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Andrea Harner
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August 22, 2008

THIS IS THE BULLSHIT CHINA PULLS AND WE MUST PUNISH THEM FOR IT/Too Old and Frail to Re-educate? Not in China By Andrew Jacobs, NY Times

China purportedly allowed protesting in a designated area and then once citizens applied for a permit to this legal protest, they are arrested and sentenced to "re-education through labor" camp. THIS IS EXACTLY WHY IT IS ABHORRENT TO SUPPORT CHINA.


In the annals of people who have struggled against Communist Party rule, Wu Dianyuan and Wang Xiuying are unlikely to merit even a footnote.

The two women, both in their late 70s, have never spoken out against China’s authoritarian government. Both walk with the help of a cane, and Ms. Wang is blind in one eye. Their grievance, receiving insufficient compensation when their homes were seized for redevelopment, is perhaps the most common complaint among Chinese displaced during the country’s long streak of fast economic growth.

But the Beijing police still sentenced the two women to an extrajudicial term of “re-education through labor” this week for applying to hold a legal protest in a designated area in Beijing, where officials promised that Chinese could hold demonstrations during the Olympic Games.

They became the most recent examples of people punished for submitting applications to protest. A few would-be demonstrators have simply disappeared, at least for the duration of the Games, squelching already diminished hopes that the influx of foreigners and the prestige of holding the Games would push China’s leaders to relax their tight grip on political expression.

“Can you imagine two old ladies in their 70s being re-educated through labor?” asked Li Xuehui, Ms. Wu’s son, who said the police told the two women that their sentence might remain in suspension if they stayed at home and stopped asking for permission to protest.

“I feel very sad and angry because we’re only asking for the basic right of living and it’s been six years, but nobody will do anything to help,” Mr. Li said.

It is unclear why the police have detained people who sought permission to protest. Some political analysts say the police may be refusing to enforce the government’s order, announced last month, to allow protest zones. Chinese lawyers and human rights advocates also suggested a more cynical motivation — that the authorities were using the possibility of legal demonstrations as a ploy to lure restive citizens into declaring their intention to protest, allowing the police to take action against them.

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What a sad story. It's awful that there in not much that anyone can do that will have a positive affect on those women's live except to complain. Hopefully the notoriety that the Times (and bloggers)give them will help. The real crime, in the eyes of the Chinese government, is that they dared to speak thier minds and possibly embarass China during the olympics. I pray that they are not forced in hard labor or even punished at all.

Sad, sad story and yes, you're right, it is BULLSHIT!!

Thanks for posting the story.

Posted by: johnfromdowntown at August 22, 2008 12:30 PM

I just read in my local paper that the Chinese government has relented and will not send the two women into a labor camp! I have no doubt that it is the pressure that the media, and bloggers like you created you along with the outrage of people around the world that saved them. Kudos

Posted by: johnfromdowntown at September 2, 2008 11:41 AM
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