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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 got talking about the story in response to a 08/20 Guardian report on the controversy:


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.


No feeling whatsoever


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


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


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

挖靠, 这种谣也造得出来

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?

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]

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]


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

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 …

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!


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


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!!!


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.

原帖由 porky017 于 2008-8-21 11:38 发表 From:Anti-CNN求实交流论坛
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), …

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.


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


North Gate North Wind:
Classic fake news!

这些家伙一般提问都是诱导式的 找自己想要的

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


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

You call this news?

[匿名] 那些事 [60.209.121.*] @ 2008-8-21 17:41:28

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

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

When has The Party not been sorrowful?

[匿名] marmoset [220.231.35.*] @ 2008-8-21 17:46:32


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


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




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

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

The Party creates a lot of gold-winning coaches

[匿名] 两大法宝 [218.98.33.*] @ 2008-8-21 18:11:39

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

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

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

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

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?


  • ali baba

    To James Chua,

    Quote: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.Unquote.
    Yes,James,China is ruled by one party,CCP,for 59 years,Singapore is ruled by PAP(People’s Action Party) for 40 years.China’s CCP would like to continue its rule for another 500 years;Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew also like his family to be able to control Singapore for the coming X numbers of years,since his son is the PM.
    The similarity ends here.
    The CCP has got something Lee Kuan Yew has not(Though he may very much like to have)


    Forced labor reform,is a means used by the People’s Republic of China to manage convicts,by forcing convicts to do hard labor,to achieve the aims of the administrator.

    劳动教养 translate:Labor,Education and nurture.劳教 is the short form.
    劳动教养 is a system introduced by PRC from the former Soviet Union,is a unique in the world.

    劳动教养并非依据法律条例,从法律形式上亦非刑法规定的刑罚,而是依据国务院劳动教养相关法规的一种行政处罚,(This sentence has too many legal terms,it is hard to do a precise translation.What it is saying is 劳动教养 does not strictly have a law to base on)

    公安机关毋须经法庭审讯定罪,即可对疑犯投入劳教场所实行最高期限为四年的限制人身自由、强迫劳动、思想教育等措施。(This one is easier)
    Public Security Bureau(Police) do not need to obtain a court conviction,can instantly put suspects into a 劳教场所 (forced labor camp)for a maximum of 4 years of imprisonment,with restriction of personal freedom,forced labor,and thought education,etc.

    James,Lee Kuan Yew was a Queen’s Scholar in his student time,and Singapore’s political system is a copy of the Westminster System.May be he also like to put some of his political opponents into forced labor camps for 4 years without court proceeding?

  • ali baba

    To James Chua,
    May be Lee Kuan Yew is really try to turn Singapore a totalitarian regime?

    Quote:WHEN Martyn See made his first film he thought it would be censored. He didn’t realize he would be investigated, his tapes and video camera confiscated, and he would ultimately be warned never to do it again.

    Singapore’s Films Act bans the making, showing or distribution of “party political films,” or films “directed towards any political end in Singapore.”

    Those prosecuted under the act face two years in prison or fines of up to S$100,000, or roughly US$59,000.Unquoted.

    James,are we seeing a Lee Dynasty coming to Singapore?

  • James Chua

    dear alibaba, not sure what your point is. but if you are interested how opponents of PAP in its formative years were dealt with, there may be some materials around. you might also want to find out more about the internal security act.

    i do not condone such actions (i refer to conviction without trial) by any government. and i do condemn the media ranting on and on about the injustice done, when there is so much more that they should focus on, even if they choose to ignore the marvels of the beijing olympics.

    as mentioned, there are many more urgent issues challenging the rise of china. yet the western media has sung the same old tune of free tibet, human rights, political dissidents etc. other than being self-serving china bashing, i see little more to it. if you (again the media) are so concerned about china and its people, there are many more pressing issues you can shed more light on and exert pressure on. e.g. whatever happen to the investigation report on the hundreds of schools that have collapsed, burying with them thousands of schoolchildren, during the WenChuan earthquake while buildings right beside withstood the quake? or another case: if indeed there is political will to combat corruption, why is it then not mandatory for governemnt officials/civil servants to declare income?

    i seriously do not see how the fate of a few political dissidents can improve millions of lives in china as compared to examples cited above, pardon the brutality of the statement.

    as for lee hsien loong, son of lee kuan yew, the current prime minister, let just put it this way: may the best person take the job. i honestly do not care, how he may be related to the previous, or in this case ex-ex prime minister (before lee hsien loong, there was goh chok tong). the guiding principle should be meritocracy, simple as that.

    what has democracy offered in terms of capable leadership? look at the U.S. there was bush, and then bush junior. these was iraq war, and then iraq war. if the necessary mechanism is in place, a 1 party government may continually renew itself to best lead a nation, what is so wrong about that.

    as for lee kuan yew wanting his descendants to rule forever, or the CCP wanting to rule forever, what interests do such motives serve? a self serving corrupt regime will not withstand the test of time, but ultimately be overthrown. on the other hand, a truly people serving government that enables an entire nation to prosper, does it really matter who they are and how they are related to each other. monarchies failed because heir to throne must rule even if he is a moron. while democracy may offer more safeguard to that, it is not fail proof, and much less the universal truth/suffrage that it claims to be.

    it is great you are passionate about abolition of forced labor reform, but for me, there are many other issues which i can never emphasize enough that will yield much more benefits per ounce of effort if addressed, and much more disastrous if ignored. but sure, these are less polarising issues, and not as attention grabbing when appearing on banners.

  • James Chua

    alibaba, interesting article about freedom of speech in singapore, or rather the lack of. a little evil that i can live with, for everything else singapore government has done. i do note that it was a 2006 article. and i do note that, for all of taiwan’s democracy, however enviable it maybe, chen shuibian is almost certain to have abused his authority and immunity during his reign to fatten his own pockets.

    less freedom of speech in exchange for a clean open government, or a safer environment? i will gladly make that decision, without a blink.

  • ali baba

    中国公款吃喝开支1989年为370亿元,1990年达到400亿元,1992年超过800亿元, 1994 年突破1000亿元大关,2002年达2000亿,2004年为3700亿元,而到2005年公款吃喝竟然达到6000亿,是国防开支的三倍。

    公款吃喝 translate Government funded Food and Drinks.
    1990=400,000,000,000 yuan
    1992=800,000,000,000 yuan
    1994=1,000,000,000,000 yuan
    2002=2,000,000,000,000 yuan
    2004=37,000,000,000,000 yuan
    2005=60,000,000,000,000 yuan,which is 3 times that of the national defense budget.

    James,China (1) has no opposition party to question the ruling party in the parliament
    (2) has no public media to question any actions taken by the government

    So, what action can you suggest the government to take up to fight this kind of corruption ?

  • ali baba



    On the “八五” five year plan,the national expenditure on cars is 720,000,000,000 yuan,yearly increase is 27%,much faster than the increase in GDP.According to conservative statistic,there are 3.5 millions government owned cars,the yearly expenditure on government owned cars is about 3,000,000,000,000 yuan,far more than the country’s military expenditure.
    James,how do you suggest to solve this problem?

    And this report is dated 2005.Now is 2008.

  • ali baba


    James,a 2004 report,I can try to get a more up to date one.

    2003 United Nation reporter on Education Right 馬舍夫斯基 ,on Chinese Government invitation,had done a research on the condition of Chinese Education.She stated that the Chinese Educational Expenditure is only 2% of GDP

    Moreover,the government can only budget 53% of the total Educational Expenditure,the remaining 47% will have to come from parents or some other sources.Later on she declared that Chinese Educational Expenditure per person is so little,cannot even compare to poor nation such as Uganda !

    James,what can you suggest to the Chinese Government to solve this problem?


  • ali baba

    James,in case you do not know, is the official Chinese news agency.This is a 2007 report,a bit more recent.

    公費出國每年3000億 考察還是旅遊?

    Government funded oversea trips costing 3,000,000,000,000 yuan.
    Research and study,or just plain holiday tours?


    The mayor of Beijing once told a joke:”It had been said that the dairy cows of Yugoslavia are very good,so we Chinese often go there to conduct research and study.Then the local official told us:Chinese do love to study,even our dairy cows get to know the Chinese.
    I think there are a lot of people use the government fund to go oversea to have a tour,a lot of officials only remember the tourist hot spots.On the car they sleep,out of the car they take pictures,when return home they don’t know anything.

  • ali baba



    James,the total of the above 3 expenditures (government funded food and drinks,cars,oversea trips) per year is 12,000,000,000,000 yuan.
    How do you suggest to the Chinese Government to stop this kind of nonsense ?
    Put it another way,how many proper schools(not the Tofu building) all these money can build?

  • Ben

    If these 2 old ladies haven’t learned their lessons about the CCP ways in the past ??? years, they really need to be re-educated. The same goes to other ??? protest applicants.

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