Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Official impunity in China

In October, the editor of China's Taizhou Evening News published an article accusing local police of corruption and charging illegal bicycle registration fees. So, they beat him - ultimately, to death. And somehow, I don't think they'll be starting a murder investigation.

The problem here isn't official action - the police's actions were clearly illegal, even under Chinese law. The problem is corruption and a culture of official impunity which allows local officials and those exercising power to grossly abuse it in their own interests. And it affects a lot more than just the press. The near-fatal beating of local democracy activist Lu Banglie (blogged here, correction here) was driven by local government officials' desire to preserve their positions so that they could further enrich themselves at the public's expense - as was the recent massacre in the village of Shanwei. Until this culture of impunity changes, even the limited freedom there is in China will exist only on paper, not in practice.


I almost find it too depressing to think, that, after all the atrocities of the 20th century, here we are with the already dire global record on human rights backpeddling once again. Falun gong, torture, murderous corruption, and the myriad atrocities in Tibet, not to mention the millions of lives spent in sweated labour. One wonders what to do or say. Some days the world almost becomes too much to face.


Posted by Anonymous : 2/08/2006 05:14:00 PM