Month: August 2011

  • How China pursues its Internet control obsession

    How China pursues its Internet control obsession

    Published on Wednesday 31 August 2011.  Send this article by mail Send français

    The authorities continue to reinforce their control of the Internet in China, which held its 10th annual China Internet Conference on 23 August in Beijing.

    Use of the Internet has grown enormously in recent years. China now has half a billion Internet users. Facebook and Twitter are censored but Sina Weibo, the Chinese microblogging website, has more than 200 million users. The public’s enthusiasm for the Internet and the government’s fear of online protests has resulted in constant improvements in online censorship. Weibo, for example, now employs 100 people around the clock just to monitor the content being posted online, according to the magazine Forbes.

    Here is an overview of the latest Chinese “innovations” in Internet censorship and control.


    In a report published earlier this month, McAfee’s Internet security experts said they believed a major state-sponsored hacking campaign had been under way since 2006. China was suspected. “Everything points to China,” security expert Jim Lewis said. There was evidence in support of the claim in a 17 July report on China’s state-owned TV station CCTV-7 showing someone carrying out a DDoS-type attack on a site operated by the Falun Gong movement, which is banned in China. The report was subsequently removed from the station’s website.

    The Chinese authorities also reportedly orchestrated a wave of cyber-attacks on Tibetan websites in mid-August after a young Tibetan monk, Tsewang Norbu, set fire to himself. The authorities had already tightened censorship after another young monk, Phuntsog, set fire to himself in Kirti in March. According to Free Tibet, the phone lines in the region were temporarily cut and Internet cafés were closed.

    Economic censorship of Internet cafés

    The authorities have also forced public WiFi access providers to install extremely expensive user tracking software. As a result, they are both reinforcing their control of Internet traffic and imposing an form of economic censorship, as small businesses have to stop offering WiFi if they cannot afford the software.

    Healthy Internet

    The official news agency Xinhua reported on 8 August that the government wanted to tighten Internet access rules in order to guarantee “a healthy Internet” for future generations. In its Plan for the Development of Chinese Children covering the period until 2020, the government talks of an additional software programme for children that will “filter dangerous content.” The plan also envisages banning minors from Internet cafés.

    During a visit to the headquarters of Sina Corp on 22 August, Beijing party secretary Liu Qi called on Internet entrepreneurs to reinforce control of content circulating online. In a clearly-worded directive the same week, the Beijing Internet Media Association said: “Online news should be trustworthy and should not spread rumours or vulgar content.” The microblogging website Weibo was quick to comply, closing the accounts of some users for a month for allegedly spreading “false rumours.”

    Censorship circumvention

    Chinese Internet users are familiarizing themselves with the use of censorship circumvention resources, a development that both the authorities and some private-sector companies intend to check. The business site decided on 23 August to stop selling Virtual Private Networks and proxies without being told to do so by the authorities. Reporters Without Borders is disturbed to see the private sector anticipating government orders on Internet user control.

    Arrests and repression

    Arrests and convictions of netizens are meanwhile continuing. Wang Lihong (王荔蕻) appeared in court on 12 August for trying to organize a demonstration. The verdict will be announced in September. She is facing a possible five-year sentence.

    It turns out that Hu Di (胡荻), a netizen who went missing in March, was in fact put in a psychiatric hospital although he has no mental illness. He is now in poor physical health but his morale is high, according to another cyber-dissident, Zheng Tao (郑涛), who was able to visit him. Zheng has himself been detained since 21 August as a result of the visit.

    Ding Mao (丁矛) and Chen Wei (陈卫), two netizens who were arrested on 19 and 20 February, are still detained. There were taken before a prosecutor for the second time in mid-August. The authorities must now decide whether to try or release them.

    The cyber-dissident Liu Gengsong (吕耿松) was meanwhile released on 23 August on completing a four-year jail sentence.

    Reporters Without Borders calls on the authorities to release all imprisoned netizens without delay and to drop all the charges against them. China is on the Reporters Without Borders list of Enemies of the Internet and is ranked 171st out of 178 countries in its press freedom index.,40884.html


  • Der Spiegel Reveals More Details of Ai Weiwei’s Detention

    Der Spiegel Reveals More Details of Ai Weiwei’s Detention

    MOST OF THE details of Ai Weiwei’s 81 days in jail have been written about in the two months since his release.

    Ai has talked about feeling like a small soybean that has rolled on the ground to a crack in the corner. He’s described his tiny jail cell and being constantly watched by police.

    But in an Aug. 7 piece in Der Spiegel we learn for the first time of some of the details of the intimidation tactics the officers used on him during interrogation sessions, with important information about Ai’s state of mind during and after the ordeal.

    The article was written by the Chinese writer Bei Ling who befriended Ai Weiwei in 1988 and compiled the piece from second-hand accounts by Ai’s friends and family. Below are excerpts translated into English.

    Ai describes his agony while in detention:

    “My story sounds simple, but every second at this place [I felt] insurmountable pain.”
    “For someone who has lost his freedom, the day stretches to eternity.”
    “I was afraid nobody knew where I was and nobody would ever know what happens to me.”

    His 30-40 interrogators played mind games with Ai, trying to break him mentally:

    Some [seeimgly] did not even know who he was, or what “crimes” they accused him of.

    “Ai Weiwei, what is your profession?”

    “I’m an artist.”

    “How is that possible that you are an artist? I’ve never heard of you before. You don’t look like an artist.”

    Others knew very well [who Ai was and what he was].

    “You make your art with so little, then sell it for millions. You’re tricking people.”

    “The point is that I do not determine the price [of my work],” Ai said. “The price of my art is determined by the market.”

    Some officers also tried to intimidate Ai with threats and scare tactics:

    “Ai Weiwei,” they cried, “you are arrogant and rude! Beware: pride comes before a fall! Let me tell you one thing: We will finish you!”

    [Another:] “Your last hour is upon you, Ai Weiwei. Tell us, who is the last person you want to see [before you die?]” to which Ai Weiwei replied, “My mother.”

    Yet Ai said he pitied them:

    Ai Weiwei believes that many of his captors were soldiers [members of the military]. Men, maybe 18 years old, who weren’t aware of much during their two-year service period and were not allowed to even leave their barracks. Young men who read neither newspapers nor books and sent part of their pay home to their family every month. Ai Weiwei told his family and friends that it was impossible to talk with these men about anything meaningful. He felt sorry for them because [he thought] they were exposed to their own kind of torment.

    There’s a funny bit in the article about Ai Weiwei’s fine being nearly halved and the authorities’ explanation of that:

    For the entire 52 interrogations, not a single time did the officers talk about accusations of “tax evasion.” Only after Ai’s release was his 12 million Yuan fine announced.

    “Wasn’t it rumored that I was to pay 20 million [in fines?]” Ai Weiwei asked.

    “20 million Yuan appeared too much to ask. We were afraid your mother would have to sell her house,” an officer from State Security replied.

    Ai Weiwei on if his detention will affect his art and his willpower:

    “If my words mean that I lose my freedom, I will seek another form of expression.”
    Ai always had an old saying that explained why he always continued with his [art]work: ”Sometimes you just have to do something stupid.”

    Ai Weiwei on how things have changed:

    A friend of Ai Weiwei has asked what will change now for him.

    “Regarding important things, nothing will change,” [Ai said.] “But I don’t care for a repeat [experience].
    With translation by Christian Watjen.
    (Photo: Ai Weiwei. Johannes Simon/Getty Images.)
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  • 维权网站六四天网遭攻击 电

    维权网站六四天网遭攻击 电脑数据被删 [Hack Attack Shuts Down Site Tracking Chinese Human Rights Violations]



    服务器遭侵入 数据被更改



















    Hack Attack Shuts Down Site Tracking Chinese Human Rights Violations

    By Tang Ming & Veronica Wong
    Epoch Times Staff
    Created: Aug 30, 2011 Last Updated: Aug 30, 2011
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    Related articles: Technology > Cyber Security

    Computers used by the 64 Tian Wang website, known for its exposures of Chinese human rights violations, were hacked on Aug. 27. The hackers infiltrated the computers’ registry files and changed data and caused nearly 14 million registry data errors. Files were corrupted and data lost and outside access to the site was interrupted.

    A volunteer at the website, Mr. Pu Fei, told the Epoch Times that the attack was discovered during the morning of Aug. 27 and that all browsing access to the site was lost in the afternoon. After investigation by their overseas technicians, they found that a large number of improper files had been uploaded, resulting in thewebsite’s being unable to function properly.

    “The attack on the website can be accomplished by remote computers, but in order to change the registry data and install malware, it is necessary to personally turn on the computers and then enter the correct password,” Pu said.

    He believes that the incident shows that the cyber attackers must have been professionally trained.

    The means of attack are similar to those that tried to hack into the Falun Gong official website earlier this summer, as the Chinese regime unwittingly revealed in a television program called The Coming Internet Storm.

    64 Tian Wang is a well-known activist website that reports events on the mainland and is mostly concerned with human rights issues in China. The Chinese Communist Party pulled the plug on the organization’s web access in 2000 but they reopened after relocating their servers to America.

    Read the original
    Chinese article.

  • Falun Gong News Bulletin: August 31, 2011

    Falun Gong News Bulletin: August 31, 2011

    Monitoring Falun Gong-related Developments in China and Beyond

    [Editor's note: The Falun Dafa Information Center has decided to revise the news bulletin to better serve our readers. We welcome feedback or suggestions for further improvement, which can be sent to Thank you.]

    Quotation of the month: “The villagers hope that officials from the Jilin City government will help get Mr. Liu released.”
    – Excerpt from a petition signed by dozens from Fengman village urging that their neighbor, facing imprisonment for practicing Falun Gong, be allowed to return home.



    Images smuggled from China in July-August 2011

    This photo gallery features 12 photos smuggled from China in July and August 2011 and obtained by the Falun Dafa Information Center, as well as one image from Hong Kong. The photos, sent abroad at great risk to the photographers, provide a unique first-hand glimpse at both the reality of persecution faced by Falun Gong practitioners and the various tactics used by Chinese citizens to rescue victims. The images range from evidence of torture to a petition from villagers calling for the release of a local Falun Gong practitioner to a series of photos of victims and their families taken before they were detained and, in some cases, killed.

    * FDIC, “Images smuggled from China in July-August 2011”


    Three years later, China’s Olympic prisoners still suffering

    This month marks the three-year anniversary since the Olympics were held in Beijing. In 2009, Amnesty International reported that “in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics, thousands [of Falun Gong practitioners] were reported to have been arrested, with hundreds imprisoned or assigned to Re-education through Labour camps.” At the time, the Falun Dafa Information Center documented over 8,000 cases of Falun Gong abductions. Many of these people are still locked away today, living in filthy conditions and under constant threat of torture. According to data collected by the Center in 2009, over 600 Falun Gong practitioners detained before the Olympics were sent after meaningless trials to prison camps for four years or longer, some for as many as 18 years. Even more tragically, over the past three years, the Center has documented numerous cases of people arrested in the Olympic sweeps who have subsequently died because of abuse in custody. The most recent such death—of Chongqing resident Ms. Zhang Zhongfen—occurred on June 14, 2011.

    * FDIC, “Top 10 Things You Should Know about the Beijing Olympics and Falun Gong,” June 10, 2008
    * FDIC, List of Falun Gong practitioners sent to prison camps in 2008-2009 (among them the 600-plus Olympic prisons noted above)
    * For details of Ms. Zhang Zhongfen’s death, see “Nine New Falun Gong Deaths Recorded in June,” July 10, 2011

    After 12 years, Falun Gong’s peaceful resistance brings hope amidst repression

    To mark the twelfth anniversary since the Chinese Communist Party launched a campaign to eradicate Falun Gong on July 20, 1999, the Falun Dafa Information Center issued a statement highlighting not only the ongoing violent suppression, but also how Falun Gong practitioners have responded with grassroots innovation and civil disobedience on a scale unprecedented in China’s history. In the face of horrific brutality, Falun Gong practitioners have neither been cowed nor resorted to violence. Rather, tens of millions of Falun Gong practitioners in China operate an underground network of homemade leaflet and DVD distribution. Overseas Falun Gong engineers have developed effective tools for circumventing Internet censorship. Global media companies founded by Falun Gong practitioners bring uncensored news to China. Together, their efforts have broken through the CCP’s veil of misinformation and are convincing a growing number of Chinese people to stop participating in the persecution. For this reason, this 12th anniversary is not only a solemn day of remembrance for those who have been killed, maimed, and persecuted, but it is also a day of hope.

    * Full FDIC statement, from July 19, 2011
    * For a more detailed analysis, see “Falun Gong’s Peaceful Resistance,” April 2010

    Testimony to European Parliament Highlights Illegality of Falun Gong Persecution

    On July 11, the European Parliament’s Human Rights Committee held a hearing on human rights in China and particularly the situation for rights defenders. Among the experts speaking was Yiyang Xia, Senior Director of Policy and Research at the Human Rights Law Foundation. In his testimony, Xia argued that the CCP’s campaign against Falun Gong violated China’s own laws from the beginning. As a result, the CCP devised a variety of illegal and extralegal maneuvers to implement the persecution and commit rampant human rights abuses. According to Xia, these tactics are now being expanded beyond Falun Gong and include using extralegal detention facilities to jail petitioners, applying torture methods to human rights lawyers, and falsely labeling other activists as Falun Gong to facilitate lawless behavior.

    * Full testimony, Yiyang Xia, July 11, 2011


    Eight new Falun Gong deaths recorded in July, five died in custody

    At least eight additional Falun Gong practitioners died from abuse in custody between May and July 2011, according to reports compiled by the Falun Dafa Information Center. Five of the victims died in custody and several were killed within days or weeks of being abducted, highlighting the severe danger facing all Falun Gong prisoners of conscience. Among the victims were a housewife who died from vicious beatings inflicted when she tried to ask police to release her husband and a 48-year-old model teacher abducted in advance of the Olympics and sent to Harbin Women’s Prison. These cases bring to 43 the total number of deaths known to have occurred since January. The following is a list of the known victims, though given the difficulty of obtaining information, the actual death toll may be higher. A more detailed account of each case is provided at the corresponding link.

    * Mr. Ou Jiafa, 60s, from Hunan, died in May 2011

    * Mr. Wang Xuezhu, 41, from Jilin, died in custody on May 22, 2011

    * Mr. Jiao Lingyun, 49, from Heilongjiang, died in custody on July 8, 2011

    * Ms. Qu Yuxiang, 68, from Guizhou, died on July 10, 2011
* Ms. Tan Cuiying, 57, from Hunan, died from beatings on July 18, 2011
* Ms. Li Yaru, 48, from Heilongjiang, died in custody on July 20, 2011
* Mr. Liu Renge, 56, from Jilin, died in custody on July 22, 2011

    * Mr. Li Xiwang, from Tianjin, died in custody on July 29, 2011


    Falun Gong crackdown ahead of international Shenzhen sporting event

    Official websites and first-hand accounts from China indicate that in advance of the Shenzhen Universiade, an international collegiate sporting event held from August 12 to 22, 2011, Chinese authorities and security agents carried out various measures against Shenzhen residents practicing Falun Gong. Directives from the Guangdong Ministry of Education, at the apparent urging of CCP officials, dated May 2011 called for a variety of actions to be taken to prevent any discussion of Falun Gong during the events, including: conducting investigations into any Falun Gong activities on campus, enhancing anti-Falun Gong propaganda, and “by providing financial support to student organizations activities” ensuring no Falun Gong-related discussions take place. Meanwhile, the Falun Dafa Information Center has received reports of arrests of practitioners in Shenzhen. In one incident from July 21, Shenzhen police abducted five people suspected of practicing Falun Gong. When the aunt of one of them, Mr. Liu Xiaoguang, traveled from Heilongjiang to visit him, detention center staff denied her access and said he was facing a minimum of three years imprisonment for his practice. The CCP has repeatedly taken advantage of international sporting events to intensify the persecution of local practitioners. This occurred in advance of the Olympics in 2008, the Winter Universiade in Harbin in 2009, and the Asia Games in Guangzhou in 2010.

    * “Provincial Department of Education Large Sporting Event Public Security Work Measures,” May 31, 2011  (See screenshot)
    * FDIC, “Escalated Persecution During 10th Anniversary Year”

    Case update: Sexual assault victim harassed after release from labor camp

    In November 2010, the Falun Dafa Information Center reported on the case of Ms. Hu Miaomiao, a 25-year-old kindergarden teacher, who was severely sexually abused at Hebei Labor Camp in June 2010. The center recently learned that on July 11, 2011, Ms. Hu’s father was called to pick Ms. Hu up from the labor camp, after her detention was arbitrarily extended by 15 days. Agents from the local 6-10 Office, a Communist Party security force tasked with repressing Falun Gong, reportedly attempted to take Ms. Hu directly from the camp to Yubaodun Brainwashing Center in Zhangjiakou. It is not uncommon for Falun Gong practitioners who have not renounced their beliefs following “re-education” efforts in labor camps to be transferred to such centers for further torture and attempts at forced conversion. Following resistance from Ms. Hu’s father and brother, however, she was spared and allowed to return home. The following day, the family received a visit from Qian Jinli, the head of the county level 6-10 Office.

    * FDIC Urgent Appeal: “25-year-old Woman Unable to Walk from Sexual Abuse in Hebei Labor Camp,” November 14, 2010
    * For photos of Ms. Hu prior to her detention, see photo gallery

    Eyewitness account from Heilongjiang Women’s Prison

    Ms. Wei Jun, a Falun Gong practitioner from Daqing City in Heilongjiang Province, has been detained four times since the persecution began in 1999 and held for long periods twice. Most recently, she was abducted towards the tail end of the Beijing Olympics in August 2008 and was subsequently sentenced after a meaningless trial to five years in a prison camp. She is currently being held at Heilongjiang Women’s Prison. Below is a link to Ms. Wei’s narration of several episodes of persecution she has experienced since 1999. Of particular note in her account are the details she provides of those perpetrating abuses against her, including the names of judges and prison wardens. According to sources inside China who smuggled out her testimony, she was paralyzed due to torture for a period of time and at present, still suffers from numbness in her lower back and has difficulty walking.

    * Full first-person testimony


    State-TV report on cyber attacks uses Falun Gong websites as sample targets

    In a bizarre incident, Chinese state-run television appears to have inadvertently admitted that Falun Gong websites are a key target for military cyber attacks. On July 16, 2011, China Central Television-7 (CCTV-7), which typically focuses on military, science, and technology programs, aired a feature report on cyberwarfare, titled “The Internet Storm is Coming.” In one section of the program, after an explanation of the characteristics of “Trojan horse” malware, the video appears to show a sample effort to conduct a cyber attack, choosing a target from a list of websites, all of which are Falun Gong-related. At one point, the screen shows someone choosing a Falun Gong-related site (whose IP address was traced to the University of Alabama), then clicking a button labeled “Attack.” The software displayed appears to be custom-made, listed in the video as coming from the Electronic Engineering Institute of the People’s Liberation Army. Since 1999, Falun Gong-related websites and listservs outside China have repeatedly suffered sophisticated cyber attacks believed to have been launched by the Chinese regime.

    * YouTube clip from CCTV program:
    * The Epoch Times, August 21, 2011
    * The Washington Post, August 25, 2011
    * The World Affairs Journal, May/June 2010

    Trial moves ahead for Indonesia radio manager who aired Falun Gong content

    The trial of Indonesian radio station manager Gatot Machali on charges of “broadcasting without authorization” moved ahead in recent weeks. Machali is the manager of Radio Era Baru, a local affiliate of Sound of Hope radio, a network founded by Falun Gong practitioners using their personal resources. After seeing overseas Chinese media repeat Chinese Communist Party (CCP) propaganda, their aim was to provide uncensored news, including on human rights abuses, and cultural programming to Chinese-speaking communities. Radio Era Baru has been under pressure from the Indonesian authorities since 2007, when the Chinese embassy wrote to the government urging that the station’s broadcasts be curbed. In July, following international pressure, the prosecutor reduced the requested punishment from six years to six months and a fine of 50 million rupiah ($5,800). International press freedom groups have criticized the case, particularly because it has proceeded even after the station won a high court decision in May affirming its right to broadcast. Observers have raised concerns that Machali’s conviction could set a dangerous precedent for the CCP’s ability to suppress free speech beyond its borders.  

    * Freedom House, July 28, 2011
    * The Washington Post, August 6, 2011


    Guangdong lawyer gets two-year prison sentence for defending Falun Gong

    On July 13, 2011, Zhuhai District Court in Guangzhou sentenced attorney Mr. Zhu Yubiao to two years in prison for defending Falun Gong practitioners. According to Zhu’s mother and lawyer, the Chinese authorities took various measures to undermine his ability to have a fair trial, including scheduling it for a day when his lawyer Mr. Liu Zhengqing could not attend and only permitting his mother to sit in on the hearing. Zhu’s mother told New Tang Dynasty television: “When I spoke with the procuratorate, they told me to ask my son to write a guarantee [to stop defending Falun Gong practitioners] and then he’d be allowed to go home. This means the judicial system … also believes what Zhu Yubiao has done does not constitute any crime.” Zhu was abducted from his home on August 18, 2010 and authorities seized some Falun Gong-related books and CD-ROMs. Zhu was the first lawyer in Guangdong to defend Falun Gong practitioners. He has had his license to practice law revoked and was sent to a labor camp for 18 months in 2007. He has a young son, wife, and elderly parents whose financial situation has become difficult since his arrest. Radio Free Asia and CHRLCG also reported on Zhu’s sentencing.

    * Radio Free Asia, July 21, 2011
    * New Tang Dynasty TV, July 29, 2011
    * Chinese Human Rights Lawyer’s Concern Group, August 8 , 2011


    Village Unites to Demand Release of Upstanding Citizen Facing Illegal Trial

    On June 17, 2011, dozens of villagers signed a petition to the government of Jilin city urging the release of a fellow villager who had been detained for practicing Falun Gong. On March 4, 2011, police abducted 59-year-old Mr. Liu Zhichen, from Fengman village in Jilin city and took him to the city’s No. 3 Detention Center. When his neighbors learned that the Fengman District Court had planned to hold a “trial” on wrongful charges for Liu, they united to co-sign a petition to the authorities in protest. The letter praises Liu for his contribution to the community, notes his selfless help during a flood in 2010, and points out how his health and standard of morality improved after taking up Falun Gong. “It is well-known that he [Liu] is a good person. He has been helping his fellow villagers all of these years,” reads the letter. “The villagers hope that officials from the Jilin City government will help get Mr. Liu released.” Despite their efforts, the court held a trial for Liu on July 22, at which the prosecutor asked that he be given a seven-year prison sentence. No news has yet emerged of the judge’s ruling. To view a full translation of the letter and a scanned image of the original, see the link below.

    * Full translation of villagers’ letter

    Renminbi with printed Falun Gong messages spotted

    On July 22, 2011, the Financial Times (FT) reported finding a renminbi banknote with messages related to Falun Gong adeptly printed onto it, including “Falun Dafa’s … spirit has spread across the world, cultivate truthfulness, compassion and forbearance and your morality will be raised to a higher level,” and “the Chinese Communist Party is destined to be destroyed by heaven, the lives of those who resign from the Communist Party will be quickly saved! Free hotline in America for those who wish to quit the Party: 001-514-342-1023.” Calling the number, the reporter reached a Falun Gong practitioner in Montreal manning the phone lines for Chinese calling to “Tuidang” or withdraw from the Party. Tuidang is an emerging non-violent movement in China that encourages Chinese citizens to renounce their ties to the CCP and related youth organizations, as a means of distancing themselves from the brutality of CCP rule. Tens of millions of people have published such renunciations on overseas websites, often using aliases to avoid reprisals. News of Tuidang has spread through word-of-mouth, homemade underground leaflets, the internet via circumvention tools, and notices on renminbi similar to the one discovered by the FT.

    * Financial Times Blog, July 22, 2011
    * For more details on the Tuidang movement and its connection to Falun Gong, see this FDIC factsheet


    A Falun Dafa practitioner in Canada’s change in outlook

    In 1997 Jane’s husband had an accident, which led them to start practicing Falun Dafa in order to aid his physical recovery. From then on, they not only became healthier, but were also inspired by the spiritual teachings of the practice, prompting a change to their outlook on life. In this account, relayed by her acquaintance, Jane recalls changing her perspective on travel reimbursements at work and disciplining her son. When she first took up the practice, Jane’s mother worked for a foreign company that would reimburse her for daily taxi fares accrued for any transportation related to her job. Since she lived close to her job, she did not need to go to the company by taxi. “Before practicing cultivation, I often gave my own taxi invoices to my mother to submit for the reimbursement money,” Jane recalls. After embarking on the path of spiritual cultivation, Jane felt that it was wrong to do this because it does not meet the criterion of following truthfulness for Falun Gong practitioners. She stopped giving her mother her own taxi invoices for reimbursement.

    * Jane’s full account


    International solidarity on anniversary of crackdown

    July 20, 2011 marked the 12th anniversary since the Chinese Communist Party launched its violent campaign against Falun Gong. Practitioners and their supporters around the world held rallies, candle light vigils, and other events to remember those who have died since 1999 and to call for an end to the persecution. Among the tokens of solidarity were letters from European Parliament members, press releases from human rights groups, and statements made by U.S. congressional members at a rally in Washington DC, such as:

    • “I stand in support for the Falun Gong followers’ struggle to survive and fight for their basic human rights and I admire the courage of all those who, since 1999, have complained, sued, demonstrated and spoken out against the repression, despite the terrible repercussions of these actions on their lives.” – Letter from Ana Gomes, European Parliament Member from Portugal.
    • “Over the past twelve years, Falun Gong practitioners and their families have suffered greatly at the hands of the Communist Party… Freedom House calls on the Communist Party to abolish the 6-10 Office and immediately release all Falun Gong prisoners of conscience.” – Sue Gunawardena-Vaughn, Freedom House’s senior program manager for international religious freedom was quoted in a press release
    • “To be taken seriously as a participant in the twenty-first century global economy, China must take the rights of their citizens seriously. Egregious injustices, such as those suffered by the Falun Gong practitioners …, are unacceptable in a civilized world and must end today.” – U.S. Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), addressing a conference on international religious freedom. 


    Since 1999, the Chinese Communist Party has carried out a widespread, brutal campaign of persecution to eradicate Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese spiritual and qigong practice, whose adherents in China still number in the tens of millions. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese who practice Falun Gong remain in captivity, rendering them the single largest group of prisoners of conscience in China (article). The United Nations, Amnesty International, Chinese human rights lawyers, and Western media have documented Falun Gong torture and deaths at the hands of Chinese officials (reports). In its annual report released in early 2011, Amnesty International stated that Falun Gong practitioners who refused to renounce their beliefs “are typically tortured until they co-operate; many die in detention or shortly after release.” The Communist Party’s campaign and its implementation are in violation of Chinese law and, contrary to common reporting, Falun Gong was not banned as an “evil cult.” (analysis)

    Falun Gong FAQ
    Persecution FAQ
    Key statistics related to Falun Gong

    Journalist’s corner



  • China Gongchuan Villagers Make Sha Paper by Hand

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    In some parts of China, it seems the traditional art of papermaking by hand has been preserved. Let’s take a look.

    In China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous region, Gongchuan city, some villagers are still making Sha Paper by hand. It’s a longstanding tradition that’s slowly dying out.

    Sha Paper production began during the Tang dynasty and was used widely during the Qing dynasty. Gongchuan village is the biggest producer of Sha paper, and many families take part in making it.

    The entire process involves mashing bark and leaves of gum trees, and drying them. It takes about four days. Sheets of paper can be seen left everywhere around their houses to dry. The finished product is usually sold as an additional source of income.

    However, as Sha paper is only used to bind paper money stacks or used to wrap foods, the demand for it is low. Most villagers only engage in the craft during slack farming seasons, and those that do so are usually elderly above the age of fifty.

    [Qin Weishou, Villager]:
    “Young people seldom care to learn and make the paper. If this situation continues, this old handicraft might disappear before too long.”

    [Wei Youhu, Secretary of Village]:
    “Of the villager’s 1,100 households, more than 600 were engaged in the trade in the past, but the current number stands only at 300. More and more villagers are dropping out.”

    Sha Paper used to be exported to Canada in the 1930s, but with time, the increasing price of raw materials and changing demand has made it an art that is only preserved now through villages like Gongchuan.


  • Jin Yinan, Chinese General, Spy Talk Leaked Onto YouTube (VIDEO)

    Jin Yinan, Chinese General, Spy Talk Leaked Onto YouTube (VIDEO)

    First Posted: 8/29/11 07:37 AM ET Updated: 8/29/11 07:37 AM ET

    BEIJING (AP) — Footage of a Chinese general discussing sensitive spying cases has been leaked onto video sharing site YouTube, in what appears to be an embarrassing failure of secrecy for the usually tightlipped military. (Scroll down for subtitled video)

    It wasn’t clear when or where Maj. Gen. Jin Yinan made the comments and China’s Defense Ministry did not immediately respond Monday to faxed questions about the video. Calls to the National Defense University where Jin is a lecturer rang unanswered.

    While some of the cases had been announced before, few details had been released, while others involving the military had been entirely secret.

    Among those Jin discussed was that of former Ambassador to South Korea Li Bin, who was sentenced to seven years for corruption. Jin said Li had actually been discovered passing secrets to South Korea that compromised China’s position in North Korean nuclear disarmament talks, but the allegations were too embarrassing to make public and graft charges were brought instead.

    “In all the world, what nation’s ambassador serves as another country’s spy?” Jin said.

    Similar treatment was handed out to the former head of China’s nuclear power program, Kang Rixin, who was sentenced to life in prison last November on charges of corruption. Jin said Kang had in fact peddled secrets about China’s civilian nuclear program to a foreign nation that he did not identify, but that was considered too sensitive to bring up in court.

    Kang, a member of the ruling Communist Party’s powerful Central Committee as well as its disciplinary arm, was one of the highest-ranking officials ever to be involved in spying, Jin said. His arrest dealt a major shock to the party leadership, Jin said.

    “The party center was extremely nervous. They ordered top-to-bottom inspections and spared no individual,” he said.

    Jin also talked about Tong Daning, an official from China’s social security fund, who was executed in 2006 after being convicted on charges of spying for rival Taiwan. Jin said Tong had passed information to the island’s leaders about China’s currency regime, allowing them to avoid massive losses due to exchange rate changes.

    Among the cases involving military personnel, Jin said that of Col. Xu Junping, who defected to the United States in 2000, did not involve the loss of any technical secrets.

    Instead, Xu relayed to the Americans his knowledge of the military leaderships’ personalities, attitudes and habits gleaned from many years accompanying the top brass on trips abroad, Jin said.

    The video was also posted on Chinese websites, and while it was removed from most locations, screen shots, audio files and transcripts of Jin’s comments could still be found on sites such as Sina Weibo’s popular microblogging service.

    Jin’s presentation, complete with explanatory slides, was typical of how such cases are discussed at private sessions as a warning to Communist Party cadres not to be lured into espionage or corruption. The leaked video appeared to have been from an official recording rather than filmed by a member of the audience.

    Authorities heavily police the Chinese Internet but can only remove objectionable content after it is posted and have no control over what appears elsewhere.

    While Chinese are enthusiastic users of social media, YouTube and Facebook are blocked inside China and their Chinese equivalents are required to inspect all content and remove politically sensitive material before being ordered to do so.


  • WikiLeaks cables detail Apple’s battle with counterfeits in China

    WikiLeaks cables detail Apple’s battle with counterfeits in China

    Mark Milian
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    Apple operates four stores in China, which is becoming an important market for Apple but also a haven for counterfeit goods.
    Apple operates four stores in China, which is becoming an important market for Apple but also a haven for counterfeit goods.
    • Apple is faced with mounting counterfeiting of its products in China
    • The company recruited from Pfizer’s security team after its success, U.S. cables say
    • Despite efforts, Apple’s plans have had limited success
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    • cnnRelatedTopicKeys.push(‘China’); China
    • cnnRelatedTopicKeys.push(‘Pfizer_Inc’); Pfizer Inc.

    (CNN) — Apple was slow to act against the booming counterfeit industry in China and other Asian countries, according to cables obtained by WikiLeaks.

    The technology giant eventually organized a team in March 2008 to curtail the explosion of knockoff iPods and iPhones, according to an electronic memo from the Beijing embassy dated September 2008.

    Yet, three years after Apple moved to crack down on widespread counterfeiting and put pressure on China, progress has been slow. Gadget piracy isn’t a high priority for the Chinese government, the U.S. reports and experts say.

    Members of Apple’s recently formed global security team were recruited from Pfizer after they executed a series of crackdowns on counterfeit Viagra production in Asia, the report says.

    John Theriault, formerly Pfizer’s security chief and, before that, a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, leads Apple’s global security unit. Don Shruhan, who worked for Theriault at Pfizer, is now a director on Apple’s security team in Hong Kong.

    Shruhan told the Beijing embassy official that his group at Pfizer spent five years planning raids on counterfeit drug rings, the cable says. He said he’s “afraid” of the volume of imitation Apple products being produced in China and about the inexperience of Apple’s lawyers in dealing with Chinese authorities, the report says.

    An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment. A Pfizer spokeswoman, who declined to comment on personnel matters, said the company has a strong global security team to handle the increase in counterfeit medicine worldwide.

    WikiLeaks, a group that publishes private government documents, posted tens of thousands of previously unreleased U.S. diplomatic cables last week. The reports from the Beijing embassy detailing Apple’s piracy crackdown were unclassified, but many were described as “sensitive” and “not for Internet distribution.”

    In December, Apple said it removed an application from its mobile store that let people browse WikiLeaks documents from their iPhones “because it violated developer guidelines.” The company suggested that the app broke laws or could be harmful to people, but many free-speech advocates cried censorship, as they have in the past when Apple has pulled apps.

    The fresh WikiLeaks documents shed new light on Apple’s struggles with intellectual-property theft in China, but the subject hasn’t completely flown under the radar.

    Last month, international news media were rapt after discovering that China is home not only to fake Apple gadgets but also to imitation Apple stores, which had many of Apple’s signatures. The Chinese government ordered two of the five unofficial stores to close because they had not secured proper business permits, but a spokesman for China’s Kunming government defended the others, saying they sell authentic Apple merchandise, according to Reuters.

    Apple owns and operates four stores in China. The three in Beijing and the one in Shanghai are Apple’s highest trafficked and top grossing stores in the world, Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s financial chief, said in an earnings call in January.

    But the hunger for Apple products is insatiable there. That’s why stores have begun to sell the products without Apple’s permission, while others are hawking cheaper, lower-quality gadgets that are aesthetically similar and bear the chic Apple logo.

    China’s Guangdong province, the country’s most populous region, has become a hub for manufacturing and selling counterfeit Apple products, two of the newly surfaced cables say. The Foxconn Technology Group, which assembles products for Apple, operates factories in Guangdong.

    Workers typically smuggle parts from the facilities in order to make replicas, said Lilach Nachum, an international business professor for Baruch College in New York who travels frequently to Asia. It’s the cost of doing business in China, where many American companies go for inexpensive labor and efficient industrial plants, she said.

    “Not to go to China is not really an option,” Nachum said. “Companies cannot afford to do that. No one can afford to do that.”

    China’s counterfeiting ring is responsible for supplying India with fake Apple products, the 2008 cable says. In raids, Indian officials uncovered shipments that had moved from China through Hong Kong, the report says.

    Apple’s early plans to go after counterfeiters, according to a cable, involved first targeting offending retailers and street vendors; next, Apple would work with police to raid manufacturing facilities; and finally, the company would pursue online resellers. The plans closely resemble Pfizer’s successful strategy, the cable says, citing Shruhan, the Apple director.

    “Shruhan said that low-profile retail raids are a good option for Apple, a company that wants to stay away from too much publicity surrounding this issue,” the cable says. Theriault, Shruhan’s boss, briefed Steve Jobs, then CEO, on the plans in 2008, the cable says.

    But Apple is having limited success. In countless stores and at tables setup on streets, merchants purporting to sell iPods, iPhones and iPads at deeply discounted prices are prevalent, said Wini Chen, a student in San Francisco who recently returned from studying abroad in Beijing.

    “They’ll say, ‘Yeah, we have iPad. We’ll give you a really good deal,’” Chen recalled from her shopping trips. “If I really want to buy a knockoff Apple product, I could probably do that in 15 minutes.”

    Chinese officials readily cooperated with pharmaceutical companies on their raids, but that hasn’t translated to software, as Microsoft has discovered, or electronics, as Apple is learning, said Nachum, the professor. Whereas a defective pill could cause sickness or death, a shoddy iPod has less dire consequences.

    Apple had planned to strengthen its case with the government by arguing that defective batteries could blow up and injure people, and that lost tax revenue could have a significant economic impact, the cable says.

    The arguments weren’t very effective. China’s government declined to investigate a facility in March 2009 that was manufacturing imitation Apple laptops because it threatened local jobs, says a cable dated April 2009. A different arm of China’s government scrapped plans for a raid on an electronics mall in the Guangdong province because it could have driven away shoppers, the cable says.

    CNN’s Katie Glaeser contributed to this report.


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