Archive for the ‘inhumanity’ Category

China, Corruption and Petty Inhumanity

December 26, 2008

Shortly after China’s devastating May 12 earthquake, which killed nearly 70,000 people, I was intrigued by a terse Xinhua News Agency report. The Communist Party secretary of Unity Village, Liu Dingshuang, had been sacked within days of the quake for “dereliction of duty.” I figured there was more to this story, so in early June I tracked Liu down. (He’s not a relative.)

By Melinda Liu

Only a handful of residents in Unity had died. But so many buildings were damaged that, wandering through the destruction, I felt as if I’d stumbled into a post-apocalypse movie. One family welcomed me into their kitchen, which had gaping holes in the roof and a motorcycle parked near the stove. While chatting, villagers revealed that neighbor Zhang Mingzhi had blown the whistle on Liu by making a phone call to the party’s powerful Discipline and Inspection Commission, which probes official corruption. At Zhang’s equally ramshackle home, he said he became angry after hearing neighbors talk of being overcharged for mineral water, soft drinks and toothpaste at Liu’s family store. “If you’re a party cadre, you’re supposed to show leadership,” he said. “People saw Premier Wen Jiabao rush to Sichuan. He even shed tears in public. But here nobody saw Liu.”

When two investigators arrived in Unity on May 15, more than 20 villagers complained about Liu. Farmer Li Daogang told them Liu’s daughter had overcharged him by 20 percent for six bottles of Sprite. “I thought, ‘If things are like this everywhere in the quake zone, then this whole country is a mess’,” Li told me. That very evening, Liu was fired.

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Vietnam prostitutes kept in dog cages

December 10, 2008

Some 130 women were held prisoner, some in dog cages, at a Ho Chi Minh City brothel, forced to work as prostitutes 18 hours per day, local media reports say.


Women work in the red light district, Amsterdam (file pic)

Above: Sex workers in Amsterdam

The Thanh Nien newspaper said police found the women after launching a raid triggered by letters from the captive women, but the brothel owner got away, The Daily Telegraph (Britain) reported Tuesday.

The Vietnamese newspaper said the women, many of whom were from poor rural families, were kept as slaves in debt bondage and if they refused to perform sexual acts on customers they were severely punished by the owner, known as Tri, and his men.

“In nine months, I have seen more than 10 girls try to escape but they were captured, tortured by Tri and put in dog cages,” said one of the rescued women.

The Telegraph quoted Thanh Nien saying the women were fed half a fish and a small bowl of soup at every meal, for which they were forced to pay $185 per month. The women were also reportedly forced to pay Tri and his men “tuition” for “teaching” them sex acts.

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