Human Rights

Duo spent 17 hours in police custody despite cultural mission

Taiwan News 
Date: 2018/02/22
By: Matthew Strong, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A writer for the New York Times and his French photographer were detained by Chinese police for 17 hours after their visit to a Tibetan temple over the Lunar New Year.

Tibetan nuns in the Chinese province of Yunnan. (By Associated Press)

Reporter Steven Lee Myers and photographer Gilles Sabrie were visiting the Dzongsar Monastery in Sichuan Province to observe monks rehearsing a dance for the Tibetan New Year, or Losar.

However, a uniformed police officer appeared at the temple and said there were questions to answer, Myers wrote in his piece, which took the place of the originally planned cultural feature.

He described the incident as a “self-inflicted embarrassment” as all he had planned to do was to write about holiday traditions in the region.    [FULL  STORY]

Date: February 16, 2018 
By: Michael Martina

GUANGHE, China (Reuters) – For some in China’s ethnic Hui Muslim minority here, a recent ban

The sun rises over mountains and mosques in China’s Linxia, Gansu province, home to a large population of ethnic minority Hui Muslims, February 3, 2018. Picture taken February 3, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Martina

on young people engaging in religious education in mosques is an unwelcome interference in how they lead their lives.

Their big fear is the Chinese government may be bringing in measures in this northwestern province of Gansu that are similar to some of those used in the crackdown on Uighur Muslims in the giant Xinjiang region further to the west.

Well-integrated into society and accustomed to decades of smooth relations with the government, many Hui have watched with detachment as authorities have subjected Xinjiang to near-martial law, with armed police checkpoints, reeducation centers, and mass DNA collection.

But in January, education officials from the local government in Guanghe county, which is a heavily-Muslim area, banned children from attending religious education during the Lunar New Year break. That lasts for several weeks around the week-long public holiday period that started on Thursday.

It is unclear if the ban, similar to those used by the authorities in the Uighur communities, will continue after the holiday, but it appears to conform to new national regulations that took effect on Feb. 1 aiming to increase oversight over religion.    [FULL  STORY]

BBC News
February 1, 2018
By: John Sudworth

As Theresa May visits China, the UK government has raised concerns over religious freedom in the country’s mainly Muslim province of Xinjiang.

One man, who fled the country for Turkey, has told the BBC he’ll “pay for the bullet” to kill his family to save them from a detention camp.

John Sudworth reports from Xinjiang, where all filming and reporting by foreign media is tightly controlled.    [SOURCE]

State-run media calls British PM pragmatic for ignoring ‘noise and nagging’ from ‘radical public opinion’ while on visit

The Guardian
Date: 2 Feb 2018
By: Tom Phillips in Beijing

China’s state-run media has commended a “pragmatic” Theresa May for resisting calls to publicly challenge Beijing over Hong Kong and human rights during her three-day visit.

In an editorial on Friday, the third and final day of May’s tour, the Global Times newspaper said the prime minister had wisely “sidestepped” such issues as she sought “pragmatic collaboration” between Britain and the world’s number two economy.

“Some western media outlets keep pestering May to criticise Beijing in an attempt to showcase that the UK has withstood pressure from China and the west has consolidated its commanding position over the country in politics,” the Communist party-run tabloid claimed in its English-language edition.

“Certain democracy activists in Hong Kong also intervened,” the nationalist newspaper added, pointing to an article in the Guardian on Wednesday in which Joshua Wong urged May to challenge Beijing’s “relentless crackdown” on the former British colony.

However, the Global Times congratulated May for turning a deaf ear to such calls, which it attributed to “radical public opinion”.    [FULL  STORY]

npr News
Date: February 1, 2018
By: Leta Hong Fincher

When Xiao Meili entered her freshman year at the Communication University of China in

Xiao Meili, 28, is a feminist activist in Guangzhou, China.
Reuters Staff/Reuters

2008, she was inundated with sexist messages that made her feel bad about herself.

“In high school, we were never allowed to wear makeup, then when we started university, all of a sudden, becoming a ‘pretty woman’ became a very important responsibility,” said Xiao. “I tried hard but it was just impossible for me to live up to all these ridiculous standards placed on women.”

Ten years later, Xiao has become a prominent feminist activist and one of many Chinese women who have seized on the momentum of the global #MeToo movement against sexual harassment to call for change at home.

As the #MeToo campaign spreads from one university to another in China, it is demonstrating the extraordinary resilience of a feminist movement that has posed a unique challenge to China’s male-dominated, authoritarian regime. For the first time since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949, organized feminist activists, independent of the ruling Communist Party, have tapped into a broad discontent among Chinese women and developed a level of influence over public opinion that is unusual for any social movement in China.

Gai in the spotlight. (Courtesy of iQiyi)

Date: January 19, 2018
BY: Zheping Huang

Last summer, hip-hop finally went mainstream in China thanks to a singing competition, The Rap of China, becoming an unexpected sensation. Problem: The government, not just fans, began paying more attention to the lyrics of Chinese rappers.

The show, a 12-episode series on the online platform iQiyi, garnered some 2.7 billion views (paywall) and turned dozens of young contestants into stars.

Among the celebrities it created is 30-year-old Zhou Yan, better known by his stage name Gai. His soaring popularity led to a recent appearance on The Singer—a music-contest show on one of China’s most popular TV channels—where Gai came in a solid third place competing against British pop star Jessie J and a lineup of veteran Chinese singers. His remake of the theme song to The Swordsman, a 1990 kung-fu flick, became an instant hit on China’s internet after he sang it on the show. “When his voice came out, I felt numbness in my head,” one viewer marveled on Weibo, a Twitter-like social network.

But reports emerged last night that Gai will no longer participate in the show, with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) believed to have escalated its crackdown on vulgar rap lyrics. Gai’s staffers confirmed his departure to the news portal Netease (link in Chinese) without providing an explanation. Hunan TV, which airs The Singer, has yet to comment on the matter. Meanwhile the show has pulled Gai’s clips from various platforms, including YouTube.

The Washington Post
Date: January 19, 2018 
By: John Pomfret

Chen Xiaoping, a New York-based editor at Chinese-language Mirror Media Group, talks about his wife, who he believes was kidnapped and is being held by Chinese security force, during an interview on Wednesday at his studio in New York. (Julie Jacobson/Associated Press)
On Jan. 14, a Chinese woman addressed her husband in a YouTube video. In the less-than-two-minute clip, Li Huaiping explains that she hasn’t contacted her husband since September because of “relationship issues” and asks him to stop writing her.

Li Huaiping’s video is hardly a marital spat gone viral. It might be part of an operation conducted by Chinese authorities to mute criticism of China across the world. While Russian meddling in the U.S. political system gets the lion’s share of the attention in the United States, China’s transnational operation to suppress free speech and influence international public opinion is equally significant, extending to Chinese American communities as well as to the mainstream U.S. media.

Li’s husband is Chen Xiaoping, an American citizen and the editor in chief of Huopai Mirror Media, a Chinese-language media outlet based in Great Neck, Long Island. Starting in January 2017, Chen began interviewing Chinese dissident billionaire Guo Wengui and airing his reports on Huopai’s YouTube channel. On Sept. 18, just hours before Chen was set to interview Guo for the sixth time in New York City, Chinese authorities grabbed his wife in Guangzhou, China, and kept her incommunicado for some 120 days — until Sunday, a day after Chen released a letter to the Chinese government pleading for information about his wife.    [FULL  STORY]


The China Post
Date: December 24, 2017

The secret diplomatic cable seen by the AFP news agency at Britain’s National Archives gives gruesome details of the 1989 Chinese army clampdown on pro-democracy protesters.

“Minimum estimate of civilian dead 10,000,” the British ambassador at the time, Alan Donald, said in a telegram to London on June 5, 1989, a day after the violent suppression.

The document was made public more than 28 years after the Tiananmen Square massacre.

The secret cable puts the Tiananmen Square civilian death toll almost 10 times higher than the one of several hundred to more than a thousand deaths that is commonly accepted.

Jean-Pierre Cabestan, a French China expert, told AFP the British figure seemed credible as it was also supported by recently declassified US documents.

“That’s two pretty independent sources which say the same things,” said Cabestan, who is a professor at Hong Kong Baptist University.

Alan Donald’s report was “not particularly astonishing considering how crowded it was in Beijing [and] the number of people mobilized” against the Chinese government,” he said.  [FULL  STORY]

The Herald Courier
Date:  Dec 7, 2017

BEIJING (AP) — Hundreds of participants attended the opening of a human rights forum in

Chinese Foreign Minster Wang Yi speaks during the South-South Human Rights Forum at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. China opened a human rights forum attended by developing countries Thursday in its energetic drive to showcase what it considers the strengths of its authoritarian political system under President Xi Jinping. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Mark Schiefelbein

Beijing on Thursday in the latest installment of China’s energetic drive to showcase what it considers the strengths of its authoritarian political system under President Xi Jinping.
Beijing’s new outreach comes as the U.S. turns inward under President Donald Trump, who has set aside traditional U.S. advocacy of democracy and human rights in favor of an “America first” approach That has seen Washington withdraw from key forums from the Paris climate agreement to negotiations on a U.N. migration compact.

The “South-South Human Rights Forum,” drawing some 300 participants from over 50 mostly developing countries, follows a conference of political parties last weekend in Beijing also attended by hundreds of delegates, some of whom sung the praises of Communist Party rule. The gathering also comes on the heels of a twice-a-decade Communist Party congress in October, at which Xi declared that China now stood “tall and firm in the east” and had entered a new era seeing China “moving closer to center stage and making greater contributions to mankind.”

Addressing Thursday’s opening session, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the party congress had “identified the goal of forging a new field in international relations and building a community of shared future for mankind.”
“This is China’s answer to the question of where human society is heading, and it has also presented opportunities for the development of the human rights cause,” Wang said.

Fox News
Date: November 16, 2017
By:  Christopher Bodeen, Associated Press

BEIJING –  Activists are describing a drastic deterioration in China’s treatment of human rights campaigners as the country’s most powerful leader in a generation associates China’s rise as a global power with highly authoritarian, one-party rule.

A Human Rights Watch researcher and others say there are more secret detentions and closed-door trials and less regard for due process. Political prisoners are held in harsh conditions and their health is ignored.

Maya Wang of Human Rights Watch describes the situation as the worst since 1989’s crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square. “We feel we haven’t hit bottom yet.”

China’s government rejects accusations of rights abuses but it also says no outsider has the right to challenge its judicial sovereignty and dismisses universal rights as a Western notion that would undermine Chinese society.    [FULL  STORY]

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