The Chinese Communist Party (“CCP”) continues its efforts to use censorship as a means to erect a “great wall” around its abysmal human rights record.
First came word that the CCP had blocked a prominent human rights lawyer from meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a visit to Beijing – a move reminiscent of its showdown with Christian Bale last December. Mo Shaoping had been invited by German diplomats to meet with Ms. Merkel during her three-day visit to the Chinese capital. In a critical transitional year for the CCP, any such meetings that focus a light on human rights are strictly forbidden. According to Reuters,
[S]tate security officers told Mo he was not allowed to meet Merkel on Thursday night, citing “orders from leaders above” but without providing any legal evidence, Mo said.
“They said: ‘The 18th Party Congress is coming up, we must maintain stability, we can’t have different voices present’,” Mo said, referring to congress of the ruling Communist Party that convenes late this year.
“I said: ‘What does this have to do with me? I’m just an ordinary lawyer’,” Mo said.
“On maintaining stability, with just one meeting, will that cause instability? And on different viewpoints, that is restricting the rights of a citizen with regards to freedom of expression,” he said.
Despite being unable to meet with Mr. Mo, Ms. Merkel told reporters she had a “frank dialogue” with Chinese officials about human rights and that “[o]n several human rights issues, we have, at times, thought China’s response is somewhat harsh.” Additionally she “stressed the importance of freedom of expression and free access and discourse on the Internet.”
Even if the CCP heard Ms. Merkel’s words, it does not appear ready to heed them. That same day, reports indicated that the CCP had blocked Internet and mobile phone connections in areas of Tibet that saw civil unrest over the past month. Although an exact account of what transpired has been difficult to find given the CCP’s restricted media access, it appears that violent clashes erupted between protestors and Chinese police in the region. The Guardian reports that:
“After the riots, internet connections and mobile phone signals were cut off for over 50km [30 miles] around the riot areas. Police believe external forces played a part in the riots,” the newspaper said.
In 2009, China cut off internet and text messaging services across the north-western region of Xinjiang after ethnic riots in the capital, Urumqi, left almost 200 dead.
The increased crackdown is not limited to Tibet. With President Hu Jintao expected to step-down later this year, stability has become the singular focus of the CCP and its efforts to stamp out anything that might threaten it.
The latest in a series of trials of dissidents charged with subversion took place in Hangzhou, eastern China. Veteran human rights activist Zhu Yufu was accused of undermining state power by sending a poem and messages on Skype.
Such proceedings appear designed to pre-empt any political challenges as the Communist party changes guard.
Likewise, police forces in the restive western Xinjiang region, the scene of repeated violent ethnic strife involving the local Muslim population, are to be boosted by several thousand this year.
All of this is occurring as Chinese vice-president and heir-in-waiting Xi Jinping prepares to visit Washington, DC next week. Mr. Xi is expected to meet with President Barack Obama, who has recently demonstrated an increased willingness to be critical of the CCP.
A range of factors, including adverse economic trends, internal challenges to Communist party control and increasing American re-assertiveness suggests an unexpectedly rough ride ahead for Beijing’s would-be masters of the universe. The furious row over China’s veto of the proposed UN resolution on Syria is a taste of things to come.
Barack Obama’s state of the union address vividly illustrated the more combative mood in the US towards a China that is daily accused by Republican presidential candidates of willfully undermining American jobs and businesses and scheming to supplant the US as world No 1.
The CCP’s recent crackdown is all part of its larger Golden Shield Project, aimed at monitoring and censoring any voices of political dissidence within China. As we have stated previously, there is no doubt that Cisco Systems, Inc. has provided assistance and technology to the CCP as it continues to expand and implement this Golden Shield.
Although President Obama and Chancellor Merkel appear to be serious about pressuring China on its human rights record, they must be growing tired of having their warnings rebuffed by the CCP’s actions. Instead they should turn their focus to applying pressure on multinational corporations such as Cisco that make the CCP’s censorship and repression possible.
If you have any information regarding Cisco’s ongoing support for the Chinese Communist Party’s continued oppression of its citizens, please do not hesitate to contact Daniel Ward. Any such communications will be kept confidential.
Let Cisco Systems know that their continued and knowing support of the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to violate the human rights of peaceful political dissidents like Du Daobin, Zhou Yuanzhi, and Liu Xianbin will no longer be tolerated. Contact your elected representatives — let them know how you feel. Finally, if you haven’t already done so, sign the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s petition– Tell Cisco: Stop helping China abuse human rights!.