A Chinese court yesterday sentenced a veteran dissident to seven years in jail, his son said, in the latest blow to challengers of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) rule.
This came just a day after US Vice President Joe Biden called for China to address a “deterioration” of its human rights record as he met activists ahead of a key visit by his Chinese counterpart.
Biden — the host for next week’s visit by Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (習近平), who is widely tipped to be China’s next president — met on Wednesday with four advocates for human rights.
In the meeting, Biden and the activists “discussed the deterioration of China’s human rights situation, prospects for reform and recommendations for US policy,” a White House statement said.
“The vice president underscored the administration’s belief in the universality of human rights and its commitment to human rights as a fundamental part of our foreign policy,” it said.
“He reiterated his view that greater openness and protection of universal rights is the best way to promote innovation, prosperity and stability in all countries, including China,” it said.
The White House said Biden met Li Xiaorong (李曉蓉), a founding member of the group Human Rights in China; Benjamin Liebman, a Columbia University expert on China’s legal system; Zha Jianying, an expert on Chinese media and pop culture, and Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch.
In China, Zhu Yufu (朱虞夫) was jailed for “inciting subversion of state power” by a court in Hangzhou, a city in eastern China, after a trial hearing on Jan. 31 when prosecutors cited a poem and messages he sent on the Internet, his son Zhu Ang (朱昂) said by telephone.
“The court verdict said this was a serious crime that deserved stern punishment,” said Zhu Ang, 31, who was allowed to attend the hearing with his mother.
“Now my mother is terribly upset, even if we saw this coming,” Zhu Ang said.
He said the verdict cited his father’s online calls for mobilization in the name of democracy.
“Basically, the only chance that my father had to say anything was when he was being taken out after the hearing, and he stopped and said: ‘I want to appeal.’”
Xi, who is nearly certain to succeed Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) as CCP leader later this year and as state president early next year, leaves for Washington on Monday.
Xi is likely to face US criticism over China’s clampdown in restive Tibetan areas after a series of self-immolation protests.
At a briefing about Xi’s trip, Chinese Vice Deputy Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai (崔天凱) indicated his government would not welcome being publicly criticized by the administration of US President Barack Obama over rights.
“The problem now is that internationally there are some people who always grab hold of the human-rights banner when they want to speak ill of China,” Cui said. “I think that this is abusing the notion of human rights.”
The sentencing of Zhu, who turns 59 this month, followed the jailing of two other Chinese dissidents in December on subversion charges.
‘UNPRECEDENTED’: Taiwan’s envoy said that official wording framing Taiwan-China issues as not about unification or independence counters the narrative Beijing wants Use of the phrase “democratic Taiwan” by Germany’s new coalition government in official document shows that Taiwan-China issues are not about “independence” against “unification,” but about democracy against authoritarianism, Representative to Germany Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) said yesterday. Germany’s Social Democratic Party, Free Democratic Party and the Greens — known as the “traffic light coalition” for their colors — on Wednesday inked a coalition agreement following elections on Sept. 26. The agreement, a blueprint for their governance for the next four years, mentions “Taiwan,” which is unprecedented, showing that the new German government is paying close attention to cross-strait peace and supports Taiwan’s
BIDEN NOD: A China watcher said that the inclusion of Taiwan is notable, as it is the only democratic state on the list that Washington does not officially recognize Minister Without Portfolio Audrey Tang (唐鳳) and Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) are to attend the US-led Summit for Democracy on Dec. 9 and 10, the government said yesterday, after US President Joe Biden announced the list of guests for the virtual event. The US Department of State on Tuesday announced a list of 110 invited participants, including Taiwan, Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Japan and the UK. China and Russia were not invited, and Beijing expressed anger at the decision to invite Taiwan. The summit is to revolve around three key themes: Defending against authoritarianism, addressing and fighting
China said it would punish businesses and political donors with links to individuals supporting Taiwanese independence after it fined Taiwanese conglomerate Far Eastern Group (遠東集團). “Businesses and financial sponsors associated with supporters of Taiwan independence will be penalized according to law,” Taiwan Affairs Office spokeswoman Zhu Fenglian (朱鳳蓮) told reporters on Monday, according to a statement from her agency. Zhu said that backers of independence undermine cross-strait relations and risk instability in the region. Zhu made the remark as she responded to a question about whether the punishment Far Eastern received earlier on Monday was connected to China’s efforts to sanction Taiwanese
‘BADGE OF HONOR’: Lithuanian lawmaker Dovile Sakaliene, who is on China’s travel ban list, said delegation members joked that they would be joining her on it soon A delegation led by the chairman of the Lithuanian Parliamentary Group for Relations with Taiwan yesterday arrived in Taipei to participate in a conference on democracy later this week. The group, led by Matas Maldeikis, a Lithuanian lawmaker and an outspoken critic of China, touched down at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 6:18am yesterday. Maldeikis said at the airport that he expected the trip to enhance understanding between Taiwan and Lithuania after cooperation between the two sides took a big step forward this past year. “This trip will be another step in understanding each other because we are dealing with the same challenges,”