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http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/31/china-crackdown-on-activists-arrests-disappearances?CMP=twt_gu

 

Scary stuff.

Prominent human rights lawyers missing.

 

 

China has launched the most severe crackdown on dissidents and activists for more than a decade, human rights campaigners have warned.

 

At least 23 people have been detained, mostly in relation to charges of incitement to subversion or creating a disturbance; three more have been formally arrested; and a dozen people are missing, including several prominent human rights lawyers. Rights groups say they are increasingly concerned that those who have vanished may be at physical risk.

 

The move follows anonymous online calls for "jasmine revolution" protests, echoing the uprisings in the Middle East. Although the posting was on an overseas website, and there was little sign of domestic support for the appeal, officials began detaining and harassing people within hours of its appearance.

 

"I think the crackdown is partly to find out who is behind it," said Wang Songlian of the Chinese Human Rights Defenders network, which has been monitoring the detentions. It believes about 200 more people had their movements controlled for shorter periods.

 

Wang added: "But part of it is an opportunity to retaliate against certain people … The terror of this current crackdown is that it is very difficult to know whether you are going to be next. That in itself is very unsettling for activists."

 

The group is one of several to describe the campaign as the harshest since 1998, when the government imprisoned around two dozen activists for organising the China Democracy political party, although some argue that the troubled regions of Xinjiang and Tibet have seen equally sweeping "anti-separatist" drives in the interim.

 

Many of the latest detainees appear to have been targeted for publicly criticising the authorities on Twitter or other online services, or have a history of rights activism.

 

Although three men in Sichuan have been formally arrested for incitement to subversion – well-known blogger Ran Yunfei, Chen Wei and Ding Mao – the greatest concern is for those who have simply disappeared. In several cases, they were last seen being taken away by police.

 

"We are worried and can't eat well or sleep properly each night. They are doing good deeds for people; why should they be taken away?" said Pang Jinhua, mother-in-law of lawyer Teng Biao, who has been missing since mid-February.

 

Jiang Tianyong's wife, Jin Bianling, said police told her they did not know his whereabouts, while Chinese Human Rights Defenders reported that Tang Jitian is now thought to be held in "soft detention" in his hometown in Jilin.

 

Other lawyers missing are Li Tiantian of Shanghai and Liu Shihui from Guangzhou. Another Guangzhou lawyer, Tang Jingling, may also be missing. The latter vanished shortly after telling the Guardian he had been hooded and beaten on his way to a demonstration.

 

Their friends and supporters are increasingly fearful that they may face long prison terms or lengthy illegal detentions and even physical abuse. Chinese law states that police must inform an individual's relatives or place of work within 24 hours of detention, unless there is no way to do so or it would "impede the investigation".

 

Joshua Rosenzweig of the Dui Hua foundation, which supports political prisoners, said that the China Democracy party activists had at least gone through a judicial process, however flawed.

 

"One of the things disturbing about this latest crackdown is how apparently routine it has become for security agents to essentially ignore the legal procedures in their treatment of activists," he said.

 

He added: "The possibility of torture – whether in reality or in suspicion – is a bigger deterrent and much more chilling than jail … [People] wonder if they are next on the list."

 

Nicholas Bequelin, an Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch, warned: "We are very apprehensive about the risk of torture and ill-treatment.

 

"We are seeing the government trying to roll back the space that has opened up in the last 10 years, particularly in terms of the assertion of rights.

 

"It's an effort to instil fear for internet users so they exercise self-censorship. It's also an attempt to decapitate civil society by taking away its most visible figures."

 

Many usually outspoken government critics have become reluctant to speak to diplomats, journalists or other foreign contacts.

 

Police did not respond to faxed questions about the missing lawyers. Asked about concerns for their whereabouts and physical safety, a foreign ministry spokeswoman, Jiang Yu, told a regular press briefing: "China's judicial authorities work independently.

 

"China, as a country under the rule of law, protects its citizens' basic rights and freedoms – including freedom of expression – but citizens while exercising their rights have an obligation to abide by the law and should not bring harm to the public interest."

 

Earlier this week China dismissed a call from a UN rights agency to free human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who has not been seen for almost a year and is thought to have been detained for two years.

 

There is also concern for the whereabouts of Australian novelist and writer Yang Hengjun.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12954811

 

The internationally acclaimed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been missing for more than 24 hours after being detained at Beijing airport.

 

The artist was stopped while passing through security checks for a flight to Hong Kong.

 

No one has seen or heard from him since. The authorities have not commented.

 

Ai Weiwei has become one of China's most outspoken critics, complaining about a lack of human rights.

 

The artist was detained on Sunday morning while travelling with an assistant, Jennifer Ng.

 

The documents of both were checked thoroughly before Ms Ng was allowed to continue on her journey to Hong Kong.

 

She told the BBC that Ai Weiwei was taken away by border guards.

 

"I went back to check with the security officers and they said, 'He has other business - you go on the flight on your own'," she said.

 

A few hours later, more than 40 police officers raided the artist's Beijing studio.

 

Dozens of items were confiscated, said another assistant, and several people were taken to a nearby police station. They were released a few hours later.

 

Ai Weiwei's artwork is known across the world.

 

He helped design the main stadium used in the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. It became known as the Bird's Nest because of its intricate steel latticework.

 

He currently has an exhibition at the Tate Modern gallery in London. It is made up of 100 million porcelain objects made to look like sunflower seeds, a popular snack food in China.

 

The artist has also become a vocal critic of the Chinese government.

 

Some of his work has political connotations - he tried to gather the names of every school child who died during the Sichuan earthquake in 2008.

 

This is a sensitive subject as many schools fell down in the earthquake, leading to claims that they were shoddily built.

 

The Chinese government is reluctant to talk about this issue and has arrested activists who do.

 

Ai Weiwei has also lent his support to others who have tackled the authorities.

 

He turned up outside the Beijing courthouse when fellow artist Wu Yuren went on trial at the end of last year.

 

He used the opportunity to talk to the foreign media, berating the government for what he believes is a lack of basic rights and freedoms in China.

 

These activities have brought him to the attention of the authorities.

 

The 53-year-old was last year prevented from travelling abroad and, in a separate incident, was briefly held under house arrest.

 

He is under constant surveillance. Miss Ng, his assistant, said the police had visited his compound three times recently.

 

She said that had led Ai Weiwei to wonder if his next detention was not far away.

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Whether Mark has me on ignore, or is just ignoring me, it doesn't matter.

I'm putting this story in here, since this is what the thread was for. You can discuss it in the other thread but I like a nice healthy list of their actions in one place.

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/14/china-time-travel-dramas

 

China censors want to consign time travel dramas to past

State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, denounces 'frivolous' approach to history by programme-makers

 

 

China's censors have long been known for their stringent approach to television, but now they are taking on an unexpected small screen menace – the inappropriate use of time travel.

 

Fans fear the heyday of the popular genre is over after Li Jingsheng, of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (Sarft), denounced such dramas' "frivolous" approach to history.

 

"Time travel dramas are becoming a hot theme for television and films. But the content and exaggerated performance style are questionable," Li, who heads the television drama management division, told a conference.

 

"Many stories are totally made up and are made to strain for an effect of novelty. The producers and writers are treating serious history in a frivolous way, which should by no means be encouraged any longer," he said.

 

A statement on the Sarft website warns companies to avoid "incorrect" shows, attacking time travel dramas for their "bizarre" plots and reinvention of myths and even for spreading feudal superstition.

 

The Xinmin Evening News, which first reported the story, said the administration was outlawing the genre. But experts said the new guidelines – although they already appear to have reined in producers – were not a ban as such.

 

"A warning – it is not an official ban – from Sarft is already strong enough," Professor Nie Wei, of the School of Movie and Television Drama Studies, at Shanghai University, said.

 

"The producers of the Palace, the recent popular time travel drama, are changing their scripts [for the next series],.

 

"Some of the time travel dramas nowadays are made in a very shoddy way and are irresponsible in not respecting history – but overall, it is more complicated [than Li suggests].

 

"I think whether there is time travel or not is not important. What matters is whether it is a good piece of work or not."

 

While western examples of the genre, such as Life on Mars or Quantum Leap, have often focused on the recent past, the Chinese programmes fuse a modern mindset with the country's passion for costume drama.

 

Last year's hits included the Myth, in which a teenager travels back 2,000 years and becomes an army general. The Palace was about a modern girl who finds herself in the much more recent Qing dynasty, where she is torn between two rival princes.

 

The Sarft director has found at least some backers among television viewers. "History is history; history is not entertainment. This [sort of thing] would confuse young people's minds," one internet user wrote in an online discussion.

 

But another asked: "Who would watch a television drama as if it was a textbook? Why should it be taken so seriously?"

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^ ^ Seriously? And why?

 

See the thread title. It's because China has a lack of basic human rights and freedoms that means it would ban a messageboard with a thread documenting that.

 

I'm trying to find the word to describe what this board being banned on the basis of the motives of this thread represents . It's more than irony but my vocabulary doesn't stretch far enough to cover it.

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It's weird, providing what Ian said is true, on a message board where there is over 60,000 members, 67,679 threads and 4.7million posts and after one of my threads and specifically four posts and possibly a handful of other posts around the forum it's now banned from a nation of 1.3billion people.

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I wondered why the Chinese members never seem to be on the board for long. Sinister or what!:stunned:

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See the thread title. It's because China has a lack of basic human rights and freedoms that means it would ban a messageboard with a thread documenting that.

 

I'm trying to find the word to describe what this board being banned on the basis of the motives of this thread represents . It's more than irony but my vocabulary doesn't stretch far enough to cover it.

 

Do you mean censorship?

 

I heard their government is affraid they will take Lybia, Egypt etc as examples to start a revolution as well.

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Do you mean censorship?

 

I heard their government is affraid they will take Lybia, Egypt etc as examples to start a revolution as well.

 

That would make sense.:dozey:

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Do you mean censorship?

 

I heard their government is affraid they will take Lybia, Egypt etc as examples to start a revolution as well.

 

That's not the word I was after. More a word to describe the situation. Like an oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines contradictory terms, or a paradox which is a seemingly true statement or group of statements that lead to a contradiction or a situation which seems to defy logic or intuition. It's a similar word to that (but obviously not that at all and in fact quite the opposite) which describes massive irony such as in this case where a thread about their lack of freedoms is banned because it was about their lack of freedoms, thus showing their lack of freedoms. Maybe there isn't a word but I'm sure there is.

 

But yes, it highlights the censorship problems and I'm sure they are very paranoid about current world affairs.

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