One of the most concerning stories this week was a proposed legal change that would make secret detentions legal. This would be a huge step backwards for human rights in China, and would provide a shield for the gov’t when they are criticized by citizen groups and foreign leaders.
Perhaps the best known case of secret detention came earlier this year with the arrest of Ai Weiwei. He was held for nearly 90 days in a secret location for “economic crimes”. It was never made clear why he was not held in a normal prison. Ai Weiwei reflected on the nature of Beijing’s oppressive gov’t this week in a piece for Newsweek that is well worth reading.
This reflection by Ai Weiwei came at a fitting time, as the municipal gov’t of Beijing was busy tearing down schools that had been built for the children of migrant workers. This has been seen as an obstacle to equal rights for the capitol’s newest residents.
On the positive side, it does seem that China is starting to focus some on developing programs for children with disabilities. This story from the Global Times touches on a variety of efforts being made in Beijing to assist with the increasing number of Autistic children. Some claims though show that there is still a poor understanding of what programs should look like.
This week also brought to light some of the hopes and challenges in growing China’s dwindling panda population. While there have been great strides made in getting pandas to reproduce, there has been virtually no progress in reintroducing captive pandas into the wild.
Finally I wanted to Congratulate Joe Biden and Gary Locke for their the splash they made in China during the VP’s recent trip. This summary from GlobalVoices, shows how their quiet approach of showing how democratically elected leaders behave made a big impression on the Chinese observers. This perhaps is the first time I’ve seen US officials complete a trip to China without getting attacked in state media.