Wednesday, July 30, 2008
President Bush Meets with Harry Wu and Other Chinese Human Rights Advocates
On the eve of the Olympic Games, it is clear that the human rights situation in China has not improved as promised by Beijing, but rather, that it has deteriorated. So acting on the recommendation of Representative Frank Wolf, Representative Chris Smith, and Representative James McGovern, President Bush agreed to meet with Laogai Research Foundation Executive Director Harry Wu and several other well-known Chinese human rights advocates this morning in the West Wing of the White House. The others in attendance at the meeting included prominent Chinese democracy advocate Wei Jingsheng, Uyghur American Association President, Rebiya Kadeer, China Aid Association President Bob Fu, and acclaimed scholar and activist Sasha Gong.
Mr. Wu presented President Bush with a copy of the House Concurrent Resolution 294, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Dec. 16, 2005, which calls on the international community to condemn the Laogai. In speaking with President Bush, Mr. Wu made three points. First, he explained that China's Laogai system is incompatible with democracy, and asked President Bush to take note of this issue and help bring about an end to this inhumane system. President Bush assured Mr. Wu that he would take his perspective on the Laogai into account. Next, Mr. Wu warned President Bush of the alarming amount of Chinese espionage activities taking place in the U.S. And lastly, Mr. Wu informed President Bush that he would be establishing the world's first Laogai Museum later this year in Washington, D.C. When President Bush asked where exactly the museum would be located, he was delighted to learn that it would be on M St., not too far from the White House.
The other activists present also discussed their personal experiences and efforts to improve human rights in China. Wei Jingsheng expressed that he disagreed with the President's decision to go to Beijing for the Olympics, to which President Bush responded by explaining that he felt the need to go and speak personally with Chinese President Hu Jintao. Rebiya Kadeer gave President Bush a brief account of the dire human rights situation in Xinjiang, currently the only place in China where political prisoners face the possibility of immediate execution. Bob Fu discussed the predicaments of mainland Chinese Christians and the ongoing persecution of underground "house church" members. Sasha Gong spoke about the Chinese government's increasing control of the internet and the suppression of writers online.
President Bush promised the group that he intends to raise the issue of human rights directly with the Chinese leadership when he travels to Beijing in August for the Olympic Games. Moreover, he informed the group that he plans to attend a Christian church service while in Beijing. Throughout the meeting, which lasted for about forty minutes, Bush made it very clear that he was deeply concerned about the human rights situation in China and that human rights could not be overlooked at any occasion, no matter how grand.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Photos: China's youth brigade Blog: Ticket to BeijingChinese gymnast He Kexin may not be old enough for Olympics. Chinese diver Chen Ruolin may have been too young for worlds
虚报年龄为专制党政增光 Issues raised about Chinese athletes' ages
Issues raised about Chinese athletes' ages
Documents indicate two female gymnasts appear to be younger than once listed by the Chinese federation. Olympic eligibility could be affected.
By Diane Pucin, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
July 28, 2008
Less than two weeks before the Beijing Olympics, a potential scandal involving at least two of China's most high-profile sports is threatening to tarnish those Games.
According to documents obtained by The Times, two Chinese gymnasts appear to be younger than once listed by the Chinese federation while a diver appeared to have her age changed to be eligible for last year's world championships, though she would be eligible for the Olympics.
The issue of age for gymnasts He Kexin and Jiang Yuyuan was first reported Sunday by the New York Times. Additional documents indicate the practice is more widespread. Diver Chen Ruolin appeared to have her age raised in time for her to win a gold and a silver medal at the 2007 world meet in Melbourne, Australia.
One indication that the Beijing government apparently was moving quickly to douse any hint of scandal came late Saturday night, Los Angeles time, as some relevant Chinese websites were taken down and parts of one message board were erased.
As in the U.S., there are message boards in China where fans chat and gossip about the most popular sports.
Particularly women's gymnastics.
For well over a year, Chinese fans have been intrigued by the quick rise of uneven bars performer He Kexin, and not only for her rising scores of over 17.000 but also about her rising age.
As reported by the New York Times, there have been open discussions in gymnastics circles about the proper ages for some of the Chinese women gymnasts, especially He. Since 1997, international gymnastics rules have required that a gymnast must turn 16 during an Olympic year to be eligible for the Games.
According to official Chinese registration lists that had been available on the Internet, He may be only 14.
In fact, according to an Associated Press report of a Nov. 3, 2007, speech by Liu Peng, director of general administration of sport for China, there was no question she was too young. "The 13-year-old uneven-bar gymnast He Kexin," Liu said, "who defeated national team athlete Yang Yilin -- she just won the bronze medal in the world championships -- has demonstrated her ability." To be eligible for the Chinese City Games where Liu made his remarks, documents show athletes must be over 13 but under 15.
And gymnastics is not the only sport in which Chinese athletes' birth dates seem changeable. The Los Angeles Times has received records for female diver Chen Ruolin that indicated her birth date as April 26, 1994, changed in 2007.
As reported by the New China (Xinhua) news agency on July 18, Chen was born Dec. 12, 1992, in the Jiangsu province.
But according to a 2003 Chinese national diving registration list that still could be found online as of Sunday night, Chen was born on April 26, 1994. Her birth date remained the same in 2004, 2005 and 2006 but on the 2007 list, it was changed to Dec. 12, 1992.
If the 1994 birth date is correct, Chen competed illegally at the 2007 world championships, where she won a silver medal in the 10-meter platform and a gold medal with teammate Jia Tong in the 10-meter synchronized platform.
In diving, competitors must turn 14 during the year they compete in any official World Cup, world championships or Olympics. So Chen is eligible for these Olympics but might not have been when she competed at the 2007 world championships.
Asked whether the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games was concerned with the questions about possibly underage Chinese athletes, spokesman Sun Weide said today, "You have to check your facts. You have to check with the Chinese Olympic Committee."
Attempts to reach a Chinese Olympic Committee spokesperson were unsuccessful.
Zhou Jihong, China's national diving team leader, said, "Those newspaper reports about Chen's [being] underage is not true. We can fax to you Chen Ruolin's birth certificate and ID card to prove it. We don't want the rumor [to affect] our athletes two weeks before the Olympic Games."
Ron O'Brien, U.S. high performance director for diving and former coach of Greg Louganis, said, "We've always felt that it's hard to document China. We take them at their word that they're not breaking any rules. If [Chen] is not of age and was illegally entered into the world championships, then it is up to FINA to deal with it. Our team and plan are firmly in place. Nothing will change that."
FINA is the international governing body of diving, swimming and water polo.
USC diving coach Hongping Li, who is from China, said Sunday that while he couldn't speak about Chen personally, the shifting birth dates for some Chinese athletes does not surprise him.
"It is a thing where if it is believed by the athlete to be done for the glory of the country, if it is best for the country, then it should be done. Am I surprised this might be done? No."
Stories in China about uneven bars athlete He have been open about listing her age as 14.
For example, a story published Dec. 2, 2007, in the Beijing Evening News includes this sentence: "To make up for the disadvantages of the women's team on uneven bars, the 13-year-old young athlete He, Kexin might be the secret weapon for the Olympics game."
On a Chinese message board, tieba.baidu.com, there was a discussion thread about He that began last year.
"Only 13 years old. Not enough is the new star for the next Olympics," wrote one poster.
Another answered: "The age of Chinese members is never a problem."
And that was followed by: "In addition, age is not a problem. It is said that her FIG-registered age is born in 92. The official spokesperson can say it straight that the city competition's Internet date is mistaken. It should be based on the registration of FIG."
Also, "In China age is never a problem. Li Ya competed in 03's World Competition when she was 13."
FIG is the international gymnastics federation.
Li Ya was on the Chinese team that finished fourth at the 2003 gymnastics world championships in Anaheim. Li also finished fourth on the balance beam.
And finally, "It's too late to fix He's age. Many foreigners already knew it. It would need to change the name and use a false record to see if it can go through." The reply to this suggestion? "It doesn't matter. If He, Kexin's skills are very good we Chinese can change her age very easily. I think this is pretty much the norm for Chinese teams."
The Times received evidence that the alteration of ages was not started solely for the Beijing Games.
In addition, "Report from Fu, Guoliang at the Meeting Relating to Hunan Province's Participations in Olympics in Sydney," which was still available online Sunday afternoon , made reference to gymnast Yang Yun, who participated in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
"The actual age of gymnastic athlete Yang Yun is only 14. When she first tried in Sydney Games, she attracted attention from gymnastic fields. She has great potential in the future." Yang's career ended prematurely because of injuries.
Yang Yun had become the topic of recent discussions when a YouTube video of a documentary entitled "Yang Yun: My Olympics" was posted. About 3 minutes 10 seconds into the video Yang says, "I was 14 years old in Sydney."
Also, on Friday, a Zhejiang Province registration list showed another 2008 Olympian, Jiang Yuyuan, as being born in 1993, which would make her age-ineligible for next month's Games. That link was disabled Sunday.
On the U.S. team, Alicia Sacramone and Chellsie Memmel are 20; Nastia Liukin is 18; and Shawn Johnson, Samantha Peszek and Bridget Sloan are 16.
FIG is responsible for approving athletes for competition.
Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics, in a brief statement Sunday said, "This is an FIG and IOC issue."
According to the New York Times, FIG Secretary General Andre Gueisbuhler responded to questions about He's age by saying:
"We heard these rumors and we immediately wrote to the Chinese gymnastics federation. They immediately sent a copy of the passport, showing the age, and everything is OK. That's all we can check." He also told the New York Times FIG would be "quite happy to check and ask again" if anyone filed a formal complaint.
USA Gymnastics officials were clear that the U.S. would not file a complaint and had not filed one.
Women's gymnastics competition in Beijing begins Aug. 10. The U.S. won the 2007 world championship team gold medal, with China a close second.
Philip Hersh, who covers Olympic sports for The Times and the Chicago Tribune, contributed to this report from Beijing. Times contributor Jordan Schultz also contributed to this report from Los Angeles.
不过，国际体操协会（International Gymnastics Federation）的官员表示，何的年龄已受到中国新闻媒体和美国体操队及体操爱好者的质疑。中国官方网站张贴及官方新闻媒体报导的选手年龄，显示何和江只有14岁，都在奥运规定参赛的年龄以下，这与护照信息矛盾。
最近，1984年洛杉矶奥运会体操全能冠军玛丽·瑞藤（Mary Lou Retton）观看了何和其他中国高低杠选手的比赛录像。她说：“女孩这么少，这么年轻”。谈到何时，瑞藤笑着说：“他们说她16岁 ，但我不知道[是否这样]” 。
该协会秘书长安德烈·奎斯伯勒（Andre Gueisbuhler ）表示：“我们听到这些传言后，立即写信给中国体操协会”。 “他们很快送来护照副本，显示运动员年龄是正确的，这就是我们能够进行的所有检查”。
曾帮助美国的瑞藤和罗马尼亚的纳迪亚·科马内奇荣获奥运金牌的教练贝拉·凯瑞利（Bela Karolyi ）表示，体操运动员的年龄问题已存在多年。在一个独裁国家改变年龄很容易，他说，因为政府可以严格控制官方文件。
他回忆，在1991年世界锦标赛上，朝鲜体操运动员金光淑（Kim Gwang Suk，音译）的前门牙缺两颗。 他认为金当时不超过11岁，其他人争议，金的前牙还是婴儿牙齿，尚未换恒牙。而她的教练说，多年前她在高低杠训练期间发生意外，磕掉这些牙。
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Lin Li (林莉), 1992 - the queen of doping in China
中国高潮 运动员禁药唾手可得 Illegal Doping in China
在星期一德国ARD电视公司的一个名为“中国高潮”(High in Middle Kingdom)记录片中，一名中国医生提供干细胞治疗给一名冒充为美国游泳教练的记者，这个关注中国医生非法帮运动员增强体能的报导，让反禁药专家在北京奥运即将开始之前大感震惊。
这些发现在德国电视台一部名为“中国高潮”的记录片中公布。片中的部分研究是由Craig Lord进行，而且在www.swimnews.com 网站公布。
世界反禁药组织(World Anti-Doping Agency )主任总干事霍曼(David Howman)认为，这个片子所呈现的“比我最坏的担心还要糟糕”。
多伦多运动医生柏斯古(Mauro di Pasquale)在片中表示，中国的改造基因交易持续发生。(改造运动员的基因组成来增强他们的体能，这通常是通过基因疗法来进行。)
Monday, July 21, 2008
“我的路" 第一集已在新唐人电视台播放 "My Way" First Episode Released
视频链锁“我的路” Link to "My Way"：
“我的路" - 四集电视节目已由新唐人电视台制成。 七月二十一日第一集已在新唐人电视台播出。 其余三集也会陆续播出。 Youtube 与新唐人的"人杰地灵"节目也会陆续登载。 这是一部我（陈凯）在心灵上从奴役走向自由的史诗，是一个人从痛苦绝望走向幸福欢乐的真实的故事。 右派网也会在近期陆续登载"我的路". 我希望每一个看了这个电视连续节目的人能从中找到你自己的价值与勇气，无畏地付出代价去争得你的真实的自由与幸福。 --- 陈凯
"My Way", a four-episode TV program by NTDTV, has been completed and the first episode has been released today on NTDTV. The rest three episodes will also be released soon. Youtube and the NTDTV online program "The Extraordinary from the Ordinary" will also carry it. This is a true story (Kai Chen's personal story) of one person's journey from slavery toward freedom, from pain and misery toward joy and happiness. Youpai.org will also post "My Way" soon. I hope all of you who watch this program will be inspired by my story, will pluck up your own courage, pay your own price to find your own true freedom and happiness. --- Kai Chen
《ONE IN A BILLION》 《一比十亿》的作者
迷 惘 年 代
在美国有一句话，到韩战纪念碑，如果去华盛顿在韩战纪念碑有一句话写的非常非常好：Freedom is not free.。一个想争取自由的人一定要付出代价，很多的代价是很沉重的。但是这种沉重的代价--我今天走到自由的这种心态的时候，我觉得是非常值得的。一个人不走向这个，不走向心灵的自由，他的幸福的可能性是没有的。我经常说这个话：一个自由人并不一定幸福，但一个不自由的人绝没有幸福的可能。自由给了你幸福的可能。
我是生在北京， 因为我家里在当时是家庭背景很不好的一个家庭，父母都有一些政治问题。 再加上有台湾的亲属，我父亲一半的人，父亲有十个兄弟姐妹，有一个人在抗战的时候死掉了，其他那些人大部分有五个人跟国民党军队到台湾去了。其他人我父亲跟我爷爷留在中国留在北京，当时在海关工作。 其他去台湾的人走的时候把我奶奶带走了，所以我爷爷跟我奶奶从那以后再也没有见面。 一直到我爷爷去世。一直就再也没有见面。由于家里的台湾的关系，等于是在英语里是Exile，就是被放逐了，被放逐到靠近北韩的一个小城市叫通化。
当然文化大革命的时候，所有的知识青年，我刚初中毕业，都被送到乡下去了。我也被送到乡下去了，我一直对篮球就很爱好，甚至被送到乡下这个过程中，我一直都没有停止自己训练。那时在粮库里，每天要扛麻袋，扛麻袋有二百斤，我才十几岁，身体没有长成嘛，有时去搭肩，是很危险的一件事情。 这个扛麻袋很危险，你走跳板，你要到大粮堆、大粮垛，那时候经常输送机经常停电，停电以后就不会往上把粮食放上去，你要人把粮食抬到粮垛里面去，你要走翘板，翘板还在晃，二百斤的粮食，你试试看。非常危险的一件事情。 但是由于我下乡以后能够在粮库找到一个工作，粮库的球队需要我去打球，所以这样的话，我就有一个机会，那时候我在吉林柳河粮库，我有一个机会就是不用在乡下种地了，我可以到粮库里做一个临时工人，户口还在乡下。那么在作工人的时候一直没有间断打球，一直没有间断练球，虽然粮库里的球队并不经常组织训练，但是我每天早晨起来，第一件事是先练一个小时，然后洗一洗，旁边有一个井，喝一点水，然后洗一洗，压井水，那时候也没有自来水，那么就这样一段时间，我觉得非常奇怪，像这样一种举动，为什么我会有那么大的冲动一个人去练这个事，根本什么希望也没有什么指望，那个时候在全国体育已经被取消了，专业队也已经瘫痪都已经瘫都取消了，什么都没有。没有任何的前途说你将来可以在这方面有什么样的造就，都没有，但是我确实这么做了。
包括有一次土豆皮事件，有一次吃饭的时候，因为土豆皮有很多土，有脏，在中国那种情况下你也知道，我和另外一个人，我的很好的一个朋友就把这个土豆皮扒下来了以后，，结果当时青训队都有政治指导员，政治指导员看到了以后，就把我们整个的就说你们要写检查要向全队写检查，因为你们浪费了土豆皮。我就觉得我整个人生的这么一点希望就是因为一块土豆皮就可能被消灭，就是因为一块土豆皮就有可能—就是你完全攥在别人手里，就是因为你没有吃这个土豆皮，你这一生就能被葬送。当然最后出现了一些事件，就是当时我们做了一些检查，还要吃忆苦饭，还要到什么人民英雄纪念碑前面作宣誓，什么政治宣传和洗脑。好在就是这个政治指导员，他发生了一件丑闻，结果他跑了，结果我们幸存下来了。他发生了丑闻就是他在教育我们这些无产阶级的道德的时候，他自己发生了一件非常严重的政治丑闻、政治事件，他跟一个有夫之妇发生关系，那个有夫之妇突然从楼上跳下来，死了。所以他因为这个事件，被遣送回他的原籍。我在那个时候我就在道德上作了一个鉴别，Oh, my God, 这些人教我的东西全是假的。我从那时候对一切表示怀疑。这些人虽然表面上冠冕堂皇教我们所谓的这些无产阶级道德，但他们自己呢？！使我感觉到周围一切都是假的，没有什么是真实的，但究竟我是不是要追求真实，这是一个重大的选择。
我最好的朋友就被放在国家队田径队也是重点训练，他身体也是非常非常好。这样经过一年的训练，突然有一天，他到我宿舍里来，他说领导已经决定我不能再在这里继续训练，因为我家里有问题。他家里确实以前跟国民党军队有某种关系，他父亲以前是国民党军队里的。那么被发现这种事情，他就被踢走了，我记得我还去送他，我到北京车站去送他。，我送他的时候，我心里充满了绝望。但是我不想让他看出来，因为他不知道我家庭的背景。我最好的朋友不知道我家庭的背景。我知道它迟早会来，就是我也被踢走，肯定是跑不掉的。但是我希望把这个延迟一点，多留在国家队多训练一段时间。 他被踢走的时候，我把他送走，当时北京车站的大钟响着《东方红》，当车子开动的时候，他努力的探出窗户要同我告别。从来没有想到，我从北京车站把他送走的时候最后见一面。 我再也没见到他。从来没有想到，我再也没见到他。但是这件事在我心里永远是一种痛。回到黑龙江，
回到哈尔滨的时候，他就比较绝望，那么绝望的时候他就喝酒，喝酒时候跟他哥哥睡着了，旁边煤气出来，煤气出来就把他熏死了。他也就死了。 可是那个时候，我得到他的消息的时候，我已经被发走了，当然，经过再长一段时间以后，国家体委也发现了我家里的问题，给我下了一个死刑，就说你永远出不了国，你这种家庭情况不适合在国家队待。但是当时我不相信这是一种真实的情况，我知道当时在国家体委有一些有名的教练和有名的运动员他们仍旧可以出国，他们家庭也有社会关系。但是我就认为我的技术水平达到的话，我还是可以出国。 因为他们已经达到了，我只不过是一个很年轻的有天才的人。
很绝望的一件事情就是我想在广州军区重新建立我篮球重新建立自己，从新往前走，这个希望刚刚来的时候，突然，广州军区的政委找我谈话，说你不能留在这儿，国家体委已经叫我们把你送回去。 当时我非常绝望。我当时在那个状态之下，我就觉得活着跟死了没什么区别。我没有任何选择，我在这个社会中生活，没有任何的选择。我被人任意的摆布。那时候确实痛哭了一场，非常绝望，非常绝望，确实痛哭了一场。我记得很清楚，一个人在屋子里，我也不愿意让别人看到。我就想该怎么办，这时候我有一种愤怒，就想God, 当时我还不知道有God，我就想我不能就这样，我一定要鼓起勇气，奋斗一下，干一下。那么，好吧，我跟你一块儿回到北京，我知道回到北京肯定没有好事，我是跑出来的嘛，你肯定回到北京肯定没有好事。回到北京把我隔离了，一个人检查反省交待，有什么动机。当然他们肯定会考虑我跑到广州是因为我有台湾关系，想从广州跑道香港，逃走。这是他们马上的想法。我根本就没这么想，我想是为了篮球。
我在军队里，吃都没吃的，人饿得， 军队里那时候是珍宝岛跟苏联打仗的时候。我的个很大，吃东西比别人多，但是总是吃不饱，再加上非常繁重的体力劳动。那时候在修坝，再加一些军事训练，后来 我身体就越来越快垮下去，后来胃就出血，我自己不知道。我根本不知道胃出血后来生重病，后来回到沈阳军区军区的时候，我根本没法打球，我已经太弱了。以前我随便就可以扣篮的，我有一次摸篮圈都没有摸着。当时我就想：My God. 当时还没有God。我说这怎么办呢？我也没说话，我就跟着队玩命练，我有一种信念不管怎样玩命练。可是我身体已经非常坏，已经有重病。我也不承认，别人也不知道，别人也不会检查。
后来有一天终于我躺下来，我起不来了，我还记得非常清楚，我起不来的时候高烧，没有一个人来看。那时不是说解放军是大学校，互相热爱嘛，根本没有一个人来看你。 在那边开会的时候，我心里非常清楚，我晕晕乎乎的，那边就响起唱歌：解放军是大学校，毛思想红旗举的高。“那歌声传过来，给我这个刺激。我一股火就冒起来了。 那时候我就大骂，我就用世界上最脏的字骂。骂的时候 因为我嗓子痛的不得了，也骂不太多。后来有人在走廊里听到了，报告说陈凯说胡话了，我根本没说胡话，我说的是真话。但他们说我说胡话了，给我送医院。我在医院里住了很久，我在医院里住了一个礼拜，打盘尼西林烧退了。
在这一个月之间的时候，我收到一封信，是我最好的朋友他死了。我在那个时候，最绝望的时候受到那么一封信。在那时候各方面的打击就不说了， 对你这篮球生涯根本就不提了，又来这么一个噩耗。 你怎么对待？你怎么对待？一般的人就垮了吧，完了吧。反正没有什么希望。 我最好的朋友也跟我一样，不也死了，我将来就是死路一条吧。大概没有什么太大希望。但是我还是这样我拒绝失望，我拒绝这个东西。
Thursday, July 17, 2008
中国五毛共奴授意发动网络超限战 China’s Guerrilla War for the Web
如下的文章确定了我曾有过的对五毛共奴存在的怀疑。 我希望所有良知人士们对中共党政技俩有清晰的认识，并由此对五毛共奴的攻击有足够的精神准备。 --- 陈凯
The following article confirms my suspicion about the existence of the "Fifty Cents" communist net slaves/attack dogs. I hope all the people with conscience realize that the scheme of the Chinese Party-state is only the last straw before their demise. We must ready ourselves for a new round of battle. --- Kai Chen
中国五毛共奴授意发动网络超限战 China’s Guerrilla War for the Web
China’s Guerrilla War for the Web
by David Bandurski
They have been called the “Fifty Cent Party,” the “red vests” and the “red vanguard.” But China’s growing armies of Web commentators—instigated, trained and financed by party organizations—have just one mission: to safeguard the interests of the Communist Party by infiltrating and policing a rapidly growing Chinese Internet. They set out to neutralize undesirable public opinion by pushing pro-Party views through chat rooms and Web forums, reporting dangerous content to authorities.
By some estimates, these commentary teams now comprise as many as 280,000 members nationwide, and they show just how serious China’s leaders are about the political challenges posed by the Web. More importantly, they offer tangible clues about China’s next generation of information controls—what President Hu Jintao last month called “a new pattern of public-opinion guidance.”
It was around 2005 that party leaders started getting more creative about how to influence public opinion on the Internet. The problem was that China’s traditional propaganda apparatus was geared toward suppression of news and information. This or that story, Web site or keyword could be banned, blocked or filtered. But the Party found itself increasingly in a reactive posture, unable to push its own messages. This problem was compounded by more than a decade of commercial media reforms, which had driven a gap of credibility and influence between commercial Web sites and metropolitan media on the one hand, and old party mouthpieces on the other.
In March 2005, a bold new tactic emerged in the wake of a nationwide purge by the Ministry of Education of college bulletin-board systems. As Nanjing University, one of the country’s leading academic institutions, readied itself for the launch of a new campus forum after the forced closure of its popular “Little Lily” BBS, school officials recruited a team of zealous students to work part time as “Web commentators.” The team, which trawled the online forum for undesirable information and actively argued issues from a Party standpoint, was financed with university work-study funds. In the months that followed, party leaders across Jiangsu Province began recruiting their own teams of Web commentators. Rumors traveled quickly across the Internet that these Party-backed monitors received 50 mao, or roughly seven cents, for each positive post they made. The term Fifty Cent Party, or wumaodang, was born.
The push to outsource Web controls to these teams of pro-government stringers went national on Jan. 23, 2007, as President Hu urged party leaders to “assert supremacy over online public opinion, raise the level and study the art of online guidance, and actively use new technologies to increase the strength of positive propaganda.” Mr. Hu stressed that the Party needed to “use” the Internet as well as control it.
One aspect of this point was brought home immediately, as a government order forced private Web sites, including several run by Nasdaq-listed firms, to splash news of Mr. Hu’s Internet speech on their sites for a week. Soon after that speech, the General Offices of the cpc and the State Council issued a document calling for the selection of “comrades of good ideological and political character, high capability and familiarity with the Internet to form teams of Web commentators ... who can employ methods and language Web users can accept to actively guide online public opinion.”
By the middle of 2007, schools and party organizations across the country were reporting promising results from their teams of Web commentators. Shanxi Normal University’s 12-member “red vanguard” team made regular reports to local Party officials. One report boasted that team members had managed to neutralize an emerging BBS debate about whether students should receive junior college diplomas rather than vocational certificates, the former being much more valuable in China’s competitive job market. “A question came up among students about what kind of diplomas they would receive upon graduation,” the university report read. “A number of vanguards quickly discovered the postings and worked together to enforce guidance with good results.”
China’s Culture Ministry now regularly holds training sessions for Web commentators, who are required to pass an exam before being issued with job certification. A Chinese investigative report for an influential commercial magazine, suppressed by authorities late last year but obtained by this writer, describes in some detail a September 2007 training session held at the Central Academy of Administration in Beijing, at which talks covered such topics as “Guidance of Public Opinion Problems on the Internet” and “Crisis Management for Web Communications.”
In a strong indication of just how large the Internet now looms in the Party’s daily business, the report quotes Guan Jianwen, the vice president of People’s Daily Online, as saying during the training session: “In China, numerous secret internal reports are sent up to the Central Party Committee through the system each year. Of those few hundred given priority and action by top leaders, two-thirds are now from the Internet Office [of the State Council Information Office].”
The CCP’s growing concern about the Internet is based partly on the recognition of the Web’s real power. Even with the limitations imposed by traditional and technical systems of censorship—the best example of the latter being the so-called “Great Firewall”—the Internet has given ordinary Chinese a powerful interactive tool that can be used to share viewpoints and information, and even to organize.
But the intensified push to control the Internet, of which China’s Web commentators are a critical part, is also based on a strongly held belief among Party leaders that China, which is to say the CCP, is engaged in a global war for public opinion. In Gongjian, a book released earlier this year that some regard as President Hu’s political blueprint, two influential Party theorists wrote in somewhat alarmist terms of the history of “color revolutions” in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. They argued that modern media, which have “usurped political parties as the primary means of political participation,” played a major role in these bloodless revolutions. “The influence of the ruling party faces new challenges,” they wrote. “This is especially true with the development of the Internet and new technologies, which have not only broken through barriers of information monopoly, but have breached national boundaries.”
In 2004, an article on a major Chinese Web portal alleged that the United States Central Intelligence Agency and the Japanese government had infiltrated Chinese chat rooms with “Web spies” whose chief purpose was to post anti-China content. The allegations were never substantiated, but they are now a permanent fixture of China’s Internet culture, where Web spies, or wangte, are imagined to be facing off against the Fifty Cent Party.
Whatever the case, there is a very real conviction among party leaders that China is defending itself against hostile “external forces” and that the domestic Internet is a critical battleground. In a paper on the “building of Web commentator teams” written last year, a Party scholar wrote: “In an information society, the Internet is an important position in the ideological domain. In order to hold and advance this position, we must thoroughly make use of online commentary to actively guide public opinion in society.”
Mr. Hu’s policy of both controlling and using the Internet, which the authors of Gongjian emphasize as the path forward, is the Party’s war plan. Chinese Web sites are already feeling intensified pressure on both counts. “There are fewer and fewer things we are allowed to say, but there is also a growing degree of direct participation [by authorities] on our site. There are now a huge number of Fifty Cent Party members spreading messages on our site,” says an insider at one mainland Web site.
According to this source, Web commentators were a decisive factor in creating a major incident over remarks by CNN’s Jack Cafferty, who said during an April program that Chinese were “goons and thugs.” “Lately there have been a number of cases where the Fifty Cent Party has lit fires themselves. One of the most obvious was over CNN’s Jack Cafferty. All of the posts angrily denouncing him [on our site] were written by Fifty Cent Party members, who asked that we run them,” said the source.
“Priority” Web sites in China are under an order from the Information Office requiring that they have their own in-house teams of government-trained Web commentators. That means that many members of the Fifty Cent Party are now working from the inside, trained and backed by the Information Office with funding from commercial sites. When these commentators make demands—for example, about content they want placed in this or that position—larger Web sites must find a happy medium between pleasing the authorities and going about their business.
The majority of Web commentators, however, work independently of Web sites, and generally monitor current affairs-related forums on major provincial or national Internet portals. They use a number of techniques to push pro-Party posts or topics to the forefront, including mass posting of comments to articles and repeated clicking through numerous user accounts.
“The goal of the government is to crank up the ‘noise’ and drown out progressive and diverse voices on China’s Internet,” says Isaac Mao, a Chinese Web entrepreneur and expert on social media. “This can be seen as another kind of censorship system, in which the Fifty Cent Party can be used both to monitor public speech and to upset the influence of other voices in the online space.”
Some analysts, however, say the emergence of China’s Web commentators suggest a weakening of the Party’s ideological controls. “If you look at it from another perspective, the Fifty Cent Party may not be so terrifying,” says Li Yonggang, assistant director of the Universities Service Centre for China Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. “Historically speaking, the greatest strength of the CCP has been in carrying out ideological work among the people. Now, however, the notion of ‘doing ideological work’ has lost its luster. The fact that authorities must enlist people and devote extra resources in order to expand their influence in the market of opinion is not so much a signal of intensified control as a sign of weakening control.”
Whatever the net results for the Party, the rapid national deployment of the Fifty Cent Party signals a shift in the way party leaders approach information controls in China. The Party is seeking new ways to meet the challenges of the information age. And this is ultimately about more than just the Internet. President Hu’s June 20 speech, the first since he came to office in 2002 to lay out comprehensively his views on the news media, offered a bold new vision of China’s propaganda regime. Mr. Hu reiterated former President Jiang Zemin’s concept of “guidance of public opinion,” the idea, emerging in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Massacre, that the Party can maintain order by controlling news coverage. But he also talked about ushering in a “new pattern of public-opinion guidance.”
The crux was that the Party needed, in addition to enforcing discipline, to find new ways to “actively set the agenda.” Mr. Hu spoke of the Internet and China’s new generation of commercial newspapers as resources yet to be exploited. “With the Party [media] in the lead,” he said, “we must integrate the metropolitan media, Internet media and other propaganda resources.”
Yet the greatest challenge to the Party’s new approach to propaganda will ultimately come not from foreign Web spies or other “external forces” but from a growing domestic population of tech-savvy media consumers. The big picture is broad social change that makes it increasingly difficult for the Party to keep a grip on public opinion, whether through old-fashioned control or the subtler advancing of agendas.
This point became clear on June 20, as President Hu visited the official People’s Daily to make his speech on media controls and sat down for what Chinese and Western media alike called an “unprecedented” online dialogue with ordinary Web users. The first question he answered came from a Web user identified as “Picturesque Landscape of Our Country”: “Do you usually browse the Internet?” he asked. “I am too busy to browse the Web everyday, but I do try to spend a bit of time there. I especially enjoy People’s Daily Online’s Strong China Forum, which I often visit,” the president answered.
On the sidelines, the search engines were leaping into action. Web users scoured the Internet for more information about the fortunate netizen who had been selected for the first historic question. Before long the Web was riddled with posts reporting the results. They claimed that Mr. Hu’s exchange was a “confirmed case” of Fifty Cent Party meddling. As it turned out, “Picturesque Landscape of Our Country” had been selected on three previous occasions to interact with party leaders in the same People’s Daily Online forum.
For many Chinese Internet users, these revelations could mean only one thing—Party leaders were talking to themselves after all.
Mr. Bandurski is a free-lance journalist and a scholar at the China Media Project, a research program of the Journalism & Media Studies Centre at the University of Hong Kong.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Chinese red tape redefines freedom for the press
July 12, 2008
"WE WILL give the media complete freedom to report when they come to China." So promised one of the most senior Chinese Olympic officials, Wang Wei, in 2001 on the eve of the International Olympic Committee awarding Beijing the 2008 Games.
Seven years on, and the issue that has always been a concern to international journalists: the extent to which the Communist Party would allow the world to freely opine - has become a fissure of dissent between the IOC and Chinese authorities.
How big the crack widens before the Opening Ceremony on August 8 will depend very much on China's stance in the next week or so.
It's not looking good. Many media can't even get into the country. Visas are being so restricted, many television and radio networks are rejigging plans. Channels Nine and Ten have spent more than a year satisfying the paperwork for 30 or so technical and support staff. They are due to leave next week, but still do not have the necessary invitations from the Chinese government for the visas to be issued. Reporters Without Borders has received similar complaints from European journalists.
Rights holders, such as Australia's Seven Network, aren't having an easy time either. Like the broadcast giant NBC, the global networks that have paid many millions for the right to cover the Games are having difficulties getting satellite trucks around the city, organising scenic backdrops, obtaining allocation of frequencies. Most importantly, the reliability of transmission, particularly during any sensitive riots, protests or other such sensitive activities is a concern. The Chinese state television "live" feed, for instance, will have a 10-second delay, so any uncomfortable moments such as an athlete demonstrating, will be able to be edited out. Earlier this week, the Chinese agreed to some of the networks' requests.
Kevan Gosper is vice-chairman of the IOC Co-ordination Commission, charged with liaising with the Beijing Olympic organisers (BOCOG). He is also the IOC's press commission chairman. He said this week he had urged a relaxation of the toughened visa requirements to BOCOG. He said he would be very disappointed if bona fide journalists were not allowed into China but noted: "At the end of the day, their issuance of visas, like our issuance of visas, is very much a national matter."
Behind the scenes, the dialogue is more intense. Several months ago, Chinese leaders imposed a new level of political bureaucracy over BOCOG. That isn't new - Sydney did a similar power shuffle in 2000 when SOCOG chairman Michael Knight shafted chief executive Sandy Hollway and elevated his Olympic Co-ordination Authority honcho David Richmond to the top job.
But the Chinese changes have brought a dramatic shift in the tone of the preparations. Where there was a willingness to bow to outside influences, or at least appear to listen, in a desire to present China in the best possible light, has devolved into a far different beast. Tibetan riots, fears of Falun Gong protests and tensions in Xinjiang, a separatist Muslim region, have raised the domestic temperature. Now the Chinese view is the Games must be protected at all costs, and that might mean upsetting some political foes and tightly controlling who is in the city for the Games.
Last week Norman Choy, a reporter from the Apple Daily, a well-known anti-Communist paper in Hong Kong, was refused entry into Beijing, even though he possessed Olympic accreditation. He was told he was turned back because of national security laws. "We've been hearing rumours that Beijing has been tightening restrictions on certain media and suspicious individuals … I was prepared to be followed or to have my credentials checked, but to have my travel document confiscated surprised me," Choy said.
This week, China' Communist Party senior leader, Li Changchun, promised: "China will provide good media services for journalists covering the Olympics," adding that anyone unhappy could complain directly to the BOCOG president.
He said he wanted overseas journalists to "make full coverage of the Olympics and tell the world a true China".
Funny, that is what the journalists want to do, too.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Beijing-Bound Bush Should Be Ashamed
The president will be paying homage to China's autocrats — not American athletes — when he attends the opening ceremony of the Olympics.
July 9, 2008 - by Gordon G. Chang
Criticism continues to mount over President Bush’s decision, announced last Thursday, to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. John McCain and Barack Obama said they would hold off making the commitment to go, and others said outright that he should not appear at the event. “I think that a president who has said we are conducting warfare in different parts of the world in order to promote democracy and human rights loses credibility when he announces that he is going to attend the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in a country that is the world’s worst human rights abuser,” said Representative Dana Rohrabacher, the plain-speaking California Republican. Radio talk show host Joe Madison was even more direct: “This is the equivalent of a president going to Nazi Germany in 1936. This is absolutely wrong.”
Yet Dubya, believing he is positively right, is determined to show up in the Chinese capital on August 8. “He believes he’s going to China to support first and foremost our athletes,” said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino. “He sees this as a sporting competition.”
Really? As rationalizations go, this one is particularly weak. As the president’s staff may know, there will be no competitive events held during the opening ceremony. Moreover, there won’t be that many American athletes there anyway. Most of them will be staying away from China until the last possible moment to minimize exposure to the capital city’s chemical-laden, particle-heavy atmosphere. If his goal is to cheer America’s finest competitors on August 8, he should instead go to their training camp in nearby Japan.
It would have been better if Ms. Perino had told the truth and said “the president is going to Beijing to pay homage to China’s autocrats even though his presence will be seen as support for their efforts to legitimize their abhorrent rule.” These words, although lacking in diplomatic nicety, at least would have had the advantage of not being a transparent fabrication. Just about everyone knows that the Chinese are using the opening ceremony as a loyalty test for foreign presidents and prime ministers. By showing up, President Bush, who did not go to Athens in 2004 or Turin in 2006, will be performing the modern version of the kowtow to the Chinese supremos. The once-inspiring leader who said he would make no compromises in defending freedom will be traveling halfway around the globe to honor unrepentant dictators. President Bush, in short, will undermine all that he stands for as he attends a three-and-a-half-hour spectacle glorifying Chinese communism.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Foreign coaches are a tough fit in Chinese sports system
Some foreign coaches feel a culture clash with a Chinese sports system that resists change even as it demands near-immediate results.
By Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
July 8, 2008
BEIJING -- Joseph Capousek, 62, sits drinking German beer, trying to make sense of it. Hired in 2005 as coach of China's canoeing and kayaking team, he was sacked in June, six weeks before the Olympics.
The Czech-born German national was hired to introduce ideas and techniques to a sport in which China had limited experience but outsized ambitions. Over a 25-year career, he had guided German paddlers to 18 Olympic gold medals.
Yet, Capousek said, he ran into a system that resisted change while demanding near-immediate results. The obsession was so great that the Chinese-language version of his contract, which he couldn't read, said he would guarantee a gold medal. The German translation merely cited it as a goal.
"This is crazy, stupid. How can you guarantee a medal?" he said. "They don't understand anything about sport if they say that."
He acknowledged that he probably tried to change too much too quickly. But he said there was no long-term planning, only endless practice.
Capousek also said many sports officials were more intent on personal gain than national glory, describing some who left on trips abroad with empty suitcases that were full of luxury goods on their return, apparently paid for by others.
The Sports Ministry declined to comment on Capousek's comments or departure. A New China News Agency report said his results were far below expectation.
Capousek is the latest of several foreign coaches to run into culture clashes with China's insular sports system.
"They want the knowledge, but won't accept the new system with it," said Francesco Liello, Beijing correspondent of Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.
The relentless focus on training can take a toll on athletes too. Xu Cuijuan, a distance runner and cyclist at provincial and national levels from 1993 to 2002, said she felt betrayed by a system that used her, then left her with little education, insurance or future.
"The coaches were very strict and hit or scolded us," she said. "After practice, sometimes I couldn't sleep or walk downstairs to the toilet because of all the blisters, my blackened toenails falling off."
Since being dropped by the team in 2003, she has worked at a golf course picking up golf balls for $140 a month. But others said differences over coaching style and a lack of athlete free choice were relative.
"Athletes have to give up some personal opportunity to achieve big Olympic goals," said Huang Yaning, head of the Olympic Studies Center at Beijing Sports University. "The system inspires people to move forward and become stronger."
Monday, July 7, 2008
Smog in Beijing five times over safety limit as Olympics nears
Pollution around the Olympic stadium in Beijing could be five times worse than levels deemed safe by the World Health Organisation.
Chinese officials admit they can no longer guarantee that the air quality will match international standards as pollution tests by The Sunday Times revealed the full extent of the challenge facing British athletes.
With just five weeks to go before the start of the Beijing Games, tests conducted outside the national stadium — known as the Bird’s Nest — and at Tiananmen Square, the starting point of the marathon, showed the air is thick with particulate pollution.
Even the Chinese government’s official air pollution index — which monitors a range of pollutants, including carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide — is running at double the level recommended by the WHO.
Four wheels bad, two wheels good
Beijing to ban a million cars to reduce smog
Du Shaozhong, deputy director of Beijing’s Environmental Protection Bureau, said: “We made a commitment to ensure air quality for the Olympic Games . . . as for whether we have reached the goal, that will be examined after the event.”
The British team is taking no chances and will train in Macau on the southern coast until the last minute to minimise athletes’ exposure to Beijing’s smog.
Haile Gebrselassie, the world’s leading long-distance runner, who suffers from asthma, has already pulled out of the marathon.
Last week The Sunday Times used an industrial hand-held air monitor to measure the number of particles in the atmosphere, which include car emissions and coal dust from factories. The particles are considered the biggest polluting factor.
The average reading at the stadium was 780,000 particles per litre of air. Even factoring in a 25% margin of error for humidity levels exaggerating the readings, this is more than five times the amount deemed safe by the WHO. The organisation considers 105,000 particles per litre of air a health risk.
Average readings at Tiananmen Square were lower — but still four times worse than the WHO standards when factoring in the humidity.
“Anything over 300,000 would be very worrying if you were using the same equipment in London,” said Professor Frank Kelly, a pollution expert at Kings College London.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
北京奥运前的蝗虫灾 Locusts to China's list of calamities - Truly Biblical
Add locusts to China's list of calamities
Riots -- check. Earthquake -- check. Flood -- check. Plague -- check. Such a concentration of woes in this high-profile year has fanned rumors and superstition.
By Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
July 3, 2008
BEIJING -- First there was the freak snowstorm in February. Then the Tibetan riots in March. Then in rapid succession the controversial torch relay, Sichuan earthquake, widespread flooding and an algae bloom that's tarnishing the Olympic sailing venue. Just when it seemed that nothing else could go wrong this year in China, the locusts arrived.
Locusts? What is going on here? The litany of near-biblical woes would seem to lack only a famine, frogs and smiting of the first born.
The Middle Kingdom's parade of problems has threatened to put a major damper on China's anticipated moment of glory less than five weeks before the start of the 2008 Beijing Games.
"This sure has been a weird year," said Ma Zhijie, 20, who works in a coffee shop. "There are so many disasters, it's hard to know what's happening."
Authorities have been working overtime to tackle, contain and spin their way out of each new setback. But the volume of calamities this year would challenge any government, let alone one that has staked so much on pulling off the perfect Olympic Games.
This week, China sent out an all-points bulletin for exterminators. About 33,000 professional pest killers were quickly dispatched to Inner Mongolia in hope of preventing a cloud of locusts from descending on Beijing during the Games.
The vermin apparently hatched a month early because of warmer-than-usual weather and already have eaten their way through 3.2 million acres of grassland in three areas of the countryside. With the capital only a few hundred miles away and the Chinese leadership in no mood to take chances, about 200 tons of pesticide, 100,000 sprayers and four aircraft have been thrown into this battle against the bugs.
"To ensure a smooth Olympic Games and stable agricultural production, we have launched a full prevention plan to prevent and control further locust migration," Bao Xiang, head of the badly hit Xilingol League grassland work station, told the state-run New China News Agency.
Though China's response to some of the year's crises was sluggish, by the time the magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck Sichuan province in May the government was able to mount a rapid and effective response.
"All the disasters this year have certainly given the government lots of practice at crisis management," said Peng Zongchao, a public policy professor at Beijing's Qinghua University. "Some have been natural, some man-made, some related to health, some to social security."
China is no stranger to disasters, natural or man-made. But such a series of woes in this high-profile year has fanned rumors and superstition in a nation where people pay huge sums for lucky license plate numbers and feng shui consultants are in high demand.
China has sought to bank as much good luck as possible before the Olympics next month. The opening ceremony begins at 8:08 p.m. on the eighth day of the eighth month of 2008. Eight is considered a lucky number by the Chinese because in Mandarin the number sounds like the word for "prosperity."
Also, the government built the Olympic Village on a meridian directly north of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, consistent with Beijing's core feng shui principles.
These supplications to the gods of fortune by an officially atheist Communist government, however, apparently weren't enough. This year has also seen sharply rising prices, a falling stock market, an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease and a major train collision.
The killing of six policemen in Shanghai this week and a riot involving as many as 30,000 people in Guizhou province, southwest of Beijing, after the mysterious death of a high school girl have raised fears of more problems.
For the leaders, this bad patch is more than something to shake their heads over. The nation's 5,000-year history is littered with dynasties that collapsed because the population believed leaders had lost the "mandate of heaven."
Among the Internet search terms restricted in recent months include those linking the earthquake to the curse of heaven, "the anger by the heaven" or the change of dynasty.
"There's no such thing as luck, these are just natural disasters," said Zhao Shu, a researcher in the Beijing Literature and Historical Research Institute. "These rumors will be disproved over time."
But some say the government may share the blame.
"Officials have picked up stones to hit their own feet," said Zhou Xiaozheng, a sociologist at People's University in Beijing, citing a Chinese proverb. "Even as they decry rumors and superstition surrounding all this bad news, they laid the groundwork with their focus on 8s and by calling the Olympic torch a sacred flame. Now common people are throwing it back at them."
Some rumormongers say that the three numbers of the date of the earthquake, 5/12, add up to eight, which evokes prosperity, but it also sounds like the word for "handcuffs."
Internet postings have even started linking the five Chinese Olympic mascots, known as fuwa or "friendly children," to inauspicious events:
Beibei, a blue fish-like creature, is linked to June floods in the south that killed 176 people and affected 43 million.
Jingjing, who resembles a panda, represents the quake that killed at least 85,000 in Sichuan, where most pandas live.
Yingying, a Tibetan antelope, is tied to the unrest in Lhasa, the capital of the mountainous region.
Flame-headed Huanhuan is linked to the torch protests.
And Nini, a swallow with a headdress that looks like a kite, is said to represent a major train crash in April in an eastern city known for its kites.
"What can you do," said Liu Feng, 39, a salesman. "Some people are superstitious and some are not. China always has disasters"
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Olympics triggering tragic Chinese crackdown:
Congressman by Robert J. Saiget
Tue Jul 1, 9:06 AM ET
BEIJING (AFP) - A leading US congressman said Tuesday China was carrying out a tragic crackdown to smother dissent during the Olympics, triggering a warning by Beijing to butt out or risk harming Sino-US ties.
"Tragically, the Olympics has triggered a massive crackdown designed to silence and put beyond reach all those whose views differ from the official 'harmonious' government line," U.S. Representative Christopher Smith told journalists.
"On Sunday night, three human rights lawyers with whom we had scheduled to have dinner, were threatened, then taken away or placed under house arrest by the police. Our meeting never occurred."
The detained rights lawyers, veteran activists Teng Biao, Li Heping and Li Baiguang, had not violated any law, he said.
The two Lis, believed to be unrelated, were given awards by the US National Endowment for Democracy last week, when they also met US President George W. Bush in the White House.
Smith, who is travelling with fellow Republican Congressmen Frank Wolf, is his party's ranking legislator on the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. Both have criticised China's human rights record for years.
During their visit the two congressmen handed over to the Chinese government a list of 734 "political prisoners" and urged their release.
"The two congressmen have come to China as the guest of the US Embassy in China. Their purpose is to make internal consultations with the US officials," foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told journalists.
"During their stay in China they should not engage in activities inconsistent with their purpose... we hope they don't do anything to interfere in China's internal affairs or sabotage Sino-US relations."
Liu insisted the police had handled the detained activists "in accordance with the law," but refused to say which law or regulation prevented ordinary Chinese from meeting foreign dignitaries.
Smith said China had failed to deliver on its promise to improve its human rights record when it was awarded the right to host the Olympics.
"Just the opposite is happening," he said.
"At the time, the argument certainly appeared plausible, if not compelling, but in the years, now months, running up to the Olympics, the reality has been numbingly disappointing," Smith said.
Rights group Chinese Human Rights Defenders has said numerous other high-profile activists have been warned or detained in recent weeks as Beijing prepares for the Olympic Games, which open on August 8.
These include rights lawyers Li Heping, Li Fanping, Zhang Xingshui and writer and social critic Liu Xiaobo, the group said Tuesday.
The deepening crackdown came as lawyers for prominent activist Ni Yulan filed a legal complaint accusing police of beating her in custody.
The 48-year-old Ni was detained in April, but her lawyers were only allowed to see her in mid-June.
"She was in a very bad condition when I saw her, she could hardly walk, she was very, very weak and deathly pale," lawyer Hu Xiao said.
"She said she had been beaten during the interrogation."
Ni was arrested in 2002 and served a year in prison for organising people evicted from their homes to make way for Beijing's frenetic development and for petitioning the government, her husband Dong Jiqin said.
Her arrest came as rights campaigner Hu Jia, 34, was sentenced in April to three and a half years in prison for inciting subversion, while cyber-dissident Lu Gengsong, 51, got four years for the same crime in February.
Other prominent dissidents to disappear into custody in recent months include Gao Zhisheng, Huang Qi, Hou Wenzhuo, Xu Zhenqing and Cui Fufang, rights groups said.
Over the weekend, China ordered local governments to take measures to prevent regional grievances escalating into protests that could tarnish the Olympics.
The order came after a violent riot by 30,000 people threw the spotlight on deep social tensions.