The PJ Tatler

Chinese Take Out

I wanted to point everyone to Claudia Rosett’s most recent piece on PJM, in which she debunks the recent assertion that Wikileaks proved there was “no Tien an min massacre”.

The debunking, in this case, was easy: Claudia was an eye witness, one of the few from Western media.

So this evening, this was linked on Drudge:

A blogger from Chongqing has been sent to a labour camp for posting a political joke on the municipality’s ambitious Communist party chief on his microblog.

The dire consequences of mocking Bo Xilai shed more light on the strict regime the high-profile politician runs in Chongqing, seen by many as his springboard to one of the coveted spots in the country’s new leadership, which will be chosen late next year.

Mr Bo has become famous over the past 12 months for his promotion of a Maoist revival campaign which has spread beyond Chongqing amid criticism from some reform advocates that it is “dangerous”.

Fang Hong, a 45-year-old retired forestry bureau official in Chongqing, had posted on his Tencent microblog on April 21 a scatological joke that accused Mr Bo of having undue influence over Chongqing’s court system.

The April 21 post indirectly criticised the trial of Li Zhuang, a prominent defence lawyer, which legal experts have criticised for multiple violations of court procedure and cited as a sign of growing political interference in China’s judicial system.

According to Fang Di, Mr Fang’s son, police detained his father on April 24 although he had erased the post following orders from web censors.

The local office for re-education through labour, an extralegal detention procedure, notified Mr Fang on April 24 that he was to be punished for “fabricating facts and disturbing public order” with a one-year re-education through labour sentence.

The notice, seen by the Financial Times, says Mr Fang is entitled to a hearing, but will lose that right if he fails to respond within two days. Fang Di said he had not seen his father since then.

Never forget that the Chinese students did raise a copy of the Statue of Liberty in Tien an min — even knowing it was sure to be razed by the government. And never doubt that the torch burns in China anyway.