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China asks provinces to repress web dissent: report
by Staff Writers
Copenhagen (AFP) June 28, 2011

China's Communist Party has recently asked provincial authorities to control and repress all sensitive political information, including on the Internet, a Danish news website said Tuesday quoting leaked documents.

"All illegal and harmful information on Chinese and foreign web sites should be completely blocked," the party's central leadership ordered provinces, according to documents obtained by the online Danish newspaper www.information.dk.

People behind the dissemination of information should be "indicted and indicted and prosecuted quickly before a judge and be quickly convicted," the documents read, according to information.dk's translation of extracts of the text into English.

"In particular, crackdowns must be imposed on any aggression directed against the party and its leaders as well as against the promotion of other political systems and a free press," the documents dated from the beginning of March read, according to the Danish website.

The instructions, addressed to "all provincial governments" and "all headquarters of the People's Liberation Army," ask for them to "work hard together in order to diligently execute the policy ... (that) comrades in the Central Committee and leaders of the State Council have agreed upon," information.dk said.

The party also told provinces they were to censor "ideas that may encourage separatism, divisiveness between the country's peoples, extreme religious ideas or provoke social conflicts or mass demonstrations," the document said.

earlier related report
Euro leaders pledge to press Wen on rights
Berlin (UPI) Jun 27, 2011 - Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao isn't being let off the hook on human rights during European tour despite the need for China's financial help, officials say.

The release of prominent Chinese dissident Hu Jia Sunday, only days after the similar release of dissident artist Ai Weiwei in the run-up to Wen's visit prompted optimism from European officials over the weekend.

But they pledged to keep up the pressure on the human rights in China even as Wen played up China's financial and investment support for Europe during its debt crisis.

Wen was scheduled to visit Germany Monday and Tuesday, wrapping up a three-leg European tour that took him first to Hungary and then to Britain. He was scheduled to arrive in Germany late Monday and meet Chancellor Angela Merkel Tuesday.

Hu Jia's release, like that of Ai Weiwei last week, brought praise from European leaders. Hu, 37, described as one of China's top prisoners of conscience, served a 3 1/3-year sentence for what Chinese authorities called "inciting subversion."

He was jailed just before the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Despite his release from prison, he, like Ai, was expected to be subject to strict curbs on his freedom.

Their releases were seen by some as an attempt by China to defuse criticism during Wen's visit. But if so, it won't work, European leaders said Sunday.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told reporters his country would still press China on human rights issues the Chinese leader attends a joint cabinet meeting.

Westerwelle told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper there would be "no contradiction" between the human rights concerns and the trade aspect of the Wen's mission.

"The quality and depth of our relations allows us to talk about difficult topics," he said, while pledging to stress "how important freedom of expression, media freedoms and respect for human rights are to us."

Trade between Germany and China amounted to $185 billion in 2010.

The issue of Hu Jia has been a sore point in relations between China and Europe. The European Parliament awarded Hu its top human rights award, the Sakharov Prize, in December 2008.

In giving him the award, then-EP President Hans-Gert Pottering said, "The European Parliament firmly and resolutely acknowledges the daily struggle for freedom of all Chinese human rights defenders."

Hu, Pottering said, had "embraced a wide range of causes, including environmental issues, HIV/AIDS advocacy and a call for an official inquiry into the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre," also acting as a coordinator of the "barefoot lawyers movement."

The European Parliament also passed a resolution in January 2008 demanding his release.

Current EP President Jerzy Buzek said Sunday that, despite his release from prison, Hu and other activists are still subject to oppression. He demanded that China allow them to resume "everyday life without further hindrance."

Michael Mann, a spokesman for EU foreign affairs commissioner Catherine Ashton, said she isn't going to give China a free pass with the move.

"Obviously we welcome the fact Hu has been released. But it is important to keep an eye on how he is treated from here on in. We hope Hu is given full rights."

The high-wire act European leaders are playing with China on human rights was illustrated earlier in Wen's trip when he expressed backing for the troubled euro currency.

"China will consistently support Europe and the euro," Wen told reporters Saturday in Hungary, saying China was ready to purchase Hungarian government bonds and to extend it $1.4 billion in credit, the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei noted prior to Wen's visit China has purchased substantial amounts of the national debt of such debt ridden European countries such as Greece, Spain and Portugal, helping them "boost confidence in their local economies and markets."

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China orders Ai Weiwei to pay $1.9 mln: friend
Beijing (AFP) June 28, 2011 - Chinese authorities have ordered Ai Weiwei to pay more than $1.9 million in back taxes and fines, a close friend said on Tuesday, just days after the artist was freed on bail.

Liu Xiaoyuan told AFP that the Beijing tax office had sent Ai -- who came home last week after nearly three months in detention -- a notice telling him to pay back 4.9 million yuan in taxes and another 7.3 million yuan in fines.

That would amount to more than 12 million yuan, or about $1.9 million.

Police have accused Ai of tax evasion and the government said he was freed because of his "good attitude" in admitting to the charges against him, his willingness to repay taxes he owes and on medical grounds. He has diabetes.

Rights groups have however said the outspoken 54-year-old, who is known for his fierce criticism of the ruling Communist Party, was detained as part of a wider clampdown on activists launched in February.

The detention of the avant-garde artist -- whose work was on display at London's Tate Modern gallery this year -- sparked an international outcry, with the United States and the European Union leading calls for his release.

Unusually, Ai has said little to the media since his release last Wednesday other than to assure people he is doing well and happy to be back with his family, sparking speculation he may have been ordered to stay quiet.

The terms of Ai's bail conditions prevent him from leaving Beijing "without permission", the foreign ministry said last week.

The artist has in the past angered authorities with his involvement in a number of sensitive activist campaigns.

He probed the collapse of schools in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, looked into a Shanghai high-rise fire last November that killed dozens, and says police beat him when he tried to testify on behalf of another activist in 2009.

In January, his newly built Shanghai studio was demolished in apparent retaliation for his criticism of city policies, and a month later Ai said his first large solo exhibition in mainland China was cancelled over political sensitivities.

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Wen in Germany warns against rights lectures
Berlin (AFP) June 28, 2011
Germany and China held their first joint cabinet meeting Tuesday and were to ink billions in new business contracts, but Premier Wen Jiabao warned Europe against interfering in its internal affairs. Wen arrived in Berlin late Monday from London where he and British Prime Minister David Cameron signed trade deals worth 1.6 billion euros while the Chinese premier brushed aside questions over B ... read more

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