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Briefings - 1155. page

15,000 Sign Petition to End Forced Labor Camp System

On Monday July 7, more than 15,000 Chinese scholars and experts signed a petition, calling on the government to end China’s forced labor camp system. They believe that the forced labor camp lacks legality, and it may lead to administrative power abuse. They also pointed out that the system failed to protect citizen’s rights.

The forced labor camp system was introduced in 1956 from the Soviet Union. Under the system, the government can send undesirables to do hard labor in a concentration camp without any trial. The Chinese government uses it to punish Christians, Buddhists, pro-democracy activists and Falun Gong practitioners.

Fan Yafeng, a sponsor of the petition and a Beijing-based social scientist said that the petition was intended to ease the worsening tension between the people and the government.

Source: Voice of America, July 8, 2008

250 Million Unemployed in China

2008 was a record year for China’s unemployment rate. A total of 250 million people are currently out of a job. Many of the 6 million college graduates will find it harder to find work this year. Affected by a strong Chinese Renminbi and rist in the cost of materials, many export-oriented companies have gone bankrupt. Due to a central government policy of eliminating ‘backward’ businesses, state owned companies were being closed at a peak rate.

In a recent estimate by Tian Chengping, former minister of China Labor and Social Security Ministry, in 2008, China’s unemployed population will reach 50 million in urban areas and 200 million in rural areas.

Source: China New Digest, July 9, 2008

Man Who Killed Police Had Been a Victim of Police Brutality

On July 1, 2008, the 87th birthday of the Chinese Communist Party, Yang Jia, a 28 year old Beijing resident went to the Police Headquarters of Shanghai’s Zhabei District and killed six policemen and injured four with a knife.

According to stories posted on the Internet, Yang was tortured by the police last year over a bicycle theft charge. He was later found innocent and released. Later a doctor told him that his reproductive organ had been permanently injured by the police. After his attempt to seek compensation failed, he went on to the rampage. He was selective and targeted at middle aged men while sparing women and younger men. 

A majority of the Chinese Internet surfers cheered his action. They called him a hero who was seeking justice for the people. Some compared him to Rambo.

Source: China News Digest, July 7, 2008

Ex-Security Chief: Wengan Security Agents Suppressed Protests on Five Earlier Occassions

Shen Guirong, the former chief of Wengan County Public Security Bureau, said in an interview after being demoted that his police forces were often pulled in to do non-police duties such as suppressing social unrest.  In the past several years, on five occasions Shen had to dispatch hundreds of police to suppress social unrest arising from public discontent over government abuses and corruption.

Shen was demoted on July 3 because of "serious dereliction of duty” during June 28 protests in which tens of thousands of local residents trashed and set fire to the buildings of the Party, the police, the courts and the secret police, over the death of a female middle school student.

Source: China Newsweek, July 9, 20008

Ministry of Foreign Affairs: the Improvements on Human Rights are up to Chinese People to Judge

In speaking about the human rights issues in China during a regular press conference on July 8, Qin Gang, the spokesperson of Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “China’s human rights situation is making consistent progress. This is recognized by any of those who hold unbiased views (about China). China did not make the commitment to improve human rights because of the Olympics. The Chinese Communist Party was making effort to improve the human rights at the establishment of the Party. The Party will put this goal as the top priority and will not change under any circumstances. The effort of human rights improvements are not judged by the standards set by any foreign countries, forces, organizations or any individual views. It is up to 1.3 billion Chinese People to judge.”

Source: Xinhua, July 8, 2008

Party Official’s Remarks On Freedom of Press and Publication in China

On July 3, during a chat discussion in the Qiangguo forum of the People’s Daily, Liu Binjie, director of General Administration of Press and Publication said: “There are misunderstandings around China’s freedom of press and publication… Some people think that China imposes strict control over the press and publication. It is absolutely impossible. Some research studies have suggested that there are over 60 million Chinese people who express their views through newspaper, magazine, radio, television, and internet everyday. This number has exceeded those countries such as United Kingdom, Germany, and France. How can people still claim that there is no press freedom in China?”

Source: People Daily, July 9, 2008