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Elderly Chinese Women Sentenced to Hard Labor For Protests

Despite the news of sparkly gold, silver, and bronze medals raining out of China, some awards haven't been so auspicious. Despite big plans to allow dissent during the Games, not only have no protests been approved, some of those who did apply have either disappeared or were sentenced to labor re-education camps.

Who's being sent to camps? Threatening characters like two women in their late 70s who were forced from their homes in 2001 and wanted to use the Olympic opportunity to protest. On their first trip to Beijing Public Security Bureau, they were interrogated for 10 hours and then the two septuagenarians were then sentenced to one year for “disturbing the public order.” To see what the sentence means for the women,


This sentence places restrictions on their movements and, if they breach any requirements, both — did I mention one of them is blind? — will be sent to a labor camp. The reeducation system, nearly 50 years old, removes the need for a trial or a formal charge and allows the government to detain people for up to four years doing hard labor.

What kind of labor could a 77 and a 79-year-old do? Hard-core crochet?


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