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The New York Times reported yesterday that the Chinese government had refused to allow a single demonstration in any of the official “protest zones” it had created for the Olympic games. Now two elderly woman have been sentenced to a year of “re-education through labor” for seeking a permit to demonstrate.
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…Although it is unlikely that women as old as Ms. Wu and Ms. Wang would be forced into hard labor, many of those sentenced to [re-education] often toil in agricultural or factory work and are forced to confess their transgressions.
Two other 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,” the Times reports.
I haven’t seen how or if NBC, which through GE paid hundreds of millions of dollars for exclusive rights to broadcast the games, has covered these facts. Maybe they can bring out their “expert” commentator, Joshua Cooper Ramo, managing director and partner at the Beijing office of Kissinger Associates, to discuss the arrests of Ms. Wu and Ms. Wang. I’m sure conditions are excellent at the re-education camp the two women will be checking into, and a small stretch of hard labor will no doubt do them well.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”