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Prodding China on human rights.

Beijing -- In November 2006, Canadian news reports made much of China's shilly-shallying on trade meetings with Canada during Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Asia trip. The delay was attributed to Mr. Harper's promise to broach the subject of human rights abuses. Mr. Hu and Mr. Harper did meet briefly after all.

A recent case of abuse, amid many other reported incidents, is that of blind, human-rights activist Chen Guangcheng. Arrested initially in August 2005, he was sentenced to three years and four months in prison, supposedly for "willfully damaging property" and "organizing a mob to disturb traffic." This ruling was upheld in early December 2006.

The charges stem from a protest in Chen's hometown in eastern Shandong province, in which he denounced forced sterilizations and abortions done in accordance with China's one-child policy. The judicial "process" against Chen has been accompanied by beatings, arrests of defence lawyers, disappearances of key witnesses, and physical violence and intimidation against Chen himself, his family and his friends. His current legal team still hopes to attempt a further appeal of the verdict (LifeSiteNews, Dec. 4, 2006).
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Title Annotation:China
Publication:Catholic Insight
Date:Feb 1, 2007
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