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Friday, February 18, 2011

China’s Intimidation of Dissidents Said to Persist After Prison


“I have come out of a small jail and walked into a bigger jail,” Mr. Chen, 39, a blind, self-educated lawyer, said in a homemade video that was smuggled out of his village last week. “What they are doing is thuggery.”

In recent decades, even as it tentatively embraced Western-style legal reforms, the Communist Party never completely shed its reliance on extralegal tactics to rein in critics. Former political prisoners could expect tightened confinement during important state occasions, and practitioners of Falun Gong, the banned spiritual movement, were regularly sent to labor camps if they refused to renounce their faith. Over the years, human rights advocates say that scores have died in detention.

Earlier this week, several journalists, including reporters and a photographer from The New York Times, were roughed up by a dozen or so men who menaced them with sticks and confiscated their camera chips. The men wore plain clothes and refused to show identification as they tried to erase photographs and video footage.

Asked what law authorized their actions, one of them grunted dismissively. “This has nothing to do with law,” he said. More at New York Times

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