Beijing hunts for the evil ones

Editor's note: WorldNetDaily international correspondent Anthony C. LoBaido has been updating readers on China through his semi-regular report "China Watch." In this installment, LoBaido analyzes the plethora of human-rights abuses carried out recently by the dictators in Beijing.

In the wake of America's recent standoff with China over the U.S. surveillance plane incident, the communist rulers in Beijing have become increasingly belligerent in dealing with their own people.

According to a public statement released April 13, the unified plan of party committees details new plans for cracking down on dissent inside China. The statement reads that Shanghai police will regard the effort to "strike at sinister forces and eliminate evil ones" as their primary work in their efforts to ensure the sustained stability of public order in Shanghai.

The plan calls on China's police to carry out this operation across the entire city of Shaghai, wiping out "sinister and evil forces," striking at the "two types of robberies" and intensifying the effort to "rectify chaotic situations." At the same time, efforts will be made to implement long-term effective management measures to earnestly improve the ability of the public security organs at all levels to uphold and control public order.

The statement, reported by Shanghai's Wen Hui Bao media organization, stated that the government will seek to "thoroughly reverse the situation in some areas where the activities of hooligans and evil forces are prominent, effectively [stopping] the growing momentum of serious violent crimes, serious economic crimes and drug-related crimes." The statement said the government wants to "further increase the sense of security and satisfaction among the masses of the people."

The evil ones

But just who are the "evil ones" inside China?

Some of the "evil ones" likely include pro-democracy activists. According to the April 1 edition of the South China Morning Post, a prominent Hong Kong democracy activist was reportedly "watched" by PRC agents prior to his murder.

Hong Kong democracy activist Leung Wah was being watched by mainland state security agents before he was murdered in Shenzhen because of his work with Chinese dissidents, it has been claimed. The head of a New York-based pro-democracy group, Tang Baiqiao, says Leung, 44, was questioned by Shenzhen customs officers for two hours when he tried to take relief funds for the families of mainland dissidents into China in 1999.

Tang was quoted on a U.S.-based website as saying that the Ministry of State Security had been keeping an eye on Leung before his death. He said the group would investigate the killing with other pro-democracy groups because they feared it could signal the start of a series of major blows for the democratic movement on the mainland.

Leung, who also owned a bookstore, disappeared after being lured to Shenzhen on November 22. His charred body was dumped outside a hospital in the city the next day. The identity of the corpse was confirmed by Hong Kong police. Tang said Leung joined their group in early 1998 and was entrusted with a liaison role with the mainland.

Another group of "evil ones" include Chinese farmers who dared to leak state secrets by allegedly uncovering corrupt practices on the mammoth Three Gorges Dam project on the Yangtze River. Also in April, the Armed Forces Press reported that four farmers – He Kechang, Ran Chongxin, Jiang Qingshan and Wen Dingchun – were arrested for allegedly detailing the systematic embezzlement of resettlement funds for the huge project.

According to Human Rights Watch and Probe International, the four arrested farmers' "crimes" likely include making contact with the international and Hong Kong press. The farmers are among the over 1 million people expected to be relocated because of the project. They were arrested in March as they prepared to come to Beijing to formally petition the government over the alleged corruption. Yunyang County, the farmers' home, is in the middle of what will become the dam's huge reservoir area.

Human Rights Watch is a New York-based rights group, while Probe International is a Canadian-based group that has closely monitored environmental and human-rights abuses brought on by the construction of the $27 billion dam, the world's biggest hydroelectric project. The government has earmarked a total of 22.5 billion yuan ($2.7 billion) to relocate 1.3 million people whose homes will be swamped by the dam, in a process that has been plagued by corruption.

Chinese officials, while conceding embezzlement is a problem, have given mixed signals about the amount of money involved. In late October, the Three Gorges Project Construction Committee said only 28 million yuan ($3.4 million), or little more than 0.1 percent of all relocation funds, had been embezzled. The figure was a fraction of the $600 million reported missing from the resettlement budget by the National Audit Office in January.

Family control

On April 23, the South China Morning Post reported that birth-control officers locked up Chinese families in Guangzhou. According to the report, the Chinese police have incarcerated the relatives of migrant workers who failed to return home for family-planning checks. According to residents in Zhenlong, 40 kilometers northeast of Guangzhou, some of the detained relatives are elderly and all are being held in cramped conditions.

Residents said groups of between two and four people had been locked in rooms with less than six square meters of space and no toilet.

"More than 30 people are being detained in the township government compound," one resident said. "Some have already been held for three months."

The repression in Zhenlong is yet another sign that enforcement of China's strict family planning policy is becoming increasingly difficult, as the country's large rural population becomes more mobile. While experiments with more liberal approaches to family planning, which emphasize contraceptive choice over coercion, have increased markedly over recent years, most local officials remain under tremendous pressure to keep population growth rates low. This led officials in Zhenlong and elsewhere to take extreme measures.

Police in Guangzhou, Zengcheng and Zhenlong have told residents they can do nothing about the detentions, as family planning is the government's responsibility.

Public security officers detained a South China Morning Post reporter who tried to visit the detained relatives and interview Zhenlong's party secretary, the mayor and the vice-party secretary responsible for family planning. They also confiscated his film and notes, yet claimed to be unaware of any detentions. The incarcerated relatives were subsequently threatened by township officials, who told them if they or their family members talked to the press, it would only make their situation worse.

To ensure that Zhenlong's migrants do not have more than one child – or two if the first-born is a girl – residents say township officials require the migrants to return for regular family-planning inspections.

"All [migrant] women who have given birth to one baby are required to come back for inspections," said one resident, who added that they were also supposed to have intra-uterine devices fitted to prevent another pregnancy.

But residents say that in recent months officials have become increasingly angry at the number of migrants who fail to return home and have begun imprisoning their relatives in retribution.

China is facing a population crisis not so much in numbers but in gender. The country is running out of females as Chinese families seek sons to carry on their family name. The ratio of baby girls to baby boys in China has dropped further below the international standard – the result, critics say, of its controversial "one-child policy," which in some cases has led to sex-selective abortion, infanticide and the abandonment of baby girls.

According to the latest figures released by the Chinese authorities this week, the gender imbalance has reached 117 boys for every 100 girls, up from 111:100 about ten years ago. The international norm is 106 boys to 100 girls.

China's population has reached 1.26 billion, below the government's target and U.N. projections, and Beijing said that proves its one-child policy is working.

As previously reported by WorldNetDaily, girls up to the age of three years of age are routinely drowned if parents have a baby boy after a girl's birth. Additionally, a 1999 report on the International Planned Parenthood Federation website claims that between 500,000 and 750,000 unborn Chinese girls are aborted every year after gender screening.

Sterilization, one of the principal forms of birth control, may also be performed when parents suffer from alleged "genetic disorders," a practice justified by Beijing in pursuit of the goal of 'improving the quality of the population."

'Evil ones' studying overseas

Other groups of "evil ones" include Chinese citizens who went to the United States to study in the 1980s and '90s and are now returning in large numbers to work, often armed with liberal ideas and a foreign passport or green card. According to a May 2 Straits Times report, the dictators in Beijing have put together a state blacklist of undesirable foreigners. The list, which recently featured only a few dozen names, has been expanded to 273. Most of the additions were people born in China who now lived overseas. Several of those on the list have been detained of late. Those detained had a history of contacts with Taiwan or people who were suspected of publicly discussing delicate information about political or military affairs in China.

One of those detained is Miss Gao Zhan, a green-card holder who has been charged with espionage. Zhan is a sociologist affiliated with an American university and who specializes in women's issues. She has attended conferences in Taiwan. Another detainee is businessman Qin Guangguang, a green-card holder who has been charged by State Security with leaking state secrets. Also in detention are Li Shaomin, a professor of marketing at the City University of Hongkong, and Wu Jianmin, a freelance journalist.

The American response

China's crackdown has not escaped scrutiny in the United States.

"The situation in China has grown worse in the past year," said Elliott Abrams, chairman of the Commission on International Religious Freedom, which released its second annual report. The commission report, presented to President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell and congressional leaders, had a list of non-binding recommendations, such as censuring China over human rights and opposing Beijing's bid to host the Olympic Games.

The 188-page report said Beijing has expanded its repression of unregistered religious groups, tightened control on official religious organizations, intensified its campaign against the Falun Gong movement and increased control over official Protestant and Catholic churches. It said the official crackdown on the Falun Gong had been extended to Hong Kong residents and foreign citizens.

One excerpt of the report read: "In September 2000, a Hong Kong resident Falun Gong practitioner, along with a Chinese mainlander, reportedly were arrested nine days after they filed a legal complaint in Beijing against Chinese President Jiang Zemin and other high-ranking government officials. ... In November, a U.S. resident Falun Gong practitioner reportedly was arrested on charges of providing national security information to foreigners. In December, she was sentenced to three years in prison. Also in November, a Canadian citizen was sentenced to three years of re-education through labor for practicing Falun Gong. He was reportedly tortured by police officials while in custody and was released in January 2001."

The report concluded that China interferes in the training and selection of religious leaders and maintains tight control over Uyghur Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists. The report urged the U.S. government to try to persuade China to ease its grip on religious freedom. Also, the panel urged Washington to work at keeping the International Olympic Committee from staging its games in China's capital until it improves its record.

The U.S. government, Abrams said, should make freedom of religion in China a higher priority. "I think we would like to see a link between religious freedom and the bilateral relations with China."