Archive for the 'Chinese Politics' Category
July 30th, 2008 -- Posted in Chinese Politics, World Politics |
As much as I would like to talk about the burgeoning federal deficit, the endless series of funny McCain viral videos, universal healthcare; today is about the suppression of human rights in China. How many of us know about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? I spoke to some of my colleagues at work yesterday and asked this very question; not one person could name one article from the declaration.
No country is perfect as a Chinese friend of mine texted me the other day when he read a recent article I wrote concerning China on this blog. That being said, when I think about the human rights abuses that have occurred and are occurring in America, I realize there is no excuse and I do not support places like Guantanamo Bay which violate article 9 of the UDHR:
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
The violations of the UDHR undertaken by the American Government are serious but the difference between the USA and the PRC are that in America and the West we can actually protest these things. When Woeser tried to leave China to receive awards for her poetry, the Chinese government has denied her a passport because as I wrote in a previous post: her coverage of the Tibetan riots perturbed the Chinese Government and they want to make sure that there is one less critic of Chinese policies outside of China.
People cannot protest in China for the fear of threatening “stability” or “harmony.” Any such protests can sometimes lead to lengthy prison sentences as well as possible re-education. What can we do? We can hope that the media will attempt to make a difference when they are covering the games however this is highly doubtful given that Beijing has already broken the promise of complete media freedom:
Reports have just confirmed that foreign journalists working from the Olympics press center in Beijing are unable to access amnesty.org, the Amnesty International website. In addition, The China Debate, a site recently launched by Amnesty International as a forum to discuss human rights has been blocked in China.
A number of other websites are also reported to have been blocked, including Taiwan newspaper Liberty Times and the Chinese versions of both Germany’s Deutsche Welle and the BBC.
The media can be ruled out, so as citizens of the world, we have to pressure our respective governments to push China to use the Olympics to showcase its support for human rights. I must give credit where it is due, President Bush has done exactly that in recent months and I hope he will keep up the pressure throughout the Olympic Games so that we can see some sort of positive impact generated rather then support of the status quo. Today Politics Across The Pond stands with those people in China who want freedom:
This will be the only post available today, I will restore the usual settings of this blog tomorrow. Thank you for supporting this day and please stop by the Dragon Lady’s Den where can you can see censorship at work (could not get the code to work for this site).
July 24th, 2008 -- Posted in Chinese Politics |
Who would have thought the day would come in society when a Poet would be considered a national security threat however this day has apparently dawned because the Chinese government considers the Tibetan poet Woeser exactly that. Many of you may not know Woeser and I only discovered her blog through my numerous searches on Digg and other websites, she is one of the few Tibetan blogger’s who posted live images and commentary about the Tibetan protests and the ongoing repression in Tibet. You can find Woeser’s blog on my blog roll however all the posts are in Chinese hence a decent translator is needed or you can visit The Secret of Tibet which often posts some of her posts in English.
The Chinese government promised the IOC that they would respect human rights however this has not been the case and the lack of media coverage in Tibet is evident of how much the Chinese government has to hide. USA Today reported that Beijing is going to allow protests during the Olympic games but these protests are restricted to area’s far away from the arenas. I find that a bit ludicrous because how are the protestors going to get any coverage of their issues when all the camera’s will be focused on the Olympics? It is just another stunt in a series of stunts that is expected to cloak the Olympics in a veil of shadows, hopefully the Western media will be able to pierce that veil once the Olympics commences.
July 17th, 2008 -- Posted in Chinese Politics |
Since my youth, I often imagined myself living in different countries and what it would be like to be Greek, Japanese, Argentinian or Australian. These were the typical dreams of a boy who yearned to fly which I did get to do at age 12 but the world that I soon discovered was truly amazing with too many sights, sounds and smells to include in a single book. This world amazement has not abated over the years, instead I have made an effort to more deeply understand the world that I live in and how I can effect some sort of positive change given that I am neither rich or good looking enough to be an actor.
If you don’t have money and good looks then what do you have? Words. Words are equally as powerful as a $100 bill and can shape a person, a state or even a nation. What happens if even those words are taken away? You have a society in which the word is controlled but knowledge is the last thing anyone should control yet that is exactly what the Chinese government has done. They have created a system and society where the Government decides who you support and what you believe in. I am so thankful to have come from America and now live in Ireland where I can publish my own blog and criticize any component of any Government in the world and have people read my views and disagree with them if they are so inclined.
Amnesty International is once again leading the campaign to ensure that the the Chinese government makes more progress on basic Human Rights as well as dropping the “Great Firewall” so that their citizens are equally informed about global events be they anti-Chinese or pro-Chinese. People often criticize the American government for their control of the media however they do not censor the masses of anti-American information awash in European blogs. Dissent is part of life, we have to accept it or argue but totally pretending it is not even there, is not acceptable.
If you were in China right now, you would not be able to access this blog, I have already tried to send this link to friends of mine repeatedly with no success. In support for the Amnesty Campaign, I have implemented code to demonstrate what the censorship of this site will look like on July 30. Additionally I hope that some of my fellow blogging friends will do the same.
July 16th, 2008 -- Posted in Chinese Politics |
With less than a month to go to the Olympics, I am stunned that the Western Media as essential given The People’s Republic of China a free ride in terms of media coverage. China promised the Olympic committee that they would live up to their pledge to allow “free” reporting by the western media of the Olympics however given the stiff credentialing process required to obtain a Chinese visa, how many non pro-government reporters can we see entering the country? What is the solution? obviously, it is too late for many nations to boycott the games and given China’s increasing influence in the geopolitical stage ( Zimbabwe, Iran etc..), what can any nation do for fear of suffering trade repercussions?
I have been debating writing about this for fear of making some of my Chinese friends mad again however I cannot in good conscience support the Olympic games or the Chinese government. The biggest question on my mind has been moral relativity? Is it fair for me to criticize the Chinese government given the human rights abuses occurring in Guantanamo, CIA detention facilities and possibly other locations? Even if a comparison can be made, how can I equate the loss of human life in numbers? The simple answer I have reached is that with any political/moral argument, you have to take a stand at some point, you have to try to at least speak out against injustice regardless of the consequences. Here is a paragraph from an email I received today from Amnesty International:
First, let me tell you about Ye Guozhu and his family, who were evicted from their home and restaurant in 2003, which were razed to make way for the Beijing Summer Olympics.
Three days after he requested permission to hold a public demonstration against the forced evictions, Ye Guozhu was arrested. He was convicted of “stirring up trouble” and sentenced to four years in prison.
This is just one story of one person who has been arrested for opposing the Chinese “dream” of the perfect Olympics. After the head of the CNN branch in Beijing was called in to explain CNN’s allegedly biased coverage of the Tibet riots; the public should no longer expect truthful coverage of the situation in China because what major news network would want to lose the potential profits of over 1 billion people? The media has taken it increasingly easier on China which is why we only hear about stories like this from organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
I will speak honestly at this point, one of my best friends lives in Taiwan in an age where the current President of the country is unashamed to be pro-China. This bias from the leadership of Taiwan is logical given the recently slow growth within the Taiwanese economy which is all supposed to change according to Jim Rogers who recently stated that the best place to put your money is in Taiwan given its new relationship with China. The problem that President Ma has not taken into account is that the people of Taiwan are fairly split on China hence he has only given half the Taiwanese people a say in the potential eradication of “Taiwanese” as a distinct language.
You might think that I am overstating the situation, but given the demonstration of these tactics in Tibet where the Han now outnumber of ethnic Tibetans, is it truly inconceivable that China will not try to eradicate all remnants of the original Taiwanese culture and tradition in an effort to complete the “One China” fallacy? I think this is a distinct possibility and now the task lies with the media to ensure that the truth behind Human Rights in China is exposed given there new position as a player in the global arena.
May 15th, 2008 -- Posted in Chinese Politics, World Politics |
I mentioned two days ago about an upcoming blogging event however it is 20 minutes to 12am over here so I might be a bit delayed. This event is in conjunction with Amnesty International and the people over at Blog Catalog about a human rights issue that is pertinent to me. Given that I am as geeky as they come, something that means alot to me is the freedom of expression. Sometimes people can abuse that though whether it be the ladies of code pink or some newspaper publishing a cartoon about the prophet Muhammad, where do we draw the line? I honestly don’t know, but I personally believe that the only information that should be regulated is information that relates to the national security of a country. Preventing people from accessing western media, images, or dialogue is simply wrong and I am not just pointing a figure at China here but at other countries around the world who censor the internet.
I am going to talk about China though and about the jailing of journalist Shi Tao in April 2004 for sending an email to a pro-democracy based organization in the USA. Can you imagine going to jail for sending an email? If so I am sure we would all be in jail beyond our human lifetimes. I don’t understand how such censorship is beneficial though, some of my friends describe China as a democracy in progress but can anyone imagine the CCP giving up power to a President in the near future. I cannot imagine such an event occuring but the next best thing would be to let the media in China; local and foreign do what they want and publish what they want. From the Amnesty International Action Letter:
China has constructed an extensive system of Internet censorship to silence activists and journalists like Shi Tao. All Internet communications pass through government-controlled routers, and authorities are able to block access to many sites, to filter content, and to delete links or web pages considered “dangerous” or “subversive.”
There is the other side of the coin though, the PEW research center recently released a report about the internet in China stating that in 2007, over 85% of the respondents in the survey believed that the Government should control the internet. I find it startling that anyone would want to have their internet censored but Carolyn Marsan over at Network World has written a great article on the 10 ways that the Chinese internet is different from ours. She lists the following as positives as far as their internet infrastructure is concerned:
- There is less pornography
- Malicious activity such as botnets, phising scams and zombies are less common
- China produces 4% of the world’s spam while the United States originates 42%
- China’s internet is based on the next generation internet backbone aka IPv6
The negatives far outweigh the positives though in that if I lived in China I would not be able to acess this blog or any of the other blogs on my blog roll. The most important fact is that Shi Tao should not be in jail for something as silly as sending an email. People need to be free, and deserve to be free, it is a basic human right. If you would like to speak out about the jailing of Shi Tao, please send a polite letter to China’s Prime Minister asking him for the unconditional release of Shi Tao. The address is:
Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China
Wen Jiabao Guojia Zongli
The State Council General Office
PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA