Friday 2 December 2016

Lessons from China

Published 16/02/2012 | 05:00

Your editorial writer on February 9 seems to suggest that 'official Ireland' has a lot to learn from China in terms of honesty when it comes to its own country's failings. This is a curious viewpoint, given China's propensity to imprison human rights defenders who have highlighted cover-ups and corruption, and its continued harassment of those seeking an official reassessment of the terrible events of June 3-4, 1989. To combat these challenges, 'official China' simply whitewashes, intimidates and jails.

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To give but one example: in 2010, Tan Zuoren was sentenced to five years in prison, ostensibly for articles he wrote about the government crackdown on demonstrators in 1989. However, according to fellow human rights defenders, the real reason for his sentence lay in his work investigating why so many schools collapsed -- leading to the deaths of thousands of children -- in the Sichuan earthquake of 2008, amidst widespread speculation that corruption was to blame for shoddy construction of the schools.

Honesty indeed.

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