China has detained a farmers' rights advocate who investigated an ethnic clash in central China and reported his findings to foreign media, a rights group said yesterday. \nLi Guozhu, 48, was taken away in early November after his clandestine trip to Zhongmou county, Henan Province, where the unrest occurred, international rights group Human Rights Watch said in a statement. \nAccording to the Chinese government, seven people were killed and 42 injured in clashes in late October which local residents said erupted following a traffic dispute between Hui Muslim minorities and Han Chinese. \nArmed police imposed martial law in the rural area and prevented journalists from entering. A media blackout also was enforced. \nLi, a former prison officer in northeastern Heilongjiang Province, managed to enter villages where the violence occurred and sent copies of his interviews with residents and photographs of damage from the riots to foreign journalists. \nLi reported a much higher death toll of 28, more in line with farmers' claims that as many as 20 people lost their lives. \nOn Nov. 12, after Li returned to Beijing, eight police officers went to the office of a grass-roots farmers' rights group where he worked as a volunteer and questioned him. He was then detained. \nOn Dec. 2 Li's wife, who had not been able to obtain information about her husband's status and whereabouts, traveled to Beijing from their home in Heilongjiang to seek information, but was detained and then sent home. \nNiether Li nor his wife could be reached yesterday. \nBeijing police refused to comment. \nLi's detention is the latest in a series of recent cases here in which journalists and rights activists have been arrested, detained for questioning or warned against voicing liberal, critical views. \nHuman Rights Watch said Li's detention appeared to be part of a widening crackdown on both intellectuals and rights advocates in China.
Reporters Without Borders has accused the Algerian government of taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to “settle scores” with independent journalists, including those covering long-running anti-government protests. In a statement signed with Algerian non-governmental organizations, the watchdog on Thursday called for the immediate release of its correspondent, Khaled Drareni, who has been in pretrial detention since Sunday after being charged with inciting an unarmed gathering and endangering national unity. Drareni has been arrested several times for covering the “Hirak” anti-government protests held in the capital, Algiers, every Friday since February last year. Imprisoning people during a pandemic is “an act of physical endangerment,”
Vietnam has lodged an official protest with China following the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat that it said had been rammed by a Chinese maritime surveillance vessel near islands in the South China Sea. The Vietnamese fishing vessel, with eight fishermen onboard, was fishing near the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島) on Thursday when it was rammed and sunk by the Chinese vessel, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement posted on a government Web site yesterday. All of the fishermen were picked up by the Chinese vessel alive and were transferred to two other Vietnamese fishing vessels
DIVIDED YOUTH: There is a belief that overseas students see themselves as superior, which is compounded by perceptions of their extreme wealth and multiple nationalities Chinese students flying home from overseas to escape the COVID-19 pandemic face a frosty reception from sections of the public who view them as wealthy, spoiled — and potentially contaminated. The number of officially reported cases in China has dwindled dramatically over the last month, but the country is now taking drastic steps to try and stem a second wave of infections brought in from abroad. With most international flights canceled and nearly all foreigners barred from entering the country, the vast majority of returnees are Chinese nationals, including many students. The situation has exposed animosities over class and privilege in Chinese society,
‘SHOW RESTRAINT’: Kismayo elder Adan Jama said that dead bodies were strewn in the battle zone and civilians were fleeing as the fighting had affected several villages At least 20 people have been killed in southern Somalia in clashes between militia from rival clans fighting over land, officials and witnesses said on Thursday. Tensions between fighters from the Owrmale and Majerten clans, which live about 30km outside the southern city of Kismayo, have been rising in recent weeks. “The fighting intensified today, and 20 people from the two sides were killed and dozen others including civilians wounded. This is a horrible situation that needs to be stopped,” local government official Abdikarin Mohamed said. “The dead bodies are strewn in the battle zone and civilians are fleeing as the fighting has