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Thread: Dissent and Democratic Reform in China

  1. Red face

    China prejudiced against blacks...

    China welcomes growing African trade, but not the Africans who facilitate it
    November 25, 2010 - By some counts, at least half the foreigners living in the Chinese trade hub of Guangzhou are Africans. Many face hassles ranging from visa expiration to police raids.
    As the southern city of Guangzhou hosts the Asian Games, which will come to a close on Nov. 27 in China, the prosperous city is putting its best face forward and has welcomed foreigners from all across Asia. However, the sweet welcome the visitors are receiving puts the treatment of a growing presence of African immigrants in the city into stark relief. Since China moved to an "open-door policy" in 1980 to stimulate economic development, foreigners have flocked to China to tap in to its market. And over the past few years, tens of thousands of Africans, mostly Nigerians, have been streaming into Guangzhou to set up trading firms to export clothing, shoes, electronics goods, and anything churned out by the factories in nearby towns in Guangdong Province that make China such a manufacturing empire.

    Though the Chinese trade with the African immigrants, not everybody embraces them as neighbors. Some Chinese cite a language barrier with the English-speaking Africans. Some Africans in China on work visas said they feel they are perceived by the Chinese as violence-prone troublemakers. Still, because most Africans don't speak much Mandarin or Cantonese they do not seem a threat to take jobs, and are just in China to buy goods to take back to their home country and sell. "People come because there are economic opportunities," says Fu Hualing, head of University of Hong Kong's law department.

    Strong-arm tactics

    But since 2009, local police have begun to regularly raid buildings teeming with Africans as they look for those who have overstayed their visa. Those who are caught face stiff fines and interminable jail time. In July 2009, two Nigerians jumped to their deaths from a five-story building to evade police pursuit. Though such standoffs are rare, enraged Africans rallied outside the police station to protest the strong-arm tactics leading to the casualties. "The Chinese need a shift in thinking," says Mr. Fu. "They're used to dealing with rich, Western countries. The influx of Africans is something new. And it will take a long time for China to learn how to behave." Fu adds, "The Chinese need to broaden the basis of economic cooperation when they're making policies on visas."


  2. Default

    There's plenty of racism in China, just as there is everywhere else.

  3. Cool

    There's a change in the wind...

    Some Chinese Dissidents See Subtle Changes Towards More Freedoms
    03 December 2010 - An awards ceremony will be held in Norway next week for jailed Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo, the winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize. Liu is a veteran of the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests in Beijing and one of China's most prominent rights activists. Our correspondent spoke recently to two other former Tiananmen Square demonstrators, who shared their thoughts about the peace prize and China's future.
    In 1989, students calling for democracy in China met a violent end to their movement in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Zhang Boli was among those who escaped the crackdown and fled to the United States. He says he lost everything he had in China, but found faith in religion. He is now a Christian minister in the U.S. and says China has changed dramatically as a result of what happened at Tiananmen Square. "So they started to develop the economy and gave people some more freedoms," said Zhang Boli. "For example, as long as you don't go against the government, you can have other freedoms." Yang Jianli also took part in the Tiananmen Square student movement and is now continuing his pro-democracy work in the U.S. He says prosperity in China will ultimately effect change in political thought.

    "When their life becomes more comfortable, they have more wealth, they will demand more say in the political process," said Yang Jianli. But Yang says political change will be subtle, rising from the grassroots and not immediately from the government. He was not surprised when the government condemned Liu Xiaobo winning the Nobel Peace Prize. "Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to jail because he violated Chinese law. His actions are diametrically opposed to the aims of the Nobel Prize," said an official Chinese television presenter. "The awarding of the peace prize by the committee to this person completely contradicts its aims and is an obscenity against the peace prize."

    "On the surface, Chinese government, of course, continue control and after the announcement they tighten up the control even more, but that's the surface," said Jianli. "We tend to overlook the undercurrent in the society." Just days after the Nobel committee made its announcement, retired communist party officials called on the government to allow more free speech in China. "I think these two events, the Liu Xiaobo winning the prize and the retired party officials demanding more freedom of speech may not be the turning point, but I will say one of the tipping points in the whole process," explained Yang Jianli.


  4. Red face

    Sounds like some gov't. officials gonna hang...

    Large protest forms in central China
    Tue, Jan 03, 2012 - Thousands of protesters converged on a train station in central China, angered over collapsing illegal investment schemes that residents said the government had failed to staunch, according to news reports and a government notice yesterday.
    On Sunday, the protesters faced rows of police at the railway station in Anyang, Henan Province, where some residents said they wanted to board trains to Beijing to lodge their complaints, Hong Kong’s Ming Pao daily reported. Pictures in that paper and on a Chinese microblogging site showed thousands of people milling around the square in front of the station, while police watched. The photographs, which could not be verified, showed no scenes of violence. However, news reports over past months have shown that collapsing illegal investment schemes have become a serious problem for the government in Anyang, a heavily rural area of 5.2 million people about 500km southwest of Beijing.

    The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) worries that the tens of thousands of sporadic protests over land grabs, corruption and economic grievances that break out across the country every year could coalesce into discontent that threatens its control. And Anyang, with its mix of economic grievances and suggestions of corruption, illustrates the discontent driving many protests. On Monday, the Anyang government issued a notice acknowledging the protest and vowed to take tougher action against the investment schemes, that have promised investors much higher returns than can be gained from banks. “On New Year’s Day, our city experienced a mass demonstration by some people who participated in illegal investments,” the notice from Anyang CCP Secretary Zhang Guangzhi said. Although officials managed to contain the protest, Zhang said, “this incident has exposed weak links in our handling of the illegal investment schemes.”

    In October, a Chinese newspaper, the 21st Century Business Herald, reported that many operators of the illegal investment vehicles in Anyang had fled as their schemes for generating high returns from real estate and other investments began to unravel. Police have also launched investigations into schemes involving hundreds of suspects, the Ming Pao newspaper said. However, Web sites for Anyang residents have echoed with allegations that officials were tardy in cracking down on the schemes. “If the government hadn’t abetted this, there would never have been so many illegal investment schemes,” said one earlier message on the Chinese Internet operator Baidu.com’s site for Anyang residents.


  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by waltky View Post
    Sounds like some gov't. officials gonna hang...
    Yes, hang 'em high....

    Please refer to the American Western film "Hang 'Em High" at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hang_%27Em_High
    "The Palestinian/Israeli issue (more accurately, the conflict between Jews and Muslims) could never be resolved permanently." -- reedak

  6. Default

    protest like that happen all the time in China in recent years. AFAIK no one's been hanged for letting it happen, though some dissent leaders have been jailed, and if they protested against corruption then some officials might be in deep trouble. but the one you refed was mostly about private sector related.

  7. Cool

    Oldsters vs. the young crowd ...

    China coup rumors may be wild, but tension is real
    March 22, 2012, The fates of prominent Communist Party officials Bo Xilai and Zhou Yongkang point up the clash between economic reformers and Maoist traditionalists.
    The aftershocksfrom the sacking last week of a powerful Communist Party secretary are still rattling China, injecting an element of turmoil into a transition the government had hoped would showcase the stability of its political system. State media reported this week that 3,300 party cadres from the security apparatus would be sent to Beijing for ideological retraining. The order was unusual enough, but even more so was the fact that the report omitted mention of internal security czar Zhou Yongkang, who heads the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee that is recalling the cadres.

    Zhou, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee and until now one of the most powerful men in China, had been the committee's strongest backer of Bo Xilai, the Communist Party secretary of Chongqing who was removed from his post last week. Some overseas Chinese-language Internet sites carried wild (and unsubstantiated) rumors that Zhou and Bo, a popular figure among Maoist traditionalists, had tried to stage a coup. A level of edginess was apparent this week in the unusually large security presence in central Beijing, complete with armed SWAT teams in some subway stations.

    Jin Zhong, a veteran political analyst based in Hong Kong, dismissed the more fantastic rumors, while acknowledging the underlying tension between economic reformers and Maoist traditionalists. "It hasn't reached the point where you are going to hear gunshots. It is not like when China arrested the Gang of Four in 1976, but there is a very strong conflict going on," Jin said.

    Zhou had been a strong supporter of Bo's law-and-order campaigns in Chongqing, where thousands were swept up in a gang-busting dragnet and retirees had been gathering in a public park for now-banned patriotic singing and dancing. According to Jin, Zhou made several visits to the Chongqing delegation at the recently concluded National People's Congress, fighting for Bo's political future until the very end. Like most of China's senior leaders, the 70-year-old Zhou is due to retire at the 18th party congress in October. Until recently, Bo was thought to be a likely replacement. Jin said he doubted that Zhou would be removed from the Standing Committee because he is already set to leave. "They won't touch anybody on the Standing Committee before the congress. It is too risky. They've put in a big effort trying to present a picture of stability," Jin said.


  8. Cool

    Communist Party official Bo Xilai's firing was openly discussed online by citizens...

    Change in China steadily wrought by Internet
    Saturday, March 31, 2012 - On the eve of Taiwan's presidential election in January, a Shanghai netizen recounted a conversation with a Taiwanese friend who told him that he intended to vote the following morning, "and we will know who will be the president by the evening." Responded the netizen: "You guys are too backward. If we had to vote tomorrow morning, tonight we would already know who would be elected."
    His comment on Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging site, was reposted 20,000 times and drew 3,000 comments, including this riposte: "We wouldn't just know the night before, we would know five years ahead of time." Followed with equal avidity online were Hong Kong's recent, albeit restricted election for chief executive and the ouster of a powerful Communist Party official, Bo Xilai, the latter prompting tens of thousands of comments and reposts. That such high-level, behind-the-scenes political maneuvering made it into the media light of day, let alone be openly chewed over by the citizenry, would have been unthinkable a few years ago.

    "The Internet has changed everything," said Hongkai Tan, chief commentator at the English-language China Daily, at a lunchtime gathering I attended at a Beijing restaurant 10 days ago. "There are attempts to control it" - like a government regulation imposed last month requiring microblog users to register with their real name - "but it can't be done," he said. Proximity to Hong Kong has been another factor. The government's initial news blackout of December's protests in the fishing village of Wukan against corrupt land deals was overcome in part by Hong Kong television broadcasts that could be picked up on the mainland.

    "This exposure to a free press gave the (insurgent) village representatives an extra edge in media relations, allowing villagers to neatly guide any debate back to the corruption of village officials," noted NewsChina, the English-language edition of China Newsweek, published in Beijing. It also led to an unprecedented changing of the guard, with the officials being ousted by the insurgents in a subsequent secret-ballot election, as even state-controlled media noted. Hong Kong could have even more influence if the Chinese government follows through on an agreement that its next leadership election, in 2017, be of the one person-one vote variety, rather than by a committee of 1,100 members of Hong Kong's elite.

    To speak of a "China spring" would be premature at best, however. Last month, a similar protest in another province was quickly squelched, as have numerous others in the recent past, many of which go unreported or are blacked out by government censors. Limits: "The government still puts an incredible amount of money and resources into stopping the flow," said Sophie Beach, editor of China Digital Times, a bilingual website in Berkeley that provides links to news and views from China often not found in the country's mainstream media. Censorship remains rife - Sina Weibo is regularly ordered to take posts down. And self-censorship still occurs at newspapers and Internet sites, aware that the government is looking over their shoulders. "The government is especially careful to prevent the Internet from being used as an organizing tool," said Beach.

    Surveillance systems, ostensibly for crime prevention (though human rights activists suspect otherwise), are one of China's biggest businesses. Last year, San Jose's Cisco Systems was awarded the contract to provide networking equipment for 500,000 surveillance cameras being installed in Chongqing (population: 32 million), as part of the city's "Peaceful Chongqing" initiative. A Cisco spokesman said at the time the contract was part of broader deal "to provide a 'city cloud' infrastructure for a green and sustainable city platform."

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...#ixzz1qjud7D9Q

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by waltky View Post
    Unrest in western China, Chinese want democracy...

    China calls Xinjiang riot a plot against its rule
    Sun Jul 5, 2009 - China has called a riot that shook the capital of restive western Xinjiang region on Sunday a plot by exiled members of the Uighur people, after at least three people died in the latest eruption of ethnic unrest there.
    How like an American to think al Qaeda terrorists fight for democracy in China, but if they attack western targets then they're "jealous of (y)our freedoms"...
    The Uygur rioters in Urumqi in 2009 were terrorists who went around the city brutally attacking the elderly, women and children...

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tksensei View Post
    Un-freakin-believable. An apologist for the murderous, destructive policies of mao...

    The last words of a drunken samurai after a long drinking spree with his American boss at a bar in Okinawa.
    "The Palestinian/Israeli issue (more accurately, the conflict between Jews and Muslims) could never be resolved permanently." -- reedak

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