deeply embarrassing, and was part of the reason for its high-profile move to—on paper at least—close the system of re-education through forced labor, which has been part of the Party’s coercive toolkit since the 1950s.

When a CNN film crew visited Masanjia last year, it had every impression of being empty. No guards were in the watchtowers, and no one came to trouble CNN correspondent David McKenzie as he strolled within feet of the chain-link fence. Minghui.org, a website that carries firsthand reports from the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China, also reported last year that the remaining practitioners detained in Masanjia were being released. Falun Gong is a spiritual practice that has been persecuted in China since 1999.

The Same Camp

Shang Liping, a female Falun Gong practitioner, was recently transferred from Shenyang Women’s Prison to the Masanjia Addiction Treatment Center, according to a March report in Minghui. The report continued that staff and police were the same people that had worked at Masanjia when it was a labor camp.

Yu Shuxian and Chi Xiuhua, two other female Falun Gong practitioners, were put into the same drug rehab center in Masanjia this January, according to Minghui. When family visited Chi, they found that “she had completely changed; her face was pallid and listless, she neither lifted her head nor opened her eyes, and she had no energy to speak,” according to Minghui. “Her family was distraught, extremely scared, and could not guess what torment she had been put through.”

Other sections of the large labor facility have been transferred to the provincial prison system, and operate as the Masanjia Prison District of Liaoning Province’s Shenyang Women’s Prison, according to Minghui.

The Shenyang provincial prison for women is extremely violent, with Minghui reporting 20 Falun Gong deaths since 1999. At present at least 84 Falun Gong practitioners are incarcerated in Liaoning Province’s women’s prison in Shenyang, many of them serving sentences of up to 13 years.

A group of Falun Gong practitioners who were held in the women’s prison in Shenyang were transferred to the Masanjia Prison District, most of them this year. Multiple telephone calls made by Epoch Times to phone numbers identified as belonging to Masanjia were not answered.

Niu Guifang, a female practitioner, in a trial thick with illegalities, was sentenced to the women’s prison in March 2013, and was transferred to Masanjia Prison District at the end of last year. Although her hands were injured by the prison police, and she couldn’t hold heavy things, she has still been forced to work every day in the workhouse at Masanjia, Minghui reported in April.

Administrative Switcheroo

When the Communist Party announced the death of the re-education through labor system in early 2013, seasoned observers of the regime’s security system began expecting what has now transpired.

“Cosmetic changes” won’t stop the abuses, said Sophie Richardson, the China director at Human Rights Watch. Instead, they “might only further entrench the system,” she said.

A detailed report by Amnesty International nearly one year later observed: “Abolishing the RTL [re-education through labor] system is a step in the right direction. However, it now appears that it may only be a cosmetic change just to avert the public outcry over the abusive RTL system where torture was rife,” said Corinna-Barbara Francis, China researcher, in a December 2013 paper.

“It’s clear that the underlying policies of punishing people for their political activities or religious beliefs haven’t changed. The abuses and torture are continuing, just in a different way,” she said.

That same month the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy noted, in its own report in the matter, that re-education through labor has simply been replaced with other forms of detention, like forced drug rehab and “legal education classes.” The group said, “These systems are already used in Tibet and merely continue the abuses associated with RTL under a different name.”

The Same Work

While the new division at Masanjia appears to be between a prison and a drug rehabilitation center, the latter, as far as prisoners of conscience go seems to be used in the same way that the old labor camp was used: Falun Gong practitioners are sent there by police, without a trial, regardless of their drug-free lives.

The mixing of prisoner types has taken place for years in China. “People from the Liaoning Provincial Labor Education Bureau came to audit us in 2011, and ordered that every Falun Gong practitioner needed to take a test. Our medical examination document listed us as drug addicts, but in fact, out of the nearly 400 inmates, only four were drug users,” former Masanjia inmate Qiu Tieyan wrote in October 2013 about her incarceration.

“We had to work six hours every day making military coats, forest coats, and firefighter jackets for the Jihua 3504 Limited Corporation in Changchun City. Outside of the workshop, we had to load and unload things, clean, and do other chores. Guard Wang Guangyun brought in her dirty laundry from home, and we had to wash it. We had to keep this a secret and do it quickly,” she said.

The same Minghui report said there are about 300 prisoners in the Masanjia Prison District, but did not give a total for Falun Gong practitioners held there.

Drug offenders are treated in the same way in detention as when the facilities were called re-education camps. They are forced to do factory work, light manufacturing, and repetitive labor.

Once locked up, there is little rehabilitation either—only brutality and hard labor, said Human Rights Watch in a 2012 paper.

“If people weren’t working hard enough we would beat them with a one-meter board, or we would just kick them or beat them with our hands,” a former re-education through labor guard from Guangxi Province told Human Rights Watch. “Sometimes people got beaten to death. About 10 percent of people who come into re-education through labor centers die inside.”

Additional research and reporting by Lu Chen

via Torture Camp Rebranded in China

Trial of Chinese Citizen Xu Zhiyong Ends in Silence

26 January, 2014 at 12:24 | Posted in China, human rights, persecution, Society | Leave a comment

By Carol Wickenkamp
Epoch Times

Prominent human rights scholar and activist Xu Zhiyong’s trial began and concluded on Wednesday, with both Xu and his lawyer remaining silent in protest of what they said were the illegal procedures taken by the court during the trial.

Both refused to talk during the trial proceedings to demonstrate their objection to the court’s refusal to allow any of Xu’s 68 witnesses to appear, lawyer Zhang Qingfang told Epoch Times. He said that other defendants arrested in the same case were also prevented from appearing during the trial.

“Because Xu Zhiyong was silent, the judge decided to adjourn the court for five minutes specifically to persuade Xu to talk, but it didn’t work,” Zhang said. “And then because the lawyers [Zhang and another lawyer] were silent, the court stopped again to persuade us,” he continued.

But, they refused to speak too, because the court was so seriously violating the laws covering court procedures, Zhang said. They couldn’t consent to taking part in such a trial, he told Epoch Times.

He said that Xu had prepared a 50 minute statement titled “For Freedom, Public Welfare, and Love,” which would act as his defense, but the court didn’t allow him to finish presenting it, interrupting him after 10 minutes.

“But just because we maintained our silence in court, it doesn’t mean we’ll be quiet outside the courtroom. We’ll be publicizing our defense opinions soon,” he went on.

Xu’s counsel tried to arrange time during the break for Xu to meet with his wife, who gave birth to a baby daughter last week, but the court would not permit it. Only two family members, his wife and his sister, were permitted in the courtroom.

Zhang believes Xu’s sentence will be a heavy one, more than three years and possibly the maximum of five years.

Supporters Detained

Outside the courthouse, supporters and media were restrained at a distance and the streets around the courthouse barricaded.

Petitioners and rights defenders shouted “Down with dictatorship,” “Establish a democratic regime,” and other slogans, while police attempted to contain them, reported Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD).

A crowd of over 300 supporters, including high profile human rights lawyers and activists, showed up to demonstrate their support for Xu, holding banners and placards, mingling with foreign reporters and plainclothes police.

Ni Yulan, who was tortured in prison for her human rights legal work, was brought in her wheelchair to the courthouse. Rights lawyers Cheng Hai and Liang Xiaojun, and women’s rights defender Mao Hengfeng came to show their solidarity, said Chinese media Boxun.

Over 100 lawyers and activists, among them activist Chen Yunfei and lawyer Liang Xiaojun, were hauled away to the black jail at Jiujingzhuang in a continuous stream of commercial vans, according to CHRD. Police would have arrested more supporters but for the presence of the well-known foreign media correspondents on the scene, said CHRD.

Xu’s closing statement directly addresses the issues that directly brought and affected his trial, and will continue to afflict the Chinese system in his eyes. In part, he closed his statement saying:

“For ten years, I’ve witnessed too much injustice and too much misfortune and suffering, because I choose to stand on the side of people who are powerless. But we still have the heart and vitality to promote our country’s development wisely…

“Unfortunately, you see civil groups as heresy, and you are afraid of us. You say that we have a political purpose. You are right, our political purpose is very clear, which is to build a wonderful China that has democracy, rule of law, freedom, justice, and love…

“This is our new civil spirit: freedom, justice, love. It must become the Chinese nation’s essential value, and it needs our generation to fight and sacrifice for it.”

It was signed “Citizen Xu Zhiyong.”

Reporting by Lu Chen.

via Trial of Chinese Citizen Xu Zhiyong Ends in Silence

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Jailed Chinese Democracy Activist’s Health Worsening

22 March, 2013 at 09:05 | Posted in China, human rights, persecution, Society | Leave a comment
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By Alex Wu
Epoch Times Staff

Imprisoned Chinese activist Dr. Wang Bingzhang has written a letter to his family overseas, saying his health has deteriorated after three strokes, and he remains forbidden to talk to anyone.

Wang, 66, was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2003 by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for his pro-democracy activities. He is being held in solitary confinement at Shaoguan Prison in Guangdong Province.

His older sister, Wang Jinhuan, was interviewed in Los Angeles by Radio Free Asia on March 14. She said the Chinese regime has only “issued visas to a few selected family members,” while others have not been allowed to visit.

“Wang has suffered three strokes in recent years, each one worse than the last,” she said. “The latest letter I got from him while in Vancouver was held by the prison for two months for scrutinizing before it was mailed. In the letter, he said his health has gotten really bad recently, and told us ‘if you don’t hear from me for a long time, it means something terrible happened to me in prison.’ He hoped we could try to visit him.”

Wang Jinhuan said his words left her heartbroken, because for the last two years she has been denied a visa to travel to China.

She told Radio Free Asia that Wang’s daughter, and younger sister were also denied visas. Only Wang’s younger brother, Wang Bingwu, and Wang’s second son were allowed to go.

Since Dr. Wang’s incarceration, his family has repeatedly requested that the prison authorities treat him humanely, but the physical and mental persecution have never relented, Wang Jinhuan said.

Wang Jinhuan said, “This is the cruelest way to take away a person’s most basic rights. No matter how much we request or appeal, the situation remains the same.”

She said the authorities offered Wang Bingzhang better treatment several times in exchange for a “statement of repentance,” but he refused, which resulted in severe beatings, a restriction of activities, and other psychological abuses. “Wang Bingzhang told me it’s impossible for him to write a ‘statement of repentance.’ He is seeking the strength to carry on by praying. Fighting for democracy in China is what he cares about most.”

Read the original Chinese article.

via Jailed Chinese Democracy Activist’s Health Worsening | Thinking About China | Opinion | Epoch Times

Related Articles: Chinese Human Rights Advocate Arrested and Beaten

Gao Zhisheng Allowed Family Visit in Remote Prison

23 January, 2013 at 10:41 | Posted in China, Gao Zhisheng, human rights, persecution, slave labor camps, Society | Leave a comment
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By Irene Luo
Epoch Times Staff

It’s been over a year since human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng was detained in the remote Shaya Prison in Xinjiang Province, and only recently was he allowed to meet his family for the second time. They had not been permitted to visit since March 2012.

Gao, sometimes calling “China’s conscience,” was arrested, harassed and tortured from 2005 onwards after defending persecuted practitioners of Falun Gong, a traditional spiritual discipline, and other groups targeted by the regime.

Gao’s eldest brother told Sound of Hope (SOH) radio on Jan. 18 that he had been trying to visit his detained brother for a long time, and only after he threatened to appeal in Beijing did the authorities allow his family to visit Gao in prison.

Gao’s wife, Geng He, who currently resides in the United States with their children, maintained that Chinese communist authorities are afraid her family would expose her husband’s situation to the international community if they visited him.

His younger brother and father-in-law traveled far to see him, but were only granted a half-hour visit under strict monitoring and control.

During the short meeting, Gao could only ask about the family’s wellbeing. His only words for his wife were to raise the children well and don’t worry too much about him.

Geng told Radio Free Asia (RFA) that prior to their visit, the prison has forbidden them to ask any questions about Gao’s treatment; violating this rule would lead to immediate termination of the visit, she said.

During the meeting, Gao’s brother asked whether he could read newspapers or watch television but was abruptly interrupted before Gao was able to speak; a guard said that Gao wasn’t allowed.

Geng told RFA that the family made great efforts to get a chance to see him. The journey across the remote region of Xinjiang to the prison is harsh and takes around 10 days. The most important aspect of the encounter was to verify that Gao is still alive.

Sound of Hope Radio interviewed several well-known Chinese human rights activists after the short prison meeting.

Beijing human rights activist Hu Jia said that over the past eight years, Gao Zhisheng has constantly suffered brutal torture by the Chinese Communist authorities.

Hu said Gao is locked up in a place referred to by the Uyghur locals as a “terrorist prison.”

“The evil of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is fully implemented by the propaganda system and the politics and law system. Regardless of whether they are the Internet and media censors, or the political and local police that block petitioners, evil is being implemented through these various individuals. So when we are faced with these evil people, we must understand, fundamentally, it is the evil of the system, the evil of the CCP,” Hu said.

According to human rights lawyer Tang Jingling from Guangzhou, who is familiar with the CCP’s persecution of the prisoners of conscience, Gao has very likely been suffering from “strict control” and torture.

Tang added that “strict control” as implemented by guards is “very cruel”: the victim is forbidden to speak to anyone, or is often in solitary confinement in a small cell, or sometimes in a cage or small space, where they cannot stand up, or sit or lie down. Over time it is agonizing, Tang said.

Editor’s Note: When Chongqing’s former top cop, Wang Lijun, fled for his life to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu on Feb. 6, he set in motion a political storm that has not subsided. The battle behind the scenes turns on what stance officials take toward the persecution of Falun Gong. The faction with bloody hands—the officials former CCP head Jiang Zemin promoted in order to carry out the persecution—is seeking to avoid accountability for their crimes and to continue the campaign. Other officials are refusing to participate in the persecution any longer. Events present a clear choice to the officials and citizens of China, as well as people around the world: either support or oppose the persecution of Falun Gong. History will record the choice each person makes.

Read the original Chinese article.

via Gao Zhisheng Allowed Family Visit in Remote Prison | Democracy & Human Rights | China | Epoch Times

Related Articles: LA Protesters Call for Release of Gao Zhisheng for Human Rights Day

Chinese Lawyer Supports Falun Gong in China

22 December, 2012 at 07:43 | Posted in China, human rights, persecution, Society | Leave a comment
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By Albert Ding & Gary Pansey
Epoch Times Staff

Vast state financial resources have been used for a long time to persecute a spiritual group with many believers throughout China and the world. This is a barbarity indeed rarely seen in the history of mankind. A lawyer who does not stand up for their defense and uphold justice is not a real lawyer.” So wrote prominent mainland Chinese lawyer Guo Lianhui on his microblog on Dec. 7. His statement is also one indeed rarely seen in China, where defending Falun Gong, the spiritual group referred to by Guo, can be met with severe punishment.

Falun Gong is a qigong practice that became extremely popular in China during the 1990s before the Chinese regime launched a nationwide persecution in 1999.

Guo continued his post by explaining that some of the core charges used against Falun Gong—that it’s a “heterodox religion,” or in the commonly rendered translation of the Chinese term, an “evil cult,”–lack any legal basis. The labels are “obviously not legally binding, nor can they be used on a legal basis,” Guo said.

Guo made himself internationally known in 2010 when he characterized a proposed Chinese law that sought to permit local governments to seize business or private property at will as, “If the local government can make a law regardless of the Constitution, then why is there a Constitution?”

In his blog this month, Guo expressed with certainty, “Falun Gong is not a cult and even existing Chinese law does not label Falun Gong as a cult.”

In an attempt to codify the persecution of Falun Gong and other religious groups, Chinese authorities drafted an article 300 in the People’s Republic of China’s Criminal Law, which refers to “the crime of organizing and utilizing a cult organization in undermining implementation of law.”

The basis of this law has been rejected by legal analysts, however. Yiyang Xia, the senior director of policy and research at the Human Rights Law Foundation, based in Washington, D.C., writes that “The Chinese government never legally banned Falun Gong and there is, in fact, no law on the books prohibiting this religious practice.”

Guo, the Chinese lawyer, said in his post that Falun Gong practitioners distributing literature about the persecution of their faith in China is not breaking the law, either.

Guo said that he has received pressure from Chinese judicial authorities to stop defending Falun Gong. He said that he believes defending the innocent is the charge of the attorney.

Editor’s Note: When Chongqing’s former top cop, Wang Lijun, fled for his life to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu on Feb. 6, he set in motion a political storm that has not subsided. The battle behind the scenes turns on what stance officials take toward the persecution of Falun Gong. The faction with bloody hands—the officials former CCP head Jiang Zemin promoted in order to carry out the persecution—is seeking to avoid accountability for their crimes and to continue the campaign. Other officials are refusing to participate in the persecution any longer. Events present a clear choice to the officials and citizens of China, as well as people around the world: either support or oppose the persecution of Falun Gong. History will record the choice each person makes.

via Chinese Lawyer Supports Falun Gong in China | Democracy & Human Rights | China | Epoch Times

Related Articles: Persecution of Falun Gong Softening, Says Chinese Lawyer

Gao Zhisheng’s Family Receives Unusual Letter Asking Them Not to Visit

19 December, 2012 at 10:24 | Posted in China, Gao Zhisheng, human rights, persecution, Society | Leave a comment
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By Gu Qing’er
Epoch Times Staff

A letter purporting to be from Gao Zhisheng, the well-known Chinese human rights lawyer detained for defending persecuted groups in China, was sent to family members recently, saying that they should not visit him in the remote province of Xinjiang. But the note has raised suspicions, with relatives convinced that Gao didn’t actually write it.

Gao’s family told The Epoch Times that the letter—received on the eve of the 18th National Party Congress in November—was inscribed with two red wax thumbprints. It merely said “hello to each family member,” but maintained they should not visit, making them more worried for his safety. His brothers said they would visit him by the end of the year.

“After receiving this letter, it made us more nervous and doubtful,” Gao’s wife, Geng He, told The Epoch Times. “His elder brother felt uneasy since he had never seen the thumbprints before and said they were very unusual.”

“In the past, we have always contacted each other by telephone and rarely by letter.” His brother has never seen Gao Zhisheng’s handwriting, so he can’t tell whether the letter really is from him, she added.

Gao has been detained several times by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), but last disappeared in early 2009. One of his brothers said he received a document early this year, saying that Gao was detained in Xinjiang.

Gao renounced the CCP in 2005 and, after writing about and defending cases involving practitioners of the persecuted Falun Gong meditation discipline, was continually harassed by Chinese security forces before being detained and severely tortured.

On Dec. 22, 2006, Gao was given a suspended prison sentence of three years for allegedly “inciting subversion of state power.” He and his family were placed under house arrest, before his wife and children fled China in 2009 to reside in the United States.

Gao has been subjected to torture and other human rights abuses while in detention, and wrote an open letter in 2007 exposing some of this misconduct by his captors. Sun Yong, a member of the Chinese Human Rights Protection Group, said Gao is “said to often be abused” because he “understands the nature of the Communist Party, and thus suffers the most suppression.”

Geng He, Gao’s wife, maintains that Chinese Communist authorities are afraid Gao’s family would tell the international community of his situation if they visited him, which is why the letter appeared saying Gao did not want to see them.

She added that Gao Zhiyi, his brother, has continually told the Yulin City Public Security Bureau, located in Shaanxi Province—where Gao is from—that he wanted to see his brother in detention. Specifically, Gao Zhiyi told Chinese authorities he would visit during the 18th National Party Congress period, and “that is why authorities manipulated this letter and sent it to Gao Zhiyi,” preventing him from doing so, Geng He said.

“The authorities have never allowed us to see Gao Zhisheng; we are very anxious about his safety,” Gao Zhiyi told The Epoch Times.

“The [Chinese regime] has said that we can only see him with an approval document issued by the local police station,” he said, adding that the family would still attempt to visit him despite the length and cost of the trip.

Repeated Visitation Refusals

When Bo Xilai was removed as Communist Party head of Chongqing on March 15, Gao’s family got a phone call from the authorities that day, saying they could visit him, provided they did not tell anyone. Gao Zhiyi and his father-in-law were only allowed to visit Gao Zhisheng in the Shaya Prison in Xinjiang for a half-hour, after spending two years apart not knowing whether he was still alive, Geng He told The Epoch Times.

But she said that since March, no one in his family has been able to see her husband. She again turned to authorities in Europe and the United States to place pressure on the Chinese regime and allow visitation rights.

In August, Gao’s family lawyers, Beijing lawyers Li Xiongbing and Li Subin, attempted to meet with him, but were turned away.

The authorities declined visitation, saying Gao Zhisheng was himself a high-level lawyer and did not need legal representation, that the letter sent by his brother Gao Zhiyi did not meet the authorities’ requirements, and that Gao did not actually want to meet with his family or lawyers—a narrative that the recent missive appears designed to support.

Read the original Chinese article.

via Gao Zhisheng’s Family Receives Unusual Letter Asking Them Not to Visit | Democracy & Human Rights | China | Epoch Times

Related Articles: Imprisoned Chinese Lawyer Gao ‘Is Not Forgotten’

New Chinese Law Strikes at Lawyers

4 September, 2012 at 07:16 | Posted in China, human rights, persecution, Society | Leave a comment
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By Gu Qing’er
Epoch Times Staff

China’s Supreme Court has proposed a new law that would allow it to detain and even temporarily disbar defense lawyers for taking pictures during trials, making audio or video recordings, and emailing or blogging information about court proceedings and cases. It described the changes as an interpretation of existing law. Lawyers in China have condemned the measures.

The Criminal Case Research Committee of the Shanghai Bar Association held an emergency meeting Aug. 24 over the proposed restrictions, according to the Southern Metropolis Daily.

Both the content and the method are a problem, according to lawyers.

The Shu Hongjun team of Shandong Qihua Law Firm said on their official Sina micro-blog, “The Supreme Court being able to directly punish lawyers would certainly bring serious consequences, for instance, more judicial corruption, restriction of lawyer’s rights to defend criminal cases, unfair trials, and arbitrary persecution of counsels’ rights by low quality judges.”

China’s Supreme Court does not have the authority to suspend law licenses, only the Ministry of Justice can do that. The Supreme Court also cannot enact new laws. However, China’s court system is far from independent and is controlled by the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee (PLAC), an extra-judicial organ with immense power. The PLAC stands above the prosecution, the courts, and the secret police, controlling the 1.5 million-strong Armed Police and the 1.7 million army of regular police.

According to an April 16 Epoch Times commentary on the PLAC’s power behind the scenes, Radio France International (RFI) quoted lawyer Lin Dongpin who said that interpreting the law does not mean making a complete new law, but rather resolving details of how existing laws should be applied. The Supreme Court went so far beyond its authority it amounted to making new legislation, in his opinion. The court being able to punish lawyers with six months to one year of suspended practice has obviously gone beyond its authority. “It is very absurd,” said Lin.

The Southern Metropolis Daily reported that on July 30 China’s Supreme Court released what it described as draft interpretations of the Criminal Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China.

It released the interpretation only to courts, not to the public. The courts have until mid-September to comment on the draft. The new law is to be made public at the end of the year, and to take effect on Jan. 1.

Details that lawyers found problematic include article 249, which forbids participants in court proceedings who bring “laptops and tablet PCs into the courtrooms with the People’s Court’s permission, must not use the tools to record, videotape, photograph or report trial activities through emails, blogs and micro-blogs.” Article 250 describes the punishment: Attorneys or other client’s representatives who have been kicked out of the courtroom, “fined, or detained due to serious violation of the court order are subject to six to twelve months’ ban by the People’s Court.” Those who are lawyers can be disbarred for six to twelve months.

Lawyer Yang Xuelin from Beijing Shouxin Law Firm wrote on his qq micro-blog that if the new law takes effect judges will be mere decorations, and public corruption will go completely unchallenged. “The Supreme Court using judicial interpretation to restrict lawyers is a ridiculous attempt at castration … Defense would sit totally silent, the prosecution would dominate the courtroom, and the filth of the public security organs … will be unchallenged.

Read the original Chinese article.

via New Chinese Law Strikes at Lawyers | Society | China | Epoch Times

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Chinese Lawyers Criticize Attack on ‘New Five Black Categories’

2 September, 2012 at 07:09 | Posted in China, human rights, persecution, Society | Leave a comment
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Five social groups each seen as representing a fundamental value

By Luo Ya
Epoch Times Staff

An anti-American propaganda piece by Chinese state media said the United States is “penetrating China’s lowest classes” and trying to influence five Chinese groups that are in the way of development, lawyers among them. A number of Chinese lawyers took exception to that and commented on their social media blogs.

The Aug. 2 article on People’s Daily, written by a director of the Communist Party’s University of Foreign Relations, said the United States is “interfering with China’s development model by nonmilitary means.” It listed Human rights lawyers, underground churches and religions, dissidents, Internet personalities, and the disadvantaged and ethnic minorities as the five Chinese problem groups America is trying to influence. Netizens quickly dubbed these five groups as the new five Black Categories, recalling the five black categories singled out by Mao for suppression in the 1950s and 1960s.

Several Chinese lawyers commented on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media site:

“Global Times just interviewed me for my opinions on the ‘five groups,’” Zhang Kai, a lawyer, wrote. “I enlightened to something during the interview. The ‘five groups’ represent five fundamental values. Human rights lawyers represent the law and the constitution. Underground religions and churches represent the fight for freedom of belief. Internet personalities represent freedom of expression. Dissidents represent the fight for political rights. And the minority groups represent the fight for justice. These are the core values of a modern society,” Zhang Kai said.

“Politicians who see lawyers as enemies are themselves enemies of a rule based on law and democracy,” Henan-based lawyer Qin Yongmin said.

“When lawyers are slandered and attacked, a lot of people stand aside, thinking that the attack has nothing to do with them. Is that really the case? When there aren’t any more lawyers, who do their duties according to the law, and in fact the number of them is decreasing, your own safety will be at risk,” Cui Xiaoping, a lawyer from Guangdong, said.

“Thinking of lawyers as rebels is the same as casting the law and human rights out the door. As the world is isolating the Chinese Communist Party, if the Party cuts itself off from the people, that just paves the road to the Party’s disintegration,” Xu Tianming from Guangdong commented.

“Any political rule should be based on the interests of the people, make gaining people’s heart a focus, and truly listen to the people. Otherwise, politics becomes reactionary, without conscious and intuitive understanding,” Qiu Xuyue, a lawyer from Guangdong Province said.

Read the original Chinese article.

via Chinese Lawyers Criticize Attack on ‘New Five Black Categories’ | Democracy & Human Rights | China | Epoch Times

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Summer Break!

24 June, 2012 at 18:19 | Posted in Body & Mind, Children, China, Chinese culture, Falun Dafa/Falun Gong, Food, human rights, Nature, persecution, Science, Shen Yun, Society, Technology | Leave a comment
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The blog is now taking its annual summer break.

I wish you all a really nice summer with sun, sea, forest, togetherness and everything you need to fill yourself up with, before the short days of wintertime that unavoidable will be here. Here in Sweden we really enjoy our light season and the nordic light!

See you all in August. Rainy days I might fill in with links to articles. But no musts, otherwise it isn’t a holiday 🙂 Please check out Twitter, in the sidebar to the right, as well.

Have a really nice Summer 🙂

Links to interesting articles:

Sponging Dolphins Form Cultural Cliques

Chinese Authorities Cover Up Deadly Tick Bite Epidemic

Accused Chinese Organ Harvester Lurks in Transplant Community

Maya Used Chocolate as Spice 2,500 Years Ago

Ancient Alteration of Seawater Chemistry Linked With Past Climate Change

Censors Block Eyewitness Accounts of Beijing Flood

Seeking Clarity on the Crisis in China

Plants Can See and Smell, Says Researcher

Swedish Startup Bringing Democracy to the Flow of Information

Reducing Salt Intake could Reduce Stomach Cancer

July Crop Circle Photos From the UK

‘Take a stand’ Urge Doctors Against Organ Harvesting

Cashed-Up Chinese Emigrate for Security, Education

Huge Dam Part of Mayan Water Management System

Corruption and Bribes Shield Fake Products in China

Chinese Regime’s Leaders Humiliated but Keep Silent

Doggerland: Atlantis-Like Country Discovered off Scottish Coast

The ‘truth’ deleted from internet in China

A Chinese Dance Competition Forbidden in China

Freedom and Dance in Communist China

With Leadership Transition Looming, Falun Gong Persecution Intensifies

Making Sense of China’s Political Crisis

Vatican-Named Bishop Goes Missing in China

Cover-Up Suspicions Persist in Tragic Tianjin Fire

Chinese Regime Faces Crisis, Says Top Party Official

China’s Top Leaders Move to Further Weaken Gestapo-Like Organization

Chinese Australian Witnessed Persecution of Falun Gong in China

Latex Spill Turns Chinese River to ‘River of Milk’

Mozi: The Great Chinese Thinker on Peace and Love

CERN Says New Particle Is Probably Higgs Boson

Plants May Communicate by Sound

Study Reveals Potential Triggers for Autism

Mimicking Firefly Light to Design Tomorrow’s Light Bulbs

Earthing: Our Vital Connection

Earth Connection – Grounding

Prescription for Health and Happiness: A Daily Dose of Nature

In Northeastern China, 15,000 Defend Falun Gong Practitioners

Dairy Farming in Saharan Africa Began 7,000 Years Ago

China Forced Abortion Case Tip of the Iceberg

Ancient Wisdom for Healthy Sleep (Part 3)

Baltic Sea ‘UFO’ Mystery Deepens With Dive

Chinese Public Gratefully Downloads Food Safety Guide

Unsafe Levels of Cadmium Found in 10 Percent of China’s Rice

Mercury-Tainted Milk Products Recalled by Chinese Dairy Firm

Black Holes May Act as Gigantic Particle Accelerators

Chinese Activist Jailed in Coffin-Sized Cell

Activists Won’t Take ‘No’ for Answer in Dissident Death-Li Wangyang’s suspicious suicide has enlivened protesters against one-party dictatorship

Right to Education in Beijing Depends on Residency-Children of migrant workers denied access to schools

Chinese Lawyers Who Defended Falun Gong: Wang Yonghang

Chinese Lawyers Who Defended Falun Gong: Wei Liangyue

In China, Removing the Bloody-Hands Faction Is Only the Beginning

Today’s Dogs Genetically Distinct From Ancient Breeds

Velcro-Like Cells in Flowers Help Insects Grip

US Decision on Confucius Institutes Prompts Backlash in China

Chinese Regime Has Backdoor Access to US Systems-Alarming report reveals malware in silicon chips

Fear of Darkness May Contribute to Light Sleep

Obesity: Conventional Explanation Not the Whole Story-Researchers say it’s not as simple as too much food, too little exercise

How the Chinese Communist Party Convinced the World to Accept It-A revolutionary party learned to survive by wrapping itself in ‘stability’

Commentary 6: On How the Chinese Communist Party Destroyed Traditional Culture

SHEN YUN-Artist Profile: Ms. Chia-Ling Chen-Using art to bring goodness to people

Chen Guangcheng Arrives in the United States, Issues Thanks

22 May, 2012 at 11:08 | Posted in China, human rights, persecution | Leave a comment
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By Angela Wang
Epoch Times Staff

NEW YORK—After being spirited away from the airport after his 6:30 p.m. arrival, Chen Guangcheng, his wife and their two children were taken to his New York University’s residence on Mercer Street in lower Manhattan at around 7:30 p.m. It was a joyous day for human rights activists, politicians, and supporters who had helped Chen Guangcheng fight for his freedom. Chen’s family members, however, still remain in China under the shadow of the Chinese regime’s security forces.

“At the most critical moment, the U.S. Embassy in China gave me an opportunity for emergency asylum and helped me get through the most dangerous time. The American government too, gave me a lot of help,” Chen said to the press after arriving at his residence as a crowd stood cheering behind a police cordon.

Chen Guangcheng gestures beside his wife Yuan Weijing before making remarks to the media, upon his arrival at New York University campus on May 19. (Andy Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

He thanked the U.S. officials for their effort to rescue him.

“Acts of retribution in Shandong have not been abated and my rights to practice law have been curbed—we hope to see a thorough investigation into this,” he said.

Chen Guangcheng’s dramatic April 22 escape from house arrest in his hometown of Linyi, Shandong Province, drew international attention and became a focal point of U.S.-China relations.

Chen was helped by several friends, before being picked up by staff from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing on April 27. He first left the embassy on May 2, under pressure from Chinese authorities who threatened his family if he did not leave American custody immediately; at the same time, a deal had been brokered that would have allowed him to stay in China and study.

Read more: Chen Guangcheng Arrives in the United States, Issues Thanks [with Video] | Democracy & Human Rights | China | Epoch Times

Chen’s Lawyer Jiang Tianyong Captured, Beaten, and Put Under House Arrest

10 May, 2012 at 08:23 | Posted in China, human rights, persecution | Leave a comment
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By Matthew Robertson & Lea Zhou
Epoch Times Staff

While attempting to visit Chen Guangcheng in hospital, Jiang Tianyong, a civil rights lawyer who defended Chen in 2005, was seized and beaten by domestic security police.

He was interrogated by around 10 domestic security agents after being taken from the Chaoyang hospital where Chen is staying, at around 6:30 pm on May 4. Reached on his cell phone in the late evening on May 5, Jiang was at home recovering from the beating, and under house arrest.

He said that he was taken away by about 10 domestic security police from the Haidian District of Beijing. “They put me in a car and said they were sending me home… I later realized that the road they were taking me on was not the way home.”

They took him to a hotel in the Haidian area, shut him in a room, and gave him something to eat.

A security officer that Jiang identified as Du Yunhui then came at 10:00 pm to “chat.” But “actually he was abusing me incessantly.” Jiang questioned Du back at one point. “He jumped up and beat me. It was very fast and extremely hard, punching me in the face three times, first on my left ear. I thought then that the ear is gone. The second punch was to my right ear, the third to my chest.”

Jiang said he wanted to see the doctor and press charges against Du. Du then asked: “What evidence have you got that I hit you?” Jiang characterized the attitude as “shameless.”

The security officers decided to send him home at about 2 am. Jiang expressed a wish to be taken to the hospital, but they refused, and told him that from now on if he wanted to go anywhere he would have to apply for permission.

At the time of the interview, Jiang said there were at least four plainclothes security officers outside his residence, and that he is not allowed to leave. His wife comes and goes under the graces of the unidentified guards.

“This is a sensitive issue in relations between China and the US, and they don’t want me to participate,” he said. “They said it was the order of higher-ups.”

Jiang Tianyong, like Chen Guangcheng, has advocated for groups in China that have been unjustly treated by communist authorities. In particular he has represented other lawyers targeted for their civil rights work, including Chen, Hu Jia, and Gao Zhisheng. He has also defended Falun Gong practitioners, the spiritual discipline whose adherents are persecuted and whose defenders often become targets. In February 2011 Jiang was extra-legally sequestered for 60 days, and beaten and tortured, a result of the Chinese regime’s anti-Jasmine movement crackdown.

via Chen’s Lawyer Jiang Tianyong Captured, Beaten, and Put Under House Arrest | Regime | China | Epoch Times

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