Archive for ‘Illegal practices’

20/02/2019

Chinese ‘Ivory Queen’ Yang Fenglan jailed in Tanzania

Yang Fenglan leaves court, Dar Es Salaam, 2016Image copyrightAFP
Image captionYang Fenglan was a leading figure in business circles at the time of her arrest

Tanzania has sentenced Yang Fenglan, a Chinese businesswoman nicknamed the “Ivory Queen”, to 15 years in jail for smuggling hundreds of elephant tusks.

Yang was accused of operating one of Africa’s biggest ivory-smuggling rings, responsible for smuggling $2.5m (£1.9m) worth of tusks from some 400 elephants.

Two Tanzanian men were also found guilty of involvement in the ring.

Ivory poaching is said to have caused a 20% decline in the population of African elephants in the last decade.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a global environmental body, says the population of African elephants has fallen to 415,000 – a drop of 110,000 over the last 10 years – as a result of poaching.

The illicit trade is fuelled by demand from China and east Asia, where ivory is used to make jewellery and ornaments.

Yang was convicted on charges relating to the smuggling of around 800 pieces of ivory between 2000 and 2014 from Tanzania to the Far East.

The Tanzanian men were also jailed for 15 years on similar charges.

The court in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s main city, has ordered Yang’s property to be repossessed.

She had been under investigation for more than a year when she was arrested in 2015, following a high-speed car chase.

At the time of her arrest, Yang was a prominent businesswoman, operating a Chinese restaurant as well as an investment company in Dar es Salaam.

Fluent in Swahili, she had lived and worked in Tanzania since the 1970s, and had served as vice-president of the China-Africa Business Council of Tanzania.

Environmental campaigners welcomed the arrest because she was seen as playing a pivotal role in the illegal ivory trade. Most arrests tend to involve minor players.

Source: The BBC

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16/06/2014

China aims to revamp justice system but Communist Party to retain control | Reuters

Legal reforms are a key platform for President Xi Jinping‘s government to restore popular faith in the Party and judicial system amid simmering public discontent over miscarriages of justice often caused by officialsabuse of power.

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at the opening ceremony of the sixth ministerial meeting of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing June 5, 2014. REUTERS/Ng Han Guan/Pool

China must “improve the requirements for appointing justices and prosecutors while upholding the principles of leading party officials and respecting the rule of justice”, an unnamed official in the top office in charge of judicial reforms told the official Xinhua news agency.

It did not say when the pilot programs would be launched.

To limit interference by local governments, provincial governments will pick judges and prosecutors and fix the budgets of local courts and procuratorates, Xinhua reported. The system currently gives local governments greater sway in appointments.

Panels of legal specialists at the provincial level will nominate judges and prosecutors, but the Party must still approve their appointments.

The reforms must “uphold the Party’s leadership,” the official said, signaling a willingness by the central leadership to improve its courts as long as the Party’s overall control is not threatened.

Critics have described the leadership’s call for greater independence for courts as a hollow gesture, because judges ultimately answer to the Party.

via China aims to revamp justice system but Communist Party to retain control | Reuters.

18/02/2014

* China tells police to go nationwide with vice crackdown | Reuters

China’s government told police across the country to get tough on prostitution, gambling and drugs following an expose in the “sin city” of Dongguan, where a crackdown on prostitution led to the detention of nearly 1,000 people this month.

The announcement, on the Ministry of Public Security‘s official website late on Monday, said investigations had begun in several provinces, and police had broken up 73 vice rings and closed down 2410 prostitution and gambling dens over the past week.

China outlawed prostitution after the Communist revolution in 1949, but it returned with a vengeance following landmark economic reforms three decades ago, and has helped fuel a rise in HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Gambling is also banned in China with the exception of heavily regulated state-sanctioned lotteries.

While periodic sweeps against vice have been carried out, it has thrived. Law enforcement is often lax.

In a warning to what the authorities call the “protective umbrella” of official collusion, the ministry said officials would be “seriously investigated, and crimes will be resolutely investigated in accordance with the law”.

via China tells police to go nationwide with vice crackdown | Reuters.

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04/01/2014

Guangdong drug villagers wary days after big police raid | South China Morning Post

Five days after a huge pre-dawn raid in which police seized three tonnes of crystal meth, an uneasy quiet has descended on Boshe, a Guangdong village of 14,000.

lufeng_meth.jpg

Evidence of the crackdown can be seen throughout the community – empty houses with smashed windows, a police car at the entrance of the village and suspicious locals.

The few residents who will speak say many people vanished in the darkness when helicopters and 3,000 paramilitary troops and police officers raided the village, arresting 182 suspects.

More than a fifth of the households were suspected to be involved in or linked to the production and trafficking of drugs.

via Guangdong drug villagers wary days after big police raid | South China Morning Post.

19/12/2013

China continues rights abuses even as labor camps ditched -Amnesty | Reuters

China is increasingly using extra-judicial \”black jails\” and drug rehabilitation centers to punish people who would formerly have been sent to forced labor camps, rights group Amnesty International said on Tuesday.

A drug addict walks at a compulsory drug rehabilitation center in Kunming, capital of southern China's Yunnan Province November 28, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Lee

China vowed last month to do away with hundreds of labor camps, as part of a landmark package of social and economic reforms. Official news agency Xinhua has said there are 350 such camps across the country, with up to 160,000 inmates.

But many of those in extra-judicial jails and rehabilitation centers are being punished for their political or religious beliefs, the London-based rights group said.

via China continues rights abuses even as labor camps ditched -Amnesty | Reuters.

04/12/2013

Indian Army recruitment done on caste, region, religion lines, SC told – The Hindu

Grouping of people from a particular region in an Army regiment is unconstitutional and amounts to discrimination on caste, region and religion basis, a petitioner challenging the recruitment policy told the Supreme Court.

In an affidavit filed in the apex court countering the assertion of the Army which had justified the policy for administrative convenience and operational requirements, the petitioner pleaded that such policy should be dismantled as it is also not followed by Indian Navy and Air Force.

Earlier, the Army told the Supreme Court that it does not recruit on the basis of caste, region and religion but justified grouping of people coming from a region in a regiment for administrative convenience and operational requirements.

Countering the stand taken by the Army, the petitioner, I.S. Yadav, a doctor from Rewari in Haryana, said, “The respondent (Army) has justified the recruitment in Indian Navy and Air Force which is not based on caste/region and religion basis because of the operational requirements of these forces. But in the same breath, it justifies the caste/region/religion-based recruitment giving the same excuse of operational and administrative requirements.

via Army recruitment done on caste, region, religion lines, SC told – The Hindu.

01/12/2013

Xinjiang college says approved political views needed to graduate | Reuters

College students in China\’s restive western Xinjiang region will not graduate unless their political views are approved, a university official said, as the country wages what school administrators called an ideological war against separatism.

A Uighur student attends a lesson at the Xinjiang College of Uighur Medicine in Hotan in the southwestern part of China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region September 15, 2003. REUTERS/Andrew Wong

Xinjiang is home to the Muslim Uighur ethnic group, many of whom resent controls imposed by Beijing and an inflow of Han Chinese migrants. Some Uighur groups are campaigning for an independent homeland for their people.

University officials from Xinjiang said their institutions were a frontline in a \”life and death struggle\” for the people\’s hearts and a main front in the battle against separatism, the ruling Communist Party\’s official newspaper in the region, the Xinjiang Daily, reported on Tuesday.

\”Students whose political qualifications are not up to par must absolutely not graduate, even if their professional course work is excellent,\” said Xu Yuanzhi, the party secretary at Kashgar Teachers College in southern Xinjiang, which has been an epicenter for ethnic unrest.

It is unclear if such a policy has been officially implemented throughout the region.

\”Ideology is a battlefield without gun smoke,\” Xinjiang Normal University President Weili Balati said.

\”As university leaders, we have the responsibility to do more to help students and teachers properly understand and treat religion, ethnicity and culture and help them distinguish between right and wrong,\” he said.

China blamed the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) for an attack on October 28, when a vehicle ploughed through bystanders on Tiananmen Square in Beijing and burst into flames, killing three people in the car and two bystanders.

Uighur exiles, rights groups and some experts have cast doubt on the official accounts of what China has deemed terror attacks and foreign reporting of the incident has discussed whether it was motivated by punitive ethnic policies.

An Islamist militant group has released a speech claiming responsibility for the incident, which China\’s Foreign Ministry said should silence those who are skeptical about the threat of terror within China\’s borders.

The Uighurs are culturally closer to ethnic groups across central Asia and Turkey than the Han Chinese who make up the vast majority of China\’s population.

via Xinjiang college says approved political views needed to graduate | Reuters.

24/10/2013

In rare move, China regulator voices concern for detained reporter | Reuters

So public protests sometimes works. See also – https://chindia-alert.org/2013/10/23/china-paper-in-detained-journalist-plea-bbc-news/

“China’s central publishing regulator, in a rare acknowledgement of the rights of journalists, expressed concern on Thursday about a detained reporter, a case that has stirred outrage after a newspaper pleaded with police on its front page to let him go.

Chen Yongzhou was detained after writing more than a dozen stories criticizing the finances of a major state-owned construction equipment maker, a move that coincides with new curbs on journalists, lawyers and internet users in China.

“The General Association of Press and Publishing (GAPP) resolutely supports the news media conducting normal interviewing and reporting activities and resolutely protects journalists\’ normal and legal rights to interview,” the China Press and Publishing Journal, which is overseen by the association itself, said, citing an association official.

“At the same time, it resolutely opposes any abuse of the right to conduct interviews.”

The article said the association was paying “close attention” to the matter.”

via In rare move, China regulator voices concern for detained reporter | Reuters.

23/10/2013

China paper in detained journalist plea – BBC News

A Chinese newspaper has published a rare front-page plea for the release of one of its journalists held by police.

A screen shot of New Express front page

The New Express, based in Guangzhou, called for Chen Yongzhou, who was detained last week, to be freed.

The paper said Mr Chen\’s detention was linked to reports he wrote about a part state-owned construction equipment company based in Hunan.

Police in Hunan have confirmed the journalist has been detained for \”damage to business reputation\’\’.

Earlier this year, Mr Chen wrote several reports about Zoomlion, which is partly owned by the Hunan provincial government.

Zoomlion issued a statement after one New Express article, which alleged it had improperly accounted for sales, caused its share price to drop.

In a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange in late May, the company called the claims \”false, groundless and misleading\”.

via BBC News – China paper in detained journalist plea.

17/09/2013

China Communist Party investigators tried over drowning

The Communist Party of China seems to be trying hard to apply the ‘rule of law’ to its own cadres.  Must be a good thing.

BBC: “The trial has begun in China of six Communist Party officials accused of causing the death of a man who drowned after his head was repeatedly plunged in icy water during an investigation.

File photo: Yu Qiyi poses for a photo at an exhibition held at a hotel in Beijing, 2 September 2012

Yu Qiyi, the chief engineer of a state-owned company in Wenzhou, was being interrogated by party officials – and not police – when he died on 9 April.

As the trial got under way, the family lawyer said he was ejected from court.

Analysts say the case casts light on the darker side of party discipline.

Indeed the case, which is being heard in the city of Quzhou, appears to be a rare acknowledgement of some of the methods that lie behind the country’s well publicised crackdown on corruption, according to correspondents.

The case is extremely sensitive and the lawyer for Mr Yu’s family has already expressed his anger at being removed from court, saying the legal process was flawed.

Reuters also reports that the lawyer for one of the accused expressed concern about the court’s actions because her client wanted to apologise.

There has been no comment from the lawyers of the other accused men and neither the government nor the Communist Party has commented publicly on the case.”

via BBC News – China Communist Party investigators tried over drowning.

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