I have a feeling there’s a lot more like this going on than we know about. First, that they had enough reasons to need to create special “protest areas” around the Olympics — next that the applicants for permits to protest (anything) have been disappeared. WTF? Snip:
BEIJING — Two elderly Chinese women have been sentenced to a year of “re-education through labor” after they repeatedly sought a permit to demonstrate in one of the official Olympic protest areas, according to family members and human rights advocates.
Seventy-nine-year-old Wu Dianyuan, right, and her neighbor Wang Xiuying, 77, waited to apply for a protest permit outside a public security bureau in Beijing on Monday. They were later sentenced to a year of “re-education through labor.”
The women, Wu Dianyuan, 79, and Wang Xiuying, 77, had made five visits to the police this month in an effort to get permission to protest what they contended was inadequate compensation for the demolition of their homes in Beijing.
During their final visit on Monday, public security officials informed them that they had been given administrative sentences for “disturbing the public order,” according to Li Xuehui, Ms. Wu’s son.
Mr. Li said his mother and Ms. Wang, who used to be neighbors before their homes were demolished to make way for a redevelopment project, were allowed to return home but were told they could be sent to a detention center at any moment. “Can you imagine two old ladies in their 70s being re-educated through labor?” he asked. He said Ms. Wang was nearly blind.
A man who answered the phone at the Public Security Bureau declined to give out information about the case.
At least a half dozen people have been detained by the authorities after they responded to a government announcement late last month designating venues in three city parks as “protest zones” during the Olympics. So far, no demonstrations have taken place.
According to Xinhua, the state news agency, 77 people submitted protest applications, none of which were approved. Xinhua, quoting a public security spokesperson, said that apart from those detained all but three applicants had dropped their requests after their complaints were “properly addressed by relevant authorities or departments through consultations.” The remaining three applications were rejected for incomplete information or for violating Chinese law.
The authorities, however, have refused to explain what happened to applicants who disappeared after they submitted their paperwork. Among these, Gao Chuancai, a farmer from northeast China who was hoping to publicize government corruption, was forcibly escorted back to his hometown last week and remains in custody.
Relatives of another person who was detained, Zhang Wei, a Beijing resident who was also seeking to protest the demolition of her home, were told she would be kept at a detention center for a month. Two rights advocates from southern China have not been heard from since they were seized last week at the Public Security Bureau’s protest application office in Beijing. (…read more, NYT)