The Right to Speak Out. In China, that means Hard Labor

Most of us blog casually. We vent, have our say, speak out, or pass along information through this wonderful form of communication.

We even protest what we see are the injustices done to ourselves and others.

Unfortunately, not everyone in the world is allowed the right to speak out.

Two Chinese women—Wu Dianyuan, 79, and Wang Xiuying, 77—have been put in a labor camp by the Chinese government because they dared to go through the formal process of requesting a permit to protest during the Beijing Olympics. They wanted to voice what they felt was inadequate compensation by China, when it chose to demolish their homes to make way for a redevelopment project. They were relocated to ramschackle public housing, on the outskirts of town.

They applied for their protest permit five times—but of course, they were never given one. In fact, according to the New York Times:

“At least a half dozen people have been detained by the authorities after they responded to a government announcement late last month designating venues in three city parks as ‘protest zones’ during the Olympics. So far, no demonstrations have taken place.

According to Xinhua, the state news agency, 77 people submitted protest applications, none of which were approved. Xinhua, quoting a public security spokesperson, said that apart from those detained all but three applicants had dropped their requests after their complaints were ‘properly addressed by relevant authorities or departments through consultations.’ The remaining three applications were rejected for incomplete information or for violating Chinese law.

The authorities, however, have refused to explain what happened to applicants who disappeared after they submitted their paperwork…”

Think about it: two elderly women–in a hard labor camp! Just because they voiced their opinions about an injustice served them.

It’s time you, too, put your voice out there, to ask for their release. In fact, for some time now, Human Rights Watch has been encouraging formal protests to the major Olympics sponsors, including General Electric, ABC, and McDonalds. These companies, along with the Chinese government, are making millions and millions of dollars off the Olympics. They, too, have some responsibility for what is happening to these women.

Let them know that the term “corporate responsibility” is more than a sound bite. Your can write their CEOs here:

Mr. Jim Skinner
Chief Executive Officer
McDonald’s Corporation
2111 McDonald’s Drive
Oak Brook, IL 60523

Mr. Jeffrey Zucker
President and Chief Executive Officer
NBC Universal, Inc.
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112

Mr. Jeffrey Immelt
Chief Executive Officer
General Electric Company
3135 Easton Turnpike
Fairfield, CT 06828-0001

In fact, NBC should certainly make sure that these women are allowed to leave the country, to a safer haven—maybe Mr. Zucker’s Malibu cabana house?

Now, there’s a reality show for you.

Happy face ads can’t cover up for atrocities,

Josie Brown

SMW Relationship Editor

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