New Internationalist

Inside China’s prisons

July 2008

Civil unrest is rising in China, particularly in rural areas where people are increasingly disgruntled because of corrupt or inefficient officials. More and more protesters are demanding freedom of speech and the right to be heard. But the risks are considerable – particularly as the Chinese Government is determined to show the rest of the world a unified and happy population during August’s Olympics.

‘It’s difficult to know for sure how many political prisoners there currently are in China,’ explains Dr Yang Jianli, a labour rights activist who spent five years in a Chinese jail. ‘A lot were put in labour camps without due process so their cases are off the record, but it’s safe to say that there are thousands of them.’

Dr Yang’s experience of incarceration was brutal, and quite typical. He was kept in solitary confinement for 18 months and tortured both physically and psychologically. It was over a year before his desperate family found out what had happened to him.

Most of China’s prisoners of conscience, imprisoned, according to Dr Yang, ‘for no other reason than that they tried to exercise their basic right to speak and assemble freely’, are leaders and organizers of protests, journalists who expose government corruption, scholars whose work challenges the ruling party, and human rights lawyers.

Hear the full interview with Dr Yang on Radio New Internationalist: www.newint.org/radio/

This column was published in the July 2008 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

Comments on Inside China’s prisons

Leave your comment







 

  • Maximum characters allowed: 5000
  • Simple HTML allowed: bold, italic, and links

Registration is quick and easy. Plus you won’t have to re-type the blurry words to comment!
Register | Login

...And all is quiet.

Subscribe to Comments for this articleArticle Comment Feed RSS 2.0

Guidelines: Please be respectful of others when posting your reply.

Get our free fortnightly eNews

Multimedia

Videos from visionOntv's globalviews channel.

Related articles

Recently in Currents

All Currents

Popular tags

All tags

This article was originally published in issue 413

New Internationalist Magazine issue 413
Issue 413

More articles from this issue

  • Couscous (La Graine et Le Mulet)

    July 1, 2008

    Kechiche, like Fatih Akin, the Turkish-German film-maker, shows us how the lives of migrants and their children straddle cultures, and, like Akin’s Head-On, Couscous is passionate and earthy.

  • Toxic blocks

    July 1, 2008

    No-one said oil was clean. But Ecuador’s experience of extracting fossil fuels is about as bad as it gets, reports David Ransom.

  • John McCain

    July 1, 2008

    Presidential hopeful John McCain gets the treatment

New Internationalist Magazine Issue 436

If you would like to know something about what's actually going on, rather than what people would like you to think was going on, then read the New Internationalist.

– Emma Thompson –

A subscription to suit you

Save money with a digital subscription. Give a gift subscription that will last all year. Or get yourself a free trial to New Internationalist. See our choice of offers.

Subscribe