Archive for the ‘atrocities’ Category

Museum to showcase China’s forced labour camps

November 9, 2008

After languishing 19 years in China‘s forced labour camps, a Chinese dissident has set up a museum in Washington to highlight the “horrors and atrocities” in these secret detention facilities.

Harry Wu, who labored in 12 different camps in China from 1960 to 1979, set up the museum in memory of the millions who he said perished within the camps, known as “Laogai” or reform-through-labor camps.

by P. Parameswaran, AFP

Wu hopes it “will preserve the memory of the Laogai’s many victims, including the millions who perished within the labor camps, and serve to educate the public about the horrors and atrocities committed by China’s communist regime,” a statement from his Laogai Research Foundation said.

A 1995 photo shows US human rights activist Harry Wu (C), standing ...
A 1995 photo shows US human rights activist Harry Wu (C), standing between two Chinese policeman taken from a video offered for sale to foreign news agencies. After languishing 19 years in China’s forced labour camps, a Chinese dissident has set up a museum in Washington to highlight the “horrors and atrocities” in these secret detention facilities.(AFP/File)

“To this end, the museum will not only introduce the history and structure of the Laogai, but will also tell the personal stories of many of its prisoners,” it said.

Materials on display at the museum, to open to the public Thursday, include photographs, government documents and prisoner uniforms from Wu’s own archives or donated by other Laogai survivors.

Wu set up his foundation in 1992, seven years after he fled to the United States where he obtained American citizenship.

The Laogai camps were establishd under China’s former leader Mao Zedong after the communists came to power in China in 1949. They included both common criminals and political prisoners.

About 40-50 million people have been imprisoned in the Laogai, many of them prisoners of conscience, Wu’s group said.

In 1990, China abandoned the term Laogai and labelled the detention facilities as “prisons” instead but Wu maintained that evidence gathered by his foundation suggested that forced labor was “as much a part of its prison system today as it ever was.”

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Thailand’s Buddhist-Muslim Violence Continues Into Year 5: Bombing Wounds 70+

November 4, 2008

A car bomb blast at a fruit market and another explosion minutes later at a nearby teashop wounded 73 people in Muslim southern Thailand on Tuesday, where 3,200 people have died in a five-year rebellion, police said.


first explosion appeared to target an outdoor meeting of village chiefs at a district office in Narathiwat, one of the three southernmost provinces roiled by the violence, police said.

A second device hidden in a motorcycle exploded two minutes later at a tea-shop 100 meters (yards) away, police said.

Five of the victims had shrapnel wounds to the head or torso, and two needed surgery, a state hospital official told Reuters.

Forty were released after treatment for minor injuries, the official added.

Narathiwat and the neighboring provinces of Pattani and Yala, abutting Malaysia, were a Muslim sultanate until annexed by predominantly Bangkok a century ago. Around 80 percent of people there remain Muslim and speak a Malay dialect, not Thai.

The violence has ranged from drive-by shootings and bombings, to beheadings and appears to target both Buddhists and Muslims associated with the Thai state, such as police, soldiers, teachers and government officials.

Human rights groups also accuse the Thai military and police of atrocities.

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Eye of the terror storm

September 8, 2007

Victor Davis Hanson
September 8, 2007

Another anniversary of September 11, 2001, is near. It has been nearly six long years since a catastrophic attack on our shores, and we’ve understandably turned to infighting and second-guessing — about everything from Guantanamo to wiretaps.

But this six-year calm, unfortunately, has allowed some Americans to believe “our war on terror” remedy is worse than the original Islamic terrorist disease.

We see this self-recrimination reflected in our current Hollywood fare, which dwells on the evil of American interventions overseas, largely ignoring the courage of our soldiers or the atrocities of jihadists.

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Village People Need Not Apply

July 7, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
July 7, 2007

Spotting a bumper sticker that said, “China Out of Tibet: Free the Tibetan People,” I took pride and applauded to myself those among us that seek to help the oppressed, free the imprisoned, and tend to the needy.

According to the organization “Boycott Made In China,” China occupied Tibet in October 1950. Since then 157,000 Tibetans have been executed, and 266,000 tortured to death in a continuing campaign to crush all opposition to Chinese rule. Tibetans are now outnumbered by Chinese immigrants in their own country, and are treated as second class citizens in every respect. Many thousands have died or lost limbs to frostbite trying to escape to India via Nepal, by trekking across 400 miles of icy Himalayan mountains.

The Tibetan people look harmless to most people. Many are nomadic herders that follow their Yaks across the gassy lands of Tibet.

The Tibetan people remind me a little of the aboriginal or tribal people of Vietnam. Many dispute the best way to refer to these people, but most call them the Montagnards. My Vietnamese-born bride calls them “The Village People.” But I told her we might move away from this nomenclature because to many, “The Village People” are a rock and singing group of unknown sexual orientation.

The Montagnards assisted the United States during the war in Vietnam. They are oppressed, rounded up and killed, or chased from their mountainous nomadic life by the communist government of Vietnam to this day.

Most people say, the hatred and cruelty shown the Montagnards stems from their support for the U.S. and Democratic Republic of Vietnam during the war. I suspect there is another factor at play too: like the Tibetan herders, the Montagnards are in the way of progress and easy prey for any sort of organized armed force, however small.

In fact, I have a theory that established government, especially those trying to expand and exploit the available land, do not have much use for nomadic tribal people. This is true to some extent about the Arab desert nomads, African herders, and above all, the Native American tribes of North America.

When the United States Army was tasked with moving Native American tribes from their homelands, atrocities ensued on both sides. Promises were broken, what we today would call war crimes were committed, and in the end many tribes faced near genocide.

Adolph Hitler couldn’t accept the nomadic gypsies of Germany. To him they were ethnically unclean and lived a life on the move which contributed to prostitution, smuggling, and trade in drugs and other undesirable products. To Hitler, the gypsies were about equal to the Jews.

So when I pondered that bumper sticker, “China Out of Tibet: Free the Tibetan People,” over more time, I thought what we are seeing in Tibet, though morally reprehensible, has plenty of precedent and should not come as much of a surprise. The Chinese are committing crimes we should and must condemn. But we ourselves and other “civilized” people have a long and ugly history with “The Village People.”