Friday, August 22, 2008

China orders two eldery protesters to "Maoist" labor camps; visiting American bloggers held

Audra Ang has a number of disturbing stories with the Associated Press about China’s abuses of human rights and suppression of speech during the Olympics. I couldn’t get them to come up on the AP site, but they do work at The Washington Times.

For example, on Aug. 21, there is a story “Seniors ordered to year of labor: Elderly women tied to protest,” link here.

Two elderly women, 77 and 79, one of them blind, were ordered to “re-education camps” that recall Chairman Mao’s “Cultural Revolution” after the pair repeatedly applied for a permit to hold a permit in an assigned area. The protests apparently were related to the government’s taking their homes (uncompensated "eminent domain" takings) for redevelopment during the Olympics. A 1957 law, from the Mao era, allows the government to prison to perform “penal labor” without trial or charges.

It's odd that the government calls this "re-education." During the 60s, there was at least a pretense of forced "equalization" with expropriation during the "purification" of Mao. Now, the expropriation simply serves the capitalist aims of others, with no apology. Confucian authority is supposed to take care of people?

Furthermore, five western (American) bloggers without media credentials have been held in connection with Tibet-related protests. It is not clear if American tourists who have blogged about China from home (like me) would be at risk if visiting there, or if visiting other authoritarian countries like Egypt or Saudi Arabia. Does anyone know?

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