Thursday, August 21, 2008

seriously, no joke, watch your step

Those "tech-artist" protesters who were detained by the Chinese received a ten-day jail sentence, according to Boing Boing. This doesn't exactly burnish China's free-speech credentials, but, on the other hand, anyone identified as a "tech-artist/student/protester/activist" is probably young, healthy and of at least middle-class origins (also likely annoying). A ten-day stint in a jail surely isn't pleasant for anyone, but it seems like they will get out and probably have a solid support system at home. They can blog/twitter/facebook/myspace and otherwise relate their experience and express their righteous discontent.

But now, reports Deadspin and the New York Times, China has arrested two septuagenarians and sent them to "re-education" camps. No one is happy about this:
The two women, both in their late 70s, have never spoken out against China’s authoritarian government. Both walk with the help of a cane, and Ms. Wang is blind in one eye. Their grievance, receiving insufficient compensation when their homes were seized for redevelopment, is perhaps the most common complaint among Chinese displaced during the country’s long streak of fast economic growth.

But the Beijing police still sentenced the two women to an extrajudicial term of “re-education through labor” this week for applying to hold a legal protest in a designated area in Beijing, where officials promised that Chinese could hold demonstrations during the Olympic Games.

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