Posts Tagged ‘wikipedia’

Today: Tiananmen Square 30 years ago was ‘correct’ but singing about it still not allowed

June 4, 2019

As many news outlets report today it is 30 years ago that China cracked down on Tiananmen Square. China tries mostly to forget about it and make others forget it about it too. Still, it recenty came out to defend it as the “correct policy”. “That incident was a political turbulence and the central government took measures to stop the turbulence which is a correct policy” Defence minister Wi Fenghe Wei told a regional security forum in Singapore. “The 30 years have proven that China has undergone major changes,” he said, adding that because of the government’s action at that time “China has enjoyed stability and development“. On the other hand Wu Qian, a spokesman for the defence ministry, decried the use of the word “suppression” to describe the crackdown.

But it does cover Chinese rock musician Li Zhi, who has been outspoken and sung songs about social issues including the Tiananmen Square crackdown, and has not been seen for three months. The South China Morning Post of 2 June has a detailed piece on what happened to this singer: His upcoming tour has been cancelled and his social media accounts taken down. Then his music was removed from all of China’s major streaming sites – as if his career had never existed at all. “Now this square is my grave,” Li sang. “Everything is just a dream.”

The disappearance of Li, the musician, has left fans searching for answers. On February 20, the official Weibo social media account for the 40-year-old’s concert tour posted a photograph of its team in front of a truck about to embark on scheduled performances in Sichuan province in China’s southwest. Just two days later, however, the account posted an image of a hand wearing what appeared to be a hospital wrist band and the words: “Very sorry.” The next post, published the same day, announced without explanation that the tour was cancelled and that ticket purchasers would shortly receive a refund. Fans flooded the comment section with wishes for a speedy recovery.

But the suggestion that a health issue was behind the cancellations was later thrown into doubt. A statement published in April by Sichuan’s culture department said it had “urgently halted” concert plans for a “well-known singer with improper conduct” who was previously slated for 23 performances – the same number of concerts which Li had scheduled in the province. It said 18,000 tickets were fully refunded.

..Li’s presence on the Chinese internet was completely erased. An April 21 central government directive ordered all websites to delete any audio or video content relating to five of Li’s songs, according to China Digital Times, an organisation that publishes leaked censorship instructions. The authenticity of the directive could not be independently verified.

“There’s pretty much a consensus” among those working in the industry that Li’s disappearance from public view is due to the sensitive anniversary, said a music industry professional who spoke on condition of anonymity because of fear of government retribution. “He did a number of songs that were considered politically risky, making references to June 4, 1989, and so he’s been out of the picture,” the industry professional said.

Li’s current whereabouts could not be confirmed. His company and record label did not respond to repeated interview requests. Li’s songs alluding to the Tiananmen Square protests – The Square, The Spring of 1990 and The Goddess, in honour of the Goddess of Democracy that students erected – were part of his earlier works. In recent years, the bespectacled singer has avoided making public political statements, focusing more on promoting his performances. In 2015, state-run China Daily newspaper published a profile of Li, describing him as a performer who easily sells out concerts. After years of working as an independent artist, he signed last autumn with Taihe Music Group, a major Chinese record label. Fans who knew Li as a largely apolitical entertainer expressed bewilderment online about his disappearance. Others made veiled references to China’s internet censorship. On Zhihu, a question-and-answer website similar to Quora, one user wrote that people posed questions every day about what might have happened to Li, but these posts always disappeared the next morning “as if nothing had happened at all”.

Another user said: “I don’t dare to say it, nor do I dare to ask.” A fan who has been sharing Li’s music on his personal account spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared his employers would punish him for discussing the subject. “Everyone knows the reason for Li Zhi’s disappearance,” the fan said. “But I’m sorry, I can’t tell you, because I follow China’s laws and also hope that Li Zhi can return.” Quoting one of Li’s lyrics, the fan added: “The world will be all right.” Fans continue to circulate videos of Li’s performances online. His complete discography has been uploaded onto file-sharing websites, with back-up links in case the original ones are shuttered. Some users shared tribute art, including a black T-shirt with the words “improper conduct”. A few years ago, in a performance in Taiwan, Li bounced around on stage, strumming his guitar and repeating a chorus in apparent tribute to the spirit of Chinese propaganda.

Foreign companies are not immune. Apple Music has removed from its Chinese streaming service a song by Hong Kong singer Jacky Cheung Hok-yau that references the Tiananmen crackdown. Tat Ming Pair, a Hong Kong duo, have been deleted entirely from the app. They released a song this month called Remembering is a Crime in memory of the protests.

Music by Tat Ming Pair – Anthony Wong Yiu-ming (left) and Tats Lau Yi-tat – has been deleted from the Apple Music app. Photo: K.Y. Cheng
Music by Tat Ming Pair – Anthony Wong Yiu-ming (left) and Tats Lau Yi-tat – has been deleted from the Apple Music app. Photo: K.Y. Cheng

Wikipedia also announced this month that the online encyclopaedia is no longer accessible in China. While the Chinese-language version has been blocked since 2015, most other languages could previously be viewed, Wikipedia said.

The Human Rights Foundation publised this video about China’s Million Person Muslim Prison Camps:

For the 25th anniversary see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2014/06/13/25-years-tiananmen-celebrated-with-over-100-detentions/

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/05/31/on-4-june-streets-around-chinese-embassy-to-be-renamed-tiananmen-square/

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/china-says-tiananmen-square-crackdown-1989-correct-policy-093500064.html

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/politics/article/3012782/outspoken-folk-rock-singer-li-zhi-disappears-china-tightens

Human rights cities movement or network?

June 2, 2019

The third edition of the #RightsCity conference will be held on June 3 2019 in Montreal, Canada. For more on the background of the Human Rights Cities movement, see: https://en.wikipedia.or/wiki/Human_Rights_City#History_of_the_Human_Rights_Cities_movement. However, how it relates to the human rights cities network I referred to earlier [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/12/14/the-human-rights-cities-network-the-beginning/], is not totally clear!

This year, particular emphasis has been placed on the role of prominent human rights defenders, journalists and global human rights leaders, and of Canada as well. The conference brings together some of the world’s human rights leaders and thinkers, including: Saudi activist Omar Abdulaziz; Canadian retired lieutenant-general and senator Roméo Dallaire; Iranian women’s rights leader Shaparak Shajarizadeh; Chinese dissident and former political prisoner Yang Jianli; and former special adviser to the UN Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect, Jennifer Welsh.

The event is hosted by the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies at Concordia University, in partnership with the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, Amnesty International, the Canadian International Council and the Centre for International Peace and Security Studies. (The event is expected to be livestreamed via CPAC.)

Here, some of those involved with the event shed light on the human rights issues they believe are most important to address in order to ensure global stability.

1. Where’s our defence of the global institutions and mechanisms to protect human rights? Kyle Matthews, executive director of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies
2. Crimes against humanity have been committed in Cameroon. Let’s not turn away. Pearl Eliadis, Canadian lawyer and senior fellow of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights
3. A call for a new generation of Canadian human rights promotion. Arthur Graham, Canadian lawyer and head of the rule of law and human rights department at the OSCE Mission to Serbia
4. Do not underestimate the importance, and fragility, of multinational democracy.  Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House
5. Above all, the common thread — and need — is fairness. Jeremy Kinsman, Canada’s former ambassador to the European Union and High Commissioner to Britain

 

 

Amnesty and Wikipedia want to include more entries on Women Human Rights Defenders

May 20, 2018

Volunteers with Amnesty International met in 20 countries around the world to upload biographies of women human rights defenders to Wikipedia. (Photo: @AmnestyAlgerie/Twitter)

This weekend on-line activists from over 20 countries spent their time uploading to Wikipedia the biographies of “women human rights defenders” often still unrecognized by the international community. A collaboration between Wikimedia—Wikipedia’s non-profit arm—and Amnesty International, the BRAVE:edit campaign defines women human rights defenders as both female human rights workers and people of all genders who fight oppression based on gender and sexuality. (for some of the many posts on women human rights defenders in this blog, see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/women-human-right… and https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/women-human-rights-defenders/page/5/)

Only about 20 percent of biographical entries available to Wikipedia’s 1.4 billion daily users are about women, Amnesty reports. “BRAVE:Edit hopes to fill this glaring gap,” said Guadalupe Marengo, head of Amnesty’s Global Human Rights Defenders Program. “These are stories of some truly inspirational women who have overcome huge obstacles and fought entrenched discrimination in defense of human rights. Activists from across the globe will be helping to bring them to a worldwide audience where they belong.”

A few of the women who the global editors planned to write biographical Wikipedia entries for, include:

  • Radhya al-Mutawakel, co-founder of Yemen’s Mwatana Organization For Human Rights, who has addressed the UN Security Council about the humanitarian crisis in Yemen amid Saudi Arabia’s assault on the country, and called on countries including the U.S. to stop supplying arms to the Saudis.
  • Marchu Girma, grassroots director for Women for Refugee Women, who has organized and maintained networks for women refugees around the world and has called on the #MeToo movement to address harassment and abuse faced by refugee women.
  • Polly Harrar, founder of the Sharan Project,  a UK-based charity dedicated to supporting South Asian women who are at risk due to forced marriage, honor-based abuse, domestic violence, and other conflicts.

“Working with Amnesty International’s global community is a chance for Wikimedia to reach out to new audiences to encourage them to become involved in the creation of knowledge about their identities and histories, and to make sure that women human rights defenders are given the importance and prominence they deserve online,” said John Lubbock of Wikimedia UK.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/05/20/filling-glaring-gap-amnesty-teams-wikipedia-include-entries-women-human-rights

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2018-05-18/online-edit-a-thon-aims-to-raise-profile-of-female-rights-activists-around-the-world

“I shall not hate” message of Palestinian doctor not enough (for some)

April 13, 2016

A post in the Canadian Jewish News (CJN) by Myron Love (on 11 April 2016) reports that University of Manitoba professor Haskel Greenfield expressed outrage about an exhibit at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights that highlights, among 17 other human rights defenders, the story of Izzeldin Abuelaish, a Palestinian doctor from Gaza who lost three daughters and a niece when an Israeli missile hit his home during Operation Cast Lead in 2009. In Greenfield’s words, the interactive exhibit that includes Abuelaish is “a disgusting, one-sided portrayal of a complex situation. It completely ignored the fact that Hamas used yards and roofs of residences, schools and hospitals to launch their missiles. The Palestinian family portrayed was a tragic example of collateral damage in a war started by their Hamas government.” Greenfield is an archeologist and acting head of U of M’s Judaic studies program. He said it’s “very clear to me that the exhibit is not about human rights at all. It is an opportunity for Israel bashing and subtle anti-Semitism. The exhibit only focuses on what the Israelis have done to Palestinians – and, in particular to one Palestinian family – without any context as to why it happened.” 

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