- China’s parliament unveiled legislation on Thursday solidifying police powers to hold dissidents in secret, prompting an outcry from artist Ai Weiwei and other rights campaigners caught in a surge of clandestine detentions last year.
- In China, “state security crimes” include subversion and other vaguely defined political charges used to punish dissidents who challenge the Communist Party.
- Other parts of the criminal procedure changes have been welcomed by lawyers, who have said they could improve their access to suspects and defendants, and discourage seeking evidence obtained through torture and other illegal means.
- “The real issue is not what the laws say, but how they are enforced,” said Pu Zhiqiang, a Beijing lawyer who takes on contentious cases involving dissidents and media freedom. » The full Reuters article – By Chris Buckley – March 8, 2012.
A Return to the Cultural Revolution?
- Washington — On April 3, the Chinese Communist authorities
secretly detained the well-known artist Ai Weiwei.
Original image source
- This action against one of China’s most well-known cultural figures recalls the opening shots of the Cultural Revolution, when the Maoist regime removed
ideologically inconvenient artists, writers and intellectuals from the scene at will without any pretense to legal procedures.
- The Ai Weiwei case once again reveals the essence of the Chinese state for all the world to see. This is China’s legal system today: the rule by law for the authorities instead of the rule of law for the people. » The full New York Times Commentary – By Wei Jingsheng – Published: April 27, 2011.
- Wei Jingsheng was a leader of the Chinese democracy movement who spent 15 years in prison for authoring “The Fifth Modernization,” which he posted on the Democracy Wall in Beijing. He lives in exile in the United States.
- The New York Times – Learning Network – Democracy in Action –
Overview | Students consider words that reflect their knowledge and opinions about democracy. They then work in groups to research countries that have recently transitioned to democratic forms of government. Their learning is further enhanced by reflecting on what has transpired in these countries to date. Go to this Building Society and Law Lesson.
- World Wise School – Worksheet – Students will learn to identify and modify generalizations –
This activity introduces students to the difficult concept of generalization so that they will challenge generalizations made about people… Go to this Building Society Lesson.
- The New York Times – Learning Network – The Political is Personal –
Overview | Students explore their own personal political philosophies by identifying events, people and experiences that have helped shape their beliefs and writing an essay. Go to this Building Society and ESL Lesson.