In China, the people have no right of assembly or to free speech. The media is severely limited and the central government would prefer that the only voice of the media in China came from the state agency: Xinhua.
The government of Beijing is increasingly worried about and sensitive to assemblies of groups and potential for disorder.
No To AIDS Conference
China just today cancelled an HIV/AIDS conference and seminar.
“Authorities informed us that the combination of AIDS, law and foreigners was too sensitive,” Sara Davis, on the organizers of the conference told Reuters.
The nations invited, and presumably these were the nations China objected to, were: South Africa, India, the United States, Canada and Thailand.
Catholic Priests Detained
In another case of China’s paranoia, several Catholic priests were detained this weekend. Their crime? China’s 12 million Catholics share the same basic religious beliefs but are politically divided between “above-ground” churches approved by the ruling Communist Party and “underground” churches that reject government ties. The priests detained are said to be from the “underground church.”
A picture begins to emerge of a communist Chinese government that does not permit gatherings of just a handful of people unless the government has approved both the topic of discussion and the participants.
Since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, China has been at least extremely sensitive and some might say paranoid about groups, assembly and free speech.
Any hint of not following Beijing to the letter is termed “social instability.”
Illegal Government Land Grabbing
Government “appropriation” (or rather, misappropriation) of peasant farms and other lands is the largest root source of assemblies, riots, other forms of civil unrest and “social instability.”
“This is the foremost issue in rural areas and probably the most contentious issue leading to social unrest in China today,” Nicholas Bequelin, a Hong Kong-based China researcher with Human Rights Watch said.
The issue of the illegal seizure of land by thge government is also the single most important reason for protests in Vietnam.
There were 130,000 cases of illegal land grabs last year in China, an increase of 17.3 percent from 2005, the land ministry said in March.