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China: Re-education through labor sentence for two elderly protesters

Global Voices OlympicsThe Olympics have sure gone by quickly! Over the past two weeks a lot of people have been quite adamant about overlooking any news or issues not directly pertaining to the competitions in Beijing and other Olympic venues themselves (or am I just perpetuating a myth?), and even those, it seems, that involve anything unpleasant, even the infraction of IOC rules. It almost makes you wonder how much more harmonious the Olympics would be online if bloggers had access to things like footage of Usain Bolt setting not one but TWO world records.

Anyway, it was hard to ignore the news of two seventy-plus-year-old women who in applying to protest in special ‘Olympic Games protest zones’ ended up unknowingly applying to be arrested, and were then sentenced to one year of re-education through labor. One photo now circulating around the internet is also helping popularize the latest anti-censorship slight-of-hand, aka ‘don't speak just look at this photo’. Even anti-CNN.com got talking about the story in response to a 08/20 Guardian report on the controversy:

龙威不可犯:
呵呵,俺现在对这样的新闻报道一笑而过,连气都不会生。

Don't Mess With The Dragon:
Hehe, I just laugh and move on now when I see news like this, I can't even get angry over it.

hqt1972
毫无感觉

hqt1972:
No feeling whatsoever

changyuqi
笑笑就算了….我相信我们政府脑子还没那么混乱,抓2个70岁的老太太再告诉你们西方媒体?

changyuqi
Just laugh and forget about it…I don't think our government is foolish enough to arrest two 70-something old ladies and then tell those western media

于哲
怎么可能呢
外交部记者会上竟然也有记者问这问题

The Wisdom:
How could this be?
Some journalists actually asked about this at the Foreign Affairs press conference

无耻白人
中国入侵西藏的新闻都编得出来,这还不是毛毛雨

Shameless Caucasian:
They make news up about China invading Tibet, this isn't just a piffle

stkanon
挖靠, 这种谣也造得出来
倒底是记者太没常识还是太不要脸?

stkanon:
Damn, even this kind of news gets made up
Is the problem that journalists just have no common sense, or do they have no self-respect?

klmn170
看完楼主的帖子,我的心情竟是久久不能平静。正如老子所云:大音希声,大象无形。我现在终于明白我缺乏的是什么了,正是楼主那种对真理的执着追求和楼主那种对理想的艰苦实践所产生的厚重感。面对楼主的帖子,我震惊得几乎不能 …
[note: 提示: 作者被禁止或删除 内容自动屏蔽]

klmn170:
After reading this post, I felt upset for quite some time. Just like Laozi emphasized: great wisdom is not readily apparent. Now I finally understand what it is I'm lacking, that being your stubborn search for the truth, and the weightiness that comes with your painstaking upholding of ideals. Faced with this post of yours, I'm so shocked I can barely…
[Note: the above comment has been deleted, but could be retrieved further down where another reader had, by the time it was deleted, already replied to it]

bird327
此消息是否真实,不得而知,但是当前社会问题频发确实不容回避的事实,

bird327:
I have no way of knowing if this news is true or false, but it's a fact that the recurring social problems nowadays cannot be avoided

wulixuan:
原帖由 klmn170 于 2008-8-21 10:43 发表
看完楼主的帖子,我的心情竟是久久不能平静。正如老子所云:大音希声,大象无形。我现在终于明白我缺乏的是什么了,正是楼主那种对真理的执着追求和楼主那种对理想的艰苦实践所产生的厚重感。面对楼主的帖子,我震惊得几乎不能 …
–你吃饱了撑得慌的话,去跑马拉松吧!

wulixuan:
klmn170:
After reading this post, I felt upset for quite some time. Just like Laozi emphasized: great wisdom is not readily apparent. Now I finally understand what it is I'm lacking, that being your stubborn search for the truth, and the weightiness that comes with your painstaking upholding of ideals. Faced with this post of yours, I'm so shocked I can barely…

–If you ever get full from eating your own baloney, you should go run a marathon!

六毛党党员
上面有几个我认为可以涨工资了!

Sixty-cent party member:
I think the few of you commenting above should get a raise!

没心的石头
两个70多,抗议?儿子去告诉媒体?媒体还要报道?什么概念?为**记者悲哀,一个国家要灭亡,总是记者先疯狂!!!

Heartless stone:
Two 70-somethings, protesting? Did their sons go tell the media? And the media reported on this? What nonsense is this? Showing grief to foreign reporters, that's what destroys a country, and it's always the journalists who go nuts first!!!

porky017
现在拆迁很难,因为一个个都是狮子大张口,不把重孙子的钱要出来就不同意,好多农民都是这样一夜暴富的,估计如果真有此事,估计那两位老妈妈嫌以前要少了。北京地安门有一个拆迁,一共30来平米,要一套70多平米的商铺(价值400多万),另外再要1600万,最后被强拆了,这主是不是也和人权观察中心联系了。像这种人就得强拆,要闹事,就应该判刑。

porky017:
Forcefully evicting people is really tough now, because they all suddenly become fiercer than lions; if you don't put up the money for their grandkids’ college funds, they won't agree. This is how a lot of those farmers suddenly became rich overnight. I figure that if this case is for real, it's probably that those two old mums just didn't get paid enough previously. There was someone near Tiananmen in Beijing who got evicted, they had a total of 30-something square meters and wanted a 70-plus square meter commercial property (which is worth over 4 million), and 16 million on top of that. In the end they got forcefully evicted, and who knows if they even went and got in touch with a human rights monitoring center. People like this who get forcefully evicted and then make noise about it, they should get criminal sentences.

lasd:
原帖由 porky017 于 2008-8-21 11:38 发表 From:Anti-CNN求实交流论坛www.anti-cnn.com
现在拆迁很难,因为一个个都是狮子大张口,不把重孙子的钱要出来就不同意,好多农民都是这样一夜暴富的,估计如果真有此事,估计那两位老妈妈嫌以前要少了。北京地安门有一个拆迁,一共30来平米,要一套70多平米的商铺(价值400多万), …
–对就是这样贪得无厌,利益谁会怕多呢?如果每个人都这样没有止境的要价,怎样办事情?人也应该要有一个度。

lasd:
porky017:
Forcefully evicting people is really tough now, because they all suddenly become fiercer than lions; if you don't put up the money for their grandkids’ college funds, they won't agree. This is how a lot of those farmers suddenly became rich overnight. I figure that if this case is for real, it's probably that those two old mums just didn't get paid enough previously. There was someone near Tiananmen in Beijing who got evicted, they had a total of 30-something square meters and wanted a 70-plus square meter commercial property (which is worth over 4 million)…

–Right on about this kind of endless greed. Who doesn't want more benefits! If everybody were like this and put no limit on the prices they asked for, how would anything get done? People need to have standards.

和谐共生
很多事情都不是表面看到的那样简单,这样的报导只能糊弄心里反感中国政府的老外

Harmonious symbiosis:
A lot of things aren't as simple as they appear on the surface; these kinds of reports will only deceive those laowais who are so revolted by the Chinese government

北门北风
典型的假新闻!

North Gate North Wind:
Classic fake news!

gwgzx
这些家伙一般提问都是诱导式的 找自己想要的

gwgzx:
The questions these guys usually ask are all misleading, just out to find what they want to find

wxz
70多数的大妈应该晚饭过后去跳秧歌,不应该到处闹事,那么大的岁数了,也该要点老脸了。

wxz:
70-something old mums should be dancing the yangge after dinner, not heading out and about making trouble. At such old age, they should have some dignity.

Widely-read blogger Lian Yue has, in his usual style, posted a link on his Lian Yue's Eighth Continent Bullog blog to the news in English providing only a brief explanation of the situation, with the title ‘Gold medal for re-education through labor‘. He posted the photo as well, and these are the comments from the first page (out of a total of more than 80 with over 15,000 views):

[匿名] 外宾 [60.176.172.*] @ 2008-8-21 17:41:25
这也叫新闻?

You call this news?

[匿名] 那些事 [60.209.121.*] @ 2008-8-21 17:41:28
不老实就劳教,不用审判,让你老实点。

If you're dishonest, you're gonna get re-education through labor, no sentence needed. That'll make you more honest.

[匿名] 洋大人 [60.176.172.*] @ 2008-8-21 17:42:47
什么事情想不通,只要想想这是在中国,就啥都想通了。。

None of this makes any sense until you remember that this is China, and then it all makes sense…

[匿名] 牛逼犯 [123.128.130.*] @ 2008-8-21 17:42:52
我党何时不悲哀过?

When has The Party not been sorrowful?

[匿名] marmoset [220.231.35.*] @ 2008-8-21 17:46:32
看那jc的高兴样,真想冲上去给丫一个大嘴巴。

狗屁体育盛会,就是一奥林匹克劳改营

Look how happy that cop looks, I really wanna rush up and give him a big ‘ol fat lip.

Dog-ass sports ceremony, more like an Olympic labor reform camp

[匿名] OmegaLee [58.60.161.*] @ 2008-8-21 17:55:09

呜呼哀哉~

sigh, this is so hopeless~

[匿名] kdc [203.143.160.*] @ 2008-8-21 17:56:14

[匿名] 外宾 [60.176.172.*] @ 2008-8-21 17:41:25

这也叫新闻?

=========

对外宾来说永远都是新闻。

You call this news?
–It'll always be news for those foreign visitors.

[匿名] 塔夫 [123.154.235.*] @ 2008-8-21 18:00:15
人们常说,“金钱是万恶之源”。这无疑是对金钱的污蔑与栽赃。君不见,那富可敌国的比尔·盖茨不仅给世界带来了优秀的软件,也为世界造就了一个伟大的慈善家。回顾人类历史上的种种悲剧,真正的结论或许应该是“不受约束的权力是万恶之源”。而对权力最有力的约束,对社会最有力的保障,莫过于可兑现的法治。如洛克所说:“法律的目的不是废除或限制自由,而是保护和扩大自由。这是因为在一切能够接受法律支配的人类的状态中,哪里没有法律,哪里就没有自由。”

People often say, ‘money is the source of all evil’. This is no doubt meant to slander and defile money. Yet, Bill Gates of that rich but enemy state has not only given the world excellent software, but a huge charity as well. Looking back at all the tragedies of human history, the true conclusion might just ought to be “power without constraint is the source of all evil”. And the most effective constraint on power, the most effective safeguard of society, is nothing other than the invaluable rule of law. Like Locke said, “the end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings, capable of laws, where there is no law there is no freedom.”

[匿名] 路人衣 [88.165.120.*] @ 2008-8-21 18:00:56
其实。。我也经常说 我党。。。

Actually, I often say it myself: The Party…

[匿名] 呛你 [218.58.10.*] @ 2008-8-21 18:05:19
我党常出金牌教练

The Party creates a lot of gold-winning coaches

[匿名] 两大法宝 [218.98.33.*] @ 2008-8-21 18:11:39
劳教与污蔑是我党的两大法宝

Re-education through labor and defilement are The Party's two biggest magic weapons.

[匿名] 白咏冰 [65.49.14.*] @ 2008-8-21 18:18:44
是因为申请游行被劳教的。

They got re-education through labor because they applied to protest.

[匿名] 怎么办? [203.97.213.*] @ 2008-8-21 18:29:57
反华媒体又在到处报道这个消息了。。。

There go anti-China media again reporting this news all over…

[匿名] bw [58.38.221.*] @ 2008-8-21 18:55:14
[匿名] 怎么办? [203.97.213.*] @ 2008-8-21 18:29:57
反华媒体又在到处报道这个消息了。。。
———————-
反个p华,是反土共。

There go anti-China media again reporting this news all over…
–Anti-China my ass, they're just anti-CCP.

[匿名] 做中国人的悲哀 [58.217.180.*] @ 2008-8-21 18:56:52
做中国人真悲哀

Such sorrow to be Chinese

Such a weighty topic, can anyone recommend any well-thought-out blog posts looking at the movement in China to abolish ‘re-education through labor’ as an official form of punishment?

57 comments

  • Dena Liles

    “well-thought-out blog posts!?!” Your kidding, right. I can’t figure out how the education falls out of your head in the first place. We all know what is going on here. The Chinese have their choice: buy into the status quo or buck the system and be “re-educated.” It seems that since T-square, they have been re-educated very well. The free press can hand them the truth now, and they don’t believe it. For the last trying time, I will say: I had hoped for a miracle for the Chinese people. They had the world stage. They had a chance. They didn’t take it. See you in London JK. I have to say you have more stamina than I, Mr. Kennedy. Thank you for your efforts.

  • Actually, there is a lot of talk in legal circles about abolishing the ‘re-education through labor’ practice, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are polls showing that most people find the practice primitive and backwards and embarrassing for China.

    It’s been a long time since I’ve seen any good blog posts on this topic though, that’s why I threw the open invite for help out. I had a post or two at one point that were well worth translating, but I don’t know where I’ve stashed them and I can’t remember who wrote them (lawyer He Weifang was probably one of the bloggers).

  • Frank

    What kind of news it is? This jounalist is so funny! She lost the chance to enjoy the wonderful Olympic games.

  • wei

    2 things:

    1) Chinese judicial system, flawed as it is, does not go from arrest to sentence this fast.

    2) Just listened to NPR, now the news is they are survalence but still are free; and they were told they would get the sentence…

    I hope people have a bit of common sense before passing crap like this around.

  • Manco

    The Olympic Games are about just that: The Games. The unity of the globe in one spot, sharing the values that make the Olympics what it is. Never have I heard so much political debate parallel to the greatest SPORTING event in the world. The way I see it? China will never be like the West; will never have the exact same fragmented freedom like the USA (now becoming a very unpopular way of life), nor the democratic ‘ascent’ like the former USSR (thanks to the West). And that’s because China is one of the oldest (and unconquered) civilizations in the world. It was the first ‘multicultural’ melting pot society, with more than 50 ethnicities living as a nation for thousands of years (including Tibet believe or not!). So I don’t know why you waste your time criticizing and analyzing the politics aspect when all nations are in China to compete for the glory of their own nations in a SPORTING event? What you want to see (American education system, criminal system, military, health system, taxation, economy), you can already see just by going to work every day (that is if you do have jobs out there), so why do you want to see these things in China? The Chinese do not care to see their way of life imposed in the West, they care about being a wonderful host for world in this opportunity that the IOC has granted. The question now is, will CNN let you see what I think?

  • hoplite

    Bashing, bashing, and continued bashing. If no negative news, dig out some! If there is really no negatives, eh… let’s talk about “dogs on the menu”.

    As if your bashers could stop China’s rise.

  • Yianni-in-China

    Once more China gave a wonderful gift to the rest of the world.

  • The Olympics have always played host both to athletics and to politics: Berlin, Mexico City, Los Angeles, Moscow, to name a few, were all carried out with heavy political agendas. Oppressed people rightly see the Olympics as an opportunity to call attention to their oppression–it’s not as if we have a cable channel where victims of oppression can command our attention. That China is emerging as a world power is indisputable; so too are their abuses of human rights, a characteristic of all world powers since the 16th century. That we should expect the oppressed to keep silent is absurd.

  • so_damn_lame

    Yo Kennedy,

    It is good to see that you are still picking the corn out of our shit.

    Talking about dedication. Even a die hard 50 cent guy, I mean 60 cents (got a raise), like me took time off for the Olympics. Ain’t them games something, what with Chinkyland raking in all them gold medals and what not.

    Anyhow, Kennedy, I think I’ve gotten you figured out. All these nitpicking wrt to Chinkyland ain’t about advancement of anything — it’s not about advancement of democracy, human rights, or even animal rights.

    I think it is a bit more simpler — stupidly simple for that matter. It is all about attention, ain’t it? Why else would you only pick and post crap that is nothing but inflammatory.

    It can’t be anything else because there are a lot more effective and constructive ways of raising awareness and finding solutions for particular problems. Yeah, I am the first one to admit that Chinkyland got its share of problems, as with many other countries. But shit, it is obvious that you are not interested in any meaningful discussion or solution judging from the way that you have been going at it.

    I think Wei got it right in another thread. It seems like you are only out to feed the trolls — that is, throw the inflammatory crap out there as bait and sit back and watch the mud flinging, flame wars, and more importantly the numbers stack up.

    Kind of lame. But shit, when blog-fluence is measured in how many comments you can generate, why not get them any way you can, right?

    Kennedy, if you disagree with my assessment, prove me wrong, okay.

  • James Chua

    first and foremost, i would like to say my heartfelt thanks to China and her people for giving us such a wonderful party. i am now suffering from post olympic withdrawal symptoms. i was never a fan of the olympics to begin with, but am now looking forward to london 2012. i sure hope that progress will continue to accelerate in china, long after the olympics is over.

    as for all the criticism of the shortcomings of the chinese government, and areas where changes have to be made, such as human rights, media freedom and democracy etc, let me present my case:

    there is no doubt china has its set of very challenging problems which they should and must prioritize on solving. they can be embodied in a few key terms, namely, fighting corruption, healthcare and education, and NOT,universal values such as human rights or democracy, much less media freedom. i would term these western values.

    if the rich poor divide is not solved, if people lack basic healthcare services, if higher education is still too expensive for most (or their quality called into question) and government officials continue to abuse their authority in taking bribes, then, the chinese government, would have truly not serve the rights of her citizens.

    as for those who argue democracy, human rights, media freedom is the only path to economic development, think again. take singapore for example. it has been ruled by 1 party for the past 40 years. it ranks 146th on the reporters without borders press freedom index. but it has enjoyed sustained economic growth since independence in 1965. if the abovementioned west-proclaimed universal values is key to an open, transparent, corruption-free government, check out the corruption perceptions index by transparency international. singapore ranks 4th.

    now lets look at another example. taiwan. where has democracy brought it to? it has 2 political parties. the president is elected by the people. and for the past 8 years, what has its people-elected president done? the contrast is all too clear. try the Philippines?

    my point is, any government’s main job, and hence its priority, is to, put it bluntly, feed its people. there is no 1 universal path to economic growth or alleviation of poverty. let ideals stay as ideals and accept that many of china’s problems today require hard, pragmatic solutions such as education, a meritocracy based government, public housing and healthcare schemes etc.

    as for the reporters crying for more press freedom, well, it is human nature, for you to act that way, when your rights are restricted, or your mode of making a living threatened. but, let’s have less bias-ness and more rounded reporting. trying to impose western values on china or any other country, just because you feel less safe that a rising nation inherits a different set of values or takes a different path, is not going to change anything, but introduces more conflicts and polarises opinions. respect the difference. if you do want to judge the ability of the chinese government, based it on the economic well-being/livelihood of its people. These, are truly the primary rights of its people.

    no platform, including the olympics, will serve to impose foreign values on any sovereign state. take olympics for what it is, a quadrennial international sporting event.

    on the side, it is interesting to note that the U.S medal tally table is based on total medal wons, while rest of the world has it on total gold. sore loser?

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