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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/16/10

The Danger of Chinese Politics

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Google has recently declared that it will wrap up its operations in China and thus stop censorship of its Chinese search engine sites mainly due to repeated attacks on its websites. Google's gmail has been attacked several times as the Chinese authorities tried to access gmail accounts of human rights activists around the world. Google has until now followed all of China's censorships dictates. Allusions to Tiananmen Square and other atrocities carried out by China or Human Rights violations in China are also strictly censored by the Chinese government so Google has been struggling to put up appropriate content according to "Chinese standards'. Google has now taken a decisive step to stop its operations in China and wants to promote a more unfiltered search engine with more open access to information on China and will thus be no longer controlled by the Chinese government. This is of course good news to many and Google has taken the first leading decisive step which has to be followed by other organizations.

China's censorship and control or restrictions on every aspect of life from religion to the internet could fill up pages if we begin describing them and the human rights violations in China remain perpetual and strongest yet the most subtle and least noted. Analysts talk about human rights violations in Iran, in Burma, in Sudan but when it comes to China, the fact that the citizens remain in complete control of government scrutiny and no part of their lives is free is somehow overlooked and China's great economic strength has been more of a topic of discussion in recent years with the human rights violations always pushed to the background as a secondary issue. Possibly this is because China has been projecting itself largely as an economic power in Asia and clamping down on all media reports about injustice and violations.

Some of the recent issues are murder and death penalty of British citizen Akmal Shaikh who was caught for smuggling heroin into Chinese territories. Yes he carried heroin and yes he could have been sentenced to life imprisonment or deported to Britain to get the right judgment. Instead he was put to death. Whether he was mentally ill or not is a secondary issue. The fact remains that China killed a British citizen when there was a widespread concern and appeal from the British government to release Akmal Shaikh. Akmal Shaikh is probably not an isolated case. There are thousands of other such cases within China where people are getting killed by the Chinese government without any substantial proofs of crime or are being tortured inside the Chinese prisons for years. These incidents and cases are going unnoticed as China maintains a strict control on the media and advocates censorship in its extreme even in this age of information. Facebook, Twitter and all social networking pages are either blocked or restricted in China and journalists both inside and outside China have no access to important information that could stir up the Human Rights debate in China consistently.

The government also controls the judiciary and China is one of the few countries where the judiciary is not independent of the government directions and this is the primary and most significant basis of human rights abuse in China. The Chinese government uses administrative rulings to detain thousands of individuals who speak or act against the government or demand more freedom and even if some are released they are placed under strict vigil and are either harassed, tortured or undergo thorough and continued investigation. The freedom of association, freedom of expression and freedom of religion are some of the basic rights of individuals which are all severely restricted or denied in China. According to last reports which were released several years back more than 2000-3000 prisoners have been accused of political crimes against the government. No one knows exactly how many prisoners of political crimes are now detained and arrested or abused and tortured in China. But the number could be well above 5000. We can talk of Guantanamo because America is an open society, yet there could be hundred such Gitmos in China that people aren't' even aware of.

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Saberi Roy is a writer and independent analyst and publishes articles on a wide range of subjects including psychology, politics, social issues,trends, religion, sciences and philosophy. Her work is quoted and republished extensively and is also (more...)

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