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China bloggers expose more corruption: reports
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Oct 11, 2012

Chinese officials have launched a probe after microbloggers said they had uncovered another allegedly corrupt leader who owns millions of dollars worth of property, state press said on Thursday.

Southern Guangzhou city will investigate urban management official Cai Bin, 56, who has 21 homes valued at 40 million yuan ($6.4 million), Xinhua news agency reported.

Cai, who earns about 10,000 yuan a month, failed to report all his holdings as required by the state, the report said.

The scandal emerged after web users began posting pictures of Cai's properties, some of which are luxury homes, onto the Sina Weibo social networking site, it said.

"It is basically true that Cai has 21 houses according to our preliminary investigations," Xinhua quoted a government official responsible for the investigation as saying.

Chinese government officials are widely considered to be corrupt among Chinese, who have recently been raising pressure on them by posting accusations on popular social networking websites.

One official in southeastern Fujian province created an online furore this week after users on Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like microblog, accused him of censoring a newspaper report alleging he owned a luxury watch and belt.

And Yang Dacai, an official in the central province of Shaanxi, was sacked last month after Weibo users posted photographs showing him wearing expensive watches -- five of which were said to be worth a total of more than 300,000 yuan.

China's leaders have repeatedly declared official corruption and abuse of power as a major threat to the legitimacy of their rule, but the problem remains deeply entrenched despite numerous crackdowns.

The ruling Communist Party has sought to draw attention to its efforts to combat corruption ahead of a party congress next month, when a once-a-decade leadership transition will be announced.

While China's 538 million Internet users are able to use microblogs to accuse local officials of corruption, posts making reference to China's most powerful politicians are regularly deleted by online censors.

While he was not uncovered by bloggers, the country's most high-profile corruption case in years saw the former chief of Chongqing city, Bo Xilai, expelled from the ruling Communist Party last month for a series of alleged crimes and corrupt activities.

His wife was given a suspended death sentence in August for murdering a British businessman.

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US report sees rights 'disconnect' in China
Washington (AFP) Oct 10, 2012 - A US government commission said Wednesday that China has witnessed a "deepening disconnect" on human rights, with the leadership failing to meet what it said were rising demands by citizens.

In an annual report, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China said that the past year had seen "unprecedented" protests by citizens against "the lack of basic freedoms and official abuse."

"The commission observed a deepening disconnect between the growing demands of the Chinese people and the Chinese government's ability and desire to meet such demands," it said.

"In a year marked by a major internal political scandal and leadership transition, Chinese officials appeared more concerned with 'maintaining stability' and preserving the status quo than with addressing the grassroots calls for reform taking place all over China," it said.

The report listed "egregious" human rights abuses in China during a year marked by the escape of blind activist Chen Guangcheng from house arrest and the continued detention of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo and rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng.

Detained activists "are a testament to how far China must go to be a country where rule of law and international human rights are respected," Representative Chris Smith, the co-chairman of the bipartisan commission, said in a statement.

The commission said that the treatment of ethnic minorities was "especially troubling," pointing to a wave of self-immolations by Tibetans protesting their conditions and restrictions on Uighur Muslims.

The report also spoke of "repression" against the banned Falungong spiritual movement and of China's continued repatriation of North Korean refugees despite fears of "severe punishments" when they return home.

But the commission saw "potential bright spots" including a decrease in officially reported deaths from mining accidents and a revised criminal procedure law that expands access to defense lawyers.

The report also said that a proposed mental health law, while not going far enough, may curb abuse of psychiatric patients.

The report called on US officials and lawmakers to press China to free prisoners, strengthen the rule of law and guarantee the rights of minorities.

The commission, set up by Congress in 2000, is comprised of members of the Senate, House of Representatives and President Barack Obama's administration, although the reports are not considered administration policy.


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Liu still China's invisible man two years after Nobel
Beijing (AFP) Oct 11, 2012
Two years after his Nobel peace prize, Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo remains imprisoned, relatives are under house arrest or cowed into silence and, supporters say, the democratic change he sought seems further away than ever. As the Nobel committee in Oslo prepares to award this year's prestigious prize on Friday, the dissident writer remains the world's only jailed Nobel peace laureate, wit ... read more

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