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.