Nonviolent action around the world – 13 January 2010 (Part 2)

January 13, 2010
Singapore Democrats

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EAST ASIA
China’s ‘black jails’ shove complaints into the dark
By: John M. Glionna, LA Times, January 11, 2010
Using a crude sawed-off stick as a cane, Shi Yaping waited outside a government office, competing with a throng of petitioners to air her grievance over a neighborhood dispute. Yet Shi knows well the perils of speaking her mind in China, where undercover police and mercenary thugs wait to pounce. She has twice been snatched off the street, held incommunicado on the assumption that she would eventually abandon her cause and go home. The illicit detention facilities are a way for authorities to deal with a flood of petitioners seeking justice before regional panels. Human Rights Watch says detainees face rape and other abuses.
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China’s web crackdown continues
By: Wall Street Journal, January 11, 2010
China is doing its best to remind us that technology can also be a tool of suppression, with Beijing recommitting to censoring its large corner of the Internet. Last summer, the authorities required computer makers to install “Green Dam” software on every PC sold in China, which would block troubling political and religious sites. The regulation was put on hold. But last week a Santa Barbara-based company called Cybersitter sued China and several computer makers for $2.2 billion for allegedly stealing code from its parental-control software aimed at blocking pornography.
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Corruption up among China government officials
By: BBC News, January 8, 2010
China’s anti-corruption watchdog has said that 106,000 officials were found guilty of corruption in 2009, an increase of 2.5% on the year before. The number of government officials caught embezzling more than one million yuan ($146,000; £91,000) jumped by 19% over the year.
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China: Protests over rail link
By: Xin Yu, RFA, January 8, 2010
Hundreds of people opposed to a planned U.S. $8.6 billion high-speed rail-link to China converged on Hong Kong’s legislature Friday evening, supported by activists in China through microblogging services. Twitter users posted photographs of gathering crowds outside the Legislative Council buildings in the central business district, calling for 10,000 people to surround the buildings as lawmakers debated whether to approve finance for the controversial railway.
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Liu Xiaobo: Vaclav Havel confronts Chinese on sentencing of dissident
By: Robert Marquand, The Christian Science Monitor, January 7, 2010
Czech dissident playwright-president Vaclav Havel, a principal author of East Europe’s Charter 77, rang the door bell at the Chinese Embassy in Prague this week to support another charter author, Liu Xiaobo. Mr. Liu, co-author of a manifesto called Charter 08 and a well-known democracy advocate, received an 11-year prison sentence on Christmas Day by Beijing authorities.
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Read full protest letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao…

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NORTH AMERICA
US envoy blasts ‘appalling’ North Korean human rights record
By: Kelly Olsen, Air America, January 10, 2010
North Korea’s ‘appalling’ human rights situation must improve before the country can expect to normalize relations with the United States, President Barack Obama’s special envoy on the issue said Monday. In comments certain to anger North Korea, Robert King blasted its human rights record even as a U.S. citizen remains under detention for crossing into the communist country last month without permission.
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U.S. State Department launches “tweet about democracy” project
By: US State Department – Office of the Spokesman, January 7, 2010
The U.S. Department of State announces the launch of the global “Democracy is…” Twitter Contest. Tweet what you think democracy is using the hash symbol: #democracyis. The goal is to provide a worldwide platform in which people can discuss the meaning of democracy and exchange ideas from diverse perspectives.
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Watch the video…

 

CENTRAL AMERICA/CARIBBEAN
The bodies are still piling up in Honduras
By: By Joseph Shansky, Counter Punch, January 7, 2010
Now that the world has heard reports of a “clean and fair” election in November, the violence against activists protesting the coup has increased even faster than feared. The bodies of slain activists are piling up in Honduras. While it’s being kept quiet in most Honduran and international media, the rage is building among a dedicated network of friends spreading the word quickly with the tragic announcement of each compañero/a.
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SOUTH AMERICA
Ecuador: Power vs. the press
By: Mark Weisbrot, The Guardian, January 8, 2010
Latin America’s battle between progressive governments and hostile right-wing media is playing out in Ecuador. For the past month in Ecuador there has been a battle over regulation of the media. It has been in the front pages of the newspapers most of that period, and a leading daily, El Comercio, referred to the fight as one for “defense of human rights and the free practice of journalism.” This was in response to the government’s closing down of a major TV station, Teleamazonas, for three days beginning December 22.
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Brazil: Amazon defender gone
By: Gabriel Elizondo, Al Jazeera, January 8, 2010
Glenn” is Glenn Switkes, the Latin America director for International Rivers, a Northern California-based NGO that focus on protecting the world’s rivers. Glenn is from the U.S. and lives in Sao Paulo, just 15 minutes away from where I live. I first met Glenn in 2008 during my coverage of the Xingu Encounter, where indigenous people were protesting against the building of a massive hydroelectric complex, called the Belo Monte, in the Brazilian Amazon they say will destroy their way of life as they know it.
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST
Breaking news: Repressive states use technologies to repress
By: Patrick Philippe Meier, IRevolution, January 11, 2010
I never cease to be amazed by the incredible hullabaloo generated by the media every time a new anecdote pops up on a repressive regime caught red handed with digital technology. I hate to state what should be obvious but repressive states also used technology to repress in 2009, and in 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001 … You get the point. Hint: tech-based repression doesn’t start in 1984 either, try a little earlier.
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A global look at anti-corruption day
By: David Sasaki, Global Voices, January 8, 2010
On January 18 Global Voices will launch the Technology for Transparency Network, a collaborative research mapping of internet projects that promote greater transparency, government accountability, and civic engagement. This is the first in a series of posts that will explore related issues through the eyes of bloggers worldwide. To kick things off we look at how bloggers responded to International Anti-Corruption Day, which was signed into law in 2003 at the United Nations Convention against Corruption and takes place every year on December 9th.
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Is violent protest wrong?
By: Bibi van der Zee, The Guardian, January 8, 2010
How far can you go, in pursuit of a campaign goal? Is violence ever acceptable? The collision between the anti-whaling Sea Shepherd boat and the Japanese whalers this week was the fault – both parties claim – of the other side. Did it make life better for whales – the ostensible focus of the Sea Shepherd campaign? Those two sentences, pretty much, sum up the problem with violence. The collision between whalers and an anti-whaling boat reveals the biggest problem with violent protest: it breeds more violence.
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Bill Sutherland, Pan African Pacifist, 1918-2010
By: Esi Sutherland-Addy, Ralph Sutherland, Amowi Sutherland Phillips, and Matt Meyer, Toward Freedom, January 7, 2010
Bill Sutherland, unofficial ambassador between the peoples of Africa and the Americas for over fifty years, died peacefully on the evening of January 2, 2010. He was 91. A life-long pacifist and liberation advocate, Sutherland became involved in civil rights and anti-war activities as a youthful member of the Student Christian Movement in the 1930s. Sutherland was raised in New Jersey, the son of a prominent dentist and youngest brother to Reiter Sutherland and to Muriel Sutherland Snowden of Boston, who founded Freedom House in 1949 and was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship “genius” grant.
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NEWS IN OTHER LANGUAGES
Le pouvoir renforce sa mainmise sur Internet
By: RSF, January 6, 2010
Le président bélarusse, Alexandre Loukachenko, a reconnu, le 30 décembre 2009, que son gouvernement finalisait un projet de décret destiné à renforcer le contrôle d’Internet, dans un pays où la liberté d’expression est déjà limitée. Celui-ci a fait l’objet d’une fuite aux médias le 14 décembre 2009. Les discussions qui l’entourent demeurent secrètes.
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BOOK & FILM REVIEWS
Who will pay for Amazon’s ‘Chernobyl’?
By: Esme McAvoy, Independent, January 10, 2010
A film released this week in Britain recounts the 16-year battle by Ecuadorians for damages against Chevron for oil pollution. Crude, directed by Joe Berlinger, began when Steve Donziger, a lawyer acting for the Ecuadorians, arrived at the film-maker’s office. In the words of the film’s producers, the claim was “that from the mid-1960s until the early 1990s, Texaco (now Chevron) dumped 18 billion gallons of toxic waste and formation water directly into streams, rivers, and the jungle floor; that nearly 18 millions of crude oil was spilled and leaked from pipelines, that more than 235 billion cubic feet of natural gas was burned into the atmosphere, and that nearly 1,000 unlined toxic waste pits were built throughout the region.”
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Listening to Papuan voices
By: Pieter Drooglever, Inside Indonesia, December 2009
The book, entitled An Act of Free Choice: The Papuans of western New Guinea and the limits of the right to self-determination, was completed in November 2005. It contains a study on political and cultural developments in West New Guinea covering the period before and after the Second World War, as well as the position of New Guinea in the context of Indonesia’s decolonisation and during the Cold War.
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NOTICES
Call for applications – Notre Dame student peace conference
By: Hal Culbertson, Peace and Collaborative Development Network, January 8, 2010
The Peace Conference Committee invites papers, panel proposals, performances, audiovisual presentations, interactive sessions or workshops and other programs broadly exploring the role of dialogue and understanding in the progress towards peace. Deadline for proposals: February 12, 2010.
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Call for nominations, Breaking Borders Award to honor those around the world who are fighting for free expression online
By: Craig Zelizer, Peace and Collaborative Development Network, January 7, 2010
Google and Global Voices today announced the details of the “Breaking Borders Award” to honor those around the world who are fighting for free expression online. The award, totaling $30,000, will honor and support outstanding web projects, initiated by individuals or groups, that demonstrate courage, energy and resourcefulness in using the Internet to promote freedom of expression. Nominations for the award can be submitted starting today.
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IN PAST NEWS

Iran: The kids are alright
By: Sara Irani, Guernica, December 2009
Should Ahmadinejad be defeated in the upcoming Iranian elections, did His Excellency see any possibility for peaceful, democratic transformation in Iran-and by consequence, in regional dynamics? The answer was a resounding no. For Iran’s contemporary youth were, according to the ambassador, “too weak to do anything.” While Irani reports that though aware of a marked divide between the Iranian youth of past and present, to suggest that they were incapable of effecting political change seemed too cynical, too crude a verdict to reach with such confidence.
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