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Human rights in China?

August 2, 2008

How can the Chinese government claim it is improving its human rights record when it reacts like this over protests regarding the many schools that collapsed during the recent eartquake?

“DUJIANGYAN, China — Chinese police Wednesday blocked access to a school that collapsed in last month’s massive earthquake, a day after breaking up a protest by parents of students who died in the disaster.

Many parents blamed greedy party cadres and construction companies for the high number of deaths among their children, charging them with skimping on quality construction to line their own pockets.

The vice inspector of the Sichuan education department, Lin Qiang, admitted that educational officials had left open “loopholes for corruption.”

Read the full story: here

and

“Police were also out in force at the Xiange Middle School, where 300 students died. Unlike at other schools, no memorials, banners, or photos of children had been set up at the school, also near Dujiangyan.

“There is no use protesting … no one ever comes here,” said a man who lived near the school. He would give only his surname, Ding.
Ding said officials had told local residents not to cause any problems by protesting.
On Tuesday, police broke up a group of parents protesting outside a Dujiangyan courthouse over the loss of their children. The police action was the sternest response so far by authorities toward dozens of grieving parents who had been holding impromptu gatherings and memorial services to vent their anger.

“Tell us something!”, parents shouted as police led them away.

Surrounded by police at a side entrance to the courthouse, the parents tried to present what some described as a lawsuit, saying they had no other option because local officials were not responding.
The papers were refused, the parents said, and calls to local police were not answered.”

Read the full story: here

and, worst of all in my opinion:

“A TEACHER who posted pictures online of schools that collapsed during China’s earthquake in May has been sent to a labour camp, a rights group said yesterday.

Human Rights in China said Liu Shaokun had been ordered to serve a year of “re-education through labour”, a system that sidesteps the need for a criminal trial.

It said Liu, of Guanghan Middle School in Deyang city, was detained on June 25 for “disseminating rumours and destroying social order”.

The May 12 earthquake killed nearly 70,000 people, including thousands of children who died when their shoddily built schools collapsed. The issue has become a sensitive political issue for the government, with parents of dead children staging protests demanding investigations.

In recent weeks they have also been subjected to intimidation and financial inducements to silence them.”

Source: here

If the authorities are serious about accepting some of the blame and prosecuting any corrupt officials or building firms why on earth can’t they accept the protests? At the moment the protestors are being prosecuted instead of the guilty parties. Can’t they see how this looks to the rest of the world as well as to their own population?

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