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Mass Demonstrations

April 28, 2002

April 15-28, 2002

On April 25, hundreds of laid-off workers upset at what they consider insufficient severance pay protested in front of the Lanzhou Chemical Industry Corporation, in Lanzhou city, about 1,125 kilometers southwest of Beijing. (SCMP)
*In late April, authorities in Liaoyang turned down a formal application by disgruntled unemployed workers to stage a demonstration. The workers were seeking to protest against the detention of four labor leaders, who were arrested last month after mass protests over back pay and welfare benefits. New York based China Labor Watch also raised concerns about the fate of a fifth labor leader, Wang Dawei, who it says disappeared on April 15, after leaving for Beijing with plans to file complaints against police abuse and corruption. Days after Wang's disappearance, plain-clothes police detained, interrogated, and beat up fellow activist, Gu Baoshu, 37. Tens of thousands of unemployed workers staged protest marches in Liaoyang last month, coinciding with demonstrations by thousands of others in the northeastern oil town of Daqing. (BBC, SCMP)

On April 25, a powerful blast ripped through a state-run coal mine in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan, killing 23 miners and injuring four, state media and a local officials said. On the same day, as many as 11 workers died after a cave-in in a coal mine in the city of Tangshan, about 150 kilometers (94 miles) east of Beijing. (Reuters)
*On April 22, a massive rush of gas and coal killed at least 11 workers at a mine in the central Chinese city of Chongqing. Eleven miners were confirmed dead and four others were missing. Despite repeated pledges by authorities to improve safety, China's mines remain among the world's deadliest. Fires, floods and explosions killed 5,670 coal miners across China last year, according to government figures. (DJN)

Yang Jianli, President of Foundation for China in 21st Century, was detained in China on April 27. A staunch advocate for democratic reform in China based in the U.S., Yang had returned to China ten days prior to his detention to investigate the recent string of labor protests. Founder of the Independent Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars, Yang put aside his studies as a PhD candidate in the late 1980’s at the University of California, Berkeley, to return to China and participate in the democracy movement. He has been blacklisted by Beijing ever since. (Reuters)

On April 19, the Washington DC based American Enterprise Institute held a roundtable discussion, “Freeing the Chinese Internet.” Topics included the U.S. government’s current efforts to accelerate the free flow of information into China, the possible private technologies that can aid this effort, and the role of Western multinational companies. The four panelists were Paul Baranowski, the Peekabooty anti-censorship software project, William Baum, Voice of America, Ethan Gutmann, Project for the New American Century, and Greg Walton, consultant to Human Rights in China. (AEI)
*In late April, authorities in Beijing mounted an intensified crackdown on Internet “crimes” which it claims are threatening national security and social stability. The move came after the Minister of Public Security, Jia Chunwang, held a national public information security surveillance work meeting in Beijing. Sources quoted the police chief as saying during the meeting that "surveillance organs screening the Internet had become an indispensable force in guarding China's national security, political stability and sovereignty". (SCMP)

In late April, Chinese censors blocked access to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's (ABC) web site. The ABC has lodged a formal complaint with the Foreign Ministry and with the Public Security Bureau. The network speculated the action was linked to the exiled Dalai Lama's scheduled visit to Australia next month. (DPA)
*According to journalists and writers at a panel discussion part of the Standard Chartered International Literary Festival in Hong Kong on April 17, curbs on freedom of expression are still rampant in Mainland China. Panelists included, Huang Bei Ling, an exiled Chinese writer now based in the United States, and journalist Jasper Becker. "Censorship is a permanent feature of the Chinese state as we know it" Becker said. (SCMP)

On April 25, a female practitioner of Falungong was arrested in Tiananmen Square on the third anniversary of a protest by about 10,000 Falungong practitioners outside Beijing's Zhongnanhai compound. That protest prompted Chinese authorities to outlaw the group. The woman was tackled by police and taken away to a waiting van after she ran through the square carrying a yellow banner. (RA)
*On April 18, police arrested nine Falungong practitioners accused of interrupting cable television broadcasts in Changchun and nearby Songyuan on March 5. Falungong said it broadcast "footage revealing the state-sponsored persecution" of its members during the 40-50 minute interruptions. (DPA)
*On April 14, China deported U.S. citizen Andrew Ellsmore, 21, for demonstrating in Tiananmen Square against the government's ban on Falungong. (SCMP)

On April 15, immigration authorities in Hong Kong refused entry to human rights activist Harry Wu, prominent critic of China’s reform through labor system, and president of the Washington DC based Laogai Foundation. Wu was denied entry for “security” reasons, and put on a flight to Tokyo the following morning. Wu spent 19 years in Chinese labor prisons. In 1995, he was expelled from China after being convicted of “stealing state secrets” when he returned secretly to document abuses in the labor camp system. (SCMP, CNN, RA)

In mid-April, Chen Zhenggao, mayor of Shenyang, reported that officials in the city are refusing to work unless they get bribes. Chen’s comments were reported by the Liaoning daily. "Now, there are no bribes but officials aren't working either," Chen said. Last year, the city of Shenyang was the center of a massive corruption scandal in which ex-mayor Mu Suixin, was jailed for life, and former vice-mayor Ma Xiangdong, was sentenced to death. (SCMP)

On April 25, hundreds of police swept into Chater Garden to drag away a group of right-of-abode protesters. During the incident, a Cable Television photographer and reporter were led also away.
*On April 23, authorities in Hong Kong repatriated a 25-year-old mentally retarded right-of-abode claimant hours after securing a court order allowing the department's director to take back a promise he previously gave to the top court. Mainlander Cheung Hoi-sang, who has a mental age of about 13, was sent back across the border from Victoria Prison where he had been held since April 13.(SCMP)
*On April 24, about 200 right-of-abode protesters surrounded the car of Security chief Regina Ip Lau Suk. The protesters demanded that Mrs. Ip stop repatriating the 2000 people she has vowed to return to China. (VOA)
*On April 22, more than 100 protesters, many of them elderly parents of adult migrants, argued and scuffled with police and then sat down inside the ground floor entrance of the immigration headquarters building, demanding to see immigration chief Ambrose Lee.(SCMP)

On April 17, Hong Kong's Beijing-backed Chief Executive, Tung Chee-hwa, unveiled a controversial plan for government reform which will allow him to put his most trusted lieutenants in key new political positions to run the civil service. The plan calls for the creation of a new layer of 14 political appointees who will assume key portfolios, make policy, run the 180,000-strong civil service and report directly to the territory's chief executive. The move is the most dramatic shift in the system of governance since the former British colony returned to China in 1997 and will concentrate power in the hands of Tung who was anointed by China's leaders. (Reuters)

On April 15, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China held a staff-led public issue roundtable, Wired China: Whose Hand is on the Switch?" that explored Chinese government policies and practices toward the Internet, media freedom, and the issue of reciprocal access by US and Chinese government information arms. The four panelists were Edward Kaufman, Member, Broadcasting Board of Governors, Sharon Hom, Acting Executive Director, Human Rights in China, James Mulvenon, Deputy Director, Center for Asia-Pacific Policy, RAND, and Kathryn Hauser, Senior Vice President, Technology and Trade, Information Technology Industry Council. (FNS)

On April 19, video tapes showing Chinese authorities demolishing the Serthar Buddhist Institute in Tibet were shown in New Dheli, India. The tapes were smuggled out of Tibet by two monks from the institute. Chinese authorities closed down the institute on suspicion that many of the its students were members of the "Dalai Lama clique."(CND)
*On April 7, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a highly respected Buddhist monk, was detained in Tibet. Authorities claimed Rinpoche was arrested at his monastery in Nyachu County on charges of masterminding a bomb attack last year in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. Samdhong Rinpoche, prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, said the arrested monk was a popular figure and had been involved only in ushering a "spiritual renaissance" in his homeland. (AFP)

On April 25, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Kong Quan said China would work harder to protect human rights before the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. The statement was in response to comments made by International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge, who said the committee would take action if it felt human rights issues were interfering with Beijing's ability to hold the games. Rogge said the IOC would not monitor China's human rights record itself, but that it was in close contact with the United Nations and Amnesty International. China has rejected a human rights monitoring role for the United Nations and denounced Amnesty International as biased. (AP)

AEI/American Enterprise Institute
AFP/Agence France Presse
AP/Associated Press
BBC/British Broadcasting Corporation
CND/China News Digest
CNN/Cable News Network
DJN/Dow Jones Newswires
DPA/Deutsche Press Agentur
FNS/Federal News Service
RA/Radio Australia
SCMP/South China Morning Post
VOA/Voice of America