Having a Taiwanese mother, parents who live in China and a B.A. in East Asian History I have heard, witnessed and learned things about China that people farther from the matter may not have and it's not pretty. While I'm relieved to see that media coverage, the NY Times specifically, has been more focused recently on highlighting the wrongs China commits day in and day out, I am reserved in my hope that this will affect public opinion enough. I'm sure most people are sickened by the Tibet situation for example but I realize more and more that until governments step in, meaningful reform will likely not take place. And it doesn't look like our government is going to do the right thing.
Here's a sampling of articles from the past 30 days:
China Rights Activist Sentenced to Jail Excerpt: A Chinese activist who had petitioned for land rights was sentenced Monday to five years in prison and then shocked with electric batons when police scuffled with his family, his lawyer said. More on Hu Jia Excerpt: Mr. Hu has worked on many causes in China, including volunteering to help AIDS patients and participating in tree-planting campaigns. He is a prominent blogger who also disseminates information about peasant protests, dissidents and other issues often censored in the Chinese news media. On Dec. 27, security agents dragged him from his apartment as his wife, Zeng Jinyan, also a well-known blogger, was bathing their infant daughter. She has remained mostly under house arrest during her husband’s incarceration.
U.S. Drops China From List of Top 10 Violators of Rights Excerpt: The State Department no longer considers China one of the world’s worst human rights violators, according to its annual human rights report released Tuesday, a decision that immediately earned the ire of human rights groups. In the annual report on more than 190 countries, the State Department did say that China’s “overall human rights record remained poor” in 2007. China, the report said, tightened media and Internet curbs and increased controls on religious freedom in Tibet and the Xinjiang region. The report said China’s abuses also included “extrajudicial killings, torture and coerced confessions of prisoners, and the use of forced labor.”
China Tries to Thwart News Reports From Tibet Excerpt: For the past few days, CNN, the BBC, Google News, Yahoo and YouTube have been blocked or have faced temporary blackouts or service disruptions in some parts of China. Some foreign journalists also say their e-mail service has been disrupted. Such measures are not unusual here. China strictly censors news that appears in the Chinese media and occasionally disrupts the activities of international news organizations and foreign Web sites operating in China, particularly if the content they are distributing is deemed politically offensive to the government.
Heparin Find May Point to Chinese Counterfeiting Excerpt: Federal drug regulators, in announcing Wednesday that the mystery contaminant in heparin was an inexpensive, unapproved ingredient altered to mimic the real thing, moved closer to concluding that Americans might be the latest victims of lethal Chinese drug counterfeiting. The finding by the Food and Drug Administration culminated a worldwide race to identify the substance discovered early this month in certain batches of heparin, the blood-thinning drug that had been linked to 19 deaths in the United States and hundreds of allergic reactions.
Tibetan Exiles: Protest Deaths Near 140 Excerpt: The group said the overall toll was ''around 140,'' and it listed the names of 40 Tibetans killed in protests that started March 10. Previously, the Dalai Lama's government said 99 protesters died. China has put the death toll at 22.
China Bars Olympics Coverage From Tiananmen Square Excerpt: Apparently unnerved by recent unrest among Tibetans and fearful of protests in the heart of the capital, China has told broadcast officials it will bar live television shots from Tiananmen Square during the Beijing Olympics.
4 Executives Are Charged Over Tainted Toothpaste Excerpt: The chemical, diethylene glycol, which is banned from certain ingestible items in the United States, was discovered in almost a million tubes of toothpaste last May and led to recalls in 34 countries. The chemical, commonly used in antifreeze and as a solvent, can lead to kidney damage or liver disease. The toothpaste ended up being distributed in the United States in prisons, luxury hotels, hospitals and discount stores. It was one of the earliest global alerts to broader manufacturing problems in China that allowed scores of tainted products, including toys, children’s jewelry and pet food, to end up on store shelves. The chemical in the toothpaste was used instead of the more expensive chemical glycerin.
Chinese Rights Activist Reported Missing Excerpt: A Chinese lawyer who has urged the Communist Party to improve its human rights record in advance of the Summer Olympics has disappeared, according to his wife, who said Friday that she was worried that the authorities might have detained him because of his political advocacy. The lawyer, Teng Biao, 34, disappeared on Thursday evening after calling to say he would be home in 20 minutes, said his wife, Wang Ling. Shortly afterward, she said, she heard shouting in the parking lot below the family apartment and later found her husband’s empty car. Witnesses told her that two men had dragged someone out of the car and taken him away, she said.