Two Women, Ages 79 and 77, Sentenced to Re-education Labor After Applying for Protest Permit

Two Beijing residents were sentenced to a year of labor re- education after they applied for permits to demonstrate against their 2001 eviction from their homes, according to New York-based Human Rights in China.

Wu Dianyuan, 79, and Wang Xiuying, 77, went to Chinese police five times between Aug. 5 and Aug. 18 to seek approval to hold a protest during the Olympics.

Sharon Hom, the advocacy group's China executive director, said in a statement that punishing the women "demonstrates that official statements touting the new Olympics 'protest zones,' as well as the permit application process, were no more than a show."

In response to international pressure, China said it would allow protests in three parks during the Aug. 8-24 Olympic Games. However, no one has been granted persmission yet. The police have received 77 applications with 74 of them withdrawn voluntarily and the three rejected, according to state news agency Xinhua.

--Ariana Eunjung Cha

August 20, 2008; 1:18 AM ET  | Category:  Postmark Beijing
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Brilliant! Soon, China will be re-educating America!

Posted by: Run & Take Cover | August 20, 2008 4:25 AM

Wake up! The only Free thing about this Olympics is the Fee toy in your Olympic Happy Meal. All hail the 1.3 billion Chinese customers!

Posted by: Open your eyes | August 20, 2008 6:38 AM

Why should we care about the lack of freedom in China when we have already given up our freedoms here in the US? Our own government spies on us now with impunity, how much longer before Americans are sent to re-education camps? Wake up America! We are no longer the land of the free nor the home of the brave.

Posted by: Joe | August 20, 2008 7:35 AM

I saw the headline "Woman Sentenced to Reeducation for Permit," and until I read the article, I had no idea whether it was the US or China they were talking about.

Posted by: Dave | August 20, 2008 7:38 AM

Those women are lucky to be sentenced to an education center. In USA, they can be denied and arrested for causing disturbance

Posted by: thmak | August 20, 2008 7:56 AM

It is time . . . NO, it is PAST time . . . for people to rise up and overthrow the "government."

It is time to CLEAN house of all "government" goons, both in china and in America.

Posted by: DocChuck | August 20, 2008 8:03 AM

Sounds similar to the way Bush handles crowd control at his rallies. Force protestors to sit in an area far away from the crowd. The only thing missing will be to add the need for "protest permits" and then "space limitations" and soon we will be doing the same thing as China.

Posted by: Jason | August 20, 2008 8:07 AM

"Those women are lucky to be sentenced to an education center. In USA, they can be denied and arrested for causing disturbance."


Posted by: Jeff | August 20, 2008 8:22 AM

Sounds like those folks over at DailyKos and their "troll-hunting" attacks on anyone who strays outside of Obama talking points. They even attacked and drove out members who tried to explain (before he confessed) that Edwards was lying and cheating and was going to be trouble.

The left-wing idealists always shoot straight into totalitarianism and repression, whenever they have a little rope.

The reason for this is, of course, their idea that they as people with grand ideas and idealism as their value system (as opposed to conservatives whose value system is grounded in religion, family-work ethics or patriotism), any discussion, criticism or challenge of the ideas in their idealistic universe, is an attack on their central unifying ethos. Religious, nationalist, and family-work ideologues all have their center of gravity in a value system separate from their political agendas, even though their political agendas are derivative of their central value systems. Left-wing ideologues have what comprises rational and relativistic political ideology as BOTH their central Ego value system AND their political agendas (which aren't derivative as in the case of the political agendas of, e.g. religious or nationalist ideologues).

The problems with left wingers and other political idealism-based ideology is that they can't tolerate free speech, not really. The totalitarianism that arises in socialist, communist and other left-wing societies is the natural result of putting political ideas at the center of a value universe. One cannot question the actions or speech of the leadership as that is as much an attack on the central mystery of the society as attacking Jesus would be an attack on the central mystery of evangelicals.

The DailyKos sociopathic groupthink, its mobbing attacks on perceived "trolls" and the way that dissent, different perspectives and real discussion of issues is persecuted and sanitized from its community, is the exact same breed of totalitarian repression that exists in all truly left-wing societies.

Posted by: AsperGirl | August 20, 2008 8:26 AM

Joe, Dave, thmak and Jason need to get a little perspective on the world. Get out of bed, get a job and a life ladies.

Posted by: St. John | August 20, 2008 8:30 AM

Surely people weren't so gullible as to believe that China would relax any of its totalitarian regime and allow somebody to actually protest. Or were they so stupid to be suckered in by Chinse hollow promises?

The sad fact is that according to the Olympic Charter, totalitarian nations such as China should never been awarded the Olympics in the first place.

I don't know which bunch of idiots handed this huge propaganda coup to China, but they ought to hang their head in shame for being mercilessly conned by the despotic Chinese regime.

However, I can guarantee one thing and that is, all those Chinese citizens who asked for permission to protest, all those Chinese citizens who were seen saying anything but the party line to foreigners, those Chinese who thought that the Olympics would bring some freedoms, they will be rounded up by the Chinese Gestapo and imprisoned in some of those slave labour camps that produce those consumer goods that Americans are buying so cheaply.

The Beijing Olympics are a disaster for many reasons and they will now cost the lives of Chinese people who dared to raise their heads. Human rights, freedom of speech - they are nonexistent. And if you think that all those websites that the Chinese unblocked for a few days are going to remain unblocked, forget it - the Internet for the average Chinese is going to be even worse than it was before the Games, because the Chinese dictators don't want their population to read letters like this one, or any criticism of the Olympics and the Chinese dictatorship.

I suggest that the Olympic Committee really think long and hard before handing the Games to another bunch of despots so they can be used as propaganda, nothing more.

Posted by: Ziggy | August 20, 2008 8:41 AM

"Those women are lucky to be sentenced to an education center"

I supposed if you consider a labor prison to be an education center...

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 8:41 AM

Wow, AsperGirl, you took an article that goes to the heart of the notion of civil liberties and turned it into an ad-hominem attack on lefty politics. For a blogger who describes herself as 'Disappointed Clinton supporter who's more Centrist than anything else' you seem to be spitting venom that sounds a lot like neo-con talking points. Way to go! Way to stay on message.

They called you a "troll" on DailyKos not becasue they are 11-years old, but becuase "troll" is webspeak for people who only post comments to bait other people. To wit: most of the stuff you write runs so far afield of the actual topic under discussion that people suspect you have another attacking everything left or center.

Posted by: DC Apt | August 20, 2008 8:51 AM

What a puppet show the Olympics have become! Thank God that there are still people like these protesters who are willing to fight for their rights and liberties. These two women deserve the Beijing Olympics Gold Medal for "protesting tyranny".

Posted by: tony lopez | August 20, 2008 9:06 AM

Aspergirl is so wrong. Freedom of Speech is what the conservatives during the Civil Rights era tried to curtail.

Values and morals are relative to culture and time. There is no absolute morals or values. The people that claim there is, think that they are superior because of their "morals" . That's why "moral based thinking" is immoral and self - aggrandizing. Beware the hypocrites.

It is the conservatives that have held back progress in all countries.
Liberal actually means willing to compromise with the free enterprise system. The liberals are the best hope to prevent a French style revolution in this country and the world. The poor are ready to eat the rich. I know because I am the poor and I keep the fire stoked for the day that the poor rise up.

Posted by: Flaming Progressive/Liberal | August 20, 2008 9:34 AM

It is easy to take the high moral standard, and accuse China of human rights violations. For NY Times and Washington Post, it is a sure way to grab headlines and generate support from general American viewers who don’t understand China.

It takes courage to recognize a government, who in the past 30 years (since 1978) guided China in its economic reform with close to 10% annual growth, and lifted more than 300 million people out of poverty. China was not close to an economic player on the world stage in 1978, now China ranked number one in world wide steel production, cement production, electronic and home appliances. China will soon be number one in car production (currently behind US).

China has made significant progress on political reform. If you ask any Chinese (not westerners), compare to the Mao era, they feel a big difference. It is true that political reform is not up to western standards. But is this the priority for ordinary Chinese? Ask any Chinese, would they trade the current course with a radical political reform that will give them free election tomorrow? They will ask you at what price? Is this the same advice given to the Russians in the early 90s? They will tell you they’ve seen it, it failed. They will prefer a stable country with fast economic progress. Political reform? It will come naturally, not a priority for now.

I have been waiting for stories of political oppression during the Olympics from western media (I know they are looking hard). If this what they have, then I will congratulate the government for doing a good job in managing such a world wide stage successfully. Two old Chinese lady sentenced to Labor Camp? Good headline that gives what the viewers what they want to hear. However, it does not make sense if you are a Chinese, it’s not part of the culture. Wake up viewers, there are no labor camps in China now. The issue at dispute is economical, not political. What you saw on TV for the Olympics is true, you are dealing with a new China with an effective and popular government that enjoys support of the Chinese people. I challenge the reporter to follow up on this story and let us know where the two ladies end up in a month.

Posted by: David Xi | August 20, 2008 2:46 PM

Surely, if people on this message board are foolish enough to believe that we, as Americans, have lost our freedoms and already live in a totalitarian government, I am completely missing something. Those who criticize are able to do so because of our freedoms. I wasn't born here, but there is no where, and I mean, no where that I would rather live.

Posted by: ceg | August 20, 2008 9:36 PM

This is how China's system works. If you don't like it, don't go there. Feel free to criticize or ridicule China because it's different. Better yet, stop buying Chinese goods or borrowing from China if you dislike it so much. But you can not expect Olympics or any other events would change China's system.

Most of Chinese live in the system and have no problem with that. Throughout 5,000 years of history, China has always been a collective society where individual rights come second after public interest. The system obvious works, as China is one of the longest lasting civilizations in the world. On the contrary, the western human rights concept has only a few hundred years of history. It's arrogant to assume it's a better system and should be imposed everywhere in the world - almost oxymoron that the very concept of democracy is to let the majority decide what they want.

And in China, the majority (82% to be precise), thinks the country is on the right track. So, enjoy your freedom, but leave China alone.

Posted by: Geja | August 21, 2008 10:58 AM

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