Wednesday, February 7, 2007

China keeps its critics at home while promising greater freedom for foreign media

The International Herald Tribune article shows concern for the double standard in the Chinese governments policy towards Chinese media and foreign media in China. Sadly the very efforts of the Chinese people within China to create a free society are being quashed by the Chinese government. Although Tibet is not a part of China, but an illegally occupied country we cannot overlook how Tibetan society has been disenfrachised in Tibet.

If we consider cases in Tibet, young teenage girls are punnished with cattleprods being forced into their vaginas, others beaten in the most severe manner only because they refuse to accept a lie China forces Tibetans to believe because they want to continue their occupation of Tibet. These severe punishments of Tibetans who simply refuse to believe the lie shows how China attempts to destroy the soul of Tibetans, to control their minds with the use of force and using fear to keep them oppressed.

Below is the website and the article.

China keeps its critics at home while promising greater freedom for foreign

BEIJING: China prevented 20 writers from attending an international conference in Hong Kong and kept an AIDS activist from traveling to the United States, in a further tightening of civil liberties for government critics.

International PEN, a writers' association, said Monday that local police barred or warned the 20 writers from attending its meeting over the weekend. Some of them with permits to travel to Hong Kong, a Chinese territory under separate administration, had their documents seized at the border.

The AIDS activist, an elderly doctor who embarrassed Chinese leaders by exposing blood-selling schemes that infected thousands with HIV, was detained by authorities at her home, apparently to prevent her from applying for a U.S. visa, fellow AIDS activists said. She was to be honored next month in Washington by a group supported by U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton.

The incidents come just weeks after the communist government relaxed decades-old restrictions on foreign media, giving them greater freedom to report the 2008 Beijing Olympics — a move that it hoped would burnish its international image.

The contrast, Chinese writers said, shows how the tolerance being extended to foreigners is not spilling over to the more critical voices within China.

"It's all for show," said Yu Jie, a writer who has been blacklisted and unable to publish under his own name for more than two years. "They're actually tightening their grip on China's writers."

Liu Xiaobo, a prolific Internet essayist and political critic, said authorities rejected his application for a permit to attend the International PEN event in Hong Kong.

Fifteen Chinese writers did attend but the 20 who didn't either could not obtain travel documents or were told not to go, said Zhang Yu, general secretary of the Independent Chinese PEN Center.

The travel restrictions came after China's recent ban of eight books, most of them on history, including one about the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome in 2003.

Zhang Yihe, whose book on the repression of classical Chinese opera stars in the 1960s was among those banned, decided not to attend the conference after being warned. Zan Aizong, a former journalist, and Zhao Dagong, another dissident writer, had travel papers but were blocked from leaving, PEN said.

"They have different regulations for the outside and for us on the inside," Liu said. "The new openness that they talk about is all about the Olympics. Nothing has changed for the people within the country. ... It's barbaric."

Gao Yaojie, the AIDS activist, was warned last week not go to the awards ceremony next month by the Vital Voices Global Partnership, fellow campaigner and friend Hu Jia said Monday.

When Gao — who is in her 80s — refused, police detained her at her home in central Henan province before she could leave for a planned trip to Beijing on Sunday to arrange her visa, Hu said.

Vital Voices is a nonprofit group that provides aid and training to women around the world to help them be more active community leaders.

For Gao, it's at least the second such run-in. In 2001, she was refused a passport to go to Washington to accept an award from a U.N. group.

Gao gained recognition in the late 1990s for her efforts to alert people in Henan to an AIDS outbreak being spread by tainted blood transfusions while the government was tightlipped about its problem with the disease.

She spoke openly to the press and distributed brochures about the spread of AIDS among poor farmers because of the blood-buying industry. She has distributed medicine, cared for AIDS orphans and hosted AIDS sufferers in her modest apartment.

Despite incremental steps the Chinese leadership has taken toward giving an appearance of openness for the Olympics, critics say its grip on dissent has in fact tightened under the leadership of President Hu Jintao, with controls further imposed on religion, the media, political activism and the Internet.

Authorities continue to use vaguely worded state secrecy and subversion charges to suppress criticism of the ruling Communist Party.

"It's a double standard because the Chinese government knows that if these people are allowed to travel, to move, to speak freely, they will reach new audiences," said Vincent Brossel, a spokesman for the Paris-based rights group Reporters Without Borders.

"They know the impact will increase if these people ... especially human rights defenders, become an icon for the fight for democracy. It will be much more difficult for authorities to crack down on them."


Associated Press writers Alexa Olesen in Beijing and Min Lee in Hong Kong contributed to this report.

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