The following News Update covers the period from October 2001 - February 2002
- Xu Zerong, 47, a historian who grew up in the mainland and is a Hong Kong resident, was sentenced to 13 years in prison in early February by Shenzhen Intermediate Court. Xu was convicted of illegally providing state secrets for allegedly sending abroad in 1992 secret material on the 1950-1953 Korean War, used in his Ph.D. thesis at Oxford University, and also for using illegally purchased book numbers to publish books and periodicals in the mainland. It is common practice, although technically illegal, for official publishers to sell some of the annual quota of book numbers the central authorities issue them every year to independent operators. Without such a number, a book or periodical is an illegal publication. Xu was detained in June 2000 in Guangzhou, where he had been teaching at Zhongshan University.
- The Shenzhen Intermediate Court sentenced Shi Xianmen to two years in prison on January 29, 2002. Shi, an assistant professor in the Shenzhen Communist Party College, was convicted of providing state secrets to Hong Kong resident Li Shaomin, who was convicted of spying and expelled from China in July.
- Zhu Ruixiang, a lawyer and former editor with Shaoyang Radio Station, was sentenced to three years in prison in mid-September on subversion charges in Shaoyang, Hunan Province. Zhu had forwarded articles critical of the government from the online dissident publication VIP Reference (www.bignews.org), a digest of news and commentary in Chinese that would not be publishable inside China because of censorship, to 12 of his friends.
- On November 2, 2001, journalist Jiang Weiping was sentenced to nine years in prison for revealing state secrets,instigating the overthrow of state power and illegally holding confidential documents. His relatives were denied access to the proceedings. A seasoned journalist who frequently reported on corruption, Jiang was arrested on December 5, 2000, after he penned two articles for Hong Kong-based Frontline magazine exposing a corruption scandal in Liaoning Province. On October 17, CPJ announced that Jiang was the recipient of one of the groups four 2001 International Press Freedom awards. (CPJ, RSF)
- On the eve of the October 2001 APEC meeting in Shanghai, dissident Guo Shaokun, a former public security officer from Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province, was detained at home by police to prevent him traveling to Shanghai during the summit. In 1999, Guo was sentenced to three years imprisonment for reporting in a letter to the Jiangsu authorities that his colleagues had beaten and detained a group of farmers protesting heavy taxes and election tampering in a Jiangsu village. After his release this year, he has no income as he was fired from his job. Guo told authorities he would resort to begging in Shanghai to make ends meet. His current whereabouts are unknown.
- On January 24, 2002, Chinese authorities secretly detained Wang Daqi, 70, professor of construction at Hefei Industrial University, and editor of Ecology magazine. Some seven officers from the State Security Bureau came to his home and confiscated Wangs journal, name cards, telephone book and other items. After the 1989 Beijing massacre, Ecology magazine began concentrating on a broad range of social problems. The authorities asked Wang to halt publication of the journal in 1997, but he refused. The immediate reason for his recent detention is unclear. Wangs wife was told her husband had violated Article 109 of Chinas Criminal Code, and had endangered state security during work related travel. However, Wang had not been abroad since he participated in an academic conference in Italy early in 1993. (HRIC)
- On the eve of the APEC summit, 11 veteran dissidents, including Liu Xiaobo and Fan Baihua, sent a joint letter to a Beijing court calling for the release of the four founders of the New Youth Society, Xu Wei, Yang Zili, Jin Haike and Zhang Honghai. The four were tried on charges of subversion in late September, but no verdict has been announced. In the letter, the dissidents argue that the Society, a study group that exchanged ideas about positive ways to reform Chinese society, did not violate Chinas constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech and association. They also questioned the validity of the prosecution case, which essentially rested on the testimony of three people who were also involved in the group, but were not charged with any crime. The letter closes by asking Chinas leaders to ensure that China upholds international standards, and to guarantee that its citizens may live free from fear. (BBC, ICHRD)
SUPPRESSING CDP REMNANTS
The independent China Democracy Party (CDP) was established in August 1998, and affiliates were set up by dissidents nationwide. However, repression of the fledgling party began soon after. By the end of December 1998, three of the Partys founders, Wang Youcai
, Qin Yongmin
and Xu Wenli
had been sentenced respectively to 11, 12 and 13 year prison terms. Since then, dozens of CDP activists have been held in custody, sent to serve RTL terms or given long prison sentences, and the repression continues.
- On January 20, CDP member Zhao Zhongmin was arrested aboard a train traveling from Shanghai to Nanjing. Police had discovered a bag of CDP publicity materials belonging to him during a safety inspection. Huang Shaoqin, another party member, was sitting opposite Zhao but was not noticed by the police. Authorities have reportedly searched Huangs home, and are trying to locate him. (AP)
- CDP members Lu Xinhua and Wang Jinbo were each convicted of subversion at separate trials and sentenced to four-year prison terms in December. They were arrested after they posted their political views on the Internet. Lu, 29, had written an article, On ruling the country through morality. Wang, also 29, was detained on May 29, 2001, for distributing articles urging the Chinese government to re-evaluate the verdict on the 1989 democracy movement. (AFP, CND)
- Ngawang Choepel, 36, the Tibetan ethno-musicologist serving an 18-year prison sentence in China for espionage, was released on medical parole and sent into exile to the United States on January 20. Ngawang Choepel attended Middlebury College in Vermont as a Fulbright scholar in 1993 and 1994. He was arrested in 1995 when he returned to Tibet to make a film about traditional Tibetan music and dance, and sentenced to prison in a closed trial. He was the first high-profile dissident to be released before US President George W. Bushs state visit to Beijing on February 21 and 22.
- On January 13, 2002 Wang Ce, a veteran of the Democracy Wall Movement and chairman of the Chinese exile organization, Alliance for a Democratic China, was released from prison and deported from China. Wang, 52, had been living in exile in Spain, and was arrested upon returning to China in November 1998 for illegally entering China and endangering state security. The main criminal act listed by the prosecution was that Wang Ce brought a contribution of $1,000 to Wang Youcai, founder of the banned CDP. Wang Ce was sentenced to four years in prison in February 1999. (DPA, ICT, FTC)
- Dissidents Wei Quanbao and Wang Yiliang were released two weeks prior to US President George W. Bushs state visit to Beijing in February. Wei had completed his RTL term, while Wang was just days away from finishing his. Wei, editor of Mengya, a Shanghai-based underground magazine during the Democracy Wall Movement, was detained in November 1998 for illegally entering China, and sentenced to three years of RTL. Wei left China to live in the United States in 1994. Wang, a publisher of a dissident literary magazine, was detained for possession of pornography. The charges were based on Wangs possession of videotapes of the films The Piano and Lady Chatterleys Lover. On February 29, 2000, the Shanghai Reeducation Through Labor Management Committee stated Wang had been found guilty of disseminating and reproducing pornographic material. He was sentenced to two years of RTL. (CND, DFN)
TWO PROMINENT DISSIDENTS DIE
Two influential political dissidents passed away in recent months. Wang Ruowang
, 83, one of the most famous dissident writers of the 1980s, died in late December in Queens, New York. Wang refused an offer from China a week before his death to allow him to return to his homeland. The offer, made by a government official to Wangs children in Shanghai, was conditional on Wang promising not to publish articles criticizing the government or meet with dissidents. The memorial held for Wang in Flushing, NY, drew around 500 people, and was the largest gathering of Chinese dissidents and activists in exile for many years.
Police in Shanghai and Xian arrested 18 dissidents planning to hold memorials for Wang Ruowang. The memorials were planned to coincide with the funeral service for Wang in New York.
- Wang Ruoshui, 75, a former deputy chief editor of the Peoples Daily who was expelled from the Party for criticizing Mao Zedong, calling for mental emancipation and advocating the adoption of humanism, died on January 9. Wang was staying with his wife, journalist Feng Yuan, who is a Nieman fellow at Harvard University. Wang was one of four Chinese dissidents to join the board of HRIC while still living in China.(HRIC, LAT, DPA)
In mid-February, the New York-based Committee for Investigation on Persecution of Religion in China released what the group said are top secret internal documents documenting the Chinese governments crackdown on religious groups deemed threats to state security. The seven documents, said to be official speeches and memos written between April 1999 and October 2001, illustrate the governments methods of restricting religious freedom, including interrogation, surveillance and infiltration of unofficial groups by secret agents. (Reuters, SCMP)
- Also in February, an international campaign was launched to persuade the authorities to overturn death sentences handed down to five leaders of South China Church, an underground Christian group that claims 50,000 followers in China. The Intermediate Court in Jingmen City, Hubei Province, convicted the founders on charges of using an evil sect to harm the implementation of the law, premeditated assault and crimes of rape and hooliganism. Church members say that the charges are without foundation, and are part of an official campaign to discredit the groups leaders. International rights groups asked the Bush administration to raise the issue with Chinese leaders during their meetings in Beijing on February 21-22. (NYT, CND)
- In early February, Yinxi Peoples Court in Fuqing City sentenced Hong Kong businessman Lai Kwong Keung, 38, to two years in prison, and mainlanders Lin Xifu and Yu Zhudi, both 42, each to three years in prison, for smuggling more than 30,000 Bibles into the mainland to a Christian group known as the Shouters. All three men were arrested in May while transporting 16,280 Bibles to Fuqing. They were later accused of having brought 16,800 Bibles to the same area one month earlier. Wang Xuexiao, 55, and Liu Xishu, 50, were detained in Anhui on suspicion of belonging to the Shouters, and charged with using a cult to sabotage the implementation of the law.
Lai, Lin and Yu were originally charged with the same offense, but the charges were reduced to the lesser offense of illegal business after governments, including the United States, expressed concern. On February 11, Lai was released from custody on medical grounds and flew back to Hong Kong. He credited the upcoming visit to China of President Bush for securing his release. Both Lin and Yu remain in prison. (SCMP, CND)
HRIC TESTIFIES AT CONGRESSIONAL HEARING Xiao Qiang
, Executive Director of Human Rights in China, delivered testimony at the first hearing of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China on February 7, 2002. The Commission was established by Congress to monitor human rights and the development of the rule of law in China.
The theme for the first hearing was Human Rights in the Context of the Rule of Law. In the testimony, Xiao highlighted key issues confronting China, such as the repressive use of law, the arbitrariness of administrative detention, discrimination against rural residents and ethnic minorities and a general lack of accountability for human rights violations. Other witnesses included James Feinerman
of Georgetown University Law Center, Mike Jendrzejczyk
of Human Rights Watch, and Professor William P. Alford
from Harvard Law School. (HRIC)
HIGH COMMISSIONER VISITS BEIJING
During a November visit to Beijing, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson expressed concern about the use of torture by the police and the widespread use of capital punishment. She also raised the cases of a number of individuals, including Xu Wenli
, who is serving a 13-year prison term for his role in the CDP and is gravely ill with hepatitis, according to his family. Xus wife, He Xintong, had appealed to Robinson to raise her husbands case. Robinson was attending the final workshop in a year-long program of technical cooperation with the Chinese government. (HRIC, NYT, SCMP)RAPPORTEUR DENIED ACCESS
Almost three years after issuing an invitation to UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Sir Nigel Rodley, to visit China, the Chinese government continued to refuse to accept that his mission should be conducted on the basis of terms of reference setting out the accepted form for missions by UN experts. These include full access to prisons and detention centers, and private meetings with prisoners. The invitation to Rodley has repeatedly been touted by some Western governments as an achievement of the bilateral human rights dialogues demonstrating the Chinese governments cooperation with the UN human rights machinery. In a press release, HRIC said, The record of two-and-a-half years of negotiations illustrates how China is going through the motions of cooperating with the UN human rights system, avoiding substantive actions to end rights abuses while doing just enough to allow Chinas partners in bilateral human rights dialogues to claim that progress is being made. Such cynical maneuvering makes no impact on the grim fate of those suffering from and dying under torture. Rodley resigned his post on November 12. (SCMP, HRIC)XINJIANG CRACKDOWN IN NAME OF WAR ON TERROR
The Chinese government has sought to justify its continuing repression of ethnic nationalists in the Xinjiang region by presenting it as part of the global war on terrorism. On November 12, Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan
claimed that terrorist forces in Xinjiang have long been trained, financed and supported by international terrorist organizations. In describing the activities of Xinjiang terrorists for the first time, official spokespeople used the name of the region preferred by some Uighur nationalists, East Turkestan. For example, on December 21, 2001, Xinhua News Agency issued a press release entitled The East Turkestan terrorists will not escape justice. At a press conference, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao detailed a number of bombings and other violent incidents in Xinjiang from 1992 to 1997.
Human rights groups and exiled Uighur activists expressed deep concern that the Chinese government was using such claims as a smokescreen for intensifying its suppression of peaceful efforts to promote the rights of Uighurs and other ethnic groups in Xinjiang. Amnesty International said the Chinese governments call for international support of crackdown raises fears that repression of Muslim ethnic groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region will increase and that the dismal human rights situation in the region with further deteriorate.
In early February 2002, the East Turkestan Information Center (ETIC) issued a report, Situation with Human Rights in East Turkestan After September 11th Events. In the report, the group claims the Chinese government has intensified its efforts to oppress the Uighur people, particularly the Uighur independence movement. According to information received by ETIC, more than 3,000 Uighurs were arrested on political charges since September 11. Twenty people were executed for being splittists and illegal religious elements.
The government crackdown is also targeting cultural and religious expression. After a man recited a poem portrayed as anti-government at a concert at Xinjiang Peoples Hall on January 1, artists and writers were notified that the government-sponsored crackdown would also target those individuals promoting separatism through works of art. In mid-November, Xinhua announced that the on-going patriotic education campaign for religious leaders in Xinjiang would be intensified. Some 8,000 imams in charge of mosques would be required to take lessons to correct political and ideological confusions. (BBC, DPA, AI, SCMP, HRW, WUNN, ETIC)CALL FOR DEMOCRATIC REFORMS
In early December, Wang Guixiu
, a politics professor at the Central Party School, caused a stir in Beijing by penning an article that criticized Chinas political system and called for democratic reforms. In the article, Wang suggested the CCP adopt free voting in multi-candidate elections and transform the National Peoples Congress into a standing Parliament, the members of which are directly elected and free to vote as they wish. The article appeared in the obscure journal, China Party and Political Cadres Forum
, but it was published at a time when liberals within the CCP are trying to exert some influence over the agenda of this years 16th Party Congress, due to be held in the fall. The school, Chinas top ideological think-tank, is run by Vice President Hu Jintao and has a reputation for taking reformist positions. Professor Wang was a close associate of disgraced former CCP General Secretary Zhao Ziyang, and helped write Zhaos speech at the 1987 13th Party Congress that called for numerous political reforms, including the separation of Party and
government. (SCMP)OVERDUE WAGES
In early February, China Daily
reported that a total of 36.69 billion yuan ($4.44 billion) in overdue wages remain unpaid to migrant workers. The report, citing figures from Guan Huai, a legal consultant on migrant workers rights, stated that insufficient knowledge of the law among the workers and poor excuses made by employers are reasons for the unpaid wages. (CND)PROTEST OVER UNFAIR TAXES
Frequent protests in rural China in recent months have highlighted the heavy tax burden and arbitrary fees levied on farmers and other rural residents by local officials. On January 4, 2002, hundreds of farmers staged street protests in the township of Fusan, Henan Province, after authorities tried to collect overdue taxes forcibly. The angry farmers overturned cars belonging to the local CCP committee. The suicides of seven farmers in Hubei Province last year, who took their lives by swallowing poison, were attributed by local people to their inability to meet demands from local officials for taxes and other fees. Farmers who could not pay certain taxes were detained and humiliated in mass meetings.(SCMP, CND)MINING ACCIDENTS
As well as being among the largest in the world, Chinas mining sector also has the dubious distinction of being one of the most deadly for the people who work in it.
According to official statistics, approximately 10,000 workers are killed in accidents in coal mines every year. Unofficial sources put the figure twice as high. In the latest in a string of fatal accidents, in January 28, 2002, two gas explosions in a coal mine in northern China killed at least 27 people, while 11 were injured and one person is still missing. Days earlier on January 19, an explosion at Nuanerhe mine near Chengde City north of Beijing killed 19 miners. A second explosion at the mine the same day killed an additional eight miners who were recovering the bodies of the dead. On January 15, 25 miners were killed in a mine in Wenshan, Yunnan Province. Just the day before, eight miners lost their lives in a gas explosion in Lengshuijiang, also in Yunnan Province. (DPA, BBC)MASSIVE VIOLATIONS IN TIBET
A Tibetan human rights group said in early January that the Chinese government committed massive human rights violations in Tibet during 2001. The group, the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy, counted 37 new arrests during the year, and said the number of political prisoners had increased to 254.
- Plans have been laid to build a railroad from the western Chinese city of Golmud to Lhasa. Tibetans have expressed concern that the new railroad will bring floods of Chinese settlers, further eroding Tibetan cultural identity. While Chinese officials cite the railroads economic potential, the Tibetan government-in-exile says the project will damage the environment and allow the Chinese government to plunder Tibets resources. Rail access may also tighten the Chinese governments political grip on the region. Were not anti-development, but were scared of all the Chinese coming. They have the governments backing, so what can we do? said a Tibetan trader buying clothes in Golmud.
- Kelsang Gyatso, a Tibetan monk in his early twenties, died following a short period in detention in Lhasa. He was detained in August with approximately 20 other Tibetans attempting to travel to India via Nepal. A Tibetan who was with the group said several Tibetans were beaten by police after being stopped on the roadside. While in detention, Kelsang began to suffer from severe headaches, incontinence and vomiting. Reports suggest he was not offered medical treatment. Kelsangs parents and family members were not notified when he was released from custody. When they were finally told of his death, they had to pay for the cost of keeping his body in a mortuary. (TIN, AP, SCMP, CND)
NO LET UP ON FALUNGONG
The governments campaign to wipe out the Falungong meditation group continues to exact a heavy toll, with reports from the group that the number of practitioners dying in police custody is rising. According to estimates by Falungong, over 300 practitioners have died either in detention or soon after being released due to such causes as injuries sustained from torture and lack of medical treatment. On December 5, Zhang Min
of Heilongjiang Province reportedly died in custody at the Yilan County No. 2 Detention Center after police beat her for refusing to answer their questions. In late November, eight deaths were reported. Qiu Pingan
, 54, died at his home in Hubei Province after more than a year of illegal detention, hard labor and torture a spokesman for the group said. Liao Qinyang
, 33, died in a police car on November 8, just one hour after she was taken into custody from her home village in northeastern China. Relatives reported seeing a hole in the back of Liaos head, along with other signs of abuse, but authorities denied any wrongdoing. Another man died after being chased down a flight of stairs, and three female practitioners died at a detention center in Sichuan province. On September 19, Yu Xiuling
, 32, reportedly died after being beaten by police and thrown to her death from the fourth story of a police station in the northeastern province of Liaoning. Authorities told her husband that she jumped.
Protests against the suppression of Falungong in China by non-Chinese practitioners intensified prior to Bushs visit to Beijing in February. On February 14, Chinese police detained around 40 Western Falungong practitioners in Tiananmen Square after the demonstrators unfurled hidden yellow banners and shouted Falungong is good! Police struggled with the demonstrators and punched and kicked some of them in the face. On November 20, 35 non-Chinese practitioners were detained after holding a brief demonstration in Tiananmen Square. All of the detainees were from Europe, Canada or the United States. During the demonstration, protesters unfurled a yellow banner with the groups motto, Truth, forbearance and benevolence, and sat in the lotus position for meditation. Three journalists, Jutta Lietsch, correspondent of the German newspaper Leipziger Volkszeitung
, Wen-Chun Fan, cameraman for CNN, and Stefan Niemann, correspondent of the German TV channel ARD, were detained and questioned by police for two hours for trying to cover the incident. All of the protesters were expelled from China.
- In the latest of number of such suits against provincial officials visiting the United States, on February 11, 2002, Liu Qi, mayor of Beijing, was sued by four Falungong practitioners while visiting the United States. The suit was filed in a US District Court by the Center for Justice andAccountability, a San-Francisco based human rights organization. The civil suit charged Liu with torture, cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment, arbitrary detention, crimes against humanity and interference with freedom of religion and belief. The suit, which employs the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victims Support Act, seeks to demonstrate that human rights violators do not enjoy impunity outside the borders of their own countries, a statement from the group said. (Faluninfo, AFP, DPA, NYT, RSF, CND, SCMP)
In late August, Deputy Health Minister Yin Dakui openly admitted for the first time that China faces a serious epidemic of HIV/AIDS in certain parts of the country. He acknowledged cover-ups by local officials in their jurisdictions and the governments failure to develop adequate education programs. Peter Piot, executive director of UNAIDS, openly urged the Chinese government to stop covering up mass infections resulting from illegal blood-buying in central China.
However, people infected with HIV and suffering from AIDS in rural Henan say that in many areas officials continue to cover up the problem and refuse to help sufferers. Rural residents in seriously affected villages say that local officials are refusing to address HIV/AIDS in areas outside of Wenlou Village, where Dr. Gao Yaojie
, an elderly retired doctor, brought the problem to the attention of the international community. On November 22, four men infected with HIV by selling their blood were arrested at the Zhumadian health bureau in Henan for demanding medication. Also in November, officials in Suixian County detained farmers suffering from the disease, as well as journalists trying to interview them. All of us want to appeal, but most dont dare because theyre too afraid. People who have tried are all under surveillance. Its even hard for them to leave the village, said one elderly woman with AIDS. (SCMP, NYT, RSF)TRUE DEMOCRACY?
Experiments with direct elections in Chinas countryside continue to be plagued by accusations of fraud, bribery and vote-rigging by CCP officials. On January 28, 2002, over 200 angry residents of Shilaoren Village in Shandong Province held demonstrations in Qingdao City and the town of Laoshan to protest what they believed to be a fixed village election. Qu Liangkun
, who had been a candidate in the polls, said authorities issued only one voter registration document per family to over 300 local workers, thus effectively denying other family members of legal voting age the right to vote. Workers were also reportedly promised increased wages if they voted for the officials in power, and were threatened with dismissal if they cast their votes for new candidates.
- Wang Wenli, 61, and his daughter Wang Limei were sentenced to a year in prison on October 26, after they angered officials in Wafangdian City, Fuzhou Province, by campaigning on behalf of residents in Bali Village in January 2000. The two had been detained in February 2000 on charges of disturbing public order and obstructing public affairs, but were later released. In June and July 2001, Wang Wenli won the highest number of votes in elections to select the leadership of the village committee. Both times, however, the township government rejected the results, saying that Wang was not eligible to be village head because he was out on bail awaiting trial. Last month, despite the lack of pending criminal or civil charges, authorities suddenly decided to order prison terms for the two. (CND)
- On December 13, 2001, Sun Xuede, head of a group of 57 elected village heads in Qixia, Shandong Province, was sentenced to eight years in prison for breaking into a government office and embezzling public funds. Three other members of the group were also handed prison sentences. In 1999, Sun, a maverick candidate, was elected with 85 percent of the vote, only to be arrested later for organizing a crowd to attack government offices. The group alleges that local CCP cadres had beaten some of them and locked them out of their offices for fear the newly elected village head would expose official graft if they gained access to village accounting records. Sun had reported the situation to the Peoples Daily and Southern Weekend.
- Continuing CCP control over village committee elections was demonstrated by a case in a village near Shanghai. More than 90 percent of the 930 eligible voters in a community in Quanwang County, just east of Shanghai, turned out for the sixth village election held since 1987. The elections are supposed to give villagers the power to elect their village director and governing committee, and give them a say in their immediate affairs, such as construction, investments and schooling. However, critics say the people of Quanwang re-elected the incumbent director, who is Party branch leader for the sixth time, because the Party maintains control over the elected body. (NYT, SCMP, CND)
STRIKE HARD CAMPAIGN CONTINUES
In December, officials announced plans to focus the eight-month old Strike Hard campaign on economic crimes in 2002. Over the past year, Chinese courts sentenced some 211,000 people on criminal charges, including 16,000 for economic crimes. The Strike Hard campaign went into overdrive ahead of the October 1 National Day holiday, with almost 1,500 people arrested in less than two days. More than 50,000 people took part in 20 fast-track sentencing rallies, with 227 punishments handed down, including 146 death sentences and jail terms of five terms or more. Since the start of the latest Strike Hard campaign in April, AI has reported 1,800 executions. Western diplomats who have monitored press reports have put that number at 2,000. Rights groups speculate that many of those executed could be innocent, because they are convicted after hurried trials based on confessions extracted under torture. During the past three months, China has executed more people than the rest of the world combined over the last three years. However, the total number of executions is a heavily guarded state secret. (AFP)ORGAN HARVESTING ON DEATH ROW
China continues to use executed prisoners as unwilling organ donors, according to a former official involved with organ harvesting. Huang Peng
, a former Chinese prison official who fled from China in mid-October, explained how hospitals and government detention centers work with courts to coordinate executions with transplant operations, so that organs are as fresh as possible. The practice is so common and demand for organs so pressing that few checks exist to ensure that the executed are even dead before their organs are removed, Huang said. The practice of turning prisoners into unwilling donors is common knowledge in the penal system in Liaoning Province, he asserted. The Chinese government denies that organs are taken without prisoners consent. (NYT)CENSORSHIP CONTINUES
Since a nationwide sweep began in April 2001, Chinese authorities have shut down more than 17,000 of Chinas 94,000 Internet cafes for failing to block Web sites considered subversive. In addition to closing cafes, another 28,000 were ordered to install monitoring software to scrutinize customers browsing online. The Chinese government also blocks many Web sites overseas.
- Blocks on the Web sites of a number of US news organizations were reimposed immediately after George Bush left Shanghai following the APEC summit. The blocks on the sites had been lifted for the duration of the meeting. High-speed access to the once-blocked sites, including CNN and The Washington Post, was reportedly available from APEC meeting halls.
- In mid-December, Beijing ordered a crackdown on television companies that provide Chinese viewers with foreign broadcasts. Beijing cable operators that carry foreign channels to private subscribers disrupt national security, economic order and the dignity of the law, said the Beijing Morning Post. Generally only buildings and hotels serving foreigners, as well as government offices, are allowed access to stations carrying foreign programming. (SCMP)
HRIC DIRECTOR RECEIVES AWARD
On October 24, HRIC Executive Director Xiao Qiang
was named a recipient of a 2001 MacArthur Fellowship, a stipend paid over five years to individuals the MacArthur Foundation recognize as possessing a marked capacity for dedication to their pursuits and self-direction. I accept this extraordinary honor with deep gratitude to the two countries I love: China where I was born and raised, and America where I live now. I cherish values of free expression, creativity and human dignity, and commit myself to the full realization of these values in China, Xiao said. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is a private, independent grant-making institution dedicated to helping groups and individuals foster lasting improvement for the human condition. (HRIC)ABBREVIATIONS
AFP - Agence France Presse
AI - Amnesty International
AP - Associated Press
BBC - British Broadcasting Corporation
CND - China News Digest
CCP - Chinese Communist Party
CPJ - Committee to Protect Journalists
DPA - Deutsche Presse Agentur
ETC - East Turkestan Information
FTC - Free Tibet Campaign
HRIC - Human Rights in China
HRW - Human Rights Watch
ICHRD - Information Center for Human Rights & Democracy
ITC - International Campaign for Tibet
LAT - Los Angeles Times
NYT - New York Times
RTL - Reeducation Through Labor
RSF - Reporteurs Sans Frontieres
SCMP - South China Morning Post
TIN - Tibetan Information Network
WUNN - World Uighur Network NewsCompiled by Joseph Chaney