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.”

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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.

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Surveillance and Silence in China’s Democracy Village

chinadigitaltimes.net

By Cindy

, once hailed as China’s “democracy village,” has become a site of intense government surveillance in recent years as President Xi Jinping continues to crackdown on civil society and individual rights. Streets within the village have been equipped with high-definition cameras and major areas have been sealed off by checkpoints and armed police. James Pomfret at Reuters reports:

A rare visit to Wukan by a Reuters team and interviews with half a dozen villagers and sources familiar with the situation revealed that the village and surrounding area remain tightly policed as the government tries to maintain security at all costs.

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Hong Kong’s MTR Corporation profiteering from state repression

“A tool of the government’s political crackdown” 

Adam N. Lee, chinaworker.info

Hong Kong’s state-owned rail giant MTR has expanded aggressively overseas in the past decade. The company has exploited the worldwide mania for privatisation of formerly publicly owned transport systems to establish itself as a global force. It now derives one-third of its revenue from operations in Europe, Australia and mainland China.

“In Sweden, MTR is now the third biggest employer in the capital Stockholm,” says Per-Åke Westerlund of the socialist party, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI in Sweden). “Several groups of unionised workers have grievances against the company, which operates the Stockholm subway system, the capital’s regional railway, and has also taken over national rail routes. This summer, MTR’s subcontractor at the regional railway sacked 24 cleaning workers and cut working hours for another 41.”

In Melbourne, Australia, MTR owns 60 percent of Metro, which operates the city’s trains. In 2015, the company’s attacks on working hours and conditions triggered the transport network’s first strike since 1997.

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