Reuters: Both said they faced permanent disbarment over a court hearing in southwest China last year, when they defended a member of the banned Falun Gong sect and left the courtroom to protest what they said was judicial meddling.
They and their supporters said they were facing disbarment for taking up a politically sensitive case that riled officials. Falun Gong was banned in 1999 after its followers gathered in protest around the Chinese Communist Party’s headquarters.
There are approximately 80,000 characters in Chinese, and only a few of them are banned outright. But in combination, the innocuous fa, or law, and lun, or wheel, become the banned Falun Gong movement.
In fact, the scariest thing about Chinese censorship is that there is no list of dirty words — leaving media and Web personnel always nervous about how far they can go.
“There are explicit bad words, but the system really works by instilling fear,” said David Bandurski, a scholar at the China Media Project, based at the University of Hong Kong, who in 2008 was commissioned to write a satirical piece in homage to Carlin about China’s dirty words. (“This word ‘democracy’ is a perilous word that must be handled with great care,” was part of his riff.)
“The paranoia,” Bandurski said, “is more effective than blocking certain words.”
David Thompson Meets With Chinese Official Responsible For Human Rights Violations, Religious Persecution
AFP writes that talks on human rights will resume from 2002 when the communist party stopped participating. As if they could ever be normal. What’s wrong with overthrowing that party? They will never change because human rights is against their mandate of oppression. I think if people boycotted made in China, it would have an impact, or another thing that would help is if free people continue to support and inform people in China, since blocking info and threats are integral to the party’s ability to control.
Sound of Hope Radio Network: Over the past decade of China’s communist regime filtering the Internet, a handful of anticensorship software called fan qiang (literally meaning “climb over a wall”) has successfully broken through the Internet blockade.
The best known of these are the “Five Knights”: FreeGate, UltraSurf, GardenNetwork, GPass and FirePhoenix, which have all been developed by overseas Falun Gong practitioners. Users in China told Sound of Hope Radio (SOH) that the “Five Knights” have become the essential tools for many in China. They say the firewall becomes almost nonexistent when using the “Five Knights.”
Li Fengzhi, a former Chinese Intelligence officer of China’s Bureau of State Security (BSS), said “The ‘Five Knights’ developed by Falun Gong practitioners have made a contribution far greater than just serving Falun Gong practitioners. No matter whether it is Chinese civil rights activists or Chinese officials who are not privileged enough to enjoy uncontrolled Internet services, their first thought when browsing the Internet is using fan qiang.”
BEIJING — Two Chinese lawyers who represented a follower of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement could have their licenses permanently revoked in an administrative hearing on Thursday. The action against the lawyers is the latest move in an increasingly harsh government crackdown on lawyers who take on human rights cases.
The lawyers, Tang Jitian and Liu Wei, said in a written statement that they were accused by the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Justice of having “disrupted the order of the court and interfered with the regular litigation process.” The charge against the lawyers is based on accusations from the Luzhou Municipal Intermediate People’s Court of Sichuan Province, where the lawyers defended Yang Ming, the Falun Gong practitioner, nearly a year ago.
Ironically, while domestic activists such as Hu Jia languish in PRC prisons and Chinese democratic movement leaders such as Wei Jingsheng and Wang Dan are rendered powerless in exile, social unrest and instability in the PRC continues to intensify.
If the world`s democracies continue to curry favor with the authoritarian CCP regiem and fail to support Chinese activists for human and social rights, freedom of speech, democratic freedoms or other progressive and liberal movements, China may become increasingly polarized and the direction of social unrest may turn to ultranationalism and expansionism.
In this case, the first country to be impacted will be none other than Taiwan, regardless of whether the KMT has a “truce“ with the CCP.
President Ma, who vowed to allow Taiwan to export human rights, should not forget this commitment and join the Taiwan and world human rights community`s call to save the lives of Hu Jia and other imprisoned Chinese human rights defenders.
Concretely speaking, Taiwan should respond actively to last week`s “urgent appeal“ by Amnesty International, the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), the Taiwan Association for Human Rights and many other human rights organizations to demand that the PRC government immediately give medical parole to imprisoned human rights activist Hu Jia, who is gravely ill from hepatitis-B.
Hu Jia, who has long been active in causes ranging from support for AIDS victims, environmental protection and freedom of expression, is now serving a three and a half year sentence imposed in 2008 for “inciting subversion of state power.“
A sick, elderly Chinese immigrant says he is “totally lost and confused” after his overstayer wife, removed from New Zealand by Immigration New Zealand last Friday, went missing on her way to China.
The last time 76-year-old Lu Qingzhai heard from his wife Wang Peng, 54, was a call from Kuala Lumpur where she was in transit.
But she did not arrive in Beijing to meet her waiting daughter.
“I just want to know if she is alive and well, but no one will help me and I don’t know what to do,” said Mr Lu.
“Did she get arrested by Chinese officials after landing in Beijing, or did she run away in Malaysia?”
He said it was “heartbreaking” to see her being handcuffed by police, and for immigration officials to take her away as though she was some “lowly criminal”.
“I thought people are more civilised in a democratic country, but I really see there is no difference between New Zealand and communist China.”
Central Propaganda Department
What they do: Enforce proper thinking. The ruling Communist Party greatly fears a potential free flow of information to its populace and has created a massive network of censorship to avoid such a possibility. State propaganda is an integral aspect of most authoritarian governments — and a good number of democratic ones for that matter — but rarely is the agency behind these efforts so transparent about its intentions.
Interestingly, the department is not officially part of the Chinese government, and is given no legal authority to enforce media censorship — but according to a 2005 reported by the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China, it still screens content to ensure that “anything that is inconsistent with the Communist Party’s political dogma” never sees the light of day and works closely with state authorities tasked with restricting information.
The department’s main strategy to restrict content is the encouragement of self-censorship among Chinese journalists. News outlets are expected to take their cues on what constitutes acceptable reporting, and what the party wants reported, through comments made by party officials. Furthermore, editors are forced to attend “indoctrination sessions.” The department also handles “red tourism,” a package of the most important sites in China, as perceived by the party, for visitors to see and maintains China’s version of Civil War battlefield sites, the party’s “patriotic education” bases.
This week, in a faxed response, the Information Office said the Internet news coordination bureau, which it also refers to as bureau nine, “is mainly responsible for ‘guidance, coordination and other work related to the construction and management of Web culture.’ ” It gave no further details.
China already employs a sprawling bureaucracy of government, party, and industry bodies, and local affiliates down to the neighborhood level, to screen, filter, and steer public opinion online and regulate various facets of the industry.
Now two bureaus will divide the labor. The older one will retain a focus on promoting the official line to domestic sites and international media, while the newer one will be devoted more to enforcement over news-related content on interactive forums, say scholars, diplomats and editors familiar with the reshuffle.
“So just from the viewpoint of personnel, you can see that the government is putting more and more emphasis on managing the Internet,” said an editor at an official media organization, who requested anonymity because of the delicacy of the subject.