In a global effort to attain “soft power” matching its growing economic and military prowess, China spends huge sums operating Confucius Institutes at hundreds of foreign universities and internationalising its media outlets. The goal is to promote respect for its contemporary civilisation and thereby enhance the government’s political influence and image. Yet the effects of these programmes – unlike similar efforts by democratic countries – are undermined by daily reports of not only the repression of basic freedoms by the “people’s democratic dictatorship”, but also the unfair criminal justice system that is the major instrument of this repression.
Posts Tagged ‘ house arrest ’
Following blind ‘barefoot lawyer’ and activist Chen Guangcheng’s escape from prolonged confinement, and the continuing developments in his story, Professor Jerome A. Cohen has been actively responding to media requests for information. We will provide links to many of the reports on this story in which he has been cited or interviewed here.
[Photo: Cohen visits Chinese "barefoot lawyer" Chen Guangcheng in his rural village home in 2003. (© Joan Lebold Cohen)]
On Thursday, March 8, 2012, the revised draft of the criminal procedure law was formally introduced to the national legislature in China, including stricter revisions that restrict the police’s power to secretly detain people–at least on paper. Professor Cohen’s commentary is available here.
Before the end of this month, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress will review the second draft of a proposal for comprehensive revisions to China’s Criminal Procedure Law. Despite some tweaks made under public pressure, it’s clear the revisions will be one step forward and two steps back for justice, at least for the politically controversial.
Recent developments in the investigation of the famous artist-activist Ai Weiwei have again laid bare the extent to which China’s police have warped the country’s Criminal Procedure Law. On May 16, Ai’s family announced that his wife had just been allowed to see him for about twenty minutes of monitored conversation in an unknown place. It might have seemed that the police, perhaps to take the sting out of widespread foreign condemnation of their conduct in the case, were softening their attitude after keeping Ai in unexplained incommunicado detention for six weeks. Yet, as the official Chinese news agency, Xinhua, confirmed on May 20, instead of demonstrating uncharacteristic police leniency, this visit revealed a new stage in Ai’s prolonged detention, one that constitutes a stark violation of Chinese law.