Chinese dissident jailed for 10 years

A Chinese court jailed a veteran dissident who organised a pro-democracy activist network for 10 years today for inciting subversion, his wife said.

The stiff sentence come near the end of a year in which the Chinese government has used various means to silence dissent, from lengthy imprisonment to months of disappearances, in a crackdown aimed at preventing Arab Spring-style uprisings. independent

Whose miracle?

It is impossible to say just how many rural peasants have made this move in the past decade but estimates run from between 200 and 300 million people. This latter would be a population greater than that of the entire US. Even by official acknowledgement 20 million a year are leaving the land. It is commonplace to see these young migrants, with their worldly goods about them, crowded into train stations trying to catch a night’s sleep between bus and train connections that will carry them to the ‘promised land’ of Shanghai or the Special Economic Zone of Guangdong (adjacent to Hong Kong).
The payment of bribes is chronic. Some of the incidents are gradually seeping into the Chinese press as journalists push the limits of the permissible. They include stories of outright slave labour, such as the case of people kidnapped from the countryside to work in the Shanxi brick kilns. The stories provoked an official investigation that found 53,035 people illegally employed. According to Li Datong, who used to write for the China Youth Daily; ‘The investigation uncovered cases of people being kidnapped, of restriction of personal freedom, of forced labour, of child labour, and abuse and even murder of workers.’ newint.org

Tibet's cry for help

Days ago, Palden Choetso walked out of her nunnery, covered herself in petrol and set herself on fire while pleading for a 'free Tibet'. Minutes later she died. In the past month, nine monks and nuns have self-immolated to protest a growing Chinese crackdown on the peaceful Tibetan people.

These tragic acts are a desperate cry for help. Machine gun-toting Chinese security forces are beating and disappearing monks, laying siege to monasteries, and even killing elderly people defending them -- all in an effort to suppress Tibetan rights. China severely restricts access to the region. But if we can get key governments to send diplomats in and expose this growing brutality, we could save lives.

We have to act fast -- this horrific situation is spiraling out of control behind a censorship curtain. Over and over we have seen that when diplomats themselves bear witness to atrocities, they are motivated to act, and increase political pressure. avaaz.org

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