Saturday, December 17, 2005

China's Suppression of Riot News Picked Up by NYT?

Mark down this day. The New York Times actually picked up a story that isn't flattering to the Chinese Communists. The Chinese government is busy burying the details surrounding the riots that broke out over the government seeking to build a power station in the town of Dongzhou. They're intimidating people into silence - and the Chinese know that if you cross the government, you'll never be heard from again because Chinese detention centers aren't happy fun places, but where political prisoners are held, tortured, or killed.
Residents of Dongzhou, a small town now cordoned off by heavy police roadblocks and patrols, said in scores of interviews on the telephone and with visitors that they had endured beatings, bribes and threats at the hands of security forces in the week and a half after their protest against the construction of a power plant was violently put down. Others said that the corpses of the dead had been withheld, apparently because they were so riddled with bullets that they would contradict the government's version of events. And residents have been warned that if they must explain the deaths of loved ones - many of whom were shot dead during a tense standoff with the police in which fireworks, blasting caps and crude gasoline bombs were thrown by the villagers - they should simply say their relatives were blown up by their own explosives.
China is holding the Olympic Games in 2008. Those games are supposed to be a coming out party for the modern China. Problem is that the modern China isn't different than the old China. They may have dressed things up around Beijing a bit to impress diplomats and the IOC, not to mention the athletes coming into the country to compete, but the old problems remain. Suppression of the media. Violent crackdowns against dissenters. Environmental disasters swept under the rug by officials who don't want the truth to get out.

The Peking Duck, Adrift in the Sea of Phlegm, and One Free Korea (which notes Congressional concern over the situation in China). The Paper Tiger wonders if this is a turning point. Gay and Right points out that no matter how much the Times or China's government proclaims that the country has embraced capitalism, it's still a Communist country where property rights are nonexistent and dissent is crushed, not tolerated.

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