Protest zones without protestsWednesday, August 20, 2008 at 21:48 | Posted in China, civil rights, Freedom of speech | 3 Comments
The Chinese government have established special zones for sanctioned protests at Beijing’s World Park. That sounds sort of cute and in Chinese circumstances extraordinarily liberal. However, not a single application to organize a protest has been sanctioned so far. Wang Wei, vice-president of the Beijing organising committee, told reporters they should be “satisfied” with the protest zones. Sure, the zones are just fine and it would probably be too much to ask that actual protests were allowed to take place there.
Of the 77 applications filed so far, 74 have been rejected because “the issues have been addressed” by “proper authorities”. Two applications are pending because they did not include “sufficient information” and one was turned down because it “included children” which is considered to be against the rules. Judging from these statistics, the mere existence of the protest zones could be understood to have solved all social problems in China leaving no need to actually carry out the protests.
Many applicants are reported to have been intimidated by Chinese officials just for filing their application. Two elderly ladies, 79 year old Wu Dianyuan and 77 year old Wang Xiuying, have been sentenced to “re-education through labour” for filing an application to protest against having been evicted from their home in 2001. The one year sentence was imposed on the ladies by a commission without a trial.