China shuts 128,000 ‘harmful’ websites in 2017: state media

Report by SCMP

Announcement comes as the authorities tighten control of content on the internet, amid already routine censorship of the media

China shut as many as 128,000 websites that contained obscene and other “harmful” information in 2017, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported late on Monday, citing government data.

Xinhua said 30.9 million illegal publications were confiscated over the course of the year, while 1,900 people were subject to criminal penalties, according to figures from the national office in charge of combating pornography and illegal publications.

China has been tightening controls over internet content as part of efforts to maintain “social stability”, taking on “vulgar” and pornographic content as well as the unauthorised dissemination of news. Continue reading “China shuts 128,000 ‘harmful’ websites in 2017: state media”

Stop Repression in Hong Kong – campaign video

This short video, featuring ousted Hong Kong lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung (Long Hair) and Sally Tang Mei-ching of Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong) has been produced by the Stop Repression in Hong Kong campaign.

Less than four minutes long, the video shows  how the democracy struggle in Hong Kong has come under unprecedented attack in the past 12 months. One-fifth of the opposition in the legislature has been thrown out by the government and the courts on the flimsiest of pretexts. Young democracy activists have been served with harsh jail terms. Dozens of new political trials are looming in the first months of 2018.

Hong Kong has entered a dark night of political repression

Hong Kong has entered a dark night of political repression香港步入白色恐怖的黑暗時代 Powerful video from Stop Repression in Hong Kong explains what is happening in Hong Kong and why we need international solidarity to fight authoritarian rule!香港已步入了政治打壓、白色恐怖的黑暗時代,呼籲國際人民聲援香港,抵抗威權統治!

Posted by Stop Repression in Hong Kong on Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Chinese dictatorship is determined to stamp out Hong Kong’s culture of mass protests for democracy, which it fears could spread to China. Pressure is building from Beijing for the Hong Kong government – it’s puppet – to implement Article 23 national security laws that would massively curtail freedom of speech and make it a criminal offence to oppose the ruling ‘Communist’ Party (CCP).

 

 

Eight year jail sentence for Chinese dissident Wu Gan

State using systematic frame-ups and ‘carrot and stick’ methods to extract confessions

Adam N. Lee, chinaworker.info

On 26 December, the blogger Wu Gan, known by his online nickname Super Vulgar Butcher, was sentenced to eight years in prison by a court in Tianjin. This was the harshest sentence to be passed so far in a state crackdown on activism that began more than two years ago. It is common for China to hold trials of high profile dissidents during the Christmas period, to minimise international media coverage.

Wu was arrested in May 2015, two months before a major crackdown was launched against a group of around 250 lawyers and activists. Known as the ‘709 incident’, these mass arrests marked an escalation of state repression under ‘strongman’ ruler Xi Jinping which has since further intensified. China is currently experiencing its most severe repression since the post-1989 crackdown.

Continue reading “Eight year jail sentence for Chinese dissident Wu Gan”

China has 41 journalists behind bars amid ever-widening media controls

Report from RFA

As governments jailed a record number of journalists around the world in 2017, a U.S.-based press freedom group says the ruling Chinese Communist Party has a total of 41 journalists currently behind bars under the newly strengthened leadership of President Xi Jinping.

In its annual report, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) hit out at U.S. President Donald Trump for making no mention of Beijing’s record on human rights during his recent trip to the country last month.

“Trump made no public reference to human rights, despite an ongoing crackdown that has led to the arrests of Chinese journalists, activists, and lawyers,” the group said.

The group also highlighted the use of “medical neglect” to target writers and journalists in jail and detention centers, citing the death of Nobel peace laureate and writer Liu Xiaobo in hospital under prison supervision last July, following a diagnosis with late-stage liver cancer.

Continue reading “China has 41 journalists behind bars amid ever-widening media controls”

Hong Kong: Only mass struggle can defeat repression

A week hardly passes without the Chinese dictatorship stepping up its pressure on Hong Kong

Editorial from Socialist magazine (Journal of the CWI / Socialist Action)

Beijing is pushing for greater political control and to quell Hong Kong’s culture of mass democracy protests. Most recently it has been cranking up the volume with calls for Article 23, a national security law that would criminalise opposition to the Communist Party (CCP) regime.

Independence

Growing pro-independence sentiment among young people in Hong Kong has rattled the regime. Repression inevitably creates a backlash, but the dictatorship doesn’t learn and believes force and intimidation are the solutions to its problems.

Continue reading “Hong Kong: Only mass struggle can defeat repression”

Beijing hinders free speech abroad

By Cindy

China Digital Times

At The New York Times, Wang Dan, a former leader of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, looks at the growing reach of Chinese censors on American college campuses as Beijing attempts to export its political control beyond its borders. Chinese international students studying in the U.S. were discouraged from attending Wang’s forums on Chinese politics due to fear of reprisal.

[…O]ver the past three months, my efforts on American campuses have been stymied. The Chinese Communist Party is extending its surveillance of critics abroad, reaching into Western academic communities and silencing visiting Chinese students. Through a campaign of fear and intimidation, Beijing is hindering free speech in the United States and in other Western countries.

The Chinese government, or people sympathetic to it, encourage like-minded Chinese students and scholars in the West to report on Chinese students who participate in politically sensitive activities — like my salons, but also other public forums and protests against Beijing. Members of the China Students and Scholars Association, which has chapters at many American universities, maintain ties with the Chinese consulates and keep tabs on “unpatriotic” people and activities on campuses. Agents or sympathizers of the Chinese government show up at public events videotaping and snapping pictures of speakers, participants and organizers.

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House arrest: Grave violations of human rights in China

China jails Taiwan activist Lee Ming-che for ‘subversion’

BBC

A Chinese court has sentenced a Taiwanese activist to five years in jail for “subverting state power”.

Lee Ming-che went on trial in September for attempting to promote multi-party democracy in group messaging chats.

His case has gripped Taiwan, which has called for Mr Lee’s safe return, and has further strained the island’s relations with China.

Taiwan’s presidential office has criticised the sentence, saying: “We cannot accept this.”

Continue reading “China jails Taiwan activist Lee Ming-che for ‘subversion’”

2017: Year of the crackdown in Hong Kong

Disrespect for national anthem punishible by three years in prison – latest installment in a wave of undemocratic measures

Adam N. Lee, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong)

The Stop Repression in Hong Kong campaign was launched to highlight the rapidly worsening attacks on democratic rights by Hong Kong’s government.

Socialist Action initiated this campaign in consultation with left organisations and worker activists in several countries. Key assistance has been given by the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI), the international socialist organisation with parties and groups in 40 countries. In October, protesters in 22 cities around the world – from Bangalore to Vancouver – answered the call of the campaign to demonstrate outside China’s embassies.

The great crackdown of 2017 has seen six legislators undemocratically ejected from Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (Legco), giving the pro-government parties a ‘super majority’ that enables them to rewrite the Legco rule-book in their favour.

This is not at all what the voters wanted in the September 2016 Legco elections, when the pro-government camp suffered one of its biggest defeats in terms of votes. In that election the combined opposition parties got 60 percent of the vote, an increase from 56 percent in the elections of 2012. This was obtained on the highest election turnout for two decades.

The establishment’s purge of the Legco has nothing to do with ‘rules’ or ‘oaths’ – that was a legal smokescreen created by the Chinese dictatorship and its Hong Kong puppets. Its real purpose is to attack the most radical voices in the democracy struggle, such as ‘Long Hair’ Leung Kwok-hung, and try to eliminate these forces from the struggle. This will not succeed and can actually blow up in the government’s faces, increasing public support for the ‘radicals’.

Under Beijing’s pressure, which ultimately reflects its fear of mass radicalisation spreading from Hong Kong to China, the news media in Hong Kong is increasingly a megaphone for China’s dictatorship. Reporters Without Borders lowered Hong Kong’s press freedom ranking in 2017 to 73 (out of 180 countries). This ranking has been falling year after year since 2002, when Hong Kong was ranked 18 in the world. China is ranked 176, the fourth worst in the world.

Read more: Global protests in 20 countries against Hong Kong repression ➵

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China: Rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong jailed for 2 years as crackdown intensifies

AFP

A Chinese court sentenced prominent human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong to two years in prison for “inciting subversion” on Tuesday, the latest jailing in an intensifying crackdown on rights defenders and activists.

Jiang, 46, had taken on many high-profile cases, including those of Falun Gong practitioners, Tibetan protesters and victims of the 2008 contaminated milk powder scandal, before being disbarred in 2009.

Continue reading “China: Rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong jailed for 2 years as crackdown intensifies”