A country without a fair law system will never be a leading power for the human kind

De: HRW Press
Enviado: viernes, 30 de mayo de 2008 0:41:44

For Immediate Release
(New York, May 30, 2008) Human Rights Watch

The Beijing Judicial Bureau has to date refused to renew the professional licenses of Teng Biao and Jiang Tianyong, two lawyers with distinguished records of defending civil and human rights cases. The deadline for renewal is May 31. The move followed a weeks-long delay by the bureau to complete the annual registration of more than a dozen law firms, many of which employ lawyers who have been involved in what the government deems to be “sensitive cases.” Some lawyers have privately denounced the bureau’s actions as “large-scale blackmail,” designed to deter law firms from getting involved in cases that may be embarrassing to the government.

“Beijing is trying to intimidate the legal profession by suspending these two lawyers and threatening not to renew many licenses,” said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “The goals are to deter lawyers from representing human rights cases, and to deter firms from employing lawyers who want those cases.”

In early April, following the government’s announcement that several hundred Tibetans had been taken into custody for their role in the March protests in Lhasa, a group of 18 prominent civil rights lawyers issued an open letter offering to provide legal assistance to the detainees. “As professional lawyers, we hope that the relevant authorities will handle Tibetan detainees strictly in accordance with the constitution, the laws and due process for criminal defendants,” the letter said. “We hope that they will prevent coerced confessions, respect judicial independence and show respect for the law.”

The Ministry of Justice, which has authority over lawyers and bar associations and controls their professional licenses through a system of annual renewal, immediately responded by threatening the letter’s signatories and their respective law firms with disciplinary sanctions and holding up the renewal of their professional licenses. Beijing judicial authorities summoned individual lawyers and heads of law firms, told them the Tibetan protesters were not “ordinary cases but sensitive cases,” and asked law firms to dissociate themselves from the individual signatories or to terminate their employment.

Several law firms where notified in writing by the judicial authorities why their registration was being delayed: “The lawyers from your law firm are involved in representing some sensitive cases, therefore, the annual inspection and registration of your firms will be temporarily postponed,” the notification said. A number of lawyers were also warned by national security personnel against accepting retainers from relatives of Tibetan defendants. The Beijing Bar Association, which like other Chinese bar associations remains controlled by the local judicial authorities, also warned heads of law firms of possible disciplinary sanctions. The head of the Beijing Bar also accused the lawyers of having provided support to the “Dalai Lama clique.”

In a second open letter published on May 24, a week before the registration deadline, the signatories of the original appeal explained the motives behind their offer to defend Tibetans, and rejected the view that equated their offer of legal services with a proof of support for Tibetan separatism ideas (which constitutes a state security crime under Chinese law).

“To provide legal defense to criminal suspects and defendants is the function of a lawyer. It is an important component of the rule of law, and to defend them is not equivalent to agreeing to their position or actions,” the signatories wrote. “

The authors also stressed that deeming cases “politically sensitive” and therefore denying due process conflicts with the rule of law: “…progress [towards the rule of law] lies precisely in these so-called politically sensitive cases. The more openly they are handled, the most visible the progress. As the world has its eyes on China, hastily trying defendants without allowing them their choice of counsel will only damage the image of legalism in China,” they wrote.

(end of the press release)


Earthquake Mourning ends, but not the old style

Most of the internet websites hosted in China received last weekend a letter from its municipal governments ordering everyone to convey the rules approved by the State Council (consejo de ministros) for the three Days Mourning that are being held in China to honour the victims of the Sichuan's Earthquake.

Here you have a rough translation of the government's order. It is a very bad translation but useful anyway thank you to this blog (The Mourning ends tonight)

To every web site in this city:
The Statement Department decides to hold "National Mourn Day" from May 19 to 21 . According the spirit of the instruction of News Office of State Department, the following requirements are announced:

Every web site should propaganda and report State Department's Announcement promptly, dominantly, and repeatedly; should timely and dominantly report mourning activities of Party Central Committee, State Department and local's. In parallel with propaganda and report on the Internet, related web site should utilize mobile SMS, MMS, Mobile newspaper, etc methods to report. State Department Announcement should be put at the dominate location on the home page of every web site during National Mourning Day.

Every web site stops 3 days of all kinds of entertainment activities and services. From 0:00 19thto 24:00 21th, every game web site, game channels of every web site must be all closed; every entertainment channel and entertainment kind of video and audio channel web site must be covered by mourning pages; pages under these channels must not be accessible. All entertainment forum of all web sites must all be closed; all music, entertainment video search function of all search engine must be all closed; all entertainment kind of advertisement must be all closed.

Organize mourning on the web well. Atmosphere of all web site must be appropriate to the national mourning. All major news sites, and major commercial sites should well organize mourning activities joined by netizens, should completely reflect the painful sentiment and patriotic heart of massive netizen.

Effectively do the media management job. All major web site should implement 24 hour on duty, meanwhile must have person-in-charge to lead the team. Every web site should effectively strengthen management of forum, blog etc interactive columns. All comments that are not in align with the main theme of anti-earthquake and disaster relief must be completely deleted. The job implementation situation of every web site should be reported in electronic form to Municipal Government News Office (mailbox: sinonet@shanghai.gov.cn).

Make disciplines strict. For web site who does not do the effective job effectively, should be seriously criticized, and handled. Web sites which do not obey requirements will be all closed, and will be hold responsible afterwards.

(Friendly and open-minded people, don't you agree? If not, then better host your webs [and also your huebs] out of China)



What The United Nations says about the Earthquake

Collapsed buildings are the main killers when earthquake strikes, says UN.

Source: Press Release, UN/ISDR 2008/07. 16 May 2008

“We know how to make buildings more resistant to earthquakes, but this knowledge is still not yet well disseminated among decision-makers who enforce building codes for houses, schools and hospitals” says Salvano Briceño, Director of the UN secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.

“Schools, hospitals and other critical infrastructure need to be systematically upgraded and retrofitted in earthquake prone areas if we want to save lives. Vulnerability to earthquakes is still a main cause of death during disasters” says Salvano Briceño.

Both schools and hospitals play important roles in saving the lives of society’s most vulnerable people during disasters, if they are properly designed and built.

”There are still too many poorly designed and constructed buildings in earthquake-prone areas, and too many people dying because of it” says Salvano Briceño

"What we are seeing in every urban earthquake is a result of mostly avoidable errors"

(United Nations Interview with Fouad Bendimerad, Chairman of the Board of the Earthquakes and Megacities Initiative (EMI). Prof. Bendimerad is a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Stanford University)

According to your expertise, how do you explain the collapse of so many buildings in China?

What happened in China could have happened in any other urban earthquake region. We must address the structural issues related to the safety of the buildings through integrating disaster risk reduction considerations in urban planning...

But the message is lost in the midst of all the noise! For us, this is a fundamental issue that must be addressed if we want to make schools, hospitals, buildings, and the urban environment safe. We cannot provide safe urban environments by raising awareness alone. We must also build the competency of the institutions and of the professionals who plan, build, and manage cities.

Is it possible to resist a 7.9 magnitude earthquake anyway?

Nonetheless, earthquake engineering knowledge has advanced significantly in the last two decades. Seismologists can provide reasonable estimates of hazard impacts to enable the design of buildings to a required level hazard resistance; this is the first step because we know that areas which have experienced large earthquakes in the past will experience them in the future.
Seismologists can also provide a projected level of earthquake impacts which could ensure that buildings are not inappropriately designed to withstand certain hazard impacts. These projected impacts are typically considered in building codes and in special zonation studies. With this information, engineers can provide the adequate design to resist projected hazard impacts. For such large earthquakes, the aim is simply to prevent the building from collapse and to protect the safety of the occupants. The damage could be substantial, and the building may need extensive repairs, if not complete reconstruction. So, yes, with proper technology and adequate knowledge we can construct buildings to resist even the largest earthquakes without collapse.

¡Ahora hotmail!

Hotmail lleva 40 horas bloqueado para los usuarios de Pekín.
Sólo los que accedían a hotmail desde de Outlook pueden seguir usando el correo, pero este no es mi caso. O sea, que me quedo sin consultar mi correo electrónico.

Mensaje desesperado:
Jau, miembros y amigos del aparato y del nacionalismo urbanita chino: Yo ser amigo de China, yo querer Juegos Olímpicos y larga vida al Partido. ¡Vivan los Juegos Olímpicos! ¡One World, One Dream!
Por favor,
¡Free Hotmail!


p.d: a las 15:30 han vuelto a abrir el acceso a Hotmail. También el de Youtube (y el del Avui, no me preguntéis por qué lo bloquearon)


La antorcha habló tibetano en la cima del mundo

(La crónica que no salió)

Pekín 2008 cumplió ayer el reto de coronar el Everest con la antorcha olímpica. Una semana después de que la expedición china abandonara el campo base, la escaladora tibetana de 22 años Ciren Wangmo realizó el último relevo para conquistar los 8.848 de altitud del techo del mundo secundada por los otros 18 compañeros de cordada. Las autoridades chinas calificaron el acontecimiento de “histórico para China y para el Olimpismo”.

El último día de ascensión empezó a 8.300 metros de altitud. Tras seis horas de marcha se encendió la antorcha a 50 metros de la cima –diseñada técnicamente para la ocasión- y cinco relevistas culminaron el espectáculo grandilocuente que el gobierno chino tanto ansiaba ofrecer a su población. “Hemos cumplido con la promesa que hicimos al mundo y con un sueño de todo los chinos”, dijo el coordinador de expedición Li Zhixin, según la agencia Reuters. El éxito de la misión se ha basado en la experiencia de la Escuela Tibetana de Montañismo. De los 36 escaladores que componían el equipo, 24 eran tibetanos. En el Everest no hubo las muestras de fervor nacional que acompañan al relevo de la antorcha por China. Los diálogos y las felicitaciones en tibetano se colaban constantemente en la escena que retransmitía la Televisión Central China (CCTV) y uno de los alpinistas celebró el momento de gloria con un “¡Larga Vida al Tibet! ¡Larga Vida a Pekín!”.

Para subir la llama olímpica al Qomolangma –como se denomina al Everest en China y en el Tíbet-, la montaña había sido aislada desde abril por las fuerzas de seguridad chinas y nepalíes. Por miedo a protestas pro derechos humanos, nadie que no fuera de la misión olímpica debía acceder al Everest y sus inmediaciones. Pese a ello, Li Zhixin aseguró en cambió que se detectaron en la montaña grupos de alpinistas no identificados con la intención de sabotear la expedición, según informa el diario South China Morning Post.
La identidad de los componentes, la ruta y la ubicación del equipo no se hicieron públicos hasta los compases finales de la misión. Para hacer posible la misión se construyó una carretera hasta el campamento base. La retransmisión de televisión fue técnicamente excelente, la mejor nunca realizada en alta montaña, según los organizadores, aunque únicamente se retransmitieron las últimas horas del ascenso. Los múltiples canales de la CCTV reprodujeron durante todo el día las imágenes de la aventura acompañadas de lemas patrióticos y una música épica que recordaba a un híbrido entre las bandas sonoras de Carros de Fuego y Lo que el viento se llevó. Sólo los medios de comunicación oficiales y una decena de periodistas extranjeros fueron autorizados a cubrir el acontecimiento olímpico. La mitad de las corresponsales internacionales que fueron elegidos para seguir el relevo recibieron a última hora la noticia de que no tenían billetes de avión, o se les desaconsejó el viaje porque su condición física no les permitiría adaptarse a la altura. Los periodistas chinos en cambio ya llevaban días aclimatándose en el campamento base.


El abogado del diablo. Y la euforia Teletubipatriótica

Para que quede constancia, Blogger vuelve a estar bloqueado en China, o por lo menos en Pekín.
Que no lloriqueen después si tienen problemas de relaciones públicas.

Teng Biao es un abogado chino, uno de los firmantes de la petición que colgué en el post de ayer y que pedía un cambio radical de estrategia en el Tíbet. Andrea lo entrevistó recientemente. Teng Biao es de aquellas personas que comunmente consideraríamos héroes. Se juega su integridad defendiendo el Estado de Derecho y los Derechos Humanos. Más de uno me ha dicho que los Teng Biao de turno son suicidas porque si en China buscas notoriedad, el Partido te corta la cabeza. Para hacer su trabajo es conveniente que Teng mantenga un low profile, que no llame la atención.
Los amigos del Partido Comunista, los que quieren ser benevolentes con el Partido, critican a los Teng Biao de turno por meter el dedo en la llaga y hacer públicas ciertas indecencias, en vez de llevarlo de una manera más confidencial, que no vulnere el crecimiento de la débil China.

Pero en un país 'normal', al abogado Teng no se le recriminarían estas cosas ni nadie cuestionaría su derecho a hacer lo que le venga en gana, y menos cuando se trata de un servicio público.



¡Vamos, China! (A ver si encontráis la bandera olímpica)

No os puedo colgar un vídeo de cómo zarandearon a los 4 manifestantes pro democráticos porque estos peligrosísimos documentos aquí están censurados. Os cuelgo algo más oficial, un vídeo del South China Morning Post.


Un país, dos sociedades y sus héroes

Nosotros, occidentales, con frecuencia metemos en el mismo saco a todo chino que se nos cruce en el camino. Pero Chinas las hay de muchos colores, incluso en el seno del Partido Comunista hay conflictos ideológicos entre los sectores políticamente más dogmáticos y los más liberales. El periodista alemán Frank Sieren explicaba recientemente que la ola "protibetana porque sí" da alas a los partidarios de la línea dura de la dictadura, que ondean heridos en el orgullo la bandera nacional y avisan del ataque extranjero contra los intereses de China.

Frente a tanta patraña propagandista, a mi parecer la sociedad reacciona de tres maneras:

Los que pasan de estas campañas de furor nacional porque ya tienen suficientes problemas.

Los que caen de cuatro patas en la campaña de victimismo nacional. No sé si son muchos pero se dejan ver, como por desgracia pude presenciar ayer en Hong Kong. Triste día ayer para alguien como yo, que considera el nacionalismo una prueba de nuestro primitivismo.

Y los que, pese a estar en amplia minoría y arriesgarse a ir a prisión, asumen que China necesita un discurso crítico. Porque sólo así la sociedad progresa: analizando, criticando y corrigiendo. Y China padece una dramática falta de espíritu crítico por culpa de un malintencionado sistema educativo.
Esta semana se ha hecho público que un grupo de más de 300 intelectuales chinos ha escrito un documento pidiendo un cambio radical en la política del Partido Comunista respecto al Tíbet. Os copio aquí los primeros 3 puntos y si os quedáis con ganas de leer más, seguid aquí.

"1. At present the one-sided propaganda of the official Chinese media is having the effect of stirring up inter-ethnic animosity and aggravating an already tense situation. This is extremely detrimental to the long-term goal of safeguarding national unity. We call for such propaganda to be stopped.

2. We support the Dalai Lama's appeal for peace, and hope that the ethnic conflict can be dealt with according to the principles of goodwill, peace, and nonviolence. We condemn any violent act against innocent people, strongly urge the Chinese government to stop the violent suppression, and appeal to the Tibetan people likewise not to engage in violent activities.

3. The Chinese government claims that "there is sufficient evidence to prove this incident was organized, premeditated, and meticulously orchestrated by the Dalai clique." We hope that the government will show proof of this. In order to change the inter-national community's negative view and distrustful attitude, we also sug-gest that the government invite the United Nations' Commission on Human Rights to carry out an independent investigation of the evidence, the course of the incident, the number of casualties, etc."

(Son héroes)