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olympics.jpg (3208 bytes)China hopes we will see no evil if we see no dissidents


(USNEWSLINK) Less than two months following Beijing's selection as the host city for the games of the XXIX Olympiad in 2008, it resumed its vigorous torture and execution of Chinese dissidents.

Prior to announcing China's winning bid as the host city, the IOC Evaluation Commission visited each of the candidate cities and concluded, "There appeared to be no terrorist risk in Beijing".

In selecting Beijing as the host city, the IOC Evaluation Commission stated certain assumptions and conclusions:

ASSUMPTION: "Impending membership in the World Trade Organization"

STATEMENT FROM WTO: "China's Working Party was established on 4 March 1987. China's Draft Protocol and Working Party Report are almost completed, and are expected to be finalized in mid-September 2001. It is expected that WTO Ministers will take a decision on China's terms and conditions of entry into the WTO at the Doha Ministerial Conference in November 2001".
BACKGROUND: "China's accession to the WTO"

ASSUMPTION: "The commission notes the process and pace of change taking place in China and Beijing and the possible challenges caused by population and economic growth in the period leading up to 2008 but is confident that these challenges can be met".

Within its bid for the 2008 games, China documented its "type" of government as "working for China".

And in determining Beijing's suitability as a sports showcase for world participation, the IOC Evaluation Commission failed to give weight to China's recent history of torture and murder of its citizens.

Further, the World Trade Organization, whom the IOC Evaluation Commission relied upon for information and relevance to their selection of Beijing, has made no finding of fact, or mention, of China's human rights abuses.

In the year 2001, the world  has offered no incentive to Beijing to stop torturing and murdering its citizens.

China's policy of destroying its dissidents is being rewarded with acceptance and head turning by the world's elite. And with billions of trade dollars at stake, China will continue to silence its dissidents through "forced interrogation and confession under duress" for the purpose of torturing and murdering them.


Microsoft shuts down Chinese blog
Jan. 6, 2006. 02:21 PM

BEIJING — (AP) Microsoft Corp. has shut down the Internet journal of a Chinese blogger that discussed politically sensitive issues, including a recent strike at a Beijing newspaper.

The action came amid criticism by free-speech activists of foreign companies that help the communist government silence dissent in order to be allowed into China's market.

Microsoft's China-based weblog-hosting service shut down the blog at the Chinese government's request, said Brooke Richardson, group product manager with Microsoft's MSN online division at company headquarters in Redmond, Wash.

Although Beijing has supported Internet use for education and business, it fiercely polices content. Filters block objectionable foreign websites, and regulations ban subversive or pornographic content and require service providers to enforce censorship.

"When we operate in markets around the world, we have to ensure that our service complies with global laws as well as local laws and norms," Richardson said.

Richardson said the blog was shut down Dec. 30 or Dec. 31 for violating Microsoft's code of conduct, which states that users must obey the laws of the country in which they are based.

The blog, written under the name An Ti by Zhao Jing, a research assistant at the Beijing bureau of the New York Times, touched on sensitive topics such as China's relations with Taiwan. Last week, he used the blog to crusade on behalf of a Beijing newspaper.

Reporters at the Beijing News, a daily known for aggressive reporting, staged an informal one-day strike after their chief editor was removed.

The editor's dismissal and the strike attracted comments on Chinese online bulletin boards, which censors then erased.

Online bulletin boards and weblogs have given millions of Chinese an opportunity to express opinions in a system where all media are government-controlled.

But service providers are required to monitor weblogs and bulletin boards, eliminate banned content and report offenders.

Foreign companies have adopted Chinese standards, saying they must obey local laws.

Microsoft's Web log service bars use of terms such as ``democracy" and "human rights."

On the China-based portal of search engine Google, a search for material on the Dalai Lama, Taiwan and other sensitive topics returns a message saying "site cannot be found."

Web portal Yahoo was criticized last year after it provided information that was used to convict a Chinese reporter on charges of revealing state secrets.

Shi Tao was sentenced to 10 years in prison based on an e-mail he had sent abroad regarding media controls.

In September, a Chinese journalist was sentenced to seven years in prison for subversion after writing articles that appeared on foreign websites.

China also is cracking down on online smut. The police ministry said last month it had shut down 598 sex sites and arrested 25 people.

David Wolf, a Beijing-based technology consultant, said Microsoft might be hurt abroad by controversy over its action in China, but Chinese Internet services "simply do it as a matter of course."

Do Internet companies need to be regulated to ensure they respect free expression ?

International 6 January 2006

Reporters Without Borders’ proposals

The recent case of Microsoft closing down a journalist’s blog under pressure from the Chinese authorities once again shows that some Internet sector companies do not respect freedom of expression when operating in repressive countries. Reporters Without Borders proposes six concrete ways to make these companies behave ethically. These recommendations are addressed to the US government and US legislators because all the companies named in this document are based in the United States. Nonetheless, they concern all democratic countries and have therefore been sent to European Union officials and to the Secretary General of the OECD as well.


Reporters Without Borders has repeatedly condemned the ethical lapses displayed by certain Internet sector companies when operating in repressive countries. Here are some examples that have caused us particular concern :

  Since 2002, Yahoo ! has agreed to censor the results of the Chinese version of its search engine in accordance with a blacklist provide by the Chinese government. Reporters Without Borders also recently proved that Yahoo ! helped the Chinese police identify and then convict a journalist who was criticising human rights abuses in China. The e-mail servers of Yahoo !’s Chinese division are located inside China.

  Microsoft censors the Chinese version of its MSN Spaces blog tool. You cannot enter search strings such as “democracy” or “human rights in China” or “capitalism” as they are automatically rejected by the system. Microsoft also closed down a Chinese journalist’s blog following pressure from the government in Beijing. This blog was hosted on servers located in the United States.

  All sources of news and information that are censored in China have been withdrawn by Google from the Chinese version of its news search engine, Google News.

  Secure Computing has sold Tunisia technology that allows it to censor independent news and information websites such as the Reporters Without Borders one.

  Fortinet has sold the same kind of software to Burma.

  Cisco Systems has marketed equipment specifically designed to make it easier for the Chinese police to carry out surveillance of electronic communications. Cisco is also suspected of giving Chinese engineers training in how to use its products to censor the Internet.

We believe these practices violate the right to freedom of expression as defined in article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was proclaimed by the United Nations when it was founded and which is supposed to apply to everyone, including business corporations. Furthermore, such ethical failings on the part of American companies damage the image of the Unites States abroad.

Our previous initiatives

Reporters Without Borders has written to the chief executives of several corporations since 2002 proposing an exchange of ideas on this issue. None of our letters have been answered. We have also tried to alert the shareholders of these companies through investment funds. We presented a joint statement on 7 November in New York in which 25 investment firms managing some 21 billion dollars in assets undertook to monitor the activities of Internet companies operating in repressive countries.

Aside from Google, all the companies we approached refused to enter into a dialogue on this subject. We would therefore now like the American people’s elected representatives and the Department of State to formally take up this issue.

The initiative

Reporters Without Borders is convinced that a law regulating the activities of Internet companies should only be drafted as a last resort, and we therefore recommend a two-step approach. Initially, a group of congressmen should formally ask Internet corporations to reach an agreement among themselves on a code of conduct that includes the recommendations we make at the end of this document. The companies would be urged to use the help of organizations specialized in freedom of expression in drafting the document. The request would include a deadline for the companies to submit their draft code of conduct to the congressmen concerned.

In the event that no satisfactory code of conduct has been drawn up when the deadline expires, or the proposed code has not been accepted by a sufficient number of representative companies, the congressmen would set about drafting a law that would aim to ensure that US companies respect freedom of expression when they are operating in repressive countries and elsewhere.

Reporters Without Borders’ proposals

We have listed our recommendations according to the type of service or equipment marketed by Internet companies :

  E-mail services :

No US company would be allowed to host e-mail servers within a repressive country*. So, if the authorities of a repressive country want personal information about the user of a US company’s e-mail service, they would have to request it under a procedure supervised by US.

  Search engines :

Search engines would not be allowed to incorporate automatic filters that censor “protected” words. The list of “protected” keywords such as “democracy” or “human rights” should be appended to the law or code of conduct.

  Content hosts (websites, blogs, discussion forums etc)

US companies would not be allowed to locate their host servers within repressive countries. If the authorities of a repressive country desire the closure of a publication hosted by a US company, they would have to request it under a procedure supervised by the US judicial authorities. Like search engines, content hosts would not be allowed to incorporate automatic filters that censor “protected” key-words.

  Internet censorship technologies

Reporters Without Borders proposes two options :

Option a : US companies would no longer be permitted to sell Internet censorship software to repressive states.

Option b : They would still be able to market this type of software but it will have to incorporate a list of “protected” keywords that are rendered technically impossible to censor.

  Internet surveillance technology and equipment

US companies would have to obtain the express permission of the Department of Commerce in order to sell to a repressive country any technology or equipment which can be used to intercept electronic communications or which is specifically designed to assist the authorities in monitoring Internet users.


US companies would have to obtain the express permission of the Department of Commerce before providing any programme of training in Internet surveillance and censorship techniques in a repressive country.

A list of countries that repress freedom of expression would be drawn up on the basis of documents provided by the US State Department and would be appended to the code of conduct or law that is adopted. This list would be regularly updated.

Note : The purpose of these recommendations is to protect freedom of expression. They in no way aim to restrict the necessary cooperation between governments in their efforts to combat terrorism, pedophilia and cyber-crime.

Chinese blog shut down just days after being nominated for free expression contest

Reporters Without Borders has condemned the censorship of pro-democracy writer Wang Yi’s blog, which was closed down just days after it was nominated for the “freedom of expression” category in a blog contest being organized by the German public radio station Deutsche Welle.

“We call for the immediate reopening of this blog and we point out that the Chinese constitution is supposed to guarantee free expression,” the press freedom organization said. “In a country where self-censorship reigns, we should salute the courage of the few bloggers like Wang who dare to publicly protest against government bans.”

The company that hosts the Tianya website closed the blog down on the orders of the Internet surveillance bureau in Hai Nan province (southwest of Guangzhou). When Internet users now try to access the blog, they see an error message saying it is “no longer accessible.”

A teacher at Chengdu university in the southwestern province of Sichuan and member of the international writers’ association PEN, Wang initially created the site to make all his writings available in one place. He gradually turned it into a blog dealing with sensitive subjects. One of his last articles was about a campaign by peasants in Guangdong province to remove a village chief accused of corruption.

The authorities had been trying for six months to block access to the blog. “As soon as I find a way to get round their filtering system, the local police use a new technique to censor my blog,” Wang said. He added that he was “very annoyed” with the Tianya company and the Hai Nan authorities for getting his blog shut down.

Torture Hurries New Wave of Executions in China

NY Times

September 9, 2001

HEFEI, China — Liu Minghe paused in a hospital room here to let a nurse take his blood pressure, which had surged dangerously in the few minutes since he began talking about how he had won his freedom from China's death row.

After she left, he begged off recounting in greater detail the torture that he said had led him to confess to a murder he did not commit.

"Let's just say it was `forced interrogation and confession under duress,' " Mr. Liu said, his speech slurring slightly because he is missing several of his lower teeth, which he said had been knocked out during his five-year incarceration.

Mr. Liu has been recuperating in a hospital in Hefei, 560 miles south of Beijing, since winning his release last month after having been sentenced to die in 1996 in one of China's "strike hard" campaigns, a frenzied national effort to purge the land of lawbreakers.

He managed to overturn his conviction on the grounds of insufficient evidence, thanks largely to his former Communist Party membership, his family's relatively high social position, and money. But many other people who are wrongly convicted and condemned to die in China may not be so lucky.

China routinely executes more people than all other countries combined. This year, though, has been far from routine. Without much notice at home or abroad, the government has begun sending unknown thousands of people to execution grounds, often after they have been tortured into confessing crimes that to foreigners seem minor.

Today China is in the midst of its third great wave of executions in the last quarter century, a campaign in which as many as 191 people have been executed in a single day, according to the state news media. Since President Jiang Zemin announced the crackdown in April, at least 3,000 people have been executed, and double or even triple that number have been sentenced to death. The pace of executions shows no sign of abating.

The wrongful conviction of Mr. Liu, and others like him, suggests that by the time the campaign ends in 2003 dozens — if not hundreds — of innocent people will have died in the capital punishment spree.

These periodic nationwide crackdowns, in response to rising crime and concerns about weakening social order, place huge pressures on the local police to solve crimes quickly, which they often do by extorting confessions through torture. In Hunan Province, newspapers recently reported that the police solved 3,000 cases in two days in April. Police in Sichuan Province reported that they had solved 6,704 cases, including 691 murders, robberies or bombings, in six days that same month.

The campaigns also pressure the courts to try the accused quickly, record the maximum possible number of convictions and show little mercy in sentencing.

Convictions are sometimes handed down within days of arrests. Appeals are processed briskly and executions are normally carried out within an hour after a sentence is confirmed. Usually, just a few months pass between an arrest and execution, occasionally only weeks.

The monthly tally of death sentences has become a kind of grim score card showing how each province is doing. But the real numbers remain a closely guarded secret. They are believed to be far higher than the confirmed tally, which has been compiled from press reports by people like Catherine Baber, a researcher at Amnesty International based in Hong Kong, or a Western diplomat in Beijing who does not want to be named.

Many, if not most, executions are not reported in the press at all. And many of the reports that are published simply say that a "group" of people were executed on a given day. A group can include anywhere from a few people to dozens. Amnesty International usually counts each group as just two.

Neither Ms. Baber nor the diplomat will venture to guess what the true number of executions might be. But both agree that this year's total will probably surpass 5,000. Some observers say the number could reach as high as 10,000.

It is also impossible to say how many of the people executed might be innocent.

Signs of Wrongful Justice

Certainly, many of them have been ordered to die for crimes, like bribery, that would earn them only brief jail terms in the West. But several wrongful convictions, like Mr. Liu's, have recently come to light, suggesting that many among the condemned are not guilty at all.

Mr. Liu, 63, married and a former associate professor at a technical institute in Wuhu, Anhui Province, was arrested during China's last great sweep in 1996, for the murder of Tao Ziyu, who was reputed to be his lover.

Her body was found floating shoeless in a shallow lotus pond not far from his campus residence. She had been strangled by someone's left hand, the police concluded.

An elderly woman reported seeing a woman arguing with a man near the pond shortly after Ms. Tao was last seen alive, visiting a friend who lived nearby. Mr. Liu, who is right handed, protested his innocence and said he could account for his whereabouts at the time.

But just before the end of the three-month period that police are allowed to hold suspects, Mr. Liu says they plunged him into brutal, round-the-clock interrogations.

His wife says he was handcuffed to a window so he had to either stand or hang from his wrists. She says he was only allowed to eat a few bites of food by lowering his head to a bowl. A document submitted to the court by his lawyers said that Mr. Liu had not been allowed to drink or close his eyes during the interrogation.

The police told him the questioning would continue for 10 days and that if he did not confess he would probably be executed, and offered him a lighter sentence if he did, according to his lawyers.

On the third day, Mr. Liu broke. In the videotaped confession, which his wife has seen, interrogators did most of the talking while a dispirited Mr. Liu answered "yes" to the scenario they presented.

Suspects in China are not allowed legal counsel, or any contact with the outside world while under interrogation. Mr. Liu's wife says her husband disavowed the confession as soon as he was allowed to see a lawyer.

"I couldn't bear it," she said he told the lawyer. "If I didn't confess, I would have died."

Despite the lack of physical evidence and Mr. Liu's alibis, the Wuhu Intermediate People's Court found him guilty of murdering Ms. Tao based on his videotaped confession. On Dec. 30, 1996, he was sentenced to death.

Mr. Liu appealed his conviction and his family enlisted the help of a legal expert from Beijing who focused on, among other inconsistencies in the prosecution's case, Mr. Liu's alibi and the coroner's estimated time of Ms. Tao's death.

A higher provincial court sent Mr. Liu's case back for a retrial in Wuhu, which found Mr. Liu guilty a second time but reduced his sentence to life in prison.

Retrials Without Limit

There is no limit in China to how many times a case can be retried, and Mr. Liu appealed his case twice more before the provincial court overturned his conviction. Before he was finally released on Aug. 8, his wife had nearly lapsed into despair. "I have no tears left to cry," Ms. Wang said in an interview in July, squatting in her small living room, her knees bearing thick, plum-size scabs left from kneeling outside the courthouse to plead for her husband's life.

During the five years he was jailed, Mr. Liu says he was held in a series of 200-square-foot rooms crammed with as many as 26 people. He slept on boards or on the floor. He was rarely allowed outside and given few opportunities to exercise. For 16 months both his hands and feet were shackled, he says. He saw about 30 people sent to their deaths.

"My four limbs could barely move," he said last week, sitting in the hospital room, his white hair recently died black in an attempt to erase the wasted years. He said he collapsed shortly after he was released from prison and has since been hospitalized with severe diabetes and high blood pressure.

Mr. Liu might be dead today had not his longtime Communist Party membership and social position encouraged the provincial court to look more carefully at his case, his family and lawyers say. Money also helped. Mr. Liu's family has spent more than $36,000 on his defense, an enormous sum here.

But the vast majority of people executed in China have neither position nor money and their cases often get less scrutiny than Mr. Liu's, defendants' lawyers say.

Part of the problem is that Chinese prosecutors rely less on physical evidence than confessions to win convictions. According to a recent state press report, a government investigation found 221 cases of confessions extorted in six provinces during a two-year period ending in 1999. In 21 of those cases, the prisoners were tortured to death.

Even if the prisoner shows signs of abuse, prosecutors rarely question how the confessions were obtained.

Du Peiwu, a policeman in Yunnan Province, was released from death row last November after a group of car thieves confessed to shooting his wife and another police officer in April 1998, crimes for which Mr. Du had been convicted despite a clear alibi and lack of physical evidence linking him to the murders.

During his trial, he dramatically stripped off an outer layer of clothes to reveal the tattered garments in which he said he had been beaten, hung by his handcuffed wrists and shocked with a cattle prod to force his confession. The judges ignored his claim, according to press reports after he was freed.

Though forced confessions are technically illegal, the country's Public Security Ministry — whose local bureaus are charged with investigating crimes — rewards officers who extract confessions, while usually only lightly punishing those whose abuse goes too far.

The two policemen who tortured Mr. Du into confessing were sentenced last month to suspended one- year and one-and-a-half year sentences respectively.

Compounding the problem is an untrained and politically beholden judiciary.

Judges in China are not required to have any legal training, and few do. Most hold their positions because they have close connections with local government officials, who are eager for quick convictions.

"Veterinarians, drivers, anybody can get that job if they have good relations," said He Xing, a lawyer who teaches at the North China University of Law in Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei Province.

People have been executed in recent months for everything from tax fraud to drug trafficking to stealing diesel fuel.

In China's far western province of Xinjiang, where a small but persistent separatist movement percolates among the mainly Muslim population, people have been shot for "separatism," according to local newspaper reports.

Similarly intense spates of executions have played a grisly role in China's political upheavals over the last half century. In the first few years after the Communist Party came to power, as many as five million people were put to death, most after summary trials by makeshift tribunals.

A Third Wave of Executions

This year is the third surge in executions since the end of the 1966- 1976 Cultural Revolution.

The first came in 1983 when Deng Xiaoping announced the first "strike hard" campaign. Large white posters bearing the names and crimes of the condemned were pasted in public places across the country. Western observers estimated that more than 10,000 people died that year. The second "strike hard" campaign, the one that swept up Mr. Liu, began in 1996.

These periodic crackdowns and the widespread use of execution have received broad popular support in China, despite the likelihood of wrongful convictions.

A 1995 academic survey of 2,661 people found that fewer than 1 percent were in favor of abolishing the death penalty, while more than 90 percent thought there should be more.

Their opinions are colored, however, by underreporting of executions in the press and the government's secrecy about the annual total.

With increasing frequency, prisoners are formally arrested or sentenced at public rallies. Nearly two million people attended such rallies in Shaanxi Province in April and May. On June 25, more than 5,000 people attended a rally in Hubei Province, at which 13 people were sentenced to death, 8 of whom were executed immediately.

The condemned are normally paraded through town on the beds of open trucks, before being driven to the execution ground, often trailed by a caravan of onlookers.

Usually at an open field outside of town, the prisoners are made to kneel and are then shot at point blank range in the back of the head. Their organs are sometimes removed on the spot by medical staff and rushed to nearby hospitals for transplant operations.

The condemned are not allowed to see their families before they die. Once they are picked up for questioning, they never speak to a loved one again.

Often, the family does not even learn of the final sentence until the execution is over and they are notified to collect the prisoner's ashes from a crematory.

Pelosi calls on Bush to boycott Olympic opening ceremonies 
April 1, 2008

"I think boycotting the opening ceremony, which really gives respect to the Chinese government, is something that should be kept on the table," Pelosi told "Good Morning America" co-anchor Robin Roberts in an interview to air Tuesday morning, according to the ABC News Web site. "I think the president might want to rethink this later, depending on what other heads of state do."

Pelosi said she does not think U.S. athletes should boycott the games themselves.

"I believe a boycott of the Beijing Olympics would unfairly harm our athletes who have worked so hard to prepare for the competition," she said in a statement last week.


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