Beijing Construction Companies Maybe Hired To Rebuild
Open Letter To Mayor of D'Iberville
Visual Artists Guild
June 27, 2006
Mayor Rusty Quave
Dear Hon. Mayor Rusty Quave,
I read about your city looking into the possibility of engaging the services of Beijing Construction Engineering Co. Ltd and Beijing Urban Construction International Co for the rebuilding of your city after the disasters brought on by hurricane Katrina last year.
As a fellow American, I am in sympathy with what the citizens of D’Iberville had suffered and can understand the need for your city to recover as soon as possible and the need to hire companies that can provide such services to you at a timely and cost effective manner.
Before you make any decision, I would like for you to please read the attached recent news clipping from www.channelnewsasia.com
In your consideration of hiring any companies, please consider the following questions about the prospective companies:
I am sure that in your wisdom you will make your decision based on what will make the citizens of the City of D’Iberville proud.
Cc: Hon. Brenda Broussard, Hon. Henry Toncrey, Hon. Teddy Harder, Hon. Bob Bellman, Hon Glenn Ellis
Joint Statement by CRD and Citizen Rights Defense Net
Joint Statement by CRD and Citizen Rights Defense Net
On Disappearance and Detention of Hunger Strikers
All Human Rights for All (The UN CRD Action 2006)
We are deeply concerned about the fate of several individuals who have disappeared and been detained after participating in the hunger strike marathon started by the Beijing lawyer Gao Zhisheng on February 8, 2006, to protest police violence and other abuses against rights activists . We fear they are likely to be subjected to ill-treatment or torture, while the irregular nature of their detention makes it even more difficult than normal to monitor their situation and the authorities take no responsibility for the disappearances.
In Beijing, HIV/ AIDS activist Hu Jia vanished on February 16 while he was being closely followed by police, who had escorted him on his way to a meeting at the AIZHIXING Institute on February 15. Another activist, Qi Zhiyong , who is a double amputee due to injuries from gunshots during the Tiananmen massacre , also went missing during the night of February 15. The artist and activist Yan Zhengxue has not been seen since his wife witnessed him being taken away by police from his home in Beijing on February 12 after he met with Gao Zhisheng. The officers were not from Beijing, but from Taizhou City, Zhejiang Province, Yan¡¯s original place of residence,. One hunger striker who volunteered to assist Gao Zhisheng was taken away by police from Gao¡¯s office on February 16. Their families reported them missing to authorities, but were not given any information about their whereabouts. By the evening Beijing time, February 22, we have made inquiries and confirmed that these individuals remain missing or in police custody.
Also on February 16, police in Shanghai detained Chen Xiaoming, a housing rights activist, citing his participation in the hunger strike. Yesterday, activist Zhao Xin was taken in by police for questioning in the afternoon and still has not returned to his parents¡¯ house in Zhaotong City, Yunnan Province, where he was recovering from injuries he sustained when he was beaten by unidentified men in December 2005.
On February 2 2 , Gao Zhisheng, the Beijing lawyer and hunger strike leader, received a summon from Beijing Municipal Bureau for Judicial Affairs for going to the Bureau to ¡°talk¡± to authorities at 10 am on the 23rd . Zeng Jing, Gao¡¯s wife, fears that Gao would be incarcerated. Gao has been constantly harassed by police who follow him everywhere and surveillance his residence.
Staging hunger strikes at their own residences is a legitimate exercise of these individuals¡¯ right to free expression, a right protected by the PRC Constitution and international human rights law. It is a serious violation of these citizens¡¯ civil rights and human rights when they are made to ¡°disappear¡± or secretly detained for this activity alone. If they are suspected of any illegal activities, authorities should handle their cases in accordance with Chinese legal procedures, producing the necessary legal documents and notifying their families of their whereabouts and the reasons for their detention. Their legal rights in police custody must be respected.
We urge the Chinese authorities to release immediately those detained for exercising their right to free expression in a hunger strike protest against ill-treatment of human rights defenders, or to inform families of the whereabouts of anyone detained on suspicion of having committed a criminal offence, to handle such cases according to proper legal procedures and respect the rights of the individuals concerned. Law enforcement officials and local authorities who violate the law by subjecting these people to arbitrary detention or torture must be investigated and prosecuted.
Hu Jia , male, 31, AIDS activist based in Beijing. Hu focuses on the health rights of persons living with HIV/AIDS in Henan province. Due to his criticisms of the government¡¯s failures in AIDS prevention and care, he has been repeatedly harassed, often put under house arrest, and beaten by police. He was placed under house arrest on May 28, 2004, after publicly stating his intention to light a candle in Tiananmen Square in memory of those who were killed during the June 1989 crackdown. He reported that he was beaten when he tried to leave his apartment building. He was again detained after he tried to participate a gathering to mourn the deceased leader Zhao Ziyang in February and in late August during the visit to China of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour. More recently, Hu Jia was detained on November 7 by Zhengzhou police in Hunan, while he was assisting HIV/AIDS petitioners trying to bring their cases to the attention of officials attending an AIDS conference there.
Zhao Xin , male, 38. Zhao has advocated for the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS and petitioners who travelled to the capital to complain about corruption and abuses by local government. He wrote articles online and offered legal aid. Zhao also assists victims of the 1989 massacre by collecting testimonies and evidence and raising funds for the support of the victims¡¯ families. He also campaigned for citizens¡¯ rights to political participation and participated in organizing the China Democratic Party.
Zhao was a student leader during the 1989 student protests and was arrested on June 17, 1989, and imprisoned at Qincheng Prison in Beijing for one year. Zhao was arrested again on February 2, 1992, for organizing an event to mark 1,000 days since the June Fourth crackdown. He was sent to Beijing Haidian Detention Center, where he was beaten. As a result he suffers from permanent memory loss and chronic pain in his lower back. After attempting to organize a memorial event for Zhao Ziyang, the former Communist Party Secretary who was sympathetic to the 1989 student protests, Zhao Xin was detained on January 21, 2005. Zhao is currently on probationary release awaiting possible trial.
Zhao Xin works for the Empowerment and Rights Institute in Beijing. He is currently the Executive Director of the group. On November 17, 2005, Zhao was severely beaten by unidentified thugs in Sichuan province, where he was visiting his parents, while plain-clothes police, who had followed him all the way from Beijing, looked on. He was beaten in the hotel where he was staying, in plain view of other guests and hotel staff. He was told by one of the attackers that they had sought him out for beating. He was severely injured with one broken leg, several fractured ribs, and needed 11 stitches on his head. He was hospitalized at the Chengdu Army 8.1 Hospital. In late November, Zhao Xin met with the visiting UN Special Rapporteur against Torture. Since then, local officials also visited Zhao in the hospital, promising to bring those who beat him to justice. But authorities have not agreed to help Zhao to pay his huge medical bills.
Qi Zhiyong , male, 50. He was a construction worker in 1989 when he was shot and wounded near Tiananmen Square, in the early morning of June 4 th . Both of his legs were amputated and he now lives on selling things in the streets. He has since become actively involved in the ¡°Tiananmen Mothers¡± group seeking justice and remedy for families of the killed and wounded in the June 1989 massacre, as well as other pro-democracy and human rights activities in Beijing. Due to his activities, he has been frequently put under house arrest, detained, or beaten by police
Yan Zhengxue , male, 61, an artist by profession, member of the Independent Chinese PEN, based in Taizhou City, Zhejiang Province, and Beijing. He is a prolific Internet reporter of official corruption and rights abuses. For his outspokenness, he was sent to prison and the Reform-through-Labor camp in the 1990s and in 2002-3. Since his release, through exhibits of his paintings (which he painted at the RTL camp: http : //www.boxun.com/hero/yzx ) and online documentation of his own acts, which he described as ¡°performing art,¡± he has pursued a personal crusade to end the Reform-through-Labor Camp system.
Chen Xiaoming , male, in his 40s, is an activist against forced evictions in Shanghai. After himself being forcibly evicted from his home, he became active in petitioning for housing rights and has also been involved in collecting and publicizing information about official abuses of housing activists.
Ouyang Xiaorong , male, 32, is an software engineer and activist in Yunnan Province. He graduated from Beijing Aerospace University and went to work in Yunnan. In recent years, he has written political commentaries for online publications and signed protest letters. On February 14, he travelled to Beijing to volunteer to help Gao Zhisheng to coordinate the hunger strike. He was taken away from Gao¡¯s office less than 24 hours after his arrival.
For more information, contact:
Li Jian: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone 86-411-87530776
Renee Xia: email@example.com
The Chinese version of this statement can be found at:
Zero protection' for defenders of righty
Thailand: `Zero protection' for defenders of rights
|Hurricane Relief||January 20, 2005|
Dear Human Rights Supporters,
We are currently working with a high school in Houma, Louisiana which is facing the enormous task of taking in as many students as they can from the New Orleans area. Vandebilt Catholic High School is located about 50 miles southwest of New Orleans and is struggling to provide some normalcy to their hurricane refugee students. Currently they have taken in about 200 students and expect another 100 more.
Their immediate needs include:
If you can donate $5, $20, $50, $100, $500 or whatever you can to Vandebilt Catholic High School, it will be a life saver for those refugee students.
The needs are immediate. What you can donate will help them now and you can specify where you want the money to go. Please do what you can and send your tax deductible donation now to
Vandebilt Catholic High School
Please also help by re-sending this e-mail to your friends as well.
The Internet under surveillance II
|June 20, 2005|
New York Times Study Says Software Makers Supply Tools to Censor Web
By TOM ZELLER Jr. October 12, 2005 http://www.nytimes.com
It should come as no surprise that the Internet in Myanmar, the southeast Asian state once known as Burma and in the iron grip of a military cabal for decades, is heavily filtered and carefully monitored.
For a copy of the report, please click here: "Internet Filtering in Burma in 2005: A Country Study" http://www.opennetinitiative.net/burma/ONI_Burma_Country_Study.pdf
The Internet under surveillance
|June 20, 2005|
The Internet under surveillance
Reporters Without Borders and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) make six recommendations to ensure freedom of expression on the Internet.
This declaration by Reporters Without Borders and the representative of the OSCE on Freedom of the Media aims to deal with the main issues facing countries seeking to regulate online activity. Should the Web be filtered? Can online publications be forced to register with the authorities? What should the responsibility of service providers (ISPs) be? How far does a national jurisdiction extend?
Reporters Without Borders thinks the six recommendations go beyond Europe and concern every country. It hopes they will provoke discussion in the run-up to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).
Full text of the Declaration :
1. Any law about the flow of information online must be anchored in the right to freedom of expression as defined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
2. In a democratic and open society it is up to the citizens to decide what they wish to access and view on the Internet. Filtering or rating of online content by governments is unacceptable. Filters should only be installed by Internet users themselves. Any policy of filtering, be it at a national or local level, conflicts with the principle of free flow of information.
3. Any requirement to register websites with governmental authorities is not acceptable. Unlike licensing scarce resources such as broadcasting frequencies, an abundant infrastructure like the Internet does not justify official assignment of licenses. On the contrary, mandatory registration of online publications might stifle the free exchange of ideas, opinions, and information on the Internet.
4. A technical service provider must not be held responsible for the mere conduit or hosting of content unless the hosting provider refuses to obey a court ruling. A decision on whether a website is legal or illegal can only be taken by a judge, not by a service provider. Such proceedings should guarantee transparency, accountability and the right to appeal.
5. All Internet content should be subject to the legislation of the country of its origin ("upload rule") and not to the legislation of the country where it is downloaded.
6. The Internet combines various types of media, and new publishing tools such as blogging are developing. Internet writers and online journalists should be legally protected under the basic principle of the right to freedom of expression and the complementary rights of privacy and protection of sources.
Microsoft helps China to censor bloggers
|June 15, 2005|
Microsoft helps China to censor bloggers
The American company is helping censors remove "freedom" and "democracy" from the net in China with a software package that prevents bloggers from using these and other politically sensitive words on their websites.
The restrictions, which also include an automated denial of "human rights", are built into MSN Spaces, a blog service launched in China last month by Shanghai MSN Network Communications Technology, a venture in which Microsoft holds a 50% stake.
Users who try to include such terms in subject lines are warned: "This topic contains forbidden words. Please delete them."
Even the most basic political discussion is difficult because "communism", "socialism", and "capitalism" are blocked in this way, although these words can be used in the body of the main text. Many taboo words are predictable, such as "Taiwanese independence", "Tibet", "Dalai Lama", "Falun Gong", "terrorism" and "massacre". But there are also quirks that reflect the embryonic nature of net censorship and the propaganda ministry's perceived threats.
The word "demonstration" is taboo, but "protest" is all right; "democracy" is forbidden, but "anarchy" and "revolution" are acceptable. On MSN Space, Chinese bloggers cannot use the name of their own president, but can comment on Tony Blair. "Tiananmen" cannot be mentioned.
A Microsoft spokesman said the restrictions were the price the company had to pay to spread the positive benefits of blogs and online messaging.
"Even with the filters, we're helping millions of people communicate, share stories, share photographs and build relationships. For us, that is the key point here," Adam Sohn, a global sales and marketing director at MSN, told the Associated Press news agency.
For the Chinese government, which employs an estimated 30,000 internet police, the restrictions are an extension of a long-standing policy to control the web so that it can be used by businesses but not by political opponents.
For Microsoft, it appears to be a concession to authoritarianism on the net. It comes only months after Microsoft's boss, Bill Gates, praised China's leaders, who have mixed market economics with rigid political control. "It is a brand new form of capitalism, and as a consumer it's the best thing that ever happened," he said.
Along with a throng of other net giants, Microsoft is trying to make inroads into China's fast-growing internet market, expected to top 100 million users this year. Only the United States has more people online, but Mr Gates admitted this year that his company was underperforming in China.
Microsoft is not alone in accepting censorship requests from China. The free-speech group, Reporters Without Borders, says Yahoo has a similar policy. The group said any justification for collaborating with Chinese censorship based on obeying local laws did "not hold water". The multinationals must "respect certain basic ethical principles" wherever they operated.
China's information industry ministry, meanwhile, has ordered owners of blogs and bulletin boards to register their sites by the end of this month or have them shut down.
The ministry's website said: "The internet has profited many people, but it also has brought many problems, such as sex, violence and feudal superstitions and other harmful information that has seriously poisoned people's spirits."
Japan is considering censoring the internet after an 18-year-old boy, who was arrested for throwing a homemade bomb into his classroom, said he had found instructions on how to make it from a website. A government taskforce is expected to target sites that offer advice on making explosives, sell drugs and other illegal items, or encourage people to arrange group suicides.
Visual Artists Guild demonstrated
|April 15, 2005|
Visual Artists Guild demonstrated in front of the Los Angeles Peoples Republic of China Consulate
LOS ANGELES, On Friday, April 15, 2005, Visual Artists Guild, together with Amnesty International Group 471 of San Diego, UNA (United Nations Association) San Diego Chapter and Falun Gong demonstrated for human rights and release of prisoners of conscience in front of the Los Angeles Peoples Republic of China Consulate. There were calls for the immediate release of Dr. Yang Jianli and Dr. Wang Bingzhang.
PRC Releases Cyber Dissidents
|December 1, 2003 (New York Times)|
China Releases 3 'Cyber Dissidents'
by Jim Yardley
BEIJING Dec. 1 — The Chinese government released today three jailed "cyber dissidents." Among the three was a young college student nicknamed "Stainless Steel Mouse," whose arrest a year ago had brought international condemnation, a Hong Kong human rights group said.
The release of the college student, Liu Di, 23, and two other dissidents comes as Prime Minister Wen Jiabao is preparing to visit the United States in just over a week. The Chinese government has often released high-profile dissidents in advance of such trips.
The Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy, based in Hong Kong, reported that Ms. Liu was bailed out of a Beijing prison on Friday, a move tantamount to release. The Information Center suggested that the decision had been made at the highest levels of the government, with personal intervention by President Hu Jintao.
"The case of Liu Di had received the attention of Hu Jintao, and the release of the three appeared to be linked to the attention he paid to their cases," a statement from the Information Center said.
Editor's Note: Liu Di was significantly noted in Ann Lau's Presentation to Cisco Stockholders on 11 Nov 2003, see below.
by Chair of Visual Artists Guild
|11 Nov 2003|
Presentation of Proposal to
New Proposal to CISCO
from Chair of
Visual Artist Guild
Resolution on Government Stifling
Submitted by Ann Lau - November 2003
The stockowners recommend that the board prepare a report to the stockowners on Cisco hardware and software products that can (a) allow monitoring, interception, keyword searches, and/or recording of the Internet, or (b) act as a "firewall" by which selected Internet traffic can be prevented from reaching its addressee outside the country of origin or by which downloading of information from selected sites outside the country of origin is prevented.
This report would be limited to hardware and software provided to government agencies and state-owned communications/information technology entities in any country. The countries shall be identified, but only a total of each such product in each country shall be reported. The report shall cover each fiscal year of Cisco, starting with fiscal 2004. The first report shall include a cumulative provision of such products from 1995 to the date of the report.
If Cisco has entered into any contracts by which it has pledged to keep secret from its stockowners the existence or content of such contracts for the above hardware or software products to the above customers, then the required reports shall not need to include those products for those countries, but shall need to note that secrecy-against-stockowners contracts exist and list the products which they cover.
Opposition by Cisco 2003
The Board of Directors believes this proposal does not serve the best interests of Cisco or its shareholders and recommends a vote AGAINST it.
Cisco and its Board of Directors are committed to freedom of speech. Furthermore, we are a proponent of the vast potential of the Internet to advance and propel the dissemination of information among people throughout the world. Nonetheless, we believe that the proposal will not further these social principles, will unnecessarily expend Cisco resources and could interfere with our customer relations.
The product capabilities described in this shareholder proposal meet fundamental and legitimate needs to protect the integrity of Internet communications networks. Cisco products, whether used by a private business, a telecommunications service provider or a government agency, have these capabilities, as do the products of our competitors. These capabilities are legitimately used by network operators and by governmental customers for those purposes and are also used by the United States and other countries for law enforcement, national security purposes and to protect their citizens against the threat of terrorism. In the United States and other countries whose governmental systems are based upon the rule of law, the exercise of these powers is subject to constitutional and legal protections and respect for individual rights.
This shareholder proposal would require the proposed report to cover all hardware and software sold to any government agencies and state-owned communications or information technology entities which allows monitoring, interception, keyword searches, and/or recording of the Internet, or which acts as a "firewall." Because the capabilities listed are inherent in a wide range of products that we sell to anyone, and because we sell our products to government agencies and state-owned communications or information technology entities in most of the countries of the world, this proposal is seeking a report that would list most of the countries of the world and would require us to list a substantial portion of our products. The report sought would result in substantial expenditure of company resources, in both funds and staffing, without furthering the freedoms that Ms. Lau addresses in her supporting statement.
Outside of the United States, we sell our products almost exclusively through resellers, with direct sales to some telecommunications service providers (both government owned and otherwise) but rarely if ever directly to governmental agencies or entities. In some cases, we do not have visibility into the names of, and products purchased by, particular end-users. We believe that this shareholder proposal would require us to set up inquiry procedures with our distributors and resellers to determine those countries in which sales are made to government agencies and state-owned communication or information technology entities and which products are so sold. The board is concerned that the mere gathering of this information could have an impact on our relations with reseller customers.
In the supporting statement to this shareholder proposal, Ms. Lau discusses the actions of the Government of the People's Republic of China. In the past few years, we addressed our activities in the People's Republic of China as they relate to freedom of speech and association over the Internet with the U.S. China Security Review Commission. As we informed the Commission, the products that we sell to any customer in the People's Republic of China, government or otherwise, do not contain any detection or monitoring capabilities which are different from the products we sell to anyone anywhere else in the world.
While we understand the cause Ms. Lau espouses, and vigorously support freedom of speech and association and the role of the Internet in providing opportunities to all the peoples of the world, the Board of Directors believes that this proxy statement and the meeting are not proper forums for this debate.
Recommendation of the CISCO Board of Directors
Related articles about the Great Firewall in China
|October 26, 2003.|
The following article appeared in the Opinion Section of the Sunday Los Angeles Times on October 26, 2003.
We feel that it is of great importance to listen to those who have directly experienced oppressive governments that creep up on a nation and choke off any dissent. These are the times when it takes courage to speak out with the voice of reason.
No people were ever bettered by hopeful lies or hypnotic propaganda.
Chinese patriotism, Yanyong and Charles Li
May 2, 2003
Readers of the Daily Illini might have been puzzled by letters to the editor from two Chinese students responding to "Local Lawmakers Question Conviction of Overseas Alumnus" (Friedman and Schencker, April 8).
One letter ("Taking Sides With Falun Gong," by Guoliang Zhang, April 15) accused the Daily Illini of having "served as the spokesperson of Falun Gong," of having in effect printed a "paid advertisement," and of "accumulating hatred" toward China. The other letter ("Unfounded Prejudice" by Yuan Liu) accused the DI of a "very negative prejudice toward China." Both writers, in effect, accused the DI of being "anti-China."
In order to understand these responses to the story about the views of local lawmakers over China's recent conviction of U of I alumnus, U.S. citizen and Falun Gong practitioner Dr. Charles Li, one needs to know a little about the role of propaganda in today's China.
Jiang Zemin became head of the Communist Party immediately after thousands of students were slaughtered on Tianamen Square in June 1989. Government propaganda suddenly took on a new focus, which some China watchers claim is modeled on the "blood and soil" propaganda used by the fascist states of Europe in the 1930s to secure their own legitimacy. Jiang sought to re-establish the legitimacy of the Communist Party on extreme appeals to patriotism and nationalism and attacks on enemies both at home and abroad who were said to be "anti-China."
This new patriotism has no principle beyond what is said to serve the needs of a "great China," and can be used to support or demonize anything the Communist Party desires.
The Communist Party has complete control over the information that reaches the people of China, which gives their propaganda an ability to determine what people think.
Most Americans are unaware of the hatred for the United States China's propaganda has stirred in China's young. After the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Chinese language chat rooms frequented by Chinese students living here in the United States were filled with whoops of joy at the destruction of the World Trade Center's towers and at the deaths of 3,000 innocent Americans. This year, when the U.S. space shuttle broke up over Texas, Chinese language chat rooms described the event as "the best fireworks of the New Year."
I point out these excesses as examples of the state of mind the Chinese government has succeeded in inculcating in the young. I feel compassion for the way in which the young people of China have been so deluded and have written this piece to explain, not to accuse.
A few weeks ago Dr. Jiang Yanyong told the truth about the number of SARS cases in Beijing, and so the world learned the truth about this deadly epidemic, concealed by the government for five months. Dr. Jiang Yanyong courageously saved lives. He is a true Chinese patriot.
Dr. Charles Li is accused of trying to tell the Chinese people the truth in an effort to save the lives of millions of persecuted Falun Gong practitioners. I hope that, in the future, all will agree that telling the truth is the act of the true friends of China.
|February through April|
Angeles, The Visual Artists Guild has been participating in a
weekly protest and vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles.
Each week is dedicated to a specific individual dissident being held by
the Chinese government for political crimes or merely for expressing an
opinion unfavorable with the regeime. Click here
Members visit Hong Kong
Hong Kong in Transition, followup In 1997, Visual Artists Guild produced a documentary, titled "Hong Kong in Transition" in probing the views of the Hong Kong people towards the impending return to China of the British colony of Hong Kong. The documentary interviewed a number of Hong Kong politicians, both pro-democracy and pro-Beijing, as well as journalists, businessmen and ordinary citizens. Last December, the documentary's executive producer Robert Branch, and the director, Ann Lau, visited Hong Kong to gauge what changes have happened since their last trip there and to prepare for a follow-up documentary. Article 23 (please see other article in this newsletter) was the topic of the day. While many young people are against Article 23 and joined in the world-wide protest, the pro-Article 23 government team worked hard to conduct a rally a week later. Using the tactics of authoritarian governments, busloads of retirees were promised a field trip and lunch if they attended the pro-government rally. Many of the senior citizens interviewed could not identify what they were there for.
The revisionist historic kung fu film "Hero" by famed director
Zhang Yimou was playing in Hong Kong at the time. It was disheartening
to see the usually boisterous Hong Kong audience came out of the theater
deadly somber. The message of "Hero" was to submit to tyranny
for the sake of a China ruling all under the heavens. Yet the film was
nominated by the Academy for best foreign film this year. One wonders
why an Academy that celebrates the human spirits of films like "Life
is Beautiful" and "The Pianist" would find a film that
endorses submission to tyranny as worthy of their attention. Did China's
propaganda machine totally fooled Miramax which bought the film for 30
million U.S. dollars?
Cable TV Show
|20 December 2002|
Los Angeles, Visual Artists Guild president, Ken Aaron interveiwed Norman Quan of the Hong Kong Forum concerning the background and current consequences of Hong Kong Article 23. This half hour show was broadcast over Adelphia cable in the Los Angeles Area.
The passing of Article 23 would be the nail in the coffin in respect
to Hong Kong's relative free press and enjoyment of civil liberties; Hong
Kong would become just another city within the PRC.
Article 23 Protest
|15 December 2002|
Los Angeles, VAG joined the protest of Hong Kong's Article 23 On December 15, 2002, Visual Artists Guild joined Hong Kong Forum and a dozen other human rights and pro-democracy organizations in Southern California on a world wide protest against Hong Kong's impending anti-subversion law, called Article 23. Representing Visual Artists Guild was our president, Ken Aaron.
Five years after Hong Kong's handover, Article 23 is due to be adopted by the government on the issues of treason, subversion, sedition and secession. The Peoples Republic of China's have relied on such laws to justify the imprisonment of journalists, internet writers and others who have expressed views of which the government does not approve.
Any publication of "unauthorized" news would be considered as giving out state secret. Similar laws that have been passed in the PRC have initially targeted the Falun Gong practitioners and have been used subsequently to suppress underground Catholics and house church Christians. Since many financial and commercial institutions are owned by the government, even the reporting of financial news would be suspect.
Various local press covered the event.
|20 September 2002.|
BEIJING, Sept. 20 China's most prominent advocate for AIDS patients, Dr.Wan Yanhai, was unexpectedly released today after nearly a month's detention by China's State Security apparatus.
The release came after an international outcry over his
arrest, with anextraordinary range of voices, including the State Department,
United Nations officials, and Act Up, the protest group concerned with
AIDS issues, expressing their concerns.
Historic Stock Vote
on proposal by
Chair of Visual Artist Guild
|20 November 2002.|
Freedom of Expression as Corporate Responsibility
In October, 2002, shareholders Cisco Systems, Inc, the world's major manufacturer of internet routers, were asked to vote on the proposal to make Cisco examine whether its products are being used to stifle free expression in repressive countries. It is a historic vote because no shareholder proposal had ever been put to a vote to Cisco stockholders before. In presenting the proposal to the stockholders in Silicon Valley, Visual Artists Guild's chair, Ann Lau, told the stock owners, "As a global company, Cisco needs to act responsibly as a global citizen." Although her proposal failed by a 25-to-1 ratio, her proposal garnered enough votes so she can re-submit it again.
Cisco Shareholders also turned down a proposal that would have required the company to list equipment sold to governments or state-run companies that can block, record or monitor Internet traffic. Shareholder Ann Lau of Los Angeles wrote the proposal to make Cisco examine whether its products are being used to stifle free expression in repressive countries.
"As a global company, Cisco needs to act responsibly as a global
citizen," she told stock owners. Her proposal failed by a 25-to-1 ratio.
(taken from SFGate.com
click here )