Will China solve the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar?
Until recently this question would have sounded absurd. Beijing strenuously avoids playing a high-profile part in ameliorating international humanitarian crises. Its most identifiable role in Myanmar had been to shield the local military from international criticism for carrying out what the United Nations high commissioner on human rights has called a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” that has set off the exodus of more than 600,000 people to neighboring Bangladesh.
As the world has watched the unfolding of a campaign of murder, arson and rape by Myanmar’s military, known as the Tatmadaw, Beijing has blocked attempts by the United Nations Security Council to pass a resolution condemning the attacks, while offering the usual bromides about avoiding “interference” in domestic affairs of other countries.… Seguir leyendo »
China’s sledgehammer approach to dissent was on display once more this week, when the authorities sentenced the Uighur economist Ilham Tohti to life in prison on Tuesday. The verdict attracted widespread international condemnation and risks further accelerating a vicious circle of repression, discrimination and violence in China’s westernmost region.
Mr. Tohti, a professor at Minzu University in Beijing, was found guilty of “separatism” — the usual charge leveled against nonethnic-Han Chinese, such as Uighurs, Mongols or Tibetans, when they criticize Beijing’s ethnic-minority policies. Mr. Tohti has always stressed his personal opposition to separatism, but according to the prosecution’s tortured logic, this was in fact proof that he was a “covert” separatist.… Seguir leyendo »
How much of a reformer is China’s new leader, Xi Jinping? The announcementin January that by year’s end China is going to stop using or even abolish “Re-education Through Labor” — the notorious system instituted in the mid-1950s and modeled on the Soviet gulag — could offer an important clue.
While the government has provided no details about what it intends to do, it is not likely that the re-education archipelago — an estimated 350 labor camps with about 160,000 inmates — will be closed anytime soon. Presumably the camps will continue to hold inmates sentenced for crimes like drug abuse, prostitution and minor offenses.… Seguir leyendo »
Are China’s police hamstrung by a lack of power to detain national-security suspects?
What looks like an odd question to outsiders, given the notoriously elastic scope of what constitutes national security under China’s one-party system, has actually been the focus of one of the most intense behind-the-scenes political battles ahead of the leadership transition next October from President Hu Jintao to his likely successor, Xi Jinping.
The focus of the battle is a long-in-the-works set of revisions to the Criminal Procedure Law, which is expected to be adopted next month at the last annual plenary session of the National People’s Congress under Hu.… Seguir leyendo »
It has taken the arrest of Ai Weiwei, one of China’s best-known contemporary artists and an outspoken critic of the Chinese government, for the world to take notice that Beijing is in the midst of the largest crackdown on dissent in over a decade — one that differs ominously in scope, tactics and aims from previous campaigns.
The authorities are clearly casting a wider net over all advocates of “global values”— the code word in China for human rights, the rule of law and freedom of expression. Everyone from veteran dissidents to lawyers, rights activists, NGO coordinators, journalists, writers, artists and even ordinary netizens are being targeted.… Seguir leyendo »