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China not a dark totalitarian country as western media describes: Ai Weiwei

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Beijing: China is not a dark totalitarian country, a state-run daily said Saturday, stressing that “many elements from the developed world are taking root” in the nation.

“China is not the dark totalitarian country that some in the West described it as. Many elements from the developed world are taking root in China,” an editorial in the Global Times said.

The country is also facing new problems, it said, adding: “The theory that all problems will be resolved once China adopts Western systems does not make sense.”

The editorial appeared following Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s visit to Germany where he has “softened his tone towards the Chinese authorities”.

“After regaining his passport from authorities in July, Ai left for Germany.

“Ai said he was allowed to travel again with almost no restrictions, and he could also go back to China, and that the government told him he is a free person. Ai also said that he would not just criticize the government, but should also offer solutions.”

The Voice of America said Ai’s words have drawn criticism from Chinese dissidents, who referred to this as the “collapse of an idol”.

The editorial said that for a long time, Ai has been labeled by Western media as a maverick and a flag bearer who fights against the existing political system. “Ai has been benefiting from these titles, but in the meantime, he has also been hijacked by them.”

This time “Ai seemed to have broken out of the label of his role. He opened his heart to the media. It has surprised many, because he did not complain a lot about what he has ‘suffered’ in China, as the Western media expected”.

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Tibetan Activist Sentenced to 5 Years of Imprisonment in China

A Tibetan education activist was on Tuesday sentenced to five years in prison by a Chinese court for inciting separatism, Amnesty International (AI) said, calling the sentence "unjust" and urging his immediate release.

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A Tibetan education activist was on Tuesday sentenced to five years in prison by a Chinese court for inciting separatism, Amnesty International (AI) said, calling the sentence “unjust” and urging his immediate release.

The main evidence against Tashi Wangchuk, who was sentenced by a court in Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai province, was a 2015 video by the New York Times about his campaign for saving the Tibetan language, according to his lawyer.

“Today’s verdict against Tashi Wangchuk is a gross injustice. He is being cruelly punished for peacefully drawing attention to the systematic erosion of Tibetan culture,” AI East Asia Research Director Joshua Rosenzweig was cited as saying by Efe news.

Before his arrest, the 31-year-old activist had expressed concern over the fact that many Tibetan children could not fluently speak their native language, contributing to the progressive extinction of the Tibetan culture.

Representational Image: Tibetan Teachings
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

“Tashi must be immediately and unconditionally released,” demanded AI, pointing out that the activist had already spent two years in detention without access to his family.

Rosenzweig claimed that Tashi Wangchuk “was a human rights defender and prisoner of conscience who used the media and China’s own legal system in his struggle to preserve Tibetan language, culture and identity”.

In the New York Times video, the activist had highlighted “the extreme discrimination and restrictions on freedom of expression that Tibetans face in China today”.

Also Read: An Attempt to Preserve Ancient Tibetan Literature

Non-profit Human Rights Watch (HRW) also criticized the prison term for Tashi Wangchuk, whose “only crime was to peacefully call for the right of minority peoples to use their own language”, a right safeguarded by the Chinese Constitution.

“His conviction on bogus separatism charges show that critics of government policy on minorities have no legal protections,” said HRW China Director Sophie Richardson. (IANS)

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