Beijing police round up and beat African expats

Jennifer Brea in Beijing
The Guardian,
Wednesday September 26 2007
At least 20 black men, including students, tourists and the son of a Caribbean diplomat, were arrested in a popular nightclub district of Beijing on Friday, several of the group being severely beaten on suspicion of dealing drugs, witnesses said.

African expatriates in Beijing and witnesses claim the episode revealed a pervasive prejudice toward dark-skinned foreigners in China.

According to five bystanders, teams of police, dressed in black jumpsuits and reportedly wielding batons and taser guns, cordoned off a street in the popular Sanlitun nightclub district at around midnight and rounded up almost all the black men there. Many of the men were beaten.

The raid took place in front of hundreds of stunned expatriates outside the packed bars and clubs of the neighbourhood, which is popular with Beijing's burgeoning foreign community.

"I saw a guy being beaten by these kids. He wasn't doing anything. He wasn't fighting back," said one witness, a white American college graduate working in Beijing.

"I have not really ever seen anything so brutal," said another American. "There was blood on the streets. They were basically beating up any black person they could find."

Beijing police yesterday declined to confirm or deny the incident.

The detainees included 22-year-old Joslyn Whiteman, son of Grenada's ambassador. One witness said he saw police grab Mr Whiteman and beat him repeatedly, despite onlookers crying out, "Stop! He's a diplomat!" According to the South China Morning Post, Mr Whiteman spent the night in a hospital with concussion. "Obviously I'm very angry," the ambassador, the elder Mr Whiteman, told the Post. "My son was arrested and beaten for no reason ... I will be taking this up with the authorities and looking into the matter."

Chinese investment in developing countries, and especially Africa, has prompted a reverse migration and a growing number of African and other black people are migrating to China to study, work and learn the language. However, many African immigrants have entered China illegally and work as drug mules, a trade that is highly lucrative but which can bring the death penalty.

African dealers in Beijing offer a wide range of drugs, from cocaine to ecstasy, to a mostly expat market. Sanlitun was once a dealers' haven but has been substantially cleaned up by roundups. None, though, approached the scale or violence of that on Friday night, described as "excessive" and "chaotic" by witnesses. "I wasn't surprised [by the use of violence]," one person said. "I've seen this kind of thing happen before, but never against foreigners in front of other foreigners."

This latest raid comes as part of the effort to clean up Beijing ahead of next month's annual meeting of Communist party leaders and the 2008 Olympic Games, based in the city.

Africans say that living in China in the face of pervasive prejudice can be challenging. When Beijing rolled out the red carpet for more than 40 African heads of state last November, billboards depicting Africans clad in leopard skin underwear, and an indigenous man from Papua New Guinea, plastered the city.

Ex-diplomat claims China seized woman

5:00AM Thursday July 19, 2007

A former Chinese diplomat has claimed a woman was kidnapped in New Zealand by the Chinese Government in 2005 and shipped home.

Chen Yonglin is in Wellington meeting politicians before a human rights rally today where he will be a guest speaker.

One News reported last night that he made the claim at a meeting with Green Party MP Keith Locke in Parliament.

"He says a woman with New Zealand residency was kidnapped by the Chinese Government and taken from New Zealand back to China on a state-owned ship," the state-owned broadcaster reported.

It showed Chen Yonglin saying in faltering English: "I know there's one case, a kidnap case happened in New Zealand but if necessary the New Zealand intelligence service is interested I may park with them the details."

Mr Locke said the accusation was "very serious" and he would make sure the police were aware of it.

Prime Minister Helen Clark's office said the Government was not aware of the incident and urged the man to go to the police.

Chen Yonglin is a dissident who defected in May 2005 when he was a diplomat in the Chinese consulate in Sydney.

He was denied political asylum but was granted a visa allowing him and his family to remain permanently in Australia.

In September 2005 he claimed a 1000-strong Chinese spy network was operating in Australia under the authority of a man who, at that time, was still working in the Sydney consulate.

Beijing denied the allegation.

Speakers at today's rally include representatives of Amnesty International, Friends of Tibet, Mr Locke, United Future leader Peter Dunne and Maori Party MP Hone Harawira.

China, Russia Veto Myanmar Resolution

China's U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya and Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin both said the Security Council was not the proper place to discuss Myanmar because the country does not pose a threat to international peace and security.

The country's "military regime arbitrarily arrests, tortures, rapes and executes its own people, wages war on minorities within its own borders,
and builds itself new cities while looking the other way as refugee flows increase, narcotics and human trafficking grow, and communicable diseases remain untreated," he said.
Myanmar's junta took power in 1988 after crushing the democracy movement led by Suu Kyi.
In 1990, it refused to hand over power when Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won a landslide election victory.
Since then, Suu Kyi has been in and out of detention, kept in near-solitary confinement at her home.

Myanmar's U.N. Ambassador Kyaw Tint Swe thanked China and Russia and the countries that abstained,
stressing that his country posed no threat. Had the resolution been adopted "it would have created a dangerous precedent," he said.

Amnesty slams China over rights in Olympics run-up

Wed Sep 20, 2006 11:20pm ET
By Lindsay Beck
BEIJING (Reuters) - China's human rights record has deteriorated in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics,
with thousands of people being executed after unfair trials, Amnesty International said on Thursday.

The human rights watchdog sent its latest findings to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and said
Chinese authorities would have to act quickly if they were to fulfill their pledges to improve human rights.

"The serious human rights abuses that continue to be reported every day across the country fly in the face
of the promises the Chinese government made when it was bidding for the Olympics," Amnesty's Catherine
Baber said in a statement.

Beijing's campaign to host the 2008 Olympics was shadowed by criticism of its rights record from international
groups and Western capitals. The Beijing committee pledged that by allowing the city to host the Games, the
International Olympic Committee would help advance human rights in China.

A Chinese woman who contracted AIDS from a hospital blood transfusion

was detained on suspicion of a serious crime after she asked the health ministry for more compensation, an activist said.

Hong Kong bishop condemns China on Tiananmen anniversary

By Keith Bradsher The New York Times
SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2006
HONG KONG The highest official of the Roman Catholic Church in China marked the 17th anniversary
of the Tiananmen Square killings on Sunday by strongly criticizing the government and calling on it to
hold a full and open review of the killings

behind China’s booming economy

Sky News has made an exclusive investigation into the sinister secrets behind China’s booming economy.
The Chinese government is accused of using police brutality to remove people from their homes and into lives
of squalor and poverty. http://www.sky.com/skynews/video/videoplayer/0,,30200-china_p10436,00.html

China Cold Case

Darren Russell made a last cry for help from China to his family in Calabasas.
"I'm scared. I want to get out of here...
I've never been this scared in my life," Russell said on the message.
It's a voicemail that he left for his parents, three days before he was found dead.

Darren Russell, 35, went to China to teach English.
His mother, Maxine, says his contract promised a lot of things that didn't materialize, including a work visa.
She says when Darren threatened to blow the whistle on the poor working conditions there, he felt that his life was placed in danger.

Maxine says Darren called to tell her he was removed from the school and dropped off in a seedy section of Guangzhou.
"They took his passport away and they said it had to be held by the police," said Maxine.

But how did Darren die? The Chinese government says he was hit by a truck.
"There was a complete absence of abrasions, lacerations, fractures. There was no evidence of an auto accident of any kind," said mortician Jerry Marek.
Jerry Marek is the mortician who prepared Darren's body. Marek, a former coroner, who's examined hundreds of bodies says that Darren's case looked like something else.
"He was hit in the head with something," said Marek.

NBC4 went to the Chinese Consulate near downtown Los Angeles and asked to talk to someone about Darren Russell.

"We have not been informed of this specific case," said Xiaomeh Zhou, Press Counsel, Chinese Consulate, L.A.
Maxine has a copy of a certified letter she says was sent to the Chinese consulate. So who's telling the truth?

To whoever it was about human rights,

Yes you are absolutely correct.
There are very little human rights here (I live in the middle of China at the moment).
I even have a clause in my contract saying I am banned from talking about certain topics, namely human rights,
the 3 T's (Tiananmen, Tibet & Taiwan), Falun Gong, Christianity and anything that may 'damage' the 'Party politics'.
It totally sucks, and I admit I have certainly come extremely close to the boundaries,
but the fact that I or anyone else here is not allowed to talk about these things is pathetic. I see extreme control here all the time,
and my students are not allowed to form their own opinions about anything or even think for themselves (I ask questions and everyone just stares at me,
the thought of putting your hand up and answering or giving an opinion is completely alien to them).

Also, they freely execute people, INCLUDING CHILDREN for things from rape, murder, down to dissidents and troublemakers (for the government).
Heck, just a couple of months ago there were a crowd of people dressed in red that went right past me on the street.
I asked a fellow teacher that that was all about & she said they were off to be executed (bullet in the back of the end) just outside of my town here.
They actually parade death row prisoners around the town as though they are some sorts of prize.
Believe me, I have seen so much in my first 6 months here and still have another 6 to go, and yes,
I am traveling to Tibet in July/ Aug so it'll be interesting to see how much they are/ are not part of China!

BEIJING, December 5, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) ? Chinese officials have admitted to selling the organs of executed prisoners to foreign transplant recipients.

Five Chinese Nuns Hospitalized After Land Dispute

By Philip P. Pan Washington Post Foreign Service Friday, December 2, 2005; Page A17

State Dept. Cites China on Human Rights

November 8, 2005
The United States on Tuesday named Asian communist states China, North Korea and Vietnam,
as well as military-run Myanmar, as serious violators of religious freedom in an annual State Department report to Congress.
"These are countries where governments have engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom over the past year,"
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters as she unveiled the report, covering 197 countries.
Still, she held up Vietnam, which remained on the worst violators list, as an example of a country that had made progress in 2005,
including signing a pact with Washington over how the Southeast Asian state would improve religious rights.
The report placed China, North Korea and Myanmar on a list of authoritarian states which "regard some or all religious groups as enemies of the state because of their religious beliefs or their independence from central authority."
The report said Beijing had placed under heavy scrutiny and sometimes harassed underground Christian groups,
Muslims of the Uighur ethnic minority, Tibetan Buddhists and members of Falun Gong, a meditation sect. Falun Gong has doggedly criticized China since Beijing banned it in 1999.

Although China angrily rejects such U.S. scrutiny as unwarranted meddling in its internal affairs

China's Hu Jintao due in London to start European tour

Hu, who met Blair in Beijing just two months ago, will spend two days in the British capital before going on to Germany and Spain, demonstrating a renaissance in Sino-European relations

"People are perfectly entitled to wear Free Tibet (T-shirts) or anything else. We live in a democratic country," he said.

The Free Tibet Campaign has said it would protest Hu's visit at every turn, starting in The Mall in central London where its activists plan to wave Tibetan flags and banners as the president rides to Buckingham Palace.

Its director Alison Reynolds expected around 100 Tibet supporters to be out on The Mall leading to Buckingham Palace, waving Tibetan flags and banners.

"The idea is so that there is maximum opportunity for Hu Jintao to see Tibetan flags," which are banned in Tibet, Reynolds told AFP.

TONY Blair urged to pressure China over abuses

Chinese leader talks trade, security, climate with Blair in London

Some 300 protestors demanding an end to Chinese rule in Tibet and political repression throughout China lined the rain-soaked route of Hu's horsedrawn procession to Buckingham Palace, the residence of Queen Elizabeth II.
"Free Tibet," some of the flag-waving activists shouted as police on horseback and soldiers in ceremonial uniform led the gilded carriage bearing the president and the queen to the palace in splendour.

In pictures: China visit

Hundreds of demonstrators from the Free Tibet Campaign,
who want an end to Chinese occupation of Tibet,
gathered to greet China's president, Hu Jintao.

President Hu booed at Guildhall

Mr Hu was welcomed by Prince and Princess Michael of Kent
Chinese President Hu Jintao has been greeted by a chorus of boos from
hundreds of protesters as he arrived for a banquet in London's Guildhall.

Bush looks forward to meeting Dalai Lama amid concerns over Tibet

White House spokesman Scott McClellan confirmed to reporters that the White House talks would take place Wednesday during the Dalai Lama's 10-day high-profile visit to Washington.

"The President and Mrs Bush plan to meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, on Wednesday, here at the White House. And I know they look forward to that visit," he said.

Speaking ahead of his meeting, the Dalai Lama charged that China pursued strict rule in the Tibetan Autonomous Region despite "some progress" in direct talks between his envoys and Beijing to resolve the Tibetan question.

"Still, things are very, very repressive," the 70-year-old Tibetan leader told reporters before attending a dialogue in Washington with scientists, physicians and psychologists on the role of meditative practices in medical treatment and healing.

China Puts Focus on Security in Muslim Region

Los Angeles Times, CA - 11 minutes ago

Muslim Uighur militants in Xinjiang have fought for several decades to establish an independent nation
that would be known as East Turkestan.

Freedom, Independence and Democracy for East Turkistan !

China under new assault on human rights

Activists, scholars call crackdown by Hu Jintao most severe in years
By Gady A. Epstein
Sun Foreign Staff
Originally published September 14, 2005

Chinese Court Has Jailed More Than 20 'Reactionary' Tibetans Since 1996

KATHMANDU A Chinese court in the Tibetan city of Shigatse has jailed more than
20 Tibetans in the last decade for ‘reactionary’ offenses, including the
possession of photos of the exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, court
officials said.
“The court has the authority to sentence any individual who commits reactionary
actions,” an official at the Shigatse Intermediate People’s Court told RFA’s
Tibetan service.
The official added that the maximum penalty for carrying materials relating to
the Dalai Lama or other ‘separatist’ activities was five years’ imprisonment.
“Since 1996, more than 20 such cases have been decided by this court,” said
the official, who asked not to be named. “The length of the sentences ranged
from one to five years.”

Birth Control Team Kills Mother Expecting Second Child

They burst into my home, and tried to steal our rolling machine after my wife refused to give them
the guarantee money. Because my wife tried to stop their theft, they started to beat and kick her.
Wang kicked the lower part of my wife’s body. My wife was in so much pain that she collapsed on
the ground. The village officials and the people in the Birth Control Team from the village realized
that something was wrong and took off. The neighbors heard my wife’s call for help. They rushed
to my home and helped my wife to bed. They called for the village doctor to help her.

Uyghur Youths, Teacher Detained After School Brawl, Residents Say


WASHINGTON - Chinese authorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang have
sentenced four Uyghur youths to junior reform camp and are still holding one
of their teachers following clashes between Muslim and Han Chinese youths
outside a school near Kashgar in March, local residents say.

Police in Poskam, 235 kms (145 miles) southeast of Kashgar, arrested 17 or 18 high-school students from the Turkic-speaking Uyghur nationality, together with four of their teachers March 12 after a fight outside the Poskam Petroleum No.1 Middle School, local residents told RFA’s Uyghur service.

"The kids just had a fight with some Chinese and they were arrested for that," one resident familiar with the incident told RFA. "Those kids were arrested on March 12 here. About 17-18 kids I think. Some of them were released but four of them were sent to juvenile camp."

Another Poskam resident said: "Those four kids were sentenced to jail terms when they were sent off...One was sentenced to three years and three were sentenced to two years."

Police also detained teachers at the school for alleged involvement in the incident. "There were four of them," the second resident told RFA. "One is Abdushukur, another one is Abdulla Jamal; he is still being held by the police."

"The others are Aynur Abdugheni and Aniqiz Ghurpur. They were being punished for influencing the friendship between China’s nationalities," the man added.

Uyghurs constitute a distinct, Turkic-speaking, Muslim minority in
northwestern China and Central Asia. They have twice declared a short-lived
East Turkestan Republic in Xinjiang in the 1930s and the late 1940s but have
remained under Beijing’s control since 1949.

China's development takes an ugly turn

Hundreds of farmers protested in a Beijing suburb yesterday after being forced from their land to make way for an Olympic stadium, the latest in a wave of disputes over property rights.

China farmers rally over Olympics land dispute

Thu Jun 16, 2005
BEIJING (Reuters) - Hundreds of Chinese farmers protested in a Beijing suburb on Thursday after being forced from their property to make way for an Olympic stadium, the latest in a wave of land disputes in China.

Makeshift signs reading "Support the Olympics, resettle the farmers who have lost their land!" were strung up alongside a wide green-and-white banner proclaiming the site for the stadium and watersports complex for the 2008 Beijing Games.

Beyond it lay green fields the farmers of Maxingzhuang village say was their land before it was appropriated without compensation or resettlement being offered.

"Why are these people all waiting here?" said 36-year-old Ma Aihua, gesturing at the hundreds of farmers camped out on the road. "We are waiting for the government to respond."

AIDS Activists Harassed in China

China's poisoned workers fight back

10 March, 2005,
For the first time in a decade, factory owners in the southern province of Guangdong are finding themselves with a labour shortage of up to two million workers.

"I had a throat problem back in 1999. I thought it was a cold and took some medicine which cost 1,000 yuan ($120). I got better, but then felt sick again a few days later. It kept repeating itself like this," one said.

The symptoms were shared by many of their colleagues. Now, the women have developed more extensive pains in the neck and waist, as well as other symptoms like memory loss.

Eventually, they decided to get tests taken. Blood and urine analysis showed that 90% of those tested had amounts of the chemical cadmium in their bodies that far exceeded recommended levels.

Bloody China riot caught on film

16 June, 2005
The pictures show local farmers fighting a pitched battle with dozens of unknown men wearing camouflage gear and construction helmets.

Hunting rifles and clubs were used in the bloody clashes in the northern village of Shenyou.

It was filmed by a resident and then given to the Washington Post newspaper.

Shengyou Attack

Chinese Peasants Attacked in Land Dispute
By Philip P. Pan Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, June 15, 2005; Page A12

Editor's Note: This video contains violent content. washingtonpost.com presents the original, unedited version as it was received.
A farmer in Shengyou, China, videotaped hundreds of armed men attacking a group of local farmers.
According to witness accounts, the group was resisting government demands to surrender land to a state-owned power plant.
Produced by Steven King / washingtonpost.com

China Under Fire for Treatment of North Korean Refugees

CHINA - TIBET 30 May, 2005

Two Tibetan monks sentenced to 11 years in prison

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy slams the Chinese Court’s decision. The monks’ crime: hoisting the Tibetan flag.

Tibetans, Chinese Security Forces Clash in Qinghai

WASHINGTON?Thousands of Tibetans in China’s Qinghai Province have
clashed violently with security forces in a protest over alleged graft by
officials in remote Yushu Prefecture, sources have told Radio Free Asia’s Tibetan service.

An official from the Yushu Prefecture government who asked not to be named
confirmed that a clash had occurred in Dzato (in Chinese, Zado) County on
May 20-21. But the official described the incident as “not serious.” Further
calls to prefecture and county government offices during business hours went unanswered.

Other sources, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said several hundred
security forces from outside the area had been brought in to guard county government
offices after a violent clash in which shots were fired and some county government offices were burned.

Reports of casualties in the clash couldn’t be independently confirmed. Yushu Prefecture,
in Qinghai Province, is a traditionally Tibetan area now under Chinese administration.

the International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that annual deaths from workplace accidents are 11.1 per 100,000 Chinese workers.
That compares with the US on-the-job fatality rate of 2.19 per 100,000. For 2002

"China calls off democracy conference"

By AUDRA ANG, Associated Press Writer May 18, 2005

The three-day conference was to start Thursday in Beijing, but speakers were told to "assume that it's been canceled" pending official notice, said Bruce Gilley, who has written books on Chinese politics and was invited to speak at the conference.

It would be the second time in six months that China has called off an international conference on a sensitive issue. In December, it scrapped a meeting on labor standards with foreign union officials.

China has reached out to foreign scholars but keeps a tight rein on political events. Sensitivities are highest around anniversaries like June 4.

Discussion was to focus on elections, labor rights and government reform. It was organized by the China University of Political Science and Law and New York City's Fordham University.

Fordham issued a statement saying, "We accept the explanation that was given nearly a week ago for the postponement of the conference, namely sensitivities of timing."

It gave no further details on the cancellation, but said it would "await news of future plans from its faculty team in China."

Gilley, speaking by phone from the United States, said the planned conference "really highlights the growing amount of interest in Chinese universities about serious democratization."

"Like typical dictators, their (the government's) only reaction is to crush and repress it instead of accommodating it," he said.

A woman who answered the phone at the law school of the China University of Political Science and Law said she had heard the conference was canceled, but didn't know why. She would not give her name.

At least 30 U.S. and Chinese scholars were to speak at the event, which was examine the present and future of China's human rights and democracy.

China holds nonpartisan elections for low-level village offices -- a practice the government describes as democratization -- but the Communist Party decides policies. Most independent political activity is banned. Activists who want an end to the party's monopoly on power are regularly imprisoned and harassed.

Last December, the government cited "inappropriate and inconvenient" timing for the cancellation of a labor standards conference in Beijing with delegates from more than 30 countries.

Authorities step up surveillance of political activists every year around June 4, the anniversary of the 1989 crackdown. Chinese troops killed hundreds and possibly thousands of people that day, when they crushed demonstrations centered on Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

Chinese leaders often say the rights to food, housing and other benefits of economic development are paramount. They reject criticism of their suppression of religious rights and pro-democracy activists.

China: Uighur Activist Family Threatened

(New York, May 14, 2005) -- Chinese security agents have launched what appears to be a politically
motivated crackdown against the family and associates of Rebiya Kadeer, a prominent advocate of
the rights of China Muslim Uighur community, Human Rights Watch said today.

Since May 11, security agents in the northwest province of Xinjiang have tried to arrest Kadeer son,
beaten and detained several of her family associates, and raided her business offices.
Kadeer was arrested in August 1999 while publicly meeting with a member of a U.S. congressional
staff delegation. She served five and a half years of her eight-year sentence before she was
released on medical parole on March 17 and joined her husband in exile in the United States.
During her imprisonment and exile, Kadeer five children in Xinjiang have run the Kadeer Trading Center,
her million-dollar trading company in the province capital, Urumqi.

Uighurs fleeing persecution as China wages its "war on terror"

The following document examines recent developments in the continuing political crackdown in the Xinjiang
Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of the People’s Republic of China and the plight of members of China’s
mainly Muslim Uighur community fleeing human rights violations in the region.(3) Amnesty International has
published a number of reports on its concerns in the region since the 1990s, including two major reports in
April 1999 and March 2002.(4) Repression has continued in the region over the last two years, in the context
of an ongoing political and security crackdown against the so-called "three evils" of "separatists, terrorists
and religious extremists", as China continues to use "anti-terrorism" as a pretext to suppress all forms of
political or religious dissent in the region.

China is using the "war on terror" to justify its longstanding repression of the rights of the Uighur community,
according to a new report by Amnesty International. Many Uighurs flee to neighbouring countries, but growing
numbers are being forcibly returned to China where they face torture and execution.

"China has repackaged its repression of Uighurs as a fight against 'terrorism'," said Amnesty International.
"Since the 11 September 2001 attacks on the USA, the Chinese government has been using "anti-terrorism"
as a pretext to increase its crackdown on all forms of political or religious dissent in the region."

Over the last three years, tens of thousands of people are reported to have been detained on grounds of
"anti-terrorism" in the Xinjiang Uighur Automonous Region (XUAR), north-west China. This is despite
the claim by the head of the regional government in April that "not one incident of explosion or assassination
took place in the last few years".

Ethnopolitics and Pipeline Security
by David Nissman

October 1 marked the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Xinjiang-Uighur
Autonomous Region. This territory is inhabited at present by some nine million Uighurs
a Turkic sedentary people with more than a millennium of continuous cultural history--
over one million Kazakhs, approximately half a million Kyrgyz and an undetermined number
of Chinese (probably around five million). The Chinese were brought in mostly in the
1950s during one of the Chinese government's occasional efforts at sinifying the area.

October 6, 1995
Volume I / Number 21 / Part 3

Issue in China: Many in Jails Without Trial

May 9, 2005

Zibo, China - For a Chinese government that regularly promises its citizens a society governed by the rule of law, the case of a neatly dressed man named Li is a reminder of what still remains outside the law.

Here in a bleak stretch of eastern China, Mr. Li, 40, spent two years in a prison called Shandong No. 2 Labor Re-education Camp. Mr. Li, who spoke on condition that only his surname be used, and other followers of the banned spiritual group Falun Gong have been jailed here despite never having a lawyer or a trial - rights granted under China's criminal law.

That is because Shandong No. 2 is part of a vast penal system in China that is separate from the judicial system. Falun Gong members are hardly the only inmates. Locked inside more than 300 special prisons are an estimated 300,000 prostitutes, drug users, petty criminals and other political prisoners who have been stripped of any legal rights.

In a nondemocratic country like China, such abuse of legal rights might not seem surprising. But this system, a relic of the Mao era, is presenting a dilemma for a modern Communist Party that faces pressure at home and abroad to change the system yet remains obsessed with security and political control.

The government this year is expected to begin privately considering whether, and how, to change the system.

At the same time, the European Union has stated that for China to achieve one of its most prized diplomatic goals - the lifting of Europe's arms embargo - it needs to make a significant gesture on human rights.

Human rights advocates agree that few gestures would be more significant than abolishing or changing this system, which is known as reform through labor re-education. But unlike releasing a political prisoner, a common Chinese good-will gesture, changing labor re-education could force the Communist Party to give up a major tool it has used to maintain its hold on power.

"It is important for the power holders that a system like labor re-education stay in place," said Gao Zhisheng, a lawyer in Beijing and an advocate of changing the legal system.

"They beat us over and over, asking, 'You are North Koreans, aren't you?' "

Mr. Yoon recalled. Using the broken Mandarin he had picked up during almost two years in China,
he hotly denied the accusation. But despite hours of wailing and pleading, they were ultimately
separated and slated for deportation.

US family detained in China

Wednesday, 21 March, 2001
Chinese police detained a five-year-old American boy for nearly a month without allowing him any contact with his parents or informing the US authorities, reports say.
The boy, Andrew Xue, his father, Xue Donghua, and mother, Gao Zhan, were taken into custody at Beijing airport last month as they were about to board a flight to the United States.
The boy is a US citizen, while his parents have residency rights in America but have retained their Chinese passports.

Andrew and his father have since been freed, but his mother, a research fellow at the American University of Washington, is still being held.

Mr Xue has now appealed to US President George W Bush to help secure his wife's release.

The appeal comes during a visit to the US by the Chinese deputy premier, Qian Qichen.

China's record of neglect

Thursday, 28 September, 2000
The explosion at the Mou Gong Gou mine in south-west China comes just weeks after the government released a report revealing a staggering death toll in work-related accidents.
The report highlighted China's dismal record on industrial safety - with more than 4,000 people reported to have been killed in industrial and mining disasters in the first five months of the year.

Tens of thousands of people are estimated to die in work-related accidents a year, prompting the government to deploy a task force earlier this year to examine attitudes towards safety and identify potential dangers.

One particular area of focus for investigators, headed by the State Economic and Trade Commission, was major industrial and mining enterprises in Beijing and the provinces of Hubei, Shaanxi, Sichuan and Hainan.

Over a three-month period, they visited 293,000 enterprises and institutions, and were reported to have detected 325,200 potential risks that could lead to accidents.

The inspectors also examined civil aviation, road and water transportation, railways and petrochemical businesses to find similar hazards.

According to a government circular, published on 8 September in the China Daily, at the end of August, 76 of this year's most recent serious accidents have claimed more than 1,460 lives in total.

Days earlier, Vice-Premier Wu Bangguo urged industrial bosses to recognise the importance and urgency of industrial safety


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