The rapidly emerging and formidable force of Chinese netizens
The Chinese regime has imposed the toughest internet censorship in the sensitive year of 2009 which marked the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, 10th anniversary of the persecution against Falun Dafa, and the 60th anniversary of communist rule in China.
China has the largest population of Internet users in the world, with over 300 million users in 2009. Despite the tough internet censorship, netizens have become a great force to advocate human rights and monitor government officials. They have successfully put pressure on the regime to convict a malfeasant official who was responsible for the mysterious death of Li Qiaoming in a detention center in Yunnan Province; set rape case waitress Deng Yujiao free; and to sentence a corrupt government official, Zhou Jiugeng, to 11 years in prison on charge of taking bribes. They have also exposed some regime officials for spending public money to travel to Las Vegas.
The Mysterious Death of Li Qiaoming
China jails corrupt government official Zhou Jiugeng
Arrest warrants issued for crimes against humanity
The Spanish case was against five Chinese officials, the Argentina case against two: Jiang Zemin and Luo Gan. It was the first time that a court recognized the campaign against the group as legally fitting the definition of genocide. In both cases the officials were called before the court to face the charges.
In the Spanish case, the judge sent the accused officials a series of questions about their roles in the persecution of Falun Gong; their failure to respond could result in arrest warrants being issued. The Argentine judge directly issued arrest warrants in his decision, valid for any country with which Argentina has an extradition treaty. The rulings were hailed for bringing justice closer to the victims of the persecution of Falun Gong.
Story of rape case waitress Deng Yujiao
Deng Yujiao, a waitress in Badong County of Hubei Province, stabbed a local official to death after he attempted to rape her. This case drew an enormous amount of attention from netizens and the wider public, and became something of a lightning rod for citizens to voice their grievances with the authorities.
Commentators say that Internet-based activism in the Deng Yujiao case is the only thing to have kept her from being imprisoned. Deng's case became emblematic of the struggle of ordinary people against abusive officials.
Mysterious death sparks 70,000 to protest in Hubei Province
Amongst the rising public protests and outcry in China, the Shishou riot was one of the largest “mass incidents” in 2009. The riot was sparked by the death of a young cook named Tu Yuangao in Hunan Province’s Shishou City with a small population of only 100,000.
However, suspecting the cause of Tu’s death was not suicide as authorities claimed, 70,000 Shishou citizens took to the streets and protested against the local authorities when police tried to seize Tu’s corpse and have it cremated. An estimated 8,000 trained riot police were dispatched to the scene to subdue the protests.
Mysterious Death Sparks 70,000 to Protest in China’s Hubei Province
Battling Over a Corpse in China’s Hubei Province
Quit the CCP movement in China
2009 marks the fifth anniversary of the publication of the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party by The Epoch Times. The editorial series has inspired a global movement to renounce membership from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Despite the CCP’s efforts to block Chinese people from accessing the booklet and to give harsh sentences to those who distribute it, slogans for quitting the CCP can be seen everywhere in China, including on paper currency. Once taboo, now more and more Chinese people have secretly or openly renounced the CCP. As of Dec. 20, 2009, more than 65 million Chinese had renounced the Party and its affiliated organizations.
In an embarrassing incident for authorities, the Jinzhou Evening News, a state-run daily, inadvertently gave the movement excellent publicity. In the corner of an image on its front page celebrating 60 years of communist rule, scrawled in small but visible characters on a bike rack, were eight characters saying “Heaven condemns the Communist Party; denounce it and be blessed.” When authorities found out what happened the paper was taken out of circulation and the Web site temporarily shut down.
Gao Yaojie flees China, exposes AIDS disaster
After more than two years of silence, 82-year-old Gao Yaojie spoke publicly in Hong Kong about the release of her new book, China's AIDS Plague: 10,000 Letters. Through a review of individual cases, the book uncovers the making of a man-made disaster led by CCP officials.
She asserts that millions have been victimized because of a blanket of silence and misinformation imposed by the communist regime. Dr. Gao, formerly a professor at the Henan University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and known as one of China's foremost experts on AIDS, is now in the U.S. She held a press conference in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 1—World AIDS Day.
Activists flee China and testify to human rights violations
A number of dissidents fled China during the course of 2009, wresting freedom for themselves and embarrassing the Chinese authorities in the process.
Among them was Qiu Mingwei , deputy director of the People’s Forum, the public Internet forum of the People’s Daily, the CCP’s official mouthpiece. Qiu had participated in a July 1 march for democracy and human rights in Hong Kong. When he returned to China he was accused of “possessing secret state documents, and speaking to outside sources without permission.”
Rather than defend himself he chose to make a break for it, and fled to Hong Kong on July 30. Escapees in 2009 also include the wife and children of Gao Zhisheng, a human rights lawyer who published an account of 50 days of tortured and whose current whereabouts are unknown after being seized by the regime.
Media control of Obama’s visit to China
When President Obama went to China, his appearances, and domestic reportage on them, were carefully stage-managed by CCP propaganda officials.
The most notable instance was the town hall meeting with students in Shanghai. As the White House’s centerpiece for the trip, it was supposed to be broadcast live on the largest state-owned national stations—a channel for Obama to reach the Chinese people directly.
At the last minute, however, Chinese authorities restricted it to Shanghai Television, a local station with limited reach. Commentary on major Web sites was censored and toned down.
Later in the trip an exclusive interview with Southern Weekend, an influential publication in Guangdong Province, was also intercepted by propaganda officials and half of it pulled from the print edition. The editors left a blank half-page with the cryptic message: “It’s not that everyone can become a big shot. But reading this, everyone can understand China.”
Concern over H1N1 cover-up
According to reports by The Epoch Times, the CCP has been covering up the extent of H1N1 infection in the country. Doctors in many of China’s hospitals have received notices to not diagnose H1N1 and instead to diagnose patients with “seasonal flu” or “pneumonia,” with only the severely ill patients selected to undertake an H1N1 confirmation test.
Consequently, China has an unbelievably low H1N1 death rate compared to other countries. Many experts also worry about the possibility of swine, bird, and human flu viruses mutating into one super flu virus. The lack of transparency and the cover-up suggests that the spread of H1N1 in China may be faster and wider than anyone can imagine.
Controversy around auction of Chinese bronzes in Paris
A Chinese bidder sabotaged the auction of two Chinese bronzes with a false 14 million-euro bid for each during the “auction of the century” held in Paris in February 2009. The bidder claimed it was an act of patriotism because the bronzes were looted from China during the Anglo-French allied invasion of 1860.
Pierre Bergé , Saint Laurent’s partner and owner of the bronzes later told NTDTV that Chinese people should thank him because the bronzes could have been destroyed during the Cultural Revolution if they were left in China. He also said that the day the Chinese regime respects human rights is the day he will return the bronzes to China.
Bergé was widely quoted as saying, “I am willing to return the heads on one condition,” he said to reporters via an interpreter, on Feb. 23, “that the Chinese government respects the human rights of its people, gives liberty to Tibet and welcomes the Dalai Lama.’’
Twist in Sale of Relics Has China Winking
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Bidder refused to pay for looted Chinese bronzes
China demands return of Christie's 'looted relics '