Archive for the ‘lawlessness’ Category

China Says Death Penalty for Damage to Electric Grid

August 21, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
August 21, 2007

My Dad used to say that the gangs in his neighborhood when he was a lad would “steal anything that wasn’t bolted down.”

In China, that adage doesn’t apply. Somebody will likely steal the bolts.

In fact, young teenage boys have been arrested on the streets of Beijing, Shanghai and other big cities because they were selling the large bolts that help hold together high tension power structures.

Today the communist government of President Hu Jintao announced that anyone who steals or destroys parts of the electrical system will face the death penalty.

When we checked with our team around the world, we quickly found some interesting theories. Most “China watchers” believe the problem stems from a combination of poverty and lawlessness.

“You get a ways out of the big cities and the rule of law doesn’t have the same value you might find in the U.S. or Europe,” one of our “watchers” who lives in China told us. “Who is to know if a gang of teenagers unbolts these big towers in the dark of night?”

In the Philippines, after the United States turned over to the Philippine government the former bases at Clark Air Force Base and the Subic Bay Navy Base, poverty and lawlessness crashed together to create this very problem. Even underground electrical cables were unearthed to capture their copper which had a high dollar value in the Philippines.

And just this past June, on the 26th, Vietnam decided the death penalty was in order for Vietnamese fishermen who made off with tons of fiber optic cable from the sea bed. The fishermen claimed they though the cable was left over from the war in Vietnam that ended in 1975.  That copper cable is fair game for salvage.

The charge that makes one eligible for the death penalty in Vietnam is similar to that in China: “destroying major public national security projects.”

In the Vietnamese fiber optic caper, Deputy Minister of Posts and Telematics Tran Duc Lai said that no country in the world had ever suffered such a massive theft of fiber optic cable.  

So what is the root cause of China’s problems with the electric grid?   One China watcher said, “The Beijing government cannot ensure law and order thoughout China. This meants infrastructure like the power grid can come under attack. But if you venture into the cities to sell the fruits of lawlessness, we will kill you. That is the message Beijing wants to send.”Why is disruption of the electrical system grounds for the death penalty?

The answer is simple: the communist government of China doesn’t want one day or one minute of manufacturing and money making lost for any reason.

“Theft of a sufficient amount of fuel oil will also earn you the death penalty,” we were told.

Another China watcher wanted to emphasize that it is not just disruption of manufacturing that is the worry of the communist government.

“There are scores of money making ventures that need electric power. China’s organ transplant empire services rich Hong Kong tycoons that fall ill. In fact, people come to China from all over the world seeking medical attention often of a dubious nature. You must think of this as a state industry.”

Chinese courts are believed to order about 80 percent of the world’s court-ordered executions — at least 1,770 people in 2005 and possibly many more.

Our sources in China have reason to believe that the 1,770 number was “minimized so as not to alarm human rights groups and other international bodies.”


China, Vietnam and Russia: Torrid Economies, Rampant Lawlessness

July 24, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
July 24, 2007

This July 25, what do China, Vietnam and Russia have in common?

Easy answer: torrid economies and rampant lawlessness.

This is a witches brew.

Starting in the middle of June, 2007, Vietnamese peasant farmers staged a sit-in around government buildings in Ho Chi Minh City. The protest was orderly and completely peaceful.

For the most part, the farmers sat on the ground and were not blocking traffic or otherwise causing a nuisance. Because men suffer mightily when they stand up to the communist government of Vietnam, the vast majority of the protesters were women.

The farmers were protesting government seizures of their land.

How would American farmers respond if, after generations in the family had worked a parcel of land, the government took it away and told the family to go away?

On Thursday, July 19, the communist government of Vietnam decided it had enough of this peasant rabble. Police surrounded the area, jammed cell phone reception, and carried the demonstrators into waiting vans. Cattle prods were available for use on those that refused to cooperate (there weren’t any).

Over a thousand uniformed and plainclothes police were apparently used to clear the area of about six hundred peaceful protestors, most of whom were women.

A list of those arrested sent to Peace and Freedom contained ONLY the names of women.

In China, the number of so-called “mass incidents” (sit-ins, riots, strikes and demonstrations) reached 74,000 in 2004. During the last few years, China has made it harder for the west to see how many people are rioting, where and for what reasons. But the dissidents and disenfranchised in China say that rioting and social unrest is on the rise.

The number one reason Chinese insiders give for social unrest is the rampant seizure by the government of land.

Early in July, with the Beijing 2008 Olympics just about a year away, Beijing tightened the screws on social unrest. District and local communist party functionaries were given this notice. “Officials who perform poorly in maintaining social stability in rural areas will not be qualified for promotion.” This pronouncement came from Ouyang Song, a senior party official in charge of personnel matters in the communist party.
Games of the XXIX Olympiad
Logo of Beijing Summer Games;
Olympics 2008.

In Russia, many still live on state owned land or in state controlled properties. As Anne Applebaum catalogued in The Washington Post on Tuesday, July 24, it is not uncommon for people who have lived in apartments for decades in Moscow to find themselves illegally evicted while government bureaucrats and developers get rich.

Anne Applebaum called her essay “Trickle Down Lawlessness.” She summed up the problem this way: “Putinism isn’t just a foreign policy problem. The Russian president’s penchant for breaking weapons treaties, threatening small neighbors, disposing of his enemies and spouting Cold War rhetoric creates dilemmas for the West. Yet the lawlessness that pervades his country creates much worse dilemmas for ordinary Russians.”

Here we are not even speaking about the gross human rights abuses all thse three nations share.  We’ll document that more here at Peace and Freedom but Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International already have a pile of eveidence on the table to tell anyone who cares to listen: these regimes are armed and dangerous: especially if you live as a citizen inside any one of these nations. 

All three countries maintain a veneer of correct, good and honest behavior. Actually, it is more like a suit of armor than a veneer. And how do they do this? Easy: they control the media.

We really do not know what is going on inside China most of the time, unless a dissident makes us aware or the chinese government decides to let word out.

Peace and Freedom will keep tracking these situations but don’t be fooled: “Houston, we have a problem.”

Any time the three fastest growing economies in the world hide rampant lawlessness, we should be interested if not engaged.

Vietnam: Farmers Protest Government Land Seizures

As illegal land grabs increase, so does unrest in China

China tells local authorities to address social instability

Russia’s ‘Land Seizures:’ Trickle-Down Lawlessness

Though no longer “communist,” Russia stands, in a way, as a “club of one.”  But Russia often sides with China on policy issues and against the U.S. and NATO:
Russia must join with West, says Nato chief

Russia’s ‘Land Seizures:’ Trickle-Down Lawlessness

July 24, 2007

By Anne Applebaum
The Washington Post
July 24, 2007

Moscow, Russia — My friends, their children and their acquaintances [here] all seemed to have recently suffered freak accidents, tangles with Kafkaesque bureaucracy or major swindles. One had watched as trees were surreptitiously axed in a nearby park. As for me, my wallet was stolen from my hotel room in the middle of the night, clearly an inside job.

Putinism isn’t just a foreign policy problem. The Russian president’s penchant for breaking weapons treaties, threatening small neighbors, disposing of his enemies and spouting Cold War rhetoric creates dilemmas for the West. Yet the lawlessness that pervades his country creates much worse dilemmas for ordinary Russians.

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