China detains lawyers for peasant advocate

The growing repression in China against peasants struggling to keep their lands before the onslaught of “development”—and now against their lawyers—is clearly analogous to peasant struggles raging throughout Latin America. Note the reference to forced sterilizations of peasants in the below story, long a fave tactic against insurgent campesino communities, most recently in southern Mexico. Yet the lefty zines and blogs in the West pay no attention to the Chinese peasant struggle, leaving it to bourgeois organs such as the New York Times. The left in the West seems to fall for the charade that China is still “communist.” All of the evidence points to an utterly savage capitalism reigning in the “People’s Republic.” But the most egregious exponents of the American idiot left go so far as to support the Tiananmen Square massacre as a crackdown on a “counter-revolutionary rebellion.” What’s really ironic is that these same groups cultivate similar illusions about Islamic fundamentalists like Hezbollah—even as China executes a harsh crackdown on Islamic militants in Uighurstan! From the New York Times, Aug. 18:

China Detains Lawyers for Peasants’ Advocate
BEIJING, Aug. 17 — Three lawyers preparing for the trial on Friday of a prominent peasant rights advocate were detained Thursday night in what one characterized as official intimidation.

Two of the lawyers, Li Fangping and Zhang Lihui, were questioned for two hours and then released. But a third, Xu Zhiyong, remained in custody late Thursday. Mr. Li, who recounted the incident, said the trial would apparently still go forward on Friday.

“We think they want to frighten us into leaving,” Mr. Li said in a phone interview. “If the lawyers had voluntarily left, then the court could just release its verdict.”

The detentions are the latest development in the case of Chen Guangcheng, who is blind and taught himself law. He attracted international attention after he tried to organize a class-action lawsuit on behalf of women in the city of Linyi who had been forced to undergo abortions and sterilization.

Communist Party officials in Linyi retaliated against Mr. Chen and eventually charged him with destroying property and blocking traffic. His supporters say the charges are a baseless, heavy-handed effort to silence an internationally known critic.

Mr. Chen’s trial was first scheduled for July 20 but was postponed after more than 200 supporters gathered outside the Yinan County Courthouse, in Shandong Province, before the hearing. Supporters are again expected to rally for him on Friday.

Meanwhile, the defense team has been trying to shuffle lawyers. The lead lawyer, Li Jinfong, had a conflict on Friday and needed to be replaced. Mr. Xu arrived in Yinan County on Tuesday and petitioned the court for permission to represent Mr. Chen, Li Fangping said.

By Thursday, the court had still not granted permission for the switch. In the evening, Mr. Xu went to dinner with Li Fangping and Mr. Zhang. Mr. Li said the lawyers had noticed that a car had followed them all day. After dinner, Mr. Li said, they were approached by a group of men who accused Mr. Xu of stealing from them.

The men beat Mr. Xu for several minutes until a police car arrived and took him to the station, Mr. Li said. Officers later picked up Mr. Li and Mr. Zhang at their hotel and took them in for questioning before releasing them. “We kept explaining that we were just lawyers here to work,” Mr. Li said.

He said Mr. Xu remained in police custody late Thursday night, apparently under suspicion of theft. Mr. Li said that the accusations were false and that they appeared to be intended to disrupt the defense effort on the eve of the trial.

See our last posts on China, and the idiot left.

  1. Textbooks revised
    So China is still socialist, eh? From the New York Times, Sept. 4:

    BEIJING — When high school students in Shanghai crack open their history textbooks this fall, they may be in for a surprise. The new standard world history text drops wars, dynasties and Communist revolutions in favor of colorful tutorials on economics, technology, social customs and globalization.

    Discussion of socialism has been reduced to a single, short chapter in the senior high school history course. Chinese communism before economic reform in 1979 is covered in a sentence. The text mentions Mao Zedong only once, in a chapter on etiquette.

    Nearly overnight, the country’s most prosperous schools have shelved the Marxist template that had dominated standard history texts since the 1950s. The changes passed high-level scrutiny, the authors say, and are part of a broader effort to promote a more stable, less violent view of Chinese history that serves current economic and political goals.

    Supporters say the overhaul enlivens mandatory history courses for junior and senior high school students and prepares them better for life in the real world.

    Previously, textbooks, not unlike the ruling Communist Party, changed relatively little in a quarter-century of market-oriented economic reforms. They were glaringly out of sync with the realities students face outside the classroom.

    But critics say that the new textbooks trade one political agenda for another, that they do not so much rewrite history as diminish it.

    For a one-party state that has largely abandoned its official ideology, it is apparently considered better that people think more about the future than the past.

    The new text focuses on ideas and buzzwords that dominate the state-run media and official discourse: economic growth, innovation, foreign trade, political stability, respect for diverse cultures and social harmony.

    The Tibetans and Uighurs will be quick to tell you that the “respect for diverse cultures” line is bunk. But we suppose the mere fact they are paying lip service to it is the one tentative silver lining to this very depressing cloud.