Tuesday, November 2, 2010
The Wall Street Journal's China Realtime Report writes:
China’s property sector, with its forced evictions and sometimes bloody confrontations, has long been described as something akin to a war zone. Now a team of online volunteers, led by an anonymous Chinese blogger, has launched a map-based project that brings that simile into stark relief.
Called “the Blood-Stained Housing Map,” the project uses Google Maps to plot violent housing evictions and land grabs across the country. The result bears an eerie, and sobering, resemblance to the Guardian’s own Google Maps chart showing deaths recorded in the Wikileaks Iraq war logs.
Friday, October 15, 2010
The following letter has been issued by the signatories in support of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo. English and French versions follow the Chinese version.
唯色 （ 西藏，作家）
丘延亮 (台北，副研究员 中央研究院民族学研究所)
萨冲 （意大利， 工程师）
郭小林（北京 ， 诗人）
On Liu Xiaobo and the Nobel Peace Prize
The awarding of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese citizen, has drawn strong reactions both inside and outside China. This is a major event in modern Chinese history. It offers the prospect of a significant new advance for Chinese society in its peaceful transition toward democracy and constitutional government. In a spirit of responsibility toward China’s history and the promise in its future, we the undersigned wish to make these points:
1. The decision of the Nobel Committee to award this year’s prize to Liu Xiaobo is in full conformity with the principles of the prize and the criteria for its bestowal. In today’s world, peace is closely connected with human rights. Deprivation and devastation of life happens not only on battlefields in wars between nations; it also happens within single nations when tyrannical governments employ violence and abuse law. The praise that we have seen from around the world for the decision to award this year’s prize to a representative of China’s human rights movement shows what a wise and timely decision it was.
2. Liu Xiaobo is a splendid choice for the Nobel Peace Prize. He has consistently advocated non-violence in his quest to protect human rights and has confronted social injustice by arguing from reason. He has persevered in pursuing the goals of democracy and constitutional government and has set aside anger even toward those who persecute him. These virtues put his qualifications for the prize beyond doubt, and his actions and convictions can, in addition, serve as models for others in how to resolve political and social conflict.
3. In the days since the announcement of his prize, leaders in many nations, regions, and major world organizations have called upon the Chinese authorities to release Liu Xiaobo. We agree. At the same time we call upon the authorities to release all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience who are in detention for reasons such as their speech, their political views, or their religious beliefs. We ask that legal procedures aimed at freeing Liu Xiaobo be undertaken without delay, and that Liu and his wife be permitted to travel to Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize.
4. Upon hearing the news of Liu Xiaobo’s prize, citizens at several locations in China gathered at restaurants to share their excitement over food and wine and to hold discussions, display banners, and distribute notices. Normal and healthy as these activities were, they met with harassment and repression from police. Some of the participants were interrogated, threatened, and escorted home; others were detained; still others, including Liu Xiaobo’s wife Liu Xia, have been placed under house arrest and held incommunicado. We call upon the police to cease these illegal actions forthwith and to immediately release the people who have been illegally detained.
5. We call upon the Chinese authorities to approach Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel Prize with realism and reason. They should take note of the responses to the prize inside and outside China and see in these responses the currents in world thinking as well as the underlying preferences of our fellow citizens. China should join the mainstream of civilized humanity by embracing universal values. Such is the only route to becoming a “great nation” that is capable of playing a positive and responsible role on the world stage. We are convinced that any signs of improvement or goodwill from the government and its leaders will be met with understanding and support from the Chinese people and will be effective in moving Chinese society in a peaceful direction.
6. We call upon the Chinese authorities to make good on their oft-repeated promise to reform the political system. In a recent series of speeches, Premier Wen Jiabao has intimated a strong desire to promote political reform. We are ready to engage actively in such an effort. We expect our government to uphold the constitution of The People’s Republic of China as well as the Charter of the United Nations and other international agreements to which it has subscribed. This will require it to guarantee the rights of Chinese citizens as they work to bring about peaceful transition toward a society that will be, in fact and not just in name, a democracy and a nation of laws.
Communiqué sur l’attribution du Prix Nobel de la paix à Liu Xiaobo
Le citoyen chinois Liu Xiaobo a obtenu le prix Nobel de la paix 2010. Cette nouvelle a eu un impact extraordinaire tant en Chine qu’à l’étranger. C’est un événement historique pour la Chine contemporaine, une nouvelle occasion pour elle d’effectuer une transition pacifique vers un gouvernement constitutionnel. Dans un esprit de responsabilité devant l’histoire, et devant le destin futur de la Chine, nous publions le communiqué suivant :
1)L’attribution par le comité Nobel du prix Nobel de la paix à Liu Xiaobo correspond aux objectifs et aux critères d’attribution de ce prix. Dans la société contemporaine, la paix est inséparable des droits de l’Homme, la privation de la vie et son piétinement ne se produisent pas seulement sur les champs de bataille, mais sont également causés par la mise en oeuvre de mauvaises lois et d’une politique de violence.Le concert de louange de la part de l’opinion internationale montre que l’attriution du Prix à une personnalité représentative du mouvement chinois des droits de l’homme est une décision correcte et opportune.。
2) Le choix de Liu Xiaobo pour ce prix est particulièrement juste, car il n’a cessé de défendre les droits de l’homme de manière non-violente, et a toujours adopté une position raisonnable dans sa résistance aux injustices sociales ; il a montré une grande ténacité dans son combat pour obtenir la mise en oeuvre d’un régime constitutionnel,et malgré les persécutions, il est dépourvu de toute haine, ce qui fait de lui un candidat idéal pour le Prix. Les idées et la pratique de Liu Xiaobo constitutent pour les Chinois de mode de résolution des conflits
3) Dès qu’il a obtenu le Prix, les gouvernements de tous les pays, les dirigeants de toutes les régions et de toutes sortes d’organisations n’ont cessé d’exiger des autorités chinoises qu’elles libèrent LXB, ;nous adoptons la même attitude. En même temps, nous appelons les autorités à libérer tous les prisonniers de conscience et les prisonniers politiques enfermé pour des raisons d’idéologie,d’expression ou de foi religieuse.Nous appelons à prendre au plus vite toutes les mesures pour que LXB regagne sa liberté, qu’il soit réuni à son épouse Liu Xia, et qu’il puisse se rendre en personne à Oslo recevoir le prix.
4) En apprenant la nouvelle, dans toute la Chine, des citoyens ravis ont organisé des banquets, des réunions, ont porté des banderolles, distribué des tracts pour célébrer ou discuter l’événement ; ces actions sont tout à fait légales et raisonnables. Mais les policiers ont ont réprimé ces activités, des citoyens ont été gardés à vue, interrogés, menacés, renvoyés dans leur lieu d’origine, voire détenus, placés en résidence surveillée, privés leur liberté d’action, privés de leur droit de communiquer avec l’extérieur, comme l’épouse de LXB Liu Xia. Nous exigeons que la police mette immédiatement un terme à ces actes illégaux et libère immédiatement les citoyens détenus.
5) Nous appelons les autorités chinoises à adopter une attitude raisonnable face à l’attribution du Prix à LXB, et en observant les réactions chaleureuses en chine et à l’étranger, à se mettre en accord avec le courant mondial ; la Chine doit entrer dans le courant principal des valeurs universelles et de la civilisation de l’humanité, et établir l’image d’un grand pays positiv et responsable. Nous sommes convaincus que toute amélioration et toute bonne intention du gouvernement chinois sera accueillie par la compréhension et le soutien de tous, et poussera la société chinoise dans une direction pacifique.
6) Nous appelons les autorités chinoises à tenir leur promesse de réforme du système politique. Le premier ministre Wen Jiabao, dans un ensemble de discours, a récemment manifesté son profond désir de faire avancer la réfome politique, et nous sommes prêts à participer à ce processus. Nous souhaitons que dans le cadre de la Constitution de la République populaire de Chine, de la Charte des Nations Unies qu’il reconnaît, et des traités internationaux qu’il a signés,le gouvernement puisse garantir réellement tous les droits des citoyens, qu’il mette en oeuvre une transition sociale pacifique afin de faire de la Chine un pays démocratique, doté d’un Etat de droit digne de ce nom.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
In honor of Professor Jerome A. Cohen, who turned 80 on July 1, the New York University Journal of International Law and Politics is seeking papers addressing the interaction between the international legal system and Chinese and East Asian law and legal thought. The deadline is Sept. 24, 2010.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Putting melamine in milk seems a bit like eating peanuts or making Gao Zhisheng disappear; once you start, you just can't stop. I last blogged about this addiction in January; here's a news story showing that tainted milk is still being sold.
What can be done? According to Rio Praaning Prawira Adiningrat, secretary general of the Public Advice International Foundation, "The Chinese government has enormously and effectively responded with new laws and new regulations, and tries to implement this as soon as it can . . . . I think they are absolutely doing the best they can."
One of the effective new regulations showing this zeal is reported here: lawyers being instructed by their governing bodies not to take melamine-related cases.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
On March 1, "[a] group of 13 Chinese newspapers from across the country carried an identical front-page editorial ... calling for the abolition of China’s household registration hukou system in a highly unusual co-ordinated critique of government policy." (Jamil Anderlini, "Call to end China citizen registration system," Financial Times, March 1, 2010) It seems, however, that appropriate advance permission had not been obtained. According to the South China Morning Post, "all the publications involved and most major internet news portals have removed the editorial or reports of it from their websites. According to an editor of another media outlet that ran the editorial, the verdict from the Central Publicity Department was brief: 'This act was inappropriate'." Moreover, the same article reported that "[e]ditors at The Economic Observer, the newspaper which initiated a joint editorial published on Monday criticising the mainland's hukou (household registration) system, have been punished for their bold action as other participating media confirmed a government order to remove the editorial from their websites."
- New York Times
- China Daily (still up as of today)
- Kam Wing Chan, "Making real hukou reform in China," East Asia Forum, March 3, 2010 (Prof. Chan is a former colleague of mine at the University of Washington and an expert on the hukou system)
- Dui Hua Foundation, "Some Thoughts on China’s Hukou System & Its Impact on Criminal Justice," Dui Hua Human Rights Journal, March 8, 2010
- Wall Street Journal report on firing of Zhang Hong, deputy editor-in-chief of the web site of the Economic Observer and co-author of the editorial
- Editorial co-author Zhang Hong on the making of the editorial (Chinese | English)
- Analysis by staff of Congressional-Executive Commission on China (March 26, 2010)
- Commentary in Caixin Online (English with link to Chinese)
It seems that the text of the editorial is still up on some web sites; here it is (available as of today) on the web site of the Chongqing Times (重庆时报). On the assumption that it would be nice to have a reliable source for both Chinese and English versions, however, I'm posting the original and a translation (the author of which has asked to remain anonymous). I'll post the English first, with the Chinese text following.
A Call for Accelerated Reforms to the Household Registration System to Truly Grant Rights to the People
China has long tasted the bitterness of its household registration system! Conceived in the planned economy era, it is an outdated system that has existed for decades and continues to disrupt the people's livelihoods today. It has, without sufficient reforms, ceased being relevant. To this end, on the occasion of the convening of the national "Two Sessions" , we, the 13 newspapers from 11 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities, are issuing a joint editorial and submitting it to the representatives and committee members of the “Two Sessions.” We ask that you use the power in your hands to urge the relevant ministries and commissions to put forward a clear time table for household registration reform; and, to gradually use the demographic information registration system to replace the existing rigid household registration system until it is completely abolished.
The Constitution stipulates that the citizens of the People's Republic of China are all equal before the law, that the nation respects and protects human rights, and that the citizens’ personal freedoms will not be infringed upon. Freedom of movement is an inseparable component of human rights and personal freedom; it is a basic right that the Constitution bestowed the people. However, the current household registration policy has created unequal statuses among urban residents and between urban residents and peasants, constraining the Chinese citizens’ freedom of movement. Alllaws and administrative and local regulations must not contradict the Constitution – this is the legal basis for accelerating the current reforms of the household registration system.
The household registration system has divided cities and countryside. The first generation of migrant workers invested their labor into the development of the cities. However, their offspring still have no means to resolve the status of their identities. Their children still have to bear the quandary of the previous generation. The cities in which they live remain unable to accept them. We have to ask: for how many more generations must this divide last?
Even within the cities, the household registration system has divided urban residents. In the same city, even though we, like all others, have struggled for many years for the construction of the city and paid the same taxes, the absence of hukous has rendered us unable to enjoy the same employment opportunities as others, or the same social services such as medical treatment, education, and elderly care. We have to ask: for how many more generations must this divide last?
The household registration system is a breeding ground for corruption. Because of its scarcity, hukous have become the objects of buying and selling in many cities. Those with holders’ rights can use them to seek payment; real-estate agents can use them as sales tools. But the countless people who are vulnerable must either pay the money or find themselves without recourse. We have to ask: for how many more generations must this inequality last?
Not long ago, Premier Wen Jiabao clearly expressed that the central government had already decided to steadily advance household registration reform. And dozens of other cities nationwide, including Shanghai and Guangzhou, have already launched household registration reform measures. Residential permits are slowly replacing temporary residential permits in these cities, and holders will be able to enjoy the same public services such as social security, medical treatment, and education as local residents. At the same time, the country is accelerating the establishment of a unified national social security services system, bringing about the inter-regional transfer and continuation of social security networks...
Admittedly, progress is gratifying, but in many more areas, we are still disappointed to note the invisible and heavy shackles of household registration, distressing the innumerable hard-pressed people on the run. We are deeply aware of the complicated nature of the household registration policy and the intricate complexities of the details of reform. Yet, we cannot overlook those who have experienced, are experiencing, and will experience oppression and hardship as a consequence of this policy. For them, awaiting urgent reforms has made every minute of waiting seem endless.
As China's economy soars, we must also be mindful of the pressing imminence of the economy’s structural transformations. The demographic dividend is fading away, and natural resources will not be available forever. The power behind China's next stage of growth has already begun to point even more so to the adjustment of the internal structure and the optimization of efficient usage of natural resources. Household registration reform is not only good for the people's welfare; it can also inject more dynamism into China's economy. More important, household registration reform can help foster values and ideas centered around people, becoming the cornerstone of making balanced progress in Chinese society and constructing a harmonious society.
For this reason, we call on representatives and committee members of the national "Two Sessions" to use the power in your hands – power that the people gave you – to urge the relevant ministries and commissions to abolish, as soon as possible, the "Household Registration Regulations" issued in 1958; to put forward a clear time table for national household registration reform; and, to gradually use the demographic information records system to replace the current rigid household registration system until it is completely abolished.
We hope that our many citizens, whether they are rooted in the north or south without dividing them into urban and rural, will all have the same rights to employment, medical treatment, elderly care, education, and freedom of movement. We hope that the one thing that has suffered from many decades of failed administration will end with this generation, our generation, and enable the next one to truly enjoy the sacred rights of freedom, democracy, and equality bestowed by the Constitution.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Here's the press release from Asia Catalyst:
(Gejiu, China, March 9, 2010) -- Asia Catalyst is proud to announce the “public beta” launch of its Asian AIDS Law Database. The database is a free, user-friendly resource, searchable in Chinese and English, to help researchers to find HIV/AIDS-related statutes throughout Asia. It is the first database exclusively dedicated to this purpose.
With the “public beta” launch, Asia Catalyst invites lawyers, experts and organizations to share AIDS-related laws and policies from around Asia that may not yet be online. The database has over 100 records, ranging from Cambodia’s draft law on drug control to the national policy on HIV/AIDS of Bangladesh.
“The database will enable lawyers to analyze AIDS-related laws, and use them in their own advocacy,” said Ken Oh, editor of Asia Report (http://www.yazhoudiaocha.com), the news site that hosts the database. “Asian AIDS activists tell us that some governments are more responsive to model language from another Asian law.”
The project was born in response to growing demand from Asian AIDS advocates engaged in legal analysis and advocacy. The database was created by a volunteer team of law students and pro bono lawyers working with Asia Catalyst.
Asia Report, the Asia Catalyst-sponsored site that hosts the database, provides Chinese and English-language news about economic and social rights in North, South and Southeast Asia, with links to Asian rights groups, and announcements of upcoming conferences and events.
Asian AIDS Law Database users may choose countries, topics and levels of government from drop-down menus in both English and Chinese. The database will provide the text of the law or policy and a link to its location online. All records are in English, with Chinese translations provided where available.
“The international AIDS law field is growing quickly,” said Ken Oh.“We hope our colleagues in Asia will use the database to analyze existing laws–and draft new ones.”
The database may be visited at http://www.yazhoudiaocha.com/laws/.
Asia Catalyst is a US-based resource for grassroots organizations working on HIV/AIDS in Asia. For more information, please see our website at www.asiacatalyst.org.
That's the headline for an amusing post on the Wall Street Journal's China Real Time Report, quoting various remarks made by delegates at the current NPC session and captured on tape (well, captured on digital recorder, more likely).
–Li Hongzhong, governor of Hubei province, was asked by a People’s Daily reporter about last year’s case of a hotel worker whose murder charges were dismissed after she claimed she had acted in self-defense when an official and his colleague tried to rape her. His reply: “Are you really from the People’s Daily? And you ask such a question? What kind of Communist Party mouthpiece are you? Is this how you guide public opinion? What’s your name? I’m going to find your boss.”
Caijing reported it a bit differently on its web site. According to its report, which it says it gathered from eyewitnesses, at the very end of a press conference held by Li the reporter asked him what his views were on the case. Li's face suddenly went dark and he left the room. Two minutes later he returned and demanded of the reporter (named Liu Jie, who worked for Jinghua Shibao, a newspaper within the People's Daily system), "Where are you from?" (i.e., which media outlet). She, apparently stunned, just said, "Huh", and he repeated, "Where are you from? Where are you from?" She finally answered, "The People's Daily." He said, "The People's Daily ... Why are you always going on about this affair. It's already over. I'm going to talk to your chief, right, OK?" He then grabbed her recording device from her and stalked out of the room with it. Later on the afternoon of the same day, a staff member with the Hubei delegation returned the recording device to the reporter, but with no apology.
Note to non-North American readers: the headline is a reference to "Kids Say the Darnedest Things," a segment of a popular TV show that ran in the fifties and sixties. The host would interview small children, who would answer questions in some cutely funny way (the answers that weren't funny were presumably edited out).
Monday, March 1, 2010
As Prof. Cohen, one of the founders of Chinese law studies in the United States, will be celebrating his 80th birthday this July 1st, the Chinese law community has been planning various events in his honor. Most recently, on Feb. 19th the George Washington University Law School and Georgetown University Law Center jointly put on an afternoon conference in Washington, DC. The program is here; videos of the proceedings will be available shortly.
Later this month, the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii will be holding a series of events from March 15th through 18th. Here are two informational flyers: an overview and a panel discussion program. The panel discussion will be recorded and made available on line.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
That's what happened to the lawyers for Cybersitter, the California software developer that's suing the PRC government (among others) on charges they pirated Cybersitter's software in developing Green Dam. Here's the report.
Rich Kuzlan's AsiaBizBlog has also posted the complaints in the case. Here are the links:
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Vaclav Havel, one of the original Czech dissidents behind Charter 77 (an inspiration for Charter 08), tried (with other co-signatories) to deliver a letter protesting Liu Xiaobo's sentence to the Chinese embassy in Prague. Since nobody would open the doors to them, they had to leave it in the mailbox.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
It just keeps happening. Last month I blogged about three people arrested for adding melamine to milk even after an offender in the Sanlu scandal had been executed for doing it, suggesting that deterrence wasn't operating very well. Then on Dec. 31st came an announcement from Xinhua News Agency that excessive melamine had been found in milk coming from Shanghai Panda dairy. Now James Areddy writes in the Wall Street Journal's China Realtime Report that apparently the Shanghai Panda melamine problem, like the Sanlu melamine problem, was known by officials as early as April 2008, well before it was announced and products recalled.
Not to worry. On Dec.25th, less than a week before announcing the Shanghai Panda affair, Xinhua assured its readers that "[a]fter melamine scandal, it is impossible to sell poor quality milk."
Monday, January 4, 2010
Sunday, January 3, 2010