Africans protest in #China as man dies in police custody

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More than 100 Africans protested on Tuesday outside a police station in China’s southern Guangdong province after an African man died in police custody.

The protest in Guangdong’s capital Guangzhou, which brought traffic to a halt, lasted for two hours on Tuesday, Xinhua reported, citing an official from the Guangzhou Municipal Public Security Bureau.

The dead African man, whose identity has not been confirmed, “suddenly fell unconscious” at a police station on Monday afternoon and “died after medical efforts failed”, according to police sources quoted by Xinhua.

The African man was taken into the police station for questioning on Monday after he had a “physical altercation” with another person, the owner of an electric bicycle who had given the African man a ride as a passenger on Monday afternoon. Both of them disagreed over payment.

The protest comes ahead of a summit between China and Africa that China is expected to host in July, and amid a crackdown by Beijing and Shanghai on “illegal foreigners”. In late May, Beijing launched a 100-day campaign to “clean out” foreigners living or working illegally in the city and has stepped up police checks on expatriates.

The Xinhua report said police have launched an investigation into the death and that “police in Guangzhou have called for foreigners to abide by Chinese law and refrain from disturbing public order”.

via Reuters.

Investors Could Get Rattled

By now most people watching the geopolitical world will know that Chinese investment (and thus immigration) is becoming a huge deal in Africa. But we hadn’t really been considering African immigration to China until today.

Images of the protest posted on Weibo paint a chaotic scene. This photo, posted by @ndgz via @城事风云榜, shows the scale of the protest:

African Migrants China

Weibo

Another photo, posted by @onccnews seems to show migrants fighting with police officers:

African Migrants China

Weibo

China is due to hold a summit for African nations in July, as Reuters notes, but the timing of that summit is beginning to look perilous, as anti-foreigner sentiment within the country grows. Shanghai recently began clamping down on illegal foreigners, while a prominent TV host recently warned on Weibo about the influx of immigrants in the country.

via Business Insider

Nigerian Immigrants Demanding A Consulate

Most of the demonstrators are thought to have come from the city’s various African communities and sources in the city said the dead man was Nigerian.

Guangzhou police said via its microblog account it had opened an investigation into the death of a foreign national on Monday. It said officers in Yuexiu district had been called because of a fight between a foreigner and an electric bicycle driver over a fare dispute.

In a separate post, the police said foreigners had blocked traffic on Guangyuan West Road – where the fight broke out – on Tuesday afternoon but were dispersed by officers.

They appealed to expatriates living in China to “abide by Chinese laws, not harm public interests or disrupt public order” and said police would investigate the death in strict accordance with the law.

One picture posted on Sina’s Weibo microblog showed a man carrying a cardboard placard reading “Give us the dead body” in English and Chinese.

Protests by foreign nationals residing in the country are rare in China. More than 100 demonstrators surrounded a police station in Guangzhou in 2009 after a Nigerian man died during an immigration raid. Reports said he had jumped from a second-floor window as police mounted surprise passport checks.

Nigerians in the city recently called for a consulate to be set up there, saying it would help them deal with immigration issues and tackle harassment.

via Guardian

 

#CHINA: URGENT APPEAL: Investigate Activist Li Wangyang’s Death

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Urgent Appeal for Credible Investigation into the Truth of Li Wangyang(李旺阳)’s Death

Click HERE to sign

Hunan labor movement leader Mr.Li Wangyang (李旺阳, see below for bio and video) was found dead in the morning of June 6th, 2012, in Daxiang Hospital, Shaoyang municipality, Hunan province (湖南邵阳市), China. Mr. Li’s brother-in-law Zhao Baozhu (赵宝珠) told media that he received a call from the hospital, around 6am on the 6th, announcing Li Wangyang’s death. At 6:50am, Zhao found Li Wangyang in his hospital room hanging on the window frame. Media quotes Li Zanmin (李赞民), friend of Li Wangyang, as saying that Li’s body was erect in front of the window with a ribbon around his neck. Around 9am, friends and relatives of the dead received words from the police that Li Wangyang “committed suicide by hanging himself.”

From all the media information available thus far, there are a lot of questions about the “suicide” claim the police has made:

1. Mr. Li Wangyang doesn’t seem to have a motivation to commit suicide. Relatives and friends have all confirmed that Mr. Li is optimistic and resilient, his health has been steadily improving, friends have been raising money for his medical needs, and they are not aware of any suicidal tendency on Mr. Li’s part. His close friend Zhu Chengzhi (朱承志), who had a long conversation with Mr. Li on June 4th, told media that “Wangyang is a tough man. Even with unbearable pains, he would never choose suicide to end his life.” Mr. Li’s brother-in-law Zhao Baozhu said that, in the evening before, Li told his sister to bring a radio to him so that he could listen and stimulate the faint hearing of his left ear. When interviewed just days before the 23rd anniversary of June 4th Tian’anmen Square Massacre by iCable, Hong Kong, Mr. Li Wangyang encouraged Ding Zilin (丁子霖), leader of the group called Tian’anmen Mothers, that she has to continue to persevere. He said in the same interview that he had never regretted what he had done 23 years ago. “Each ordinary man has a responsibility for democracy, for the wellbeing of the nation. For China to enter a democratic society sooner, for China to realize a multi-party political system sooner, I will not look back even if I have to risk my head.”

2. On-the-scene evidence is insufficient to support the “suicide” claim. A picture of the scene shows that one end of a white bandage strip looped somewhat loosely around Li Wangyang’s neck while the other end apparently tied on the window frame. The bandage loop is loose, and Mr. Li’s face shows no signs of distortion. His feet touch the floor with his slippers still on. All in all, he shows no traces of struggle often seen in death by hanging. Furthermore, from the video of the iCable interview, we can see that Mr. Li, blind and deaf, needed help to just walk, and it is also a question where and how he obtained the bandage strip with which he “hanged” himself.

3. The police prevented relatives and friends from taking pictures of the body and took the body away. Zhao Baozhu and Zhu Chengzhi confirmed to the media that relatives and friends of the dead asked the police to allow them to take detailed pictures, but the police rejected their request and took the body away around 10am, even though several dozens of friends attempted to block the police. Local police also thwarted rights defenders from visit Mr. Li’s home to send their condolences and to learn more about his death. Police’s actions, all in all, raise the question whether the authorities have something to hide. Mr. Li Wangyang has been watched 24 hours a day by several security police since prior to June 4th and they were still at the scene when the event occurred. It is puzzling then why Mr. Li could possibly have committed suicide.

As citizens who are deeply concerned with the state of human rights and the democratic development in China, we hereby solemnly make the following appeals:

1. Designate an authorized forensic science institution outside Shaoyang municipality to look into, and identify, the true cause of Mr. Li Wangyang’s death, accompanied throughout by representatives of family and friends. The findings shall be presented to the public;

2. For humanitarian reasons, allow Mr. Li Wangyang’s friends to visit his home, send their condolences, and help with the funeral and other affairs;

3. Hold local police accountable for their criminal and civil responsibilities for Mr. Li’s death, and pay necessary reparations;

4. UN’s relevant treaty offices, world governments and international organizations shall monitor the case, and pressure the Chinese government, to ensure that Mr. Li’s death will be dealt with fairly, judiciously and transparently.

Li Wangyang’s Biography:

Li Wangyang, male, was born in 1950 and resided in Shaoyang, Hunan province, China. Influenced by the famed “Democracy Wall” in Beijing and, later, by the Solidarity movement in Poland, Li Wangyang organized “Shaoyang Workers Cooperative” in 1983. He was arrested because of it but was spared of criminal charges. During the June 4th movement in 1989, Li and others established “Shaoyang Workers’ Autonomy League”, with Li as the Chairman, that mobilized workers to demonstrate and protest in support of the democracy movement raging on in Beijing. He was arrested on June 9th the same year and later sentenced to 13 years in prison for “anti-revolutionary advocacy” and “inciting to subvert state power.” In prison, Li Wangyang was beaten and tortured for being “unyielding”. When he staged hunger strikes to protest against torture, guards forced him to eat by prying open his mouth and, in the process, broke several of his teeth. Over his lengthy imprisonment, he suffered from debilitating illnesses that resulted in him losing both sight and hearing. In June 8, 2000, he was freed with reduced prison time. To defend his legitimate rights as a citizen, Li Wangyang soon sought reparations from the government for persecution that resulted in him completely losing the ability to work. In May 30, 2001, he was again thrown in prison with a 10-year sentence, this time baselessly charged with “assaulting state organs”. He was freed on May 29, 2011. The 2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, released recently in May 2012 by the US State Department , listed Li Wangyang as one of 128 Chinese dissidents and rights defenders to be concerned with. In its commemoration of June 4th just days ago, the Independent Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars (IFCSS) awarded Li Wangyang the 2012 “Spirit of Freedom Award”.

Initiated by: Bei Feng (北风), journalist, Hong Kong

Xia Yeliang (夏业良), economist, Peking,China

Wu Renhua (吴仁华), scholar of historic documentation, the US

Drafted by: Bei Feng (北风)

Signed by: (click to see table) https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AsKDF8_HXe4IdGVsTXdUNTBKRFRFekJDREZtak9ZRGc&output=html (Refreshed every 5 minutes)

Click HERE to sign

Rare citizen journalist video of riot in #China

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Tens of thousands took to the streets of Xianjiang in protest on Monday 28 May, 2012, after the death of a young man on May 12. Immigrant worker, Hunan Zhijiang Ji Yang Wenzhou, aged 19, was attacked with an iron bar during a dispute with his boss over pay. The serious injuries sustained during the attack proved fatal and on May 27, he died. On the morning of May 28, hundreds of family members and fellow workers descended on Xianjiang town hall to demand the government intervene. Officials sided with the factory, leading to intense anger among those who had gathered. As the news spread, tens of thousands of people besieged the town hall, and began to throw stones, bricks and bottles. Cars were smashed and overturned, and the situation swiftly developed into a full-blown riot. Authorities deployed a large number of armed police in Xianjiang, and the situation is said to be still evolving. Activists have managed to distribute videos of the riot despite the severe restrictions and overall atmosphere of censorship.

Chinese Investment In Nigeria Hits $8.4 Billion – Official

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Chinese investment in Nigeria has hit the 8.4 billion dollar mark, says Mr Yonghua Ding, the Head of the Political and Press Section at the Chinese Embassy.

Ding, who stated this in Abuja on Thursday, noted that the investment was in telecommunications, agriculture, oil and gas and power, among others.

He said the figure was recorded in 2011.

Ding also said that trade between both countries had reached the 10.7 billion mark, a 40 per cent increase over the figure for 2010.

He said that the bulk of the trade was recorded in the wholesale and retail sectors.

The envoy said the balance of trade was in China’s favour because Nigeria’s main export was oil which accounted for only 1 per cent of the trade.

“China is interested in agriculture and solid mineral products, we hope to explore these areas and have more exports from Nigeria.’’

He commended the cordial relations between both countries, adding that China had simplified its visa procedure to facilitate trade for Nigerian businessmen.

“Those who meet the necessary requirement are issued visa within a week; these are part of measures to boost economic cooperation between both nations’’.

NAN recalls that both nations signed the Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement and Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement in 2001 and 2002 respectively.

Nigeria and China established diplomatic relations in 1971.

Leadership Newspapers.

#Spain worries over #Mauritania fish

Image - Minister Miguel Arias Cañete
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Image - Minister Miguel Arias Cañete

The head of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Magrama), Miguel Arias Cañete stressed “the great concern with which Spain contemplates the blockade in the negotiations of the new protocol of the fisheries agreement with Mauritania.”

The latest round of negotiations between the European Union (EU) and Mauritania was completed in December 2011 and the Spanish Government is concerned about the fact that “it does not seem there has been any real progress,” said the minister during the meeting of the European Council of Fisheries Policy, which has taken place since last Monday in Brussels.

So far, there has been “little progress” to sign a new protocol.

Arias Cañete recalled that the existing bilateral fisheries agreement expires on 31 July, “so it is necessary that negotiations are resumed as soon as possible, even before the suggested date,” Magrama reported.

For Spanish vessels, this agreement is important and “vital” because “in many cases, there is no viable alternative,” he explained.

“The value of this agreement can not be disregarded within the framework of bilateral relations with the EU,” he added.

The Spanish Minister requested the provisional application of the protocol as soon as it is signed.

“The non-provisional application would involve the stoppage of the fleet for a period of extremely long time, which could cause economic and social harm that could lead, in some cases, to its disappearance,” he warned.

Arias Cañete will travel to Mauritania at the end of this month to monitor the process of negotiations of the new bilateral fisheries pact.

In early April, the EU Commissioner of Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, admitted that the delay in signing the new fisheries agreement with Mauritania may cause the interruption of the fishing activities in the waters of that African country.

“Given the current state of negotiations” to sign a new agreement, “there is a risk of disruption of the fishing activities,” the Commissioner recognised.

The financial contribution for European vessels to be able to fish in Mauritanian fishing grounds amounted to EUR 86 million during the first year of the covenant; and to EUR 76 million, EUR 73 million and EUR 70 million during the second, third and fourth years, respectively .

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