Vietnamese Journalist Released from Jail

HANOI, Vietnam – The Vietnamese government released journalist, Tran Khai Thanh Thuy, from jail.  The court sentenced her to nine months in prison for “disturbing the public order.”  Although Tran Khai Thanh Thuy was sentenced today, she was released for time already served.  Foreign reporters were denied access to her one-day trial at the Hanoi People’s Court.

Tran Khai Thanh Thuy was arrested in April of 2007 for posting articles critical of the government.  Two days prior to her arrest authorities entered her home and caught her posting the articles.  During the incident, police seized a memory stick that stored many of her articles.  In addition her articles, Tran Khai Thanh has written numerous novels, political essays, and was an editor of the dissident bulletin, Fatherland.

In January 2007, Human Rights Watch awarded Tran Khai Thanh Thuy the Hellman-Hammett prize for “her courage in the face of political repression.”Tran Kai Thanh Thuy also belongs to Bloc 8406, which is a group of pro-democracy activists.  The foreign ministry has ruled the group illegal.  Vietnamese authorities also have accused her of organizing an independent trade union and supporting a dissident human rights commission.

During Tran Khai Thanh Thuy’s imprisonment, the government-controlled press printed a range of charges against the journalist, which included conspiring with other democracy activists to overthrow the Vietnamese government, and urging foreign citizens to kidnap Vietnamese diplomats.

For more information, please see:

AP – Vietnam Sentences Dissident Writer – 31 January 2008

Earthtimes – Vietnamese Dissident Released from Prison – 31 January 2008

Reporters Without Borders – Journalist Tran Khai Thanh Thuy Released from Jail– 31 January 2008

BRIEF: Khmer Rouge Tribunal Dismisses Nuon Chea’s Motion to Remove Judge

PHNOM PENH ,Cambodia – The defense counsel for Nuon Chea moved to have Ney Thol removed from the trial. Nuon Chea’s attorneys allege Ney Thol cannot be impartial and has political ties to the Cambodian People’s Party. In the motion, the defense claims the “continued presence on the bench threatens to undermine the credibility and integrity” of the hearings.

The Khmer Rouge Tribunal dismissed the motion. Media spokesman for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Reach Sambath, stated, “I can only say that the motion was not upheld.”

Ney Thol is one of Cambodia’s most senior judges, an army general who heads a military court, and a member of the Cambodian’s People Party. During his career, Ney Thol has convicted two political opponents for natural security-related crimes. Previously, Ney Thol stepped down during preliminary hearings for Kaing Guek Eav because Ney Thol had been placed in a military prison in 1999.  Because of the experience, he stated that he was too close to the case.

Ney Thol could not be reached for comment, but has previously denied any allegations of bias.

For more information, please see:

Earthtimes – Cambodian Judge Accused of Bias Will Stay for Khmer Rouge Hearing – 30 January 2008

PR Inside – Defense Lawyers Demand Removal of Cambodian Judge from UN-Backed Tribunal – 30 January 2008

China Refuses to Politicize Olympic Games

By Juliana Chan
Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia

BEIJING, China – The People’s Daily, the leading community party newspaper in China, expressed in a commentary piece Tuesday that any attempt to use the Beijing Olympics to discredit China or force it to change policy is doomed to failure.

This comes in response to an intense week of increased international criticism of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. On Monday, Britain’s Prince Charles, who has long taken an interest in Tibet, said he would not be going to the opening ceremony of August’s games. Wang Hui, a spokeswoman for the Beijing Olympic organizing committee, responded to the Prince’s boycott as “unfair…[t]he Beijing Olympic Games belongs to the whole world, not only to China. Our slogan is ‘One World, One Dream.”

The Games have been linked to Darfur, Taiwan independence, religious liberties in Tibet, and freedom of expression. Beijing, however, is fighting to prevent the event from being politicized.

The commentary said that the international pressure has forced China to face “suggestions and accusations from all over the world, including misunderstandings, sarcasm and very harsh criticism.” Furthermore, China will never submit to taunting or political pressure from groups or governments wishing to use the Beijing Olympics to change Chinese policy.

Jiang Yu, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said China’s progress in protecting the rights and freedoms of its citizens should be recognized, and the international community should oppose acts disrupting the Olympic Games.

For more information, please see:

Reuters – Olympics-China says won’t submit to pressure – 29 January 2008

Guardian Unlimited – China hits out at attempts to politicise Olympics – 29 January 2008

CNN – Tibet group: Prince to boycott Games – 28 January 2008

Bangladesh Arrests Labor Rights Activist

By Kristy Tridhavee
Impunity Watch Reporter,
Asia

DHAKA, Bangladesh – On January 24th, Bangladesh authorities arrested Mehedi Hasan, a field investigator for the Workers Rights Consortium (WRC), for instigating protests against emergency rules.

On January 15th, rioters ransacked more than a dozen garment factories. Rioters protested their lack of unpaid wages and unsafe working conditions. In order to break up the riots, Bangladesh police shot tear gas into the crowds. During the riots, over one hundred persons were injured, factories were damaged, and vehicles were vandalized. The garment factories involved in the riots resumed operation on January 16th.

Authorities arrested Mehedi Hasan at the Zia International Airport before he boarded a plane to Bangkok. According to an unnamed official, Mehedi Hasan was taken to court on Sunday. Authorities will detain and question him for up to four days. In addition to Mehedi Hasan, authorities have arrested ten other labor leaders. Authorities identified the relevant persons after watching video of the riots taken by television stations.

Mehedi Hasan’s employer, WRC, is an independent monitoring group. It investigates working conditions at factories that make goods for the United  States. It specifically investigates factories that make college and university apparel. WRC’s Executive Director Scott Nova protested the arrest in a statement, “There is no legitimate reason for Mehedi Hasan’s arrest and we call upon the government of Bangladesh to effect his immediate and unconditional release. We are deeply concerned for his safety.”

Other groups have joined the WRC in protesting the arrest. Labor Behind the Label (LBL) and the War on Want (WW) have also called for the Mehedi Hasan’s release. LBL has written letters to all British fashion brands, asking them to make formal inquiries about the arrest. In the letter LBL writes, “It is clear that Mr. Hasan’s arrest is related to the labour rights monitoring work he has performed on the WRC’s behalf. Labour rights advocates in Bangladesh are very concerned that the security forces will physically mistreat Mr. Hasan…All of these charges are false to the point of absurdity.” WW’s John Hilary, campaign and policy director, said, “It is unacceptable that researchers should be locked up for defending workers’ rights. We call for the immediate release of Mr. Hasan and for the rights of all trade unionists to be respected.”

Bangladesh is currently under emergency rule. A military-back interim government runs the Bangladesh government. Civil rights have remained suspended while security forces operate under the emergency rule.

For more information, please see:

AP – Police Arrest Bangladesh Rights Activist – 29 January 2008

Independent Bangladesh – Cases Files Against RMG Workers, Leaders – 18 January 2008

War on Want – Bangladesh Government Cracks Down on Workers’ Rights Monitors – 28 January 2008

Myanmar Makes Further Dissident Arrests

By Juliana Chan
Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia

In breaking a promise to the United Nations, Myanmar’s military government has arrested almost 100 dissidents, Amnesty International reports.

The human rights group said the junta had arrested 96 people since November. Facing increased international pressure, the military government met with United Nations’ envoy to Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari, in November and agreed that it would hold no more activists following its deadly crackdown on protests in Yangon in September 2007.

September’s protests led by Buddhist monks, turned into the biggest anti-government demonstration since 1988. According to the United Nations, at least 31 people were killed and 74 are missing.

Catherine Baber, director of Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific program, said that four months since the violent suppression on peaceful demonstrators, rather than stopping unlawful arrests, the government has actually accelerated them. She said that instead of bowing to demands for moderation from the international community, the junta’s priority is to silence its citizens.

The new arrests target people who attempt to send evidence of the junta’s crackdown to the international community. Among those arrested are members of democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party, a Buddhist monk, and a labor activist.

Amnesty International said that at least 700 people arrested in connection with the September protests remain behind bars, while Myanmar is still holding 1,150 political prisoners from before the demonstrations.

Furthermore, Myanmar’s military government has postponed an invitation to United Nations envoy, Mr. Gambari. Mr. Gambari has visited Myanmar twice and was promised a third visit soon, in a effort of cooperation with the United Nations. The junta now says it will not be convenient for Mr. Gambari to visit until April.

For more information, please see:

BBC News – Burma dissident arrests ‘ongoing’ – 25 January 2008

The New York Times – Rights Group Accuses Myanmar of Holding More Dissidents – 27 January 2008

AFP – Myanmar arrests 96 dissidents since November: Amnesty – 26 January 2008

Pakistani Army Not to be Involved in Elections

By Elizabeth Breslin
Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia

The Pakistani Army announced today that it will be distancing itself from the election process.  The parliamentary elections are now scheduled for February 18th, delayed because of the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhuttoin December. (See Impunity Watch story here).

An Army spokesperson said that “conduct of elections as per Constitution is the sole responsibility of the Election Commission and Army will not be involved in the election process.”  Pakistan’s current military chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, has seemed to prefer to stay out of politics since his appointment in October 2007.   Some analysts believe that the Army is attempting to keep itself outside of the likely controversies surrounding the upcoming election.  Kayani understands that the process will be messy, and by staying out of it he will avoid any blame.

President Musharraf’s opponents are alleging that he will use his power as President to influence the elections.  There is a widespread concern that Pakistan’s Election Commission is incapable of assuring a fair election.  There are allegations that the current Chief Election Commissioner is openly partisan, as well as government officials on all levels.  Furthermore, after the removal of judges and suspension of the Constitution in November, government officials and members of the judiciary are afraid to act independently.

Pakistan’s government has assured United States and European Union monitoring teams that they will be allowed to access elections sites freely and can go in unannounced to any polling site.  They are however refusing to allow exit polls to be conducted.  Critics worry that this is problematic as exit polls are an essential tool for assuring fair and independent elections.

In a speech on Friday, President Musharraf has issued a warning to Western countries to stop criticizing Pakistan’s government regarding the election and its methods of fighting against terrorism.  He requested instead their support during this difficult time.  He reiterated that the elections would be free and fair.

For more information, please see:

CBS News – Pakistan’s Army Steps Aside From Election – 27 January 2008

Daily Times – ANALYSIS: Election manipulation – 27 January 2008

BBC News – Musharraf issues warning to West – 25 January 2008

The Kansas City Star – Pakistan bans observers from conducting exit polls for election – 25 January 2008

BRIEF: Khmer Rouge Tribunal Rules Nuon Chea’s Statement Stands

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – The Khmer Rouge Tribunal ruled statements made by Nuon Chea, after his arrest but without legal counsel, would not be invalidated because the statements were consensual. When Nuon Chea was arrested, he was fed, rested, and warned to wait for legal representation before he spoke to authorities. However, he made the statements irregardless.

In a statement to the press, the court explained, “In reality, it appears difficult to imagine a situation where the waiver could have been clearer and more deliberate than in this case, without questioning the intellectual capacity of Mr. Nuon Chea, which does not appear to be in question here.”

In the past Nuon Chea declared publicly that he did not trust lawyers and would want a person “who was there” in order defend the Khmer Rouge regime. Since his arrest, Nuon Chea has hired Cambodian lawyer Sun Aran, a Khmer Rouge survivor.

For more information, please see:

Earthtimes – Cambodian Court Declares Former Khmer Rouge Leader Statement Stands – 25 January 2008

BRIEF: Increased Human Rights Violations in Tibet

DHARAMSALA, India – The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) released its annual report, finding that the year 2007 saw repression worsen. The report accuses China of human rights violations in Tibet, particularly related to the freedom of expression, association, and religion. Cases of arbitrary arrests and imprisonments increased almost three times compared to 2006.

Within Tibet, there was hope that human rights violations would decrease in 2007, with China under international scrutiny ahead of the Beijing Olympics. As arbitrary arrests, unfair trials, torture and execution continue, there is “a clear indication of the human rights situation worsening in Tibet.”

For more information, please see:

Thaindian News – Chinese human rights violations continuing: Exiled Tibetans – 24 January 2008

Pahyul – Year 2007 sees repression worsening in Tibet: Report – 22 January 2008

Bangladesh Pardons Professors and Frees Students

By Kristy Tridhavee
Impunity Watch Reporter,
Asia

DHAKA, Bangladesh – On Tuesday, Bangladesh President Iajuddin Ahmed pardoned three university professors hours after a court sentenced them to two years in prison for stoking campus demonstrations. Today authorities released nine students accused of inciting unrest during those same demonstrations. The nine students released were the last of the students detained from August’s unrest.

Hundreds of supporters gathered for two days before the nine students were freed. The release appears to be an effort at reconciliation. Authorities feared the professors’ imprisonments would spark a fresh wave of protests in defiance of a state of emergency.

Last August, violence erupted at Dhaka University when army soldiers allegedly assaulted university students. The government imposed curfews to suppress any further violence; however, one person died, and hundreds were hurt. TheBangladesh government has been under a state of emergency since January 2007. An interim government took power following months of strikes and riots by rival supporters of the two main political parties: the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and the Awami League. The interim government has promised to clean up the notoriously corrupt government and hold elections in 2008.

Amnesty International has said the professors’ pardons are not sufficient. Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International, said, “Charges should never have been brought against the professors in the first place. The arrest and prosecution of the Dhaka University professors is illustrative of the manner in which emergency regulations are open to abuse in cases involving the right to peaceful protest. The restrictions imposed through the Emergency Powers Rules exceed what is permissible under international law. The current rules and restrictions on freedom of expression, assembly and association are too widely framed and are being selectively applied.”

For more information, please see:

AFP – Bangladesh Frees Nine Students after Mass Protests – 23 January 2008

Amnesty International – Bangladesh: Pardon of Teachers Not Enough Says Amnesty – 23 January 2008

Daily Times Pakistan – Bangladesh Pardons Teachers Jailed over Campus Unrest– 23 January 2008

Cambodians Remember Labor Leader Chea Vichea’s Murder

By Kristy Tridhavee
Impunity Watch Reporter,
Asia

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – Hundreds of Cambodians marched in the capital to remember the murder of the country’s most prominent labor leader, Chea Vichea. Vichea leadCambodia’s largest labor union, Free Trade Union of Cambodia. He was gunned down at a newsstand while reading a newspaper in January of 2004. At the march, his brother, Chea Mony, commented on the remembrance, “This is for his memory. I am very proud that so many people attended out of love for him.”

Kek Galabru, director of the Cambodian rights group Licadho, remembered Vichea, “He was the one who brought (the unions) all together. After him, there were divisions … fighting against one other.”

The anniversary of Vichea’s death highlighted improper imprisonment of Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeum. Samnang and Oeum are both serving a 20-year prison sentence for Vichea’s murder. Rights groups allege the men’s arrests were a cover-up for a political assassination.

Their convictions are highly suspect though. The men’s confessed only after police torture. A judge, who dropped the initial charges for lack of evidence, was quickly removed from his position, and the murder chargers were reinstated. The trial violated Cambodian law and international law standards. And on appeal, the Appeals Court upheld the convictions despite prosecutors admitting there was a lack of evidence. Vichea’s family and a prime witness to the murder have also commented that they do not believe Samnang and Oeum are responsible.

Souhayr Belhassen, president of the Paris-based International Federation of Human Rights, said, “There is compelling evidence that these two men were targeted by the authorities as scapegoats for the murder, and nobody is fooled by this charade.”

In a joint statement by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Asian Human Rights Commission, the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (a joint program of the International Federation for Human Rights and the World Organization Against Torture), and the International Trade Union Confederation, the organizations asked the Cambodian government to exonerate and free Samnang and Oeum. The seven organizations also called upon the government to begin a full and impartial investigation of the murder and a independent, public inquiry into the prosecution of Samnang and Oeum, which would include allegations of police brutality, intimidation of witnesses, and political interference in the judicial process.

In the aftermath of Vichea’s murder, there has been an ongoing pattern of violence against trade union activists. Hy Vuthy and Ros Sovannarith were murdered in 2007 and 2004 respectively. There have also been reports of physical assaults. Guy Ryder of the Brussels-based International Trade Union Confederation commented, “The murder of Chea Vichea and other trade union leaders has had a chilling effect on labor rights and workers’ freedoms inCambodia, even more so given the lack of proper, credible investigations to find their killers. It sends a deplorable message to Cambodian workers that trade union membership or activity will put their safety at risk.”

For more information, please see:

AFP – Hundreds Remember Cambodian Labour Leader’s Murder – 22 January 2008

Earthtimes – Hundreds Rally in Cambodia for Anniversary of Union Leader’s Murder – 22 January 2008

Human Rights Watch – Cambodia: Release Scapegoats for Labor Leader’s Murder – 22 January 2008

PM Brown’s Visit to China Failed to Emphasize Human Rights

By Juliana Chan
Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia

BEIJING, China – British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s two-day trip to China last week was aimed to encourage sovereign wealth funds to invest in the U.K. Mr. Brown has been criticized, however, for his failure to emphasize the world’s concerns about human rights in the country.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said that Mr. Brown would raise the issue in a general sense, but would not be central to the discussions.

In an open letter to the Prime Minister on January 16, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Mr. Brown should use this visit to Beijing to discuss urgent domestic and international human rights concerns with the Chinese government. Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at HRW said, “With the Beijing Olympics just months away, Brown has a golden opportunity to press the Chinese leadership on human rights issues. But the moment will be wasted if Brown doesn’t make specific requests and urge specific Chinese action.”

The letter urged Mr. Brown to discuss six issues with Chinese Premiere Wen Jiabao and officials:

  • China’s failure to fully implement new regulations allowing greater press freedom.
  • The re-arrest on December 27,2007 of prominent HIV/AIDS activist Hu Jia.
  • China’s superficial commitments to upholding the rule of law.
  • Limited Chinese support for international efforts to promote civilian protection in Darfur, Sudan.
  • Limited Chinese support for international efforts to promote human rights in Burma.
  • Absence of transparency in Chinese aid to abusive governments.

Mr. Brown chose not to highlight these concerns, however, and focused on trade relations between the two countries instead.

For more information, please see:

HRW – UK: Brown Should Press Rights in China – 16 January 2008

HRW – Letter to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown Regarding His Upcoming Trip to China – 15 January 2008

Guardian Unlimited – UK’s Brown urged to press China on human rights – 17 January 2008

Reuters – Brown seeks to take China relationship to new level – 18 January 2008

Guardian Unlimited – Come on, Mr. Brown, stand up to the Chinese – 20 January 2008

US Recommends More Pressure on Myanmar

By Juliana Chan
Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia

HANOI, Vietnam – During a visit to Vietnam, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Scot Marciel said that Myanmar is going “downhill on all fronts.” Mr. Marciel is urging regional neighbors to pressure Myanmar’s military government for reform in all arenas.

Mr. Marciel said our emphasis should not solely be focused on human rights and democracy. The problem is beyond just that. “The economy is going downhill, the education system is getting ruined. The health care system isn’t functioning […with] more cases of resistant strains of tuberculosis and malaria. You’ve got refugee flows out of Burma. It’s just a whole series of problems.”

The regime’s crackdown last September on peaceful protests led by Buddhist monks has triggered tighter Western sanctions, mounting international criticism, and pressure on the government that is centered mainly on human rights and democratic reforms. The United Nations says at least 31 people were killed during the suppression and 74 people remain missing.

Urging all regional neighbors to push for change, Mr. Marciel said he had spoken to officials in Tokyo, Phnom Penh, and Hanoi, and plans to speak to officials in Bangkok and Vientiane soon. He added that the international community must keep up the pressure on Myanmar.

Mr. Marciel said that although the junta took a few steps forward early on, no progress has been made since the government allowed a UN mediator to visit after the September crackdown. In his opinion, there is no easy solution. Change in Myanmar is “not really going to happen and can’t really happen under this regime.” Myanmar must first address the problems and root causes that led to the protests and violence in September.

Furthermore, he suggested further talks with the opposition because “taking Aung San Suu Kyi away from house arrest once every two months for an hour meeting isn’t a dialogue.”

For more information, please see:

AFP – Myanmar going ‘downhill on all fronts,’ says US – 21 January 2008

Voice of America – EU: UN Envoy Should Return to Burma to Seek Aung San Suu Kyi’s Freedom – 19 January 2008

AP – US Says More Pressure Needed on Myanmar – 21 January 2008

US Recommends More Pressure on Myanmar

By Juliana Chan
Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia

HANOI, Vietnam – During a visit to Vietnam, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Scot Marciel said that Myanmar is going “downhill on all fronts.” Mr. Marciel is urging regional neighbors to pressure Myanmar’s military government for reform in all arenas.

Mr. Marciel said our emphasis should not solely be focused on human rights and democracy. The problem is beyond just that. “The economy is going downhill, the education system is getting ruined. The health care system isn’t functioning […with] more cases of resistant strains of tuberculosis and malaria. You’ve got refugee flows out of Burma. It’s just a whole series of problems.”

The regime’s crackdown last September on peaceful protests led by Buddhist monks has triggered tighter Western sanctions, mounting international criticism, and pressure on the government that is centered mainly on human rights and democratic reforms. The United Nations says at least 31 people were killed during the suppression and 74 people remain missing.

Urging all regional neighbors to push for change, Mr. Marciel said he had spoken to officials in Tokyo, Phnom Penh, and Hanoi, and plans to speak to officials in Bangkok and Vientiane soon. He added that the international community must keep up the pressure on Myanmar.

Mr. Marciel said that although the junta took a few steps forward early on, no progress has been made since the government allowed a UN mediator to visit after the September crackdown. In his opinion, there is no easy solution. Change in Myanmar is “not really going to happen and can’t really happen under this regime.” Myanmar must first address the problems and root causes that led to the protests and violence in September.

Furthermore, he suggested further talks with the opposition because “taking Aung San Suu Kyi away from house arrest once every two months for an hour meeting isn’t a dialogue.”

For more information, please see:

AFP – Myanmar going ‘downhill on all fronts,’ says US – 21 January 2008

Voice of America – EU: UN Envoy Should Return to Burma to Seek Aung San Suu Kyi’s Freedom – 19 January 2008

AP – US Says More Pressure Needed on Myanmar – 21 January 2008

BRIEF: Arrest Made in Lintuan’s Murder

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine authorities arrested Olivier Baldonado Antoc, an army reservist and local politician’s bodyguard, as a suspect in the murder of radio journalist Ferdinand Lintuan. Antoc was arrested for illegal possession of a firearm and drugs. After the arrest, police realized he resembled the sketch of Lintuan’s murderer and his firearm was the same caliber used to kill the journalist. Antoc denies any involvement in the murder, and police acknowledge that more evidence is needed.

In related news, several persons and news media have linked Jovito Palparan, a former general who is now an adviser to local politician Prospero Nograles, a possible instigator of the murder. The Philippines Press Club has requested that an outside investigator be used in order to prevent any influence by Palparan and Nograles.

For more information, please see:

Reporters without Borders – Philippines: Politician’s Bodyguard Held as Suspect in Journalist’s Murder – 31 December 2007

BRIEF: Blogger Outrage Prompts Inquiry into Chinese Officials

BEIJING, China – A wave of protest from outraged Chinese bloggers has forced authorities to arrest four people, detain and remove several government officials, and investigate over 100 others for the beating death of a bystander.

Wei Wenhua, a construction company manager, witnessed about 50 city inspectors beating villagers who tried to block trucks from unloading heaps of garbage near their homes in Tianmen in Hubei Province.

Mr. Wei, 41, was attacked and fatally beaten by the city inspectors when he took out his cellphone to photograph the dispute. In China, city inspectors are auxiliary support for police, dealing mostly with petty crimes. These inspectors, however, often abuse their authority and prey on the weak.

Mr. Wei’s death earlier this month continues to stir controversy among bloggers in China and elsewhere. On Sina.com, bloggers responded by condemning the brutal killing and questioning ” who gave these city inspectors such absurd powers?”

This is the latest story of bloggers and others using the Internet to force Chinese authorities to investigate beatings and other abuses by government officials.

Another blogger expressed that this is definitely not the first time for something like this. “What makes it news is that this time they got one man dead, the news got online, and the whole nation got informed. So they got serious.”

For more information, please see:

The New York Times – Bloggers Push China to Prosecute Beating Death – 18 January 2008

CNN – Man beaten to death in China for taking pictures – 16 January 2008

CNN – Death pits technology against Chinese control – 18 January 2008