China has recently launched a new campaign to rid its internet of microbloggers who “spread rumors” about the Chinese Communist Party. The crackdown is an ironic twist in the new leadership of Xi Jinping, which has promised a more liberal and less corrupt China. Please read the entire New York Times article by clicking below:
In anticipation of the Laogai Museum’s opening of a new exhibit in the near future, one that confronts the Great Chinese Famine through the lens of cannibalism, a background article might be helpful. Please read the following news article featured in the guardian:
The hopes of millions of Uyghurs surrounding Xi Jinping’s ascension in Beijing have been crushed. Contrary to the hopes of some optimists, Xi Jinping is perpetuating the same discontent that previous CCP leaders have shown towards the Uyghur community in Xinjiang. Last week dozens of Uyghurs were reportedly slain by Chinese authorities for attempting to protest police corruption. Interestingly enough, the official state media denies that any deadly crackdown has occurred recently in Xinjiang. Despite this denial, several reputable foreign media entities have confirmed the recent violence. Please read the entire press release by clicking here.
An estimated 300 Uyghurs were detained in Aksu, Xinjiang earlier this month for protesting the Chinese restrictions placed on prayer during Ramadan. The entire press release can be read at the following link:
After reading BBC reporter Celia Hatton’s article “What do people in China think of Bo Xilai’s trial?,” I couldn’t help but think of the vast differences in free speech between Chinese social media users and Americans. Specifically, I am reminded of the Trayvon Martin case and the outburst of commentary that followed George Zimmerman’s verdict. For example, one tweet by celebrity Nicki Minaj read: “And our taxes paid for that trial. We just paid to see a murderer walk free after killing an innocent unarmed little boy. #GodBlessAmerica.” Nicki Minaj’s tweet was fairly tame considering it was critical of the United State’s justice system without the use of expletives. Other celebrities, including Ja Rule, attacked the United State’s justice system in much harsher and direct language.
Fast forward to this week’s Bo Xilai trial. The only comments regarding this highly publicized trial posted on the Chinese twitter equivalent, Sina Weibo, are exceedingly glowing of the government’s handling of the case.
The lesson of this short comparison? When over 500 million people are microblogging on Weibo and comments critical to the Bo Xilai trial are nowhere to be found, the CCP must be working overtime censoring and persecuting dissenters.
Make no mistake about it, the four Chinese citizens who were arrested recently on charges of inciting “dissatisfication with the government” would have been able to make their posts on twitter. However, because the Chinese government doesn’t allow its citizens to have twitter accounts, they were left no choice but to comment on Sina Weibo, a highly monitored Chinese equivalent to twitter. Whether or not the “rumors” spread about the mythologized Chinese hero Lei Feng are true or not is beside the point. The fact that Chinese citzens can be arrested for leaving simple and non-threatening comments on social media sites is remeniscent of an Orwellian society. Comparing modern China to 1984 might be a little extreme, however, Xi Jinping’s reform ambitions continue to appear hollow in the wake of arrests for such petty thought crime.
A group of 107 high school students visited the Laogai Museum as part of Hampton University’s Pre-College Summer Program. The students received guided tours of the artifacts on display in the museum from Laogai Research Foundation staff and were treated to a presentation delivered by Executive Director Harry Wu on his experiences in China’s laogai system. The Chinese Communist Party arrested Mr. Wu in 1960 for being a “counter-revolutionary rightist.” He subsequently spent 19 years in various labor camps before being released in 1979.
The Laogai Museum features exhibits, archived documents, and original artifacts depicting the horrors of China’s laogai system, China’s vast system of detention facilities in which countless political prisoners are incarcerated. The museum exists to raise awareness of the laogai system and human rights abuses perpetrated by the Chinese Communist Party.
If you would like to reserve a group tour of the museum and participate in a discussion with Laogai Research Foundation Executive Director Harry Wu about China’s laogai system, please contact us at email@example.com or at 202-408-8300.
In a typical move, government officials in central China used thousands of police officers to effectively shut down an entire city in an effort to minimize protests against the government’s plans to open a state-sponsored petroleum plant. As China’s middle class becomes more concerned with the country’s environmental policy, clashes should figure to become more commonplace.
Chen Guangcheng, a Chinese reform activist who recently gained fame through a daring escape from home detention, is now facing a new problem. His nephew, Chen Kegui, was imprisoned last year after a sham trial meant to bring retribution to the Chen family for Chen Guangcheng’s escape. Recently news has leaked suggesting that Chen Kegui is suffering from an inflamed appendix that happens to be life-threatening without surgery. As expected, Chinese authorities are offering Chen Kegui noneffective antibiotics and are refusing his transfer to a hospital for the necessary surgery.
Do you feel that your social studies and history curriculum is static, boring, and too Western-centric? Do you think your students might welcome lessons that cover the appalling, brutal, and still incredibly relevant nature of the Chinese Communist Party? Do you feel that your unit on the Cold War, history of communism, or history of the 20th century is limited due to its exclusion of the Chinese story? Do you want to prepare your students with a basic understanding of modern Chinese history given the reality of today’s global economy?
Do your students know that Chairman Mao was responsible for more than 5 times the death toll (via executions, policy induced famine, torture, war, nuclear testing, political purging, etc…) that Adolf Hitler is associated with? Do your students know that the China is by far the most populous country in the world? Can your students explain the extreme cultural differences between Tibetan Chinese, Uyghur Chinese, and Han Chinese people? Chances are that your textbook does not adequately cover the turbulent history of arguably the soon-to-be most influential country in the world.
The Laogai Research Foundation has recently employed Cole Mitchell, a history graduate student who has a background in teaching high school government, world history, and world geography. Cole’s passion lies in creating innovative lesson plans that pique the interest of students. If you are interested in working with Cole to develop lesson plans for your classes that align with state standards and classroom learning objectives, please don’t hesitate to contact him. He can be reached at the contact information below:
Laogai Research Foundation
1734 20th St. NW
Washington, DC 20009