by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Nov 21, 2011
The editor of a Chinese state-run paper and three others have been inundated with calls and texts after artist Ai Weiwei put their numbers online in protest at things they had written about him.
Ai -- who spent 81 days in police detention earlier this year and has been fighting what he calls politically motivated tax evasion charges -- posted their mobile numbers on his Twitter account on Sunday.
Hu Xijin, editor of the Global Times, Wang Wen, a reporter at the paper, Wu Fatian, a professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, and Si Manan, a blogger, have since received hundreds of calls.
"This is no doubt one of his ways of expressing his political mood," Hu responded on Sina's weibo -- a Chinese microblogging service similar to Twitter, which is banned in China.
"But I don't think this is a good method... As a celebrity, Ai Weiwei's behaviour has an impact on social morale. He should tread carefully."
Ai has accused the four of trying to damage his reputation through blog posts and articles they wrote during his detention and after he was freed in June, adding they have the state's support.
"They try to convince young people I'm in some kind of a conspiracy with the West," he told AFP.
"But they never question why police detained me without any legal process."
The Global Times has published several editorials about Ai. The latest questioned the level of domestic support for the artist, who has long been a thorn in the side of China's Communist authorities.
He is known for tallying the number of children who died in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake -- a sensitive issue as it is touches on corruption.
Wu, who also blogs and is widely regarded as having pro-government views, told AFP he was upset by the calls and texts.
"Many phone calls are from abroad -- some people sent me dozens of the same text message within a minute," he said.
He also accused the artist of calling him earlier this month and threatening him.
"He should be detained for this according to law, but the police didn't detain him. The police have given him unprincipled protection," he said.
Ai last week began the process of challenging a bill for 15 million yuan ($2.4 million) in alleged back taxes levelled against a firm he founded but is owned by his wife. He said Friday he was also being probed for pornography.
Video purports to show Tibetan nun self-immolating
The video, which AFP cannot independently verify, was posted online by Students for a Free Tibet and shows a figure being engulfed in flames in the middle of a street before collapsing to the ground.
The group says the figure is Palden Choetso, a 35-year-old Buddhist nun who self-immolated on November 3 in a Tibetan-inhabited town in Sichuan province.
The Tibetans shown in the footage had "risked everything" to smuggle it out of China, said Tenzin Jigdal, programme director of Students for a Free Tibet, which has offices in New York and Dharamshala, the Indian town that is home to the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
The video released by the group also shows Tibetan Buddhist clergy gathering to mourn the nun's passing, as well as Chinese security forces converging on the Tibetan monastery where the funeral was held.
China's state-controlled Xinhua news agency was the first to report the incident in Sichuan's Ganzi prefecture, identifying Palden Choetso by her Chinese name, "Qiu Xiang."
She was the second nun to burn herself to death in Sichuan, a province with a large ethnic Tibetan population that has seen protests against what some see as growing domination by China's majority Han ethnic group.
Nine Tibetan monks have also attempted to burn themselves to death this year and rights groups say at least five have succeeded.
China, which has invested heavily in development in the remote Himalayan region, maintains that it has brought modernisation and a better standard of living.
"This footage shows not only the desperation but also the determination of Tibetans to fight for their freedom at any cost," Tenzin Dorjee, director of Students for a Free Tibet, said in a statement.
"We fear the situation will continue to escalate and more Tibetan lives will be lost if the Chinese government does not lift its repressive measures and commit to a just and lasting resolution to this spiralling crisis in Tibet."
China News from SinoDaily.com
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Protesters in China march against 'dictatorship'
Beijing (AFP) Nov 21, 2011
Thousands of demonstrators marched Monday in south China to protest against a local land grab, carrying banners and shouting slogans opposing "dictatorship" and "corruption", locals said. The peaceful march in Lufeng city in Guangdong province - China's industrial heartland - comes two months after protestors there rioted over the same problem, attacking a police station and ransacking veh ... read more
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