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(eagainst) Two people were injured in a suspected revenge bombing at a government building in China, state media said on Saturday, the second such attack attributed to disgruntled locals in recent weeks.

The detained suspect, a man surnamed Liu, allegedly set off the explosion in the northern city of Tianjin on Friday out of ‘revenge against society,’ Xinhua news agency reported.

Two people were slightly injured in the incident at a municipal government building in the Hexi district of Tianjin, a major city about 100km (60 miles) southwest of Beijing, the report said.

Calls to the Hexi district government offices went unanswered on Saturday.

China sees thousands of protests and other public disturbances each year, often linked to anger over official corruption, government abuses and the illegal seizure of land for development.

Bomb attacks have been increasingly frequent in recent years and are typically carried out by individuals angry over perceived injustices, business disputes or other pressures associated with China’s rapid modernization.

by Julia Riber Pitt

Source:
http://eagainst.com/articles/china-government-building-bombed-out-of-%E2%80%98revenge-against-society%E2%80%99/

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(Amnesty.orgAuthorities in China must clarify the current status and reveal the whereabouts of a lawyer and a journalist who have gone missing in the past week, Amnesty International said today as a clampdown on activists appeared to be widening.

Li Xiongbing, a prominent Beijing human rights lawyer known for taking on politically sensitive cases, has been missing since yesterday after he was telephoned by police.

Zhang Jialong, 23, a former Caijing magazine journalist who has covered the detention of acclaimed artist Ai Weiwei, went missing on 28 April after reportedly being approached by a person claiming to represent Beijing police.

“The sudden disappearance of these activists is alarming; the authorities must immediately provide clarification as to Li Xiongbing and Zhang Jialong’s whereabouts. If they have been detained for their legitimate human rights work, they must be released,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director.

“This is part of a wider trend of repression of lawyers, writers and government critics; the authorities are trying to intimidate and silence anyone who writes about sensitive subjects or who dares to defend victims of human rights violations,” he added.

The families of Li Xiongbing and Zhang Jialong have received no formal notification from the authorities about their detention or whereabouts.

Li Xiongbing’s wife, Wu Haiying, says she last heard from him on Wednesday afternoon, when he called to say he would be away for some days. Wu Haiying has since been unable to reach her husband by telephone.

Zhang Jialong has also reported on the aftermath of the Sanlu tainted milk scandal according to the International Federation of Journalists. Six children died and 300,000 became ill from drinking infant formula tainted with melamine in 2008.

Li Xiongbing has represented Gongmeng, a legal aid organization, and Aizhixing, an AIDS NGO, which has faced bureaucratic restrictions and police warnings. Its director Wan Yanhai went into exile in 2010 to escape government persecution.

Since online calls for a Chinese ‘Jasmine Revolution’ inspired by people’s movements in the Middle East and North Africa began circulating in late February, the Chinese authorities have rounded up dozens of activists, lawyers and bloggers.

Human rights lawyer Li Fangping returned home Wednesday after disappearing for five days. He has declined to talk about the events of the past week.

Writer and human rights activist Ding Fangguan (known as Gu Chuan) and lawyers Jiang Tianyong and Teng Biao were released last month but remain under illegal house arrest.

Ding Fangguan has not yet been able or willing to describe in detail how he was treated during the 62 days he was held in incommunicado detention.

“The attacks on lawyers in particular signal a big step back from the Chinese government’s commitment to the rule of law and the development of the legal profession,” Sam Zarifi said.

Among the more than 200,000 lawyers in China, only a small proportion is willing to take the risk of representing victims of human rights violations. These lawyers constitute an important part of the weiquan (‘rights defense’) movement, which uses Chinese law to protect the rights of individuals.

Like other human rights defenders in China, weiquan lawyers have been harassed, assaulted, kept under surveillance and prosecuted for protecting the rights of others.

The Chinese authorities have also imposed arbitrary administrative sanctions, such as fines, on law firms that employ weiquan lawyers.

Source: http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/chinese-government-critics-missing-crackdown-dissent-widens-2011-05-05

(amnesty.org) The detention of China’s most famous artist and political critic Ai Weiwei is a troubling development in a widening crackdown on dissent which has seen dozens of activists detained over the last few months, Amnesty International said today.

Police detained Ai Weiwei at Beijing airport on 3 April.  His wife and several members of his studio staff were also briefly detained on the weekend.

“Ai Weiwei was not even involved in any call for ‘Jasmine’ protests.  There seems to be no reason whatsoever for his detention, other than that the authorities are trying to broadcast the message that China’s time for open dissent has come to an end,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Director for the Asia-Pacific.

Since online calls for Chinese ‘Jasmine Revolution’ protests inspired by people’s movements in the Middle East and North Africa began circulating in late February, the Chinese authorities have rounded up dozens of activists, lawyers and bloggers.

“We’ve already seen the chilling effect the ‘Jasmine Revolution’-related arrests have had on Chinese activists and netizens over the past month. Holding Ai Weiwei takes this to another level,” said Sam Zarifi.

“If the authorities are so bold as to grab this world-renowned artist in broad daylight at Beijing airport, it’s frightening to think how they might treat other, lesser known dissidents.”

(frontlinedefenders.org) On 25 March 2011, human rights defender Mr Liu Xianbin was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment by the Suining Intermediate People’s Court in Sichuan Province. Liu Xianbin is a veteran democracy and human rights activist who was a founding member of the Sichuan branch of the China Democracy Party (CDP) in 1998, and has previously served two terms in prison for his activism. He has been in detention since his arrest on 28 June 2010 (see Front Line Urgent Appeal dated 7 July 2011).

Further Information

Following a trial which lasted approximately two hours, Liu Xianbin was convicted of “inciting subversion of state power”, charges which relate to articles he wrote online and for overseas Chinese publications advocating democratic reforms. It is reported that one of the articles introduced as evidence against Liu Xianbin was a piece he had written in February 2010 arguing that non-violent street protests were a necessary and inevitable stage of democratisation. According to his wife, Ms Chen Mingxian, during the trial Liu Xianbin was refused permission to make a closing statement by the judge. His lawyer was also reportedly interrupted continuously by the presiding judge when trying to present a defence.

In 1991, Liu Xianbin was arrested and subsequently sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment for his role in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. On his release from prison, Liu Xianbin continued his activism and in 1998 he helped found a local branch of the CDP in Sichuan province. The following year he was convicted of ‘subversion of state power’ and sentenced to 13 years in prison and an additional three years’ deprivation of political rights.

Liu Xianbin was released in November 2008 and once again resumed his human rights defence. He was an initial signatory of Charter ’08 a month after his release from prison. He also wrote in support of fellow human rights defenders who had been imprisoned, including Mr Tan Zuoren, an activist jailed after documenting the poor construction of buildings which contributed to the death toll in China’s 2008 earthquake in Sichuan province.

Front Line believes that the sentencing of Liu Xianbin is directly related to his legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights.

Source: http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/14772

China reacted today to constant and incessant calls to begin the world largest revoltion and probably the largest of the century. Large numbers of police – and new tactics like shrill whistles and street cleaning trucks – squelched overt protests in China for a second Sunday in a row after more calls for peaceful gatherings modeled on recent democratic movements in the Middle East.

In Beijing, trucks normally used to water the streets drove repeatedly up the busy commercial shopping district spraying water and keeping crowds pressed to the edges.

Foreign journalists met with tighter police controls. In Shanghai, authorities called foreign reporters Sunday indirectly warning them to stay away from the protest sites, while police in Beijing followed some reporters and blocked those with cameras from entering the Wangfujing shopping street where protests were called. Plainclothes police struck a Bloomberg News television reporter, who was then taken away for questioning.

Police also detained several Chinese, at least two in Beijing and four in Shanghai, putting them into vans and driving them away, though it was not clear if they had tried to protest. Read More

(bbc.co.uk) Police in China showed up in force in several major cities after an online call for a “jasmine revolution”.

Calls for people to protest and shout “we want food, we want work, we want housing, we want fairness”, were circulated on Chinese microblog sites.

The message was first posted on a US-based Chinese-language website.

Several rights activists were detained beforehand and three people were arrested in Shanghai, but the call for mass protests was not well answered.

Reports from Shanghai and Beijing said there appeared to be many onlookers curious about the presence of so many police and journalists at the proposed protest sites, in busy city-centre shopping areas.

Police in the two cities dispersed small crowds who had gathered. There were no reports of protests in 11 other cities where people were urged to gather on Sunday.

The BBC’s Chris Hogg in Shanghai says the men arrested there were roughly handled as they were dragged away shouting “why are you arresting me, I haven’t done anything wrong”.

Our correspondent says it was not clear what prompted the arrests and the men had not shouted any political slogans.

China’s authorities blocked searches for the word jasmine on the internet.

Protesters in Tunisia who overthrew President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in January called their movement the Jasmine Revolution.

On Saturday President Hu Jintao called for stricter controls on the internet “to guide public opinion” and “solve prominent problems which might harm the harmony and stability of the society”.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12517909