For China Digital Times, Samuel Wade reports: Human rights activist Cao Shunli has died in hospital after being denied treatment for tuberculosis, liver disease and other conditions until last month. Cao was detained on September 14th after taking part in a two-month sit-in outside the Foreign Ministry in Beijing, calling for public participation in a U.N.-mandated national human rights report.
— Pablo M. Díez (@PabloDiez_ABC) March 14, 2014
For China Digital Times, Samuel Wade reports: Human rights activist Cao Shunli has died in hospital after being denied treatment for tuberculosis, liver disease and other conditions until last month. Cao was detained on September 14th after taking part in a two-month sit-in outside the Foreign Ministry in Beijing, calling for public participation in a U.N.-mandated national human rights report. She was formally arrested the following month for “picking quarrels and provoking troubles.” From Sui-Lee Wee at Reuters:
“On Sept 14 … she was perfectly fine and going to Europe for a trip. Now she’s gone. Cao Shunli’s wishes were never accomplished,” dissident Hu Jia told Reuters.
“When the weather gets warmer, we will stand outside the door of the foreign ministry, continue to petition and call for the supervision of the government’s actions. We will remember this date.”
[…] Cao’s family saw wounds on her body, Liu Weiguo, a lawyer who has been acting for Cao, told Reuters, citing another of her lawyers, Wang Yu. But it is unclear how they were inflicted.
“The hospital is not willing to let the lawyer and the family look at the body,” Liu said. [Source]
— Hu Jia 胡佳 (@hu_jia) March 14, 2014
A ‘Directive from The Ministry of Truth’
The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online.
State Council Information Office: All websites strictly prohibit promotion of the December 11 Southern Metropolis Daily article “Name Change Requested for Mao Zedong’s Birthday Commemoration at the Great Hall of the People” and all related news. Immediately delete already published material. Close discussions on interactive segments and strictly control online comments. (December 13, 2013)
In an attempt to lower the profile of a planned symphonic concert honoring the120th birthday of Mao Zedong, authorities ordered a name change and merging of the commemoration with a New Years Gala. Recently, the State Council Information Office ordered the deletion of a Phoenix Net article that included an interview subject discussing the supernal power of Mao pictures.
Chinese journalists and bloggers often refer to these instructions as “Directives from the Ministry of Truth.”
ProPublica has launched an interactive feature of tens of thousands of images that have been censored from Weibo, in an effort to show what topics are likely to be targeted:
How Sina Weibo censors its users is as revealing as the content that appears on the site, and for the past five months, we’ve been watching the watchers. We’ve created an interactive feature, launching today, that allows readers to see and understand the images that censors considered too sensitive for Chinese eyes.
[…] For five months, our software has been quietly checking 100 Weibo accounts, keeping track of every post containing an image and returning repeatedly to see if those posts were deleted. Our collection has grown to nearly 80,000 posts, of which at least 4,200 — more than 5 percent — were deleted by censors.
Buckley reports from China for The New York Times that writer and activist Yang Maodong has finally been allowed access to a lawyer, three months after his detention and two after his formal arrest.
Yang Maodong, a writer and businessman better known by his pen name, Guo Feixiong, was detained by the police in Guangzhou, in Guangdong Province, in early August on allegations of “assembling a crowd to disrupt order in a public place.” He is one of several well-known rights advocates held on similar accusations after participating in grass-roots campaigns pressing the Communist Party for stronger legal and political rights. Read the rest of this entry »
The New York Times has spoken with unnamed employees of Bloomberg News in Hong Kong who say that editors chose not to run a story on ties between a wealthy businessman and China’s top leaders:
The investigative report they had been working on for the better part of a year, which detailed the hidden financial ties between one of the wealthiest men in China and the families of top Chinese leaders, would not be published.
In the call late last month, [editor in chief Matthew] Winkler defended his decision, comparing it to the self-censorship by foreign news bureaus trying to preserve their ability to report inside Nazi-era Germany, according to Bloomberg employees familiar with the discussion.
“He said, ‘If we run the story, we’ll be kicked out of China,’ ” one of the employees said. Less than a week later, a second article, about the children of senior Chinese officials employed by foreign banks, was also declared dead, employees said.
At Bloomberg, Natasha Khan and Daryl Loo describe China’s $180 billion push to extend basic health coverage from 80 to 800 million rural residents:
Toddler Wang Xiaobu was struck down in July by a motorcycle outside her home amid the rice terraces of Languan, a village deep in the mountains of the poorest part of Guizhou, China’s poorest province.
The 3-year-old was rushed by her parents past chicken coops and duck pens to the village clinic, a home doubling as a bare-bones dispensary. Xiaobu’s bloodied head was bandaged by an attendant who lacked the skills and equipment to stitch her wound or check for internal bleeding.
Four years ago, the story would probably have ended there, with Xiaobu’s parents – unable to afford even to fix their broken mobile phone – taking her home to recover or die. Instead, the biggest health-care overhaul in history meant government subsidies would now cover almost half their daughter’s medical bills, so they bundled Xiaobu into a borrowed van and raced 75 miles (120 kilometers) to the city hospital. Read the rest of this entry »
The Irish Times reports that Fang Binxing, the lead architect behind China’s “Great Firewall” who has been widely deplored by netizens, has resigned his position as
the president of Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications:
“A serious illness has made me unable to stay up working late into nights any longer. I couldn’t shoulder the dual responsibilities of doing research and administration like I did before,” he told an audience of graduates in June, and his retirement came into effect last week.
Local reports say Mr Fang (53) has cancer.
There is a mythical creature who only exists because its name sounds awfully vulgar—at least in Chinese. Since 2009, the “grass-mud horse” has become the mascot for Chinese “netizens” using special lingo to evade and make fun of government censorship. The creature’s name sounds an awful lot like a rude, four-letter instruction and your mother.
The China Digital Times has been collecting words in this sneaky lexicon and recently issued a collection of “classics,” a rundown of 71 “politically charged terms which represent netizen resistance discourse.” As University of Pennsylvania Professor Victor Mair writes on Language Log, the compilation provides a “really fine introduction to the labyrinthine world of China’s blogs and microblogs, one which would be impenetrable to outsiders without such specialized manuals to guide them on their way.”
From Democracy Digest:
Since Xi Jinping came to power just less than a year ago, China Digital Times notes, hopes that his administration would oversee substantial political reform have been dissipating amid frequent crackdowns on the country’s media and developing civil society. An infographic from the South China Morning Post plots arrests under the new administration’s watch to show that state suppression of the politically-liberal is gaining momentum.
The Economist outlines the Communist authorities’ efforts to shape public opinion by treating the Internet as an ideological battlefield: