. China News .

China Nobel winner's relative gets 11 years in jail
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) June 09, 2013

Duck tops the bill in farewell Hong Kong appearance
Hong Kong (AFP) June 09, 2013 - Thousands said farewell Sunday to a giant inflatable yellow rubber duck which has captivated Hong Kong, on its final day in the city's harbour before it heads to the United States.

The southern Chinese city has taken the 16.5 metre-tall (54-feet) duck, conceived by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, to its heart since it arrived under tow on May 2 to cheering crowds.

Duck mania has gripped the city -- and parts of the Chinese mainland -- since its arrival, with hundreds of thousands of locals and tourists in Hong Kong flooding the streets near where the giant replica bath toy is moored to catch a glimpse.

Stalls and shops sold replicas and merchandise ranging from T-shirts to three-dimensional duck tote bags. Restaurants created special duck dishes.

In mainland China, copies of the duck made an appearance in several cities -- prompting a rebuke from the communist party newspaper the People's Daily for what it called unoriginal copycat behaviour.

The duck was even embroiled in mainland politics, in the run-up to the 24th anniversary on June 4 of the Tiananmen suppression of pro-democracy activists by the army.

Internet searches on the mainland for "yellow duck" were banned after users circulated a mocked-up image of a famous 1989 photo, with tanks replaced by plastic ducks.

In Hong Kong thousands were seen taking their last look Sunday at the genuine duck, wishing it well for the journey ahead and thanking it for bringing joy to the Asian financial hub.

"I hope that it can bring happiness to the people in the different countries it visits," 30 year-old Sam Tsang told AFP.

"The rubber duck has brought us a lot of happiness...I hope it will come back," said 34 year-old teacher Tina Yip.

Shopping mall Harbour City, organisers of the exhibit, said in a statement the duck has "spread joy and positive energy to everyone in town and has received so much love and support from fans and media".

Since 2007 the duck has travelled to 13 different cities in nine countries ranging from Brazil to Australia.

Hofman said he hopes the duck, which will now travel to the US city of Pittsburgh, will act as a "catalyst" to connect people to public art.

The duck was to be deflated early Monday before being shipped out.

"Missing you already ducky! Must let you go to bring happiness to people around the world!!" Annie Hung wrote on Hofman's Facebook wall.

A Chinese court on Sunday sentenced the brother-in-law of jailed Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo to 11 years in prison on charges of fraud, his lawyer said.

Police had detained Liu Hui in January on suspicion of committing fraud in connection with a real-estate deal. Attorney Mo Shaoping told AFP that Liu Hui was sentenced at a court in Beijing.

"The sentence is based on insufficient evidence and is completely unjust," Mo said, adding that Liu would appeal.

Liu Hui is the brother-in-law of Chinese political activist Liu Xiaobo, who was jailed for 11 years in 2009 for "subversion" after he circulated a charter calling for democratic reforms. Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.

The Nobel winner's wife, Liu Xia, attended the trial Sunday, Mo said. She left home in April after years under house arrest to attend her brother's opening trial session.

"Liu Xia is very outraged by the sentence and thinks it's completely political persecution," Mo said.

An official who answered the phone at the court could not immediately confirm the sentence.

China dissident's brother, mother given passports
Beijing (AFP) June 07, 2013 - The brother of blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, whose flight to the US embassy last year provoked a diplomatic crisis, has been given his first ever passport by authorities in Beijing, he said Friday.

The development comes on the day that Chinese President Xi Jinping is to start his first summit with President Barack Obama in California.

Chen Guangfu now plans to travel to Taiwan to meet his brother, who now lives in the US after his dramatic escape from house arrest last year, which infuriated Chinese authorities.

A diplomatic stand-off ensued for several weeks until the lawyer was allowed to leave the country.

Chen Guangfu told AFP he received a passport along with his mother, Wang Jinxiang, after applying in January.

"We received (the passports) by post, there was no reason stated for why they arrived now," he said.

"Guangcheng will go to Taiwan on June 23... if possible we will travel to Taiwan to meet him and his family."

His son Chen Kegui, who was sentenced to jail last year for assaulting a police officer in what rights groups said was a reprisal for Chen Guangcheng's escape, told him last month that he was in "great pain" with continued appendicitis, he added.

Chen Guangcheng ran afoul of authorities in Shandong by exposing forced abortions and sterilisations under China's one-child policy. He was jailed and later reported severe beatings while under house arrest.

Obama has been pressed to raise human rights issues during his meetings with Xi, including the plight of Chen Guangcheng's family.


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