08 October 2011

A New Tourism Promo for Dongshigu Village?

Over the last several weeks, ever since the first anniversary of Chen Guangcheng's release from prison, there have been several waves of people making the very risky journey to try to visit him at his home in Dongshigu Village, in Shandong Province's Yi'nan County. Without exception, they have been intercepted by the local thugs who guard the perimeter of the village, roughed up, and sent away.

The situation in Dongshigu has been intractable for such a long time, with all efforts to leverage international or domestic pressure leading nowhere. Foreign diplomats and journalists have experienced the same kinds of thuggish behavior on their attempts to visit Chen, though obviously the ordinary Chinese citizens who are making this effort do so with much greater risks involved.

The central government appears to have abdicated all responsibility for what is going on in Dongshigu, blaming the problem on patriotic locals who are angry about the black eye Chen Guangcheng's public activism has given their area, which takes pride in its contribution to the Communist revolution.

It's hard to see where to exert leverage here. I'm not entirely convinced that ordinary citizens putting their lives in danger by going to Dongshigu is the most effective strategy, but it's hard to know what else might work. Meanwhile, for want of a solution, Chen and his family remain under illegal lockdown, cut off from the world, unable to live a normal life.

Below, I translate an item posted on Twitter last night by the activist Hu Jia, a good friend of Chen Guangcheng:

Do you want to experience stability-maintenance? Please go to Dongshigu, in Yi'nan, Shandong Province.

Want a taste of organized crime? Please visit Dongshigu.

Want to get robbed? Please go to Dongshigu.

Want to witness police and bandits in league with each other? Visit Dongshigu.

Want to have your dignity trampled upon? Please visit Dongshigu.

Want to fully understand the value of freedom? Please go to Dongshigu, in Yi'nan, Shandong Province.

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