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Briefings - 1156. page

Olympics: Beijing’s Neighboring Cities Endure Power Outage

Villages, towns and cities in areas surrounding Beijing recently experienced frequent power outages. Before the 1980’s, the government used to shut off the electricity of nearby cities when major events took place in the capital. But the practice was all but abandoned in recent years, until now.

Rural areas were hit first and for the longest amount of time, followed by low income urban areas, high income districts were next, and government offices were the last to face the outage.

One city in Shandong Province experienced a power outage every other day, each lasting 10 hours.

Source: Boxun, July 31, 2008

Olympics: Woman Trying to Demonstrate in Designated Areas Arrested

Despite the promise to allow people to demonstrate in three parks during the Beijing Olympics, last week, the authorities arrested a woman who tried to demonstrate in one of the designated demonstration areas. The woman was detained and sent back to her hometown Suzhou on Friday August 1. Some anti-Japanese activists also saw their application denied.

People are skeptical and do not trust the government’s promise to allow freedom of speech. Beijing based journalist Ling Cangzhou said: “Everyone knows that in China, freedom and democracy are written in the Constitution. But how much can the Constitution be enforced is in question.”

Source: Voice of America, August 3, 2008

Olympics: China Unblocks Some Websites While Blocking Others

Under widespread complaints from foreign reporters, Beijing opened up a few blocked websites, including Amnesty International, Voice of America, Radio Free Asia and the BBC. This privilege is only for foreigners, not Chinese citizens.

Other sensitive websites such as those of Falun Gong or the Tibetan government in exile remain blocked.

Source: Boxun, August 1, 2008

Olympics: Shanghai Buses Install Surveillance Camera

Security surveillance equipment are being installed on board a total of 68 bus lines with more than 1,620 buses in Shanghai, Xinhua reported. The system has real-time monitoring functions with two infrared cameras at each end of the bus. The installation will be completed on August 5, in time for the Beijing Olympics on August 8.

Source: Xinhuanet, July 25, 2008

Olympics: Chinese Internet Report on Team Darfur Member’s Visa Denial

U.S. media reports about an American reporter being denied a visa to China is spreading on Internet bulletin boards in China including those of the state-run media. The Chinese posting cited Radio Free Asia and San Jose Mercury News reporting that Kendra Zanotto, a 2004 bronze medallist from Los Gatos, California was to work as an expert synchronized swimming reporter for the Olympic News Service, an official arm of the Beijing Games. But the Chinese consulate in San Francisco denied her application, apparently due to her involvement in her affiliation with Team Darfur, an athlete-driven group seeking attention to West Darfur. The Chinese Internet posting stated that representative from the Chinese consulate in San Francisco cited her intent to immigrate at the grounds for the rejection.

Source:, July 28, 2008
San Jose Mercury News, July 23, 2008

Sichuan Earthquake Parent Sentenced to Labor Camp for Exposing Shoddy School Construction

Liu Shaokun, a teacher who lost his child in the earthquake from Deyang City of Sichuan Province, was arrested by the authorities on June 25 and sentenced to one-year labor camp thereafter. His “crime” is "suspicion of inciting subversion of state power." After the May 12th Sichuan earthquake, he took pictures of the collapsed school buildings and posted them on the Internet. He also expressed his angry feelings about the sub-standard shoddy school construction when talking to media reporters.

Source: Voice of America, July 30,2008