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Women who campaign for human rights in China face reprisals from the ruling Chinese Communist Party, including enforced disappearances,arbitrary detention, sexual abuse and torture, an overseas rights group has said.
Since the death of rights activist Cao Shunli in a police detention center five years ago, women who challenge official abuse of power are still in a vulnerable situation, the overseas based Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) network said, in a report released ahead of International Women’s Day on Friday.
“The Chinese government has intensified suppression of women’s rightsadvocates, including NGOs advocating for women’s rights, in recent years,” the report said.
It said activist Jin Shunnü died in October 2018 in detention on charges related to “national security,” but when her family filed a complaint in January calling on Fushan city authorities to investigate, officials refused to give the family any explanation.
When the killers of women in custody are brought to justice, theirsentences can be relatively light, the report said, citing the prison terms handed down to seven officials convicted over Li Shulian’s 2009 death by torture in an extralegal “black jail” in Longkou, Shandong.
Cao died aged 52 on March 14, 2014 after she was denied medical treatment for months while in detention, according to her brother and fellow activists who blasted the government for using medical care as leverage to silence critics.
Her lawyers had made repeated requests for her release to allow her toreceive medical treatment, but no action was taken until she was seriously ill. She suffered from tuberculosis in both her lungs, cirrhosis of the liver, and uterine fibroids.
Cao was detained as she set out for Switzerland to take part in a U.N.Human Rights Council review in September 2013.
Since then, the ruling Chinese Communist Party has targeted civilorganizations including the Beijing Yirenping Center, a public health and anti-discrimination NGO, the Weizhiming Women’s Center in Hangzhou, which had run campaigns against gender discrimination, violence against women and sexual harassment, and the Beijing Zhongze Women’s Legal Counseling Service Center, which provided legal assistance to women, CHRD said.
“While the #MeToo movement sparked a conversation in 2018, mainlyonline, about sexual harassment in China, it also led to some backlash and widespread censorship,” the group said.
“Authorities also shut down Sina Weibo and Tencent WeChat accounts ofthe group Feminist Voices in March,” it said.
Far fewer feminist voices in 2019
Wang Xiaoli, a women’s rights activist from the eastern province of Jiangsu, said she had noticed far fewer feminist voices on China’s tightly controlled internet on this year’s International Women’s Day than in previous years.
She said a petition calling for better rights for women had appeared on social media, but had garnered scant support.
“A few dozen people signed, but then after that, nobody signed at all, that I could see,” Wang said. “There are so few people signing petitions these days; a lot of feminists are afraid to express their views.”
“It’s not like it was a few years ago; the suppression by the ChineseCommunist Party is very harsh,” she said. “Nobody’s going to stand there holding placards … because that would get you detained for ‘picking quarrels and stirring up trouble’.”
Wang said that government crackdowns appeared to be working, as veryfew people are now willing to express support for women’s rights in China now.
Rights lawyer Wang Shengsheng said the administration of President XiJinping, who is currently serving an indefinite term in office, regards anyone who campaigns for anyone’s rights as a threat.
“It doesn’t matter what rights you are fighting for; they will regard your actions as illegal,” Wang Shengsheng said. “There are now very tight controls on freedom of thought and expression, whether it is to do with feminism or something else.”
“[They are] preventing [civil rights] from developing, to the extent of sending them into reverse.”
According to CHRD, an estimated 976 activists and dissidents are currently under enforced disappearance, pretrial detention, or in prison in China.
Many women who have tried to defend human rights in China have facedpersecution, including arbitrary detention, torture and inhumanepunishment by medical deprivation, the group said, citing the cases oflawyer Li Yuhan, activists Liu Ping, Li Xiaoling and Su Changlan and citizen journalists Ding Lingjie and Wang Jing, among many others.
“Persecuted women [rights activists] often face sexual harassment,” it said. “Several women … spoke out in 2018, accusing policemen of subjecting them to degrading treatment by forcing them to undergo strip searches,and sexual harassment to intimidate them.”
House arrest for lawyer’s wife
CHRD said Xu Yan, wife of detained human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng,lawyer Sun Shihua and activist Zhang Lifang were among them.
Unidentified people wearing the red armbands of citizen security details in Beijing placed Xu under house arrest on Friday, she told RFA.
Xu, who is now under the guard of around a dozen police officers andneighborhood officials at her Beijing apartment, said her surveillance had been ordered by the Shijingshan district state security police.
“I just went out to the corridor and found several people sitting in the corridor,” she said. “They wouldn’t let me go out.”
“There were about 12 of them blocking the corridor … so I didn’t go outtoday,” Xu said. “These people are on duty are on duty 24 hours a day, all through the night.”
The move comes after Xu wrote last month to Li Zhanshu, chairman of the National People’s Congress of China, and several vice-chairmen andsecretary-generals, urging them to strengthen supervision of the judiciary.
Other wives, sisters and mothers of detained prisoners of conscience have also faced harsh retaliation from authorities, CHRD said, citing the beating and detention last December of Huang Qi’s mother Pu Wenqing, 86.
“To silence her, police detained Pu in a secret location for more than one month and only released her into house arrest as her health seriously deteriorated,” CHRD said.
Authorities have also hit back at campaigning women and their childrenwith detention, abduction, housing eviction, restricted movement, banned travel abroad, and constant surveillance and monitoring, it said. (RFA)
Along with the undeniable natural beauty, the Kashmir valley has developed a reputation for adventurous activities like trekking, hiking, and river rafting. Kashmir has maintained its charm, allowing us to time-travel into beautiful destinations which make one forget about the stress and worries of life. The hikes in Kashmir offer adventurers to go on a self-discovery trip through nature's lap over the mountains while taking in the breathtaking scenery that surrounds them on their journey. In addition to the hikes, there are many thrilling adventure activities, like rock climbing, rope climbing, etc. Trekking across the region of mountains and lakes will allow you to experience living in the "Paradise on Earth," and you wouldn't want to return to your regular life after that.
The following are some of the finest hiking destinations in Kashmir:
#1: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek: You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. In addition to three high-altitude passes and five river valley crossings, this is the only trip in the Himalayas that includes seven alpine lakes, each of which is a stunning shade of green, blue, or turquoise. The extravagance is limitless and breathtakingly stunning every day: infinite blue sky, a larger-than-life backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, colourful meadows overflowing with wildflowers, river crossings are just a few examples of what you will encounter during the trek.
You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. | Photo by prayer flags on Unsplash
#2: Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora Trek: The Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora trek is a one-of-a-kind experience that provides a glimpse into Kashmir's undiscovered regions. Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey that is the perfect experience for anyone looking to get away from the frantic tourist rush. This trek is a fascinating journey that allows nature enthusiasts to bask in the splendour of nature's grandeur. The trek goes over many high mountain passes, some as high as 4000 metres in elevation. The hiking route, in addition to providing breathtaking views of the magnificent Vishansar Lake, provides visitors with the chance to see more than 50 alpine lakes.
Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey. | Photo by YASER NABI MIR on Unsplash
ALSO READ: Top 10 Beautiful Sights To VIsit In Kashmir
#3: Tral-Narastan-Marsar Trek: The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. The hiking trail passes past a waving saffron field, beautiful meadows, and several streams. The path also crosses the Dachigam National Park, where there is an opportunity to see various animal species. Trekkers may take in spectacular views of the high mountains running parallel to them as they cut and pass through Narastan, a Hindu pilgrimage place.
The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. | Wikimedia Commons
#4: Chhatargul-Mahlish-Gangabal: The journey, which passes through beautiful locations such as Chattargul, Mahlish, Kolsar, and Trunkul, provides a peek into an utterly uninhabited wilderness of Kashmir. There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one trek into the alpine wilderness. Trekkers can also enjoy fishing in the crystal clear lakes, camping, or just seeing towering snow-capped mountains while on their journey.
There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one treks into the alpine wilderness. | Wikimedia Commons
#5: Kolahoi Base Camp Trek: The Kolahoi Base Camp trek in Kashmir has been famous since the early 1900s and has been a goal for many seasoned hikers from across the world. While Srinagar serves as the beginning point for the trip, it is in Aru Valley that the actual hiking begins. The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. The breathtaking sight of the peaks rising into the sky on the horizon of the Pirpanjal and Karakoram ranges is certainly worth capturing. It is considered to be one of the most popular treks in the Kashmir valley.
The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. | Wikimedia Commons
Kashmir's natural splendour, with its beautiful valleys and towering mountains, is really unlike anywhere. Trekking through various valleys and peaks while taking in the scenic beauty is something that always calms the heart and provides us with memories that we will remember for a lifetime.
Keywords: Kashmir, Lakes, Alpine, Hiking, Trekking, Treks, Sonamarg, Gangabal, Kolahoi, Chhatargul, Mahlish, Tral, Narastan, Marsar
The Pitru Paksha starts after the Full Moon day, and this day marks the beginning of the waning phase of the Lunar cycle. This event is roughly of 15-day period, and is of great significance. From this day, rituals like Tarpan or Tarpanam and Shradh are carried out to pay respects to dead relatives and ancestors.
It is believed that from the very first day till the last day, the unhappy souls of the deceased return to the Earth to see their family members. So, in order to ensure that the dead attain Moksha, i.e. to get liberation, family members of these souls quench their thirst and satisfy their hunger by performing the Pind Daan, which includes offering food consisting of cooked rice and black sesame seeds. The literal meaning of Pind Daan is the act of satisfying those who no longer exist physically.
For fifteen days, prayers are offered in temples and rituals are performed to help the souls get free from the cycle of birth, life, and death, and attain salvation.
At the same time, the Pitru Paksha is also an important period for people with Pitru Dosha, which means the curse imposed by the ancestors. Hence, in order to ask forgiveness, people perform Shradh rituals and offer food to the crows, who are considered as living beings that represent the dead. It is believed, if the crow eats the offered food, the ancestors are happy and pleased. But, if the crow doesn't eat the offered food and flies away, the ancestors are not happy.
The event of Pitru Paksha is widely observed by Hindus from all over the world, and they perform prayers and rituals in order to gain their ancestors blessings.
At the heart of Bangalore city, a large 300-acre space of lush greenery and heritage stands as a symbol of the city's past, present, and future. Cubbon Park is every child's favourite park, every Bangalorean's haven of fresh air, and altogether, the city's pride.
It stands testament to the past, in terms of the diversity of flora it houses. Bangalore traffic in the recent past has grown into a menace, but the stretch between MG Road and Cubbon Park is always a pleasurable place to stop and wait for the signal to turn green. The gust of wind that blows here, and the smell of mud, coupled with floral scents instantly transports citizens to Old Bangalore, where the weather was fine, and the trees loomed over roads with thick canopies that did not even allow rainwater to penetrate. Cubbon Park is also a historical site, and one of the few remaining monuments of colonial heritage in Central Bangalore. It houses many statues and among them, the most famous is that of Queen Victoria, which faces the St. Mark's Square.
The stretch outside Cubbon Park is cool and well-shaded from the canopy of trees over it. Image source: wikimedia commons
At present, Cubbon Park is known for the cultural hub that it is. It houses Jawahar Bal Bhavan, which is a large theatre that hosts film festivals through the year. Festivals, poetry open mics, and other such shows are conducted on the lawns every Sunday. A small stream runs through the park, where boat rides are held occasionally when the water level is high enough. There is a children's park on one corner, and a government-maintained aquarium, two-storeys tall, with exotic fish.
The Park has been renamed many times in the past. It was originally named Meade's Park, after Sir John Meade, the acting commissioner of Mysore in 1870. It was later changed to Cubbon Park after Sir Mark Cubbon, who was the longest-serving commissioner of the Mysore state. In 1927, the park was renamed after the Mysore Maharaja Sri Krishna Wodeyar, to celebrate his silver jubilee, since the park was developed during the reign of his ancestors. Even though it is officially named Sri Chamrajendra Park, it is still known as Cubbon Park all over the city. In fact, Bangalore was alluded the sobriquet of 'Garden City' because of the rich botanical diversity of this park.
Art Installation at Cubbon Park Image source: wikimedia commons
In many parts of the country, governments have renamed structures, places, and cities to remove traces of colonialism. But, in a city like Bangalore, there is too much evidence of the British rule. Many of the most prominent attractions of the city are known by their British identities despite the change in name. Even the city's name continues to be Bangalore, despite having been changed to Bengaluru. Last year, the British era and its achievements were celebrated in Cubbon Park when Sir Mark Cubbon's statue was moved from the grounds of the Karnataka High Court and placed in the Park.
Keywords: Cubbon Park, Mark Cubbon, British Colonialism, Cultural hub, Garden City