Pollution, skyscrapers and development reflect China's rapid economic growth, not political change. There have been no significant political reforms in China since the 1980s. Meanwhile, economic growth has enabled more intense but sophisticated approach to political repression.
Since the 1989 Tiananmen massacre, anything that suggests a degree of organization, or coordination across provinces, is stamped out as quickly as possible and as ruthlessly as necessary. Examples include the religious organization Falun Gong and the China Democracy Party, whose members experienced the most brutal treatment a communist-party system has to dole out, including rape, beatings, shackling and electric shocks, according to Amnesty International and other human rights organizations. While China touts its commitment to the rule of law, lawyers who dare to defend victims of political or religious persecution are increasingly the targets of repression themselves.
The Olympics and their preparations are not leading to a liberalized China. In fact, the opposite is true. Dissidents have been sequestered, detained or sent out of town for the duration of the games. The construction of Olympic venues has led to the eviction of more than one million people. Activists who persist in pointing out the connection between the Olympics and the increase in human rights abuses -- such as Hu Jia, Ye Guozhu and Yang Chunlin -- have been jailed.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
WSJ: China Hasn't Changed
From a piece by Ellen Bork in today's Wall Street Journal: