Archive for ‘Citizens’s rights’


Exposure via internet now China’s top weapon in war on graft

SCMP: “The internet has become the primary tool for exposing corruption on the mainland, “removing a corrupt official with the click of a mouse”, according to a leading think tank’s analysis.


In its Blue Book of New Media, researchers from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) said that 156 corruption cases between 2010 and last year were first brought to light online – compared with 78 cases to resulting from reports in traditional media.

Forty-four cases involving disciplinary violations were first exposed in some form online, while 29 cases followed print and broadcast stories. Sixteen cases citing abuses of power were exposed online; 10 were revealed in traditional media.

Among the latest officials to fall from grace thanks to online revelations was Liu Tienan , a former deputy chief of the National Development and Reform Commission.

Liu was sacked in mid-May, more than five months after an editor of the influential Caijing magazine used his microblog account to expose allegations against him.

The report said revelations online, and the rise in interest in public affairs the internet had engendered, were the main reasons more people were participating in anti-corruption efforts.

However, the report cautioned that such efforts still had a long way to go. Only five officials of above departmental rank were brought down via online exposures last year – just a fraction of the 950 officials of that level who were probed for crimes.

The mainland had 564 million internet users at the end of last year, including 309 million microbloggers, according to the China Internet Network Information Centre. The Blue Book said the online community would likely exceed 600 million this year.

The new-media boom has posed an unprecedented challenge to Communist Party rulers, experts warned, due to the easy spread of information, including rumours. The report blamed the online rumour mill on governments’ declining credibility and growing concern on the part of the public.”

via Exposure via internet now China’s top weapon in war on graft | South China Morning Post.

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* China labour camp victim sues local authorities

BBC: “A Chinese woman is suing a local authority who sent her to a labour camp for the loss of her personal freedom.

Tang Hui points out Zhuzhou Baimalong Labour Camp

Tang Hui was sent to a re-education camp by Yongzhou’s local authority for “disturbing social order” last August, state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

She had been campaigning for harsher punishments for the seven men who raped and kidnapped her daughter, and forced her daughter to work as a prostitute.

Her case sparked a public outcry, and she was released after nine days.

Tang Hui is suing the Yongzhou authorities for 1,463.85 yuan ($236, £152) for her detention, Xinhua news agency reported.

She had taken her case to court after the Yongzhou re-education-through labour commission rejected her demand for compensation, Xinhua added.”

via BBC News – China labour camp victim sues local authorities.


* Defiant villager leaves developers stumped over gravesite

Having seen the success of ‘nail house’ resisters in gaining better compensation, we now have ‘nail graves’. Wonder what will come next.

SCMP: “A villager refusing to concede to a property developer’s demands to move a family gravesite off a piece of land left construction workers no choice but to dig around the grave, leaving behind a bizarre sight that has since spread on social media.


The solitary grave, which now sits on a mound of earth 10 metres off the ground in the middle of a construction site in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, has been given the term “nail grave” by netizens.

The term is a play on “nail house”, which was coined by developers for homes belonging to people – “stubborn as nails” – who refused to move even after being offered compensation.

Media reports speculate that developers had offered to pay about one million yuan (US$160,400) to move the grave and headstone.

The construction site, which once served as a public graveyard for local villagers, is giving way to a residential complex expected to be completed in April.

Since construction started in 2009, most villagers had already moved their family’s graves after compensation agreements with the developer.

In the face of China’s rapid economic development, Chinese property developers have been meeting much greater public resistance to what many see as forced land-grabs. Most are compensated with amounts less than their property’s net worth.

“Nail graves are an inevitable product of our country’s progress…the souls of the dead can not rest in peace,” wrote one blogger on Sina Weibo, China’s main microblogging site.

Although China has long encouraged cremation due to an alleged shortage of land for burials, ancestors are traditionally held in deep respect and many in the countryside continue to construct tombs in accordance with culture.

A similar incident occurred last month when authorities from the city of Zhoukou, Henan province, were forced to stop a campaign to clear graves for farmland after the demolition of more than two million tombs sparked an outcry across the country.”

via Defiant villager leaves developers stumped over gravesite | South China Morning Post.


* Lone stand against wrecking ball

Even China cannot stop the determined individual protester. But this situation highlights the many protests against inadequate compensation for having to move home. The interesting thing about this post is that the source is China Daily, a state-sponsored news website.

China Daily: “An isolated five-floor building is standing in the middle of a new road that will soon be open in Wenling, Zhejiang province, the People’s Daily reported.

Lone stand against wrecking ball

A family from Xiazhangyang village insists on living on the isolated building, because they are not satisfied with the relocation compensation offered by the government, the neighbors said, according to the captions of the photos taken on Wednesday.

To guarantee their safety, neighboring rooms next to them are being kept from demolition, though the neighbors all moved out.

The road, which leads to the Wenling Railway Station, hasn’t been put into use yet.”

via Lone stand against wrecking ball[1]|


* India outraged: voices rise in crescendo against ‘Facebook arrests’

Technoholik: “Oppressive, deplorable, arbitrary… the adjectives flew freely Tuesday as Indians across all sectors verbalised their outrage at the arrest of two young women who questioned on Facebook the shutdown in Mumbai after Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray‘s death.

Shaheen Dhada, left, and Renu Srinivas, who were arrested for their Facebook posts, leave a court in Mumbai on Nov 20, 2012

A day after 21-year-old Shaheen Dabha was arrested with her friend, who had ‘liked’ the post on Facebook, and her uncle’s clinic in Thane was vandalised, police arrested nine people believed to be from the Shiv Sena. Both the women were arrested Sunday – for “hurting religious sentiments” and under the Information Technology Act, 2000 – and released on bail Monday. Police also launched an inquiry against the arrests and the vandalism in Thane, near India’s financial and entertainment hub Mumbai.

But that did little to curb the democracy vs dictatorship debate and the mounting fury over police high-handedness. The topic was hotly discussed in college and school classrooms, in offices, on social networking sites and was also the top trending topic on Twitter. From corporates and students to politicians and academics, the voices of protest, young and old, rose in unison. “I am so scared to write on facebook… My freedom of expression is killed by the arrest of two young ladies in Mumbai,” wrote Guwahati-based wildlife activist Firoz Ahmed on his Facebook wall.

“Police officers who arrested the two girls in Mumbai shud be immediately dismissed. That’s minimum that the govt ought to do,” tweeted activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal. “Now you can’t ask questions about why there should be a bandh? Did anyone notify the police that this is actually a democracy?” Mumbai-based author Jerry Pinto wrote angrily on his Facebook wall. In Mumbai-based communications professional Kumar Manish’s view, the arrests were an “oppressive way of muzzling voices”. “It is unfortunate and deplorable that Maharashtra Police, a state functionary, acts and reacts within couple of hours for an action which is within the laws enshrined in the Constitution of India… We are living in a democracy, let us not make it ‘demo-crazy’,” he added.”

via India outraged: voices rise in crescendo against ‘Facebook arrests’ |


* China adopts mental health law to curb forced treatment

Reform and improvements keep coming.  Is it because of the decennial leadership change or is it due to genuine concern for the people; or maybe it’s a bit of both.

Reuters: “China adopted a law on Friday to protect for the first time the rights of the mentally ill after years of accusations that psychiatric hospitals are used to lock up people against their will and silence dissidents.

Human rights advocates called the hard-fought for law, which has been debated for more than two decades, significant, even though they say it still falls short of international standards as it allows for involuntary commitment without judicial review.

The law will “curb abuses regarding compulsory mental health treatment and protect citizens from undergoing unnecessary treatment or illegal hospitalization”, the Xinhua state news agency said.

“We welcome it because having a law is better than not having one,” Nicholas Bequelin, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, a New York-based advocacy group, told Reuters.

“The most important thing that this law does is it will allow civil society to step in to monitor and press for improvement in the management of mental health in China, including … pushing for greater transparency and progressive curtailment of police rights.”

Activists have long argued that authorities force people they consider troublemakers into psychiatric hospitals without providing any evidence of their supposed crimes.

The tactic has been used to silence dissidents, whistle-blowers and petitioners. More recently, it has been used by people against relatives during family disputes.

State media has reported on people being locked up in psychiatric hospitals against their will.

Chen Guoming, a former gold store owner, was forced into an asylum in 2011 by his wife and locked up for 56 days after refusing to lend money to his wife’s family, Xinhua said.

The new law bans mental health examinations of a citizen against his or her own will, Xinhua said.”

via China adopts mental health law to curb forced treatment | Reuters.

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* Chinese Military Official Shamed After Attack on Flight Attendant

WSJ: “Even close ties to the military can’t shield boorish Chinese officials from being called out for behaving badly in the age of social media.

China’s state-run Xinhua news agency on Saturday issued a report largely confirming the account, originally published on Sina Corp.’s Weibo microblogging service, of an Air China flight attendant who said she was bullied by a Chinese official and his wife in a conflict over carry-on luggage during a flight on Aug. 29.

The official is identified in the Xinhua report as Fang Daguo, a member of the Communist Party Standing Committee in the Yuexiu district of the southern metropolis of Guangzhou. Mr. Fang is also political commissar for the Yuexiu Armed Forces Department.

Internet users had earlier helped identify Mr. Fang after the flight attendant, whose own identity remains unclear, posted an account of the attack on the microblogging service that quickly went viral.”

via Chinese Military Official Shamed After Attack on Flight Attendant – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

Yet another example of the increasing power of the Chinese people due to the Internet. See also:



Once again, some signs that China is ‘softening’ on contovertial cases. Question is: is it a general policy or only for this year, the year of leadership change?

China Daily Mail

Authorities on Friday released a woman sent to a labour camp for campaigning for harsher sentences for the seven men convicted of abducting, raping and prostituting her 11-year-old daughter, with officials apparently bowing to public pressure in the highly emotional case.

Tang Hui was ordered by police in Hunan province’s Yongzhou city last Thursday to serve 18 months in a labour camp for “disturbing social order and exerting a negative impact on society” for protesting in front of government buildings. The crusading mother’s case outraged the public and revived debate over China’s controversial use of re-education through labour, a system that allows for detention without trial and that many feel should be abolished.

Xinhua news agency said Tang was released after labour camp officials reviewed her appeal. Xinhua cited Hunan provincial publicity authorities as saying the camp decided to free her so she could take care of…

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This post supports my view that the Chinese authorities are trying very hard to listen to the people.

China Daily Mail

Foreign agencies report from Beijing, and SCMP says in its report entitled “Listen to protesters, authorities told” that after weekend riots, China’s “top Communist Party mouthpiece yesterday urged authorities to listen to people’s concerns about pollution, after fears over a new industrial waste water pipeline sparked weekend riots.

“‘The public’s awareness of environmental issues and their rights is increasing at a rapid pace,’ said a signed commentary in People’s Daily.”

China “should strive to ‘establish an open and transparent decision-making mechanism, and build a tolerant environment for public opinion’, it said.

“Authorities in Qidong, in the eastern province of Jiangsu, agreed on Saturday to cancel plans to build the pipeline after thousands of local people took to the streets, overturning cars and ransacking government offices.

“They were concerned that the pipeline, from a Japanese-owned paper factory, Oji Paper, would pollute a nearby fishing port.


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* In China, wait leads to standoff with officials

San Jose Mercury News: “The Chinese sometimes display a remarkable tolerance for those who cut in line but such forbearance apparently has its limits when queue-jumpers are government officials.

Thousands of people threw water bottles and blocked traffic at a popular nature preserve in northeastern China on Sunday after word spread that the arrival of top Communist Party leaders was causing an hours-long wait to visit a scenic lake. It was one of a string of brash confrontations in recent months between the authorities and Chinese citizens.

The infuriated crowd surrounded the vehicles carrying the government entourage and refused to let them pass, according to scores of microblog posts sent out by those waiting to ascend Changbai Mountain in Jilin Province. The three-hour standoff drew police officers and soldiers, some of whom reportedly beat recalcitrant protesters.

According to one witness, thousands of people chanted for a refund of the $20 entry tickets and later demanded that the officials leave their besieged vehicles and apologize. “Fight privilege!” the witness wrote.

The accounts, posted on Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like service, were later deleted by the company’s in-house censors but many postings were saved and reposted on overseas websites like Ministry of Tofu and China Digital Times whose servers cannot be reached by Chinese censors.”

via In China, wait leads to standoff with officials – San Jose Mercury News.

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