Under this surreal ‘rule by law’, Ai Weiwei is guilty

Such a distortion of the judiciary means those who seek to protect their fellow citizens are now most at risk in China

Originally published by Guardian.co.uk,  7 April 2011

 By Isabel Hilton

When the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei insisted to reporters in Beijing this week that “China is a country ruled by law”, and “other countries have no right to interfere” in the case of the detained avant-garde artist Ai Weiwei, there was a certain truth to his remarks. China is a country ruled by law. But this is quite different, as many victims of official corruption in China have discovered, from being a country in which the rule of law prevails.

The rule of law contains important principles: the law is supreme, and all have equal rights before it. The concept of rule by law was pioneered by one of China’s harshest imperial regimes, the shortlived but influential Qin dynasty, 2,000 years ago. The Qin emperor saw the law as an instrument of authoritarian rule, to be defined and used as he chose, and it is this tradition that appeals to the current Chinese leadership.

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‘Counter-Terror’ Policy Targets Uyghurs

Originally published by RFA, 7 Apr 2011

By Mamatjan Juma

A new report says China uses the threat of terrorism to crack down on Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

 AFP,Uyghur men and women chat outside a mosque in Urumqi, July 17, 2009.


China’s anti-terrorism policy deliberately targets ethnic minority communities such as Uyghurs and Tibetans struggling for greater autonomy, according to a white paper by a rights group.

The policy equates terrorism with groups pushing for more self-governing rights, is too broad in scope, and shirks international human rights commitments, said the Hong Kong and New York-based Human Rights in China (HRIC).

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Crackdown in China

Originally published by The New York Times, April 7  2011

HONG KONG — It has taken the arrest of Ai Weiwei, one of China’s best-known contemporary artists and an outspoken critic of the Chinese government, for the world to take notice that Beijing is in the midst of the largest crackdown on dissent in over a decade — one that differs ominously in scope, tactics and aims from previous campaigns.

The authorities are clearly casting a wider net over all advocates of “global values”— the code word in China for human rights, the rule of law and freedom of expression. Everyone from veteran dissidents to lawyers, rights activists, NGO coordinators, journalists, writers, artists and even ordinary netizens are being targeted.

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European Parliament must speak out on China abuses

Originally published by The Committee to Protect Journalists,Apr 6 2011

 The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on members of the European Parliament to strongly criticize the Chinese government’s apparent detention of artist and social activist Ai Weiwei. The European Parliament is convening an emergency debate Thursday on Ai’s disappearance, which may be the latest unlawful detention in the government’s onslaught against its critics. 

Ai was stopped in Beijing airport while preparing to board a flight to Hong Kong on April 3 and has not been heard from since. Authorities have not confirmed that they are holding him, although police raided his home and studio later that day. The reason for the action is not clear, but Ai is among the most prominent of China’s government critics, and used his Twitter account to comment on injustice, including detentions of fellow activists.

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Huntsman hits China on human rights

Originally published by Politico,06 Apr 2011

By Kasie Hunt

Ahead of his anticipated run for president, outgoing U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman is leaving his post in China with a sharp rebuke to Beijing on human rights.

“The United States will never stop supporting human rights because we believe in the fundamental struggle for human dignity and justice wherever it may occur,” Huntsman told a prestigious audience gathered for the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations’s Barnett-Oksenberg Lecture in Shanghai on Wednesday, according to a transcript of his remarks.

“[American ambassadors] will continue to speak up in defense of social activists,” he said, referring to the case of artist Ai Weiwei, who was detained on Sunday. He also mentioned Nobel Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, who has been imprisoned for subversion, and American geologist Feng Xue, who allegedly stole Chinese state secrets.

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AP Exclusive: Voices behind China’s protest calls

Originally published by Associated Press, 06 Apr 2011

SEOUL, South Korea – Strolling past hip cafes, the young Chinese man in a white sports jacket and faded jeans looks like any other university student in the South Korean capital. But the laptop in his black backpack is a tool in a would-be revolution in China.

The 22-year-old computer science student is part of a group behind appeals that started popping up anonymously on the Internet seven weeks ago, calling on Chinese to stage peaceful protests to get the ruling Communist Party to move toward democracy.

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China sends its Tibetan specialist to drum up trade opportunities

Originally published by The Sydney Morning Herald,April 5 2011
 By John Garnaut
   CHINA’S fourth-ranked leader, Jia Qinglin, will arrive in Perth tonight in the midst of the Communist Party’s toughest crackdown on civil society in more than a decade.

Mr Jia will work his way across Australia in a six-day trip, including having meetings with the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and the Foreign Affairs Minister, Kevin Rudd, to deepen ties and consolidate the booming trade relationship at a time when the Communist Party is going to new and more forceful lengths to protect its rule.

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US court undecided on Uighur appeal

Originally published by Rthk.org,05 Apr 2011

The US Supreme Court has rejected three appeals by Guantanamo detainees protesting against their indefinite detention. But the highest US court did not decide three other appeals – including one filed by ethnic Uighur Chinese Muslims who were arrested in Afghanistan in 2001, and are still being held there. The Chinese were cleared of all terrorism charges and are part of a larger group of 22 Uighurs formerly detained at Guantanamo, who have since been parceled out throughout the globe. Washington has refused to send them back to China, fearing they would be persecuted there.

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