China hammers dissent despite looming UN review

Days before China‘s human rights record comes under scrutiny before a key U.N. panel, the government’s grip on dissent seems as firm as ever.

By AUDRA ANG, Associated Press Writer

A petitioner holds a paper with a Chinese character 'Injustice' ... 
A petitioner holds a paper with a Chinese character ‘Injustice’ as she with a group of about 30 people from around the country stage a protest in front of the State Council Information Office in Beijing Friday, Feb. 6, 2009. Police have taken away at least eight citizens trying to air their grievances in front a government building, days ahead of a key review of China’s human rights record by the United Nations.(AP Photo/Audra Ang)

Government critics have been rounded up and some imprisoned on vaguely defined state security charges. Corruption whistle blowers have been bundled away, while discussion of sensitive political and social topics on the Internet remains tightly policed.

 

On Friday, officers stationed outside a government building in Beijing took away at least eight people — members of a loosely organized group of 30 who had traveled to Beijing from around the country, seeking redress for a variety of problems, almost all centered around local corruption.

One member of the group, Li Fengxian, a gray-haired woman from the central province of Henan, held up a sign with the character for “injustice” painted on it.

Li, 65, said she has spent years fighting officials in her village who she claimed give away a poverty allowance allotted to her family to other officials.

The police response underscores the government’s determination to keep control over a fast-changing society — even in the face of a U.N. meeting to examine China’s human rights record.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090206/ap_o
n_re_as/as_china_human_rights_2

 

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