WUKAN, China — Each day begins with a morning rally in the banner-bedecked square, where village leaders address a packed crowd about their seizure of the village and plans for its future. Friday’s session was followed by a daylong mock funeral for a fallen comrade, whose body lies somewhere outside the village in government custody…
by Michael Wines
There is a wry “Occupy Tian’anmen” joke to be made here, but in reality this situation scares me too much to be funny about it. If history can serve as any guide, this will only end in violence. It appears that the police kidnapped and beat to death the villager chosen to negotiate with the authorities, and that SWAT teams are massing outside the village as the protests continue.
Meanwhile, China has published long-expected regulations requiring all users of microblogs to register accounts with their real names. Among other things, the new regulations reiterate the numerous ways in which free speech can be abridged:
Article 10. No organization or individual shall make unlawful use of a micro-blog to reproduce, publish, or transmit information with the following contents:
(i) violating the basic principles of the Constitution;
(ii) jeopardizing national security, leaking state secrets, subverting the government, undermining national unity;
(iii) harming national honor and interests;
(iv) inciting ethnic hatred or ethnic discrimination, undermining national unity;
(v) violating the state religion policies or propagating cults and feudal superstitions;
(vi) spreading rumors, disturbing social order, or undermining social stability;
(vii) spreading obscenity, pornography, gambling, violence, terror or instigating crimes;
(viii) insulting or libeling other or infringing on other people’s legitimate rights and interests;
(ix) inciting illegal assembly, association, procession or demonstration, assembling to disturb social order;
(x) illegal activities on behalf of civil society organizations;
(xi) contains content prohibited under other laws and administrative regulations.
For reference, here is a selection from the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China:
Article 35. Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration.