Archive for the ‘Guangzhou’ Category

Jailed Reporter Accused As Spy By China Is Released

February 5, 2008

HONG KONG – A Hong Kong journalist charged with spying for Taiwan has been released from a prison in mainland China where he was detained for almost two years, the government said Tuesday.

Officials in China notified Hong Kong authorities Tuesday that Ching Cheong had been released on parole, said a Hong Kong government spokesman who declined to be named, citing policy.

Ching, a Hong Kong-based correspondent for Singapore‘s The Straits Times newspaper, was sentenced to five years’ jail in August 2006 on charges of spying for Taiwan. He was detained during a visit to the southern city of Guangzhou in April 2005 and sentenced in a one-day trial 16 months later. A Chinese court rejected his appeal in November 2006.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080205/ap_on_re_as/
hong_kong_china_reporter;_ylt=Auc21e
Cw.fVLUNXy4ie_yqSs0NUE

******

Ching Cheong’s release on parole coincided with the jailing of a dissident writer for four years on a charge of inciting subversion over essays he wrote critical of the government.

Dissident writer Lu Gengsong’s jailing also sparked criticism of China’s communist government.

“The pattern of sentencing against dissidents and human rights defenders under politically motivated subversion charges in recent months indicates a deterioration of the overall human rights situation rather than the improvement that the world is expecting from an Olympic host,” Nicholas Bequelin of Human Rights Watch said.

The International PEN, which champions writers’ freedoms, urged President Hu Jintao to free 40 jailed dissident writers, including Ching, ahead of the Summer Olympics.

In an open letter to Hu, the Hong Kong Journalists’ Association said Ching suffered from arrhythmia and recently learned that his health had deteriorated in jail.

A woman surfs the internet on a laptop computer at a wireless ...
A woman surfs the internet on a laptop computer at a wireless cafe in Beijing in January. China on Tuesday sentenced writer and cyber-dissident Lu Gengsong to four years in jail for “inciting subversion of state power,” his lawyer said.(AFP/File/Frederic J Brown)

Monday: China Covered in Snow, Fog, Displaced People

February 4, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
February 4, 2008

Overnight our friends and colleagues in China sent us a deluge of reports all with a familiar ring: masses of Chinese people remain engulfed in snow, fog, troops holding them back and just a crush of humanity unable to move or make progress.

The snow emergency is now in its fourth week and a nation that now has been revealed as a place totally ill-equipped for a major snow “event,” as weathermen love to say in the U.S., is now using military armoured vehicles (“Tanks”) to pack down snow on freeways.

Armed vehicles are deployed to crush ice covering roads in Chenzhou, ...
Armed vehicles are deployed to crush ice covering roads in Chenzhou, Hunan province, in this picture distributed by China’s official Xinhua News Agency February 3, 2008. The power supply of the city was cut off as the heavy snow and ice damaged seriously the power facilities including the transmission towers and lines, Xinhua News Agency said. Picture taken February 3, 2008.
******

Troops are beeng used in formations two and three deep to create a wall of uniformed men to block surging crowds from their intended objective.  But this tactic has not been foolproof.  Last week a crowd broke through the wall of troops and crushed a man to death in the process.

Freezing storms have killed scores of people and left travelers stranded before the Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival — the only opportunity many people have to take a holiday all
year — or perhaps years.

The poor, nomadic migrant workers in China, sometimes estimated at up to 100 million people or one-third the total population of the U.S., do not have but this one opportunity to return home each year.  But our colleagues have spoken to dozens who have not been home for three or four years.  These people have very limited human rights and no advantages in life.

And getting home for the Lunar New Year is deeply important.  Paying respect to one’s parents and elder family in person at the start of the Lunar New Year makes one lucky all year.  To miss the event can evoke ill will from the household gods for the entire year.

A man lights candles at a stall selling foods  in Chenzhou in ...
A man lights candles at a stall selling foods in Chenzhou in China’s southern Hunan province Monday, Feb. 4, 2008. The city of four million has been without electricity for ten days.  Most electric power generating plants run off coal which cannot be distributed without trains.  The trains are blocked by snow and their power lines are felled by ice.
(AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Lunar New Year is a deeply significant cultural event without an analogy in the West — especially among the rural, under educated and poor.

President Hu Jintao chaired a second emergency Politburo meeting in a week on Sunday.  Yet the communist leadership, despite its best effort and calling out over one million troops, simply does not have the experience or resources to effectively deal with a snow emergency of this magnitude.

“We have to be clear-minded that the inclement weather and severe disaster will continue to plague certain regions in the south,” said a statement issued after Sunday’s Politburo meeting. “Relief work will continue to face challenges, posing a tough task.”

The China Meteorological Administration said the weather was the coldest in 100 years in central Hubei and Hunan provinces, going by the total number of consecutive days of average temperature less than 1 degree Celsius (33.8 degrees Fahrenheit).

But there is hope for milder days said the weather agency.

“The weather over the disaster-stricken regions is likely to turn better in the next several days, but it is still necessary to remain alert for possible low temperatures, frozen rain, snow, freezing and heavy fog,” it said in a statement.

The state controlled communist government is already in full “spin” mode saying that the economic impact of the snaow is limited and is likely to create new investment.

“There is no doubt that such a big economy will encounter various difficulties each year, but the Chinese economy is maintaining stable growth momentum,” said Fan Gang, director of China’s National Institute of Economic Research.

The snow is likely to stimulate investment on items such as upgrading the national power grid or improving the transportation network for coal, Fan was quoted as saying.

AFP reported this:
.
“The economic situation has become complicated with the new factors cropping up,” said Wu Jinglian, an analyst at the State Council Development Research Centre, the central government’s think tank, according to the paper.

China’s economy, the world’s fourth-largest, grew by a blistering 11.4 percent in 2007, the highest level in 13 years.

Investment accounted for 4.3 of those 11.4 percentage points, more than the 2.7 percent accounted for by net exports, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

The World Bank Monday also predicted limited impact on the economy, as it lowered the 2008 growth forecast for China from 10.8 percent to 9.6 percent, not because of the snow, but because of the global slowdown.

“Natural disasters normally call for economic activity to repair the damage,” David Dollar, the head of the bank’s China office, told a briefing in Beijing.

Most of the impact of the storms — including rising food prices and a decline in industrial output over January and February — will turn out to be temporary, World Bank economists said.

There “could be some pick-up (later in the year) as investment takes place to solve the bottlenecks,” said Louis Kuijs, a senior economist with the bank.

Thousands of passengers wait to get on trains outside the railway ...
Thousands of passengers wait to get on trains outside the railway station in China’s southern city of Guangzhou. A double row of troops keeps the migrants in place.  Heavy fog descended Monday on large parts of southern China, complicating the task of helping millions of workers stranded by winter weather that in some areas is the worst in 100 years.
(AFP/Liu Jin).
Related:

China Confirms Man Killed in Stampede; Winter Chaos Continues
.
Blizzard Strikes: What Happens in China Different From in the U.S.?
.
Snowstorms damage China’s reputation

China’s army of migrant workers stranded in winter freeze

February 3, 2008
by Stephanie Wong 

GUANGZHOU, China (AFP) – For Luo Qingming, returning to his village in central China for the New Year holiday is the one bright spot in a year full of back-breaking work and low pay.
 

But this year, instead of heading home, the 42-year-old factory worker is one of thousands of migrant labourers stranded at the main railway station in the southern city of Guangzhou, a victim of China‘s worst snowfalls in decades.

“I have no money to buy myself a blanket to keep warm at night. I’ve spent days sleeping rough….

Read the rest:
 http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080203/bs_afp/
chinaweathertransportlabour_080203044407

A woman use a towel to stay warm and shelter from the rain at ...
A woman use a towel to stay warm and shelter from the rain at the railway station, in China’s southern city of Guangzhou, on February 2. China’s enormous army of migrant workers — many of whom are already downtrodden — are among the hardest hit by the heavy snow and freezing conditions that have wreaked havoc across large swathes of the country.(AFP/Liu Jin)

China warns worst not over in weather crisis

February 2, 2008

GUANGZHOU, China (AFP) – China warned Saturday the worst was not over in its national weather crisis as desperate holiday travellers jammed transport hubs and others endured bitter winter storms without power or water.
Passengers walk past a row of Chinese soldiers near the railway ... 
Passengers walk past a row of Chinese soldiers near the railway station, in China’s southern city of Guangzhou, on February 2. China warned the worst was not over in its national weather crisis as desperate crowds trying to get home jammed transport hubs and others braved the frigid cold without power or water.
(AFP/Liu Jin) 

Bracing for still more foul weather and an accelerating travel rush, China has doubled the number of troops and paramilitary forces aiding winter storm relief efforts to more than a million, state media reported.

The worst winter in decades has caused massive transport bottlenecks and power outages across wide areas in the lead-up to next week’s Lunar New Year, China’s biggest annual holiday.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080202/ts_afp/
chinaweathertransport_080202071307

China cracks down on AIDS groups ahead of Olympics

August 16, 2007

By Tim Johnson, McClatchy Newspapers
August 16, 2007

BEIJING — Wary of exposing China‘s flaws to the news media’s glare before next year’s Olympic Games, authorities are cracking down on groups that help AIDS victims and orphans, shuttering their offices and banning meetings and other gatherings.

In one case, an activist in Henan province, where the nation’s AIDS crisis hit early, said police ordered him out of his office on Thursday and suggested that he flee the area for his own safety. Six other volunteers in the group were detained.

Read it all:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/mcclatchy/20070816/wl_mcclatchy/
20070816bcchinaaids_attn_national_foreign_editors_ytop_1