Navidad en las celdas de China: Recordando a Zhang Zhan y a otros durante la época navideña

Me encanta la navidad. Sobre todo, me encanta que sucede en el periodo más oscuro del año aquí en el Reino Unido. El invierno británico es frio, oscuro y lluvioso, pero en esta temporada todo se ilumina con decoraciones en las ventanas de mis vecinos, los árboles en nuestra calle se adornan con luces, y normalmente hacemos planes para pasar tiempo con amigos y familiares. Pero esta navidad de 2020 será como ninguna otra, incluso en el Reino Unido. Pero quedan varias cosas que podemos hacer para mantener el espíritu navideño.

La semana pasada recibí una tarjeta navideña con un simple mensaje. Llegó en el momento justo, porque había estado pensado en mis amigos y activistas en China. Esto siempre me pone triste, no solo porque es imposible visitar el país en este momento, es porque todos ellos – siendo líderes cristianos, abogados de derechos humanos, o periodistas – pasarán navidad y el año nuevo tras las rejas de una prisión, lejos de sus seres queridos, en incertidumbre sobre su situación, debido a las campañas del gobierno de China en contra de los cristianos. Me pareció irónico que la tarjeta que llegó a mis manos decía “Hecho en China”.

Zhang Zhan. Credit: Twitter/@consultorzhang

Un ejemplo es Zhang Zhan, una periodista cristiana y defensora de los derechos humanos. Zhang fue una de las pocas personas valientes quien intentó denunciar los hechos en los primeros días de la pandemia de COVID-19.

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Christmas in China’s prison cells: Remembering Zhang Zhan and others over the festive period

I love Christmas. I especially love the fact that it comes right in the middle of the darkest part of the year here in the UK. Just when I’ve had about enough of the cold, dark, rainy British wintertime, everything is brightened up by Christmas decorations in my neighbours’ windows, trees along our street festooned with lights, and plans for good times ahead with family and friends. 2020 is sure to be a Christmas like no other, including in the UK, but there are still things we can do to remind us of the festive spirit.

Just last week I received a lovely Christmas card with a heartfelt message. It came at just the right time, as I’d been thinking about friends and activists in China. This always makes me sad, not only because it’s impossible to visit the country right now, but more because so many of them – being Christian leaders, human rights lawyers or citizen journalists – will be spending Christmas and New Year in prison cells far away from their loved ones. Contemplating their situation, and the Chinese government’s crackdown on Christians, it seemed ironic to me that the card I held in my hands was ‘made in China’.

Zhang Zhan. Credit: Twitter/@consultorzhang

Take for example Zhang Zhan, a Christian citizen journalist and human rights defender. Zhang was one of the brave few who attempted to report the truth in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“Nadie es inmune a las redadas”: La Vida de los Uigures en la Región de Sinkiang, China

La Región Autónoma Uigur de Sinkiang de China está presenciando actualmente una crisis de derechos humanos sin precedentes en la que entre uno y tres millones de uigures predominantemente musulmanes, kazajos y miembros de otras minorías étnicas han sido detenidos sin cargos, ni juicio en los llamados “campos de reeducación”. El siguiente blog está escrito por un experto en cultura uigur y arroja luz sobre cómo es la vida para los que están dentro de la región.

“Imagina un mundo donde todos tus movimientos son observados. Donde se supervisa a quién conoces, a quién visitas e incluso de qué hablas. Donde se puede ser detenido en un autobús a mitad de viaje o detenido fuera de tu coche en un punto de control, donde tus pertenencias, tu identidad, tu cara, tus huellas dactilares y tu iris se escanean varias veces al día, y donde el contenido de tu teléfono podría enviarte a prisión por el resto de tu vida.

Esta es la nueva realidad para más de 10 millones de uigures (pronunciados Weega) en la provincia de Sinkiang, al noroeste de China, desde que el ex gobernador del Tíbet, Chen Quanguo fue convocado para asumir el control, en lo que fue considerada como la segunda provincia más problemática de China en 2017 a los ojos de Xi Jinping y el Partido Comunista Chino.

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The Story of the Loc Hung Vegetable Garden, Part 1: “Their whole world collapsed around them”

In January 2019 Vietnamese authorities carried out a massive operation in the Loc Hung Vegetable Garden in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, which saw the forcible eviction of thousands of residents and the destruction of over 500 homes. Today, nearly two years later the residents of Loc Hung continue to await justice.

Over the next few weeks, CSW will be telling the story of the Loc Hung Vegetable Garden through a series of interviews with those who lived there. For our first instalment, we spoke to Cao Ha Truc, one of those leading efforts for the residents to receive some form of compensation.

How long have you lived in the Loc Hung Vegetable Garden and how did you come to live there?

My family have lived here for four generations, ever since my grandparents and parents heeded the call from President Ngo Dinh Diem to migrate from the north to the south after the Geneva Accords of 1954. I was born here and so were my children. I farmed on the land here from the day I got married until the day it was taken from my family.

Initially my family made a living from farming vegetables in the garden, but as we grew in size we needed to expand our living space so we built more houses on the land – some to live in and a few more to rent out to subsidise the income from the vegetable garden.

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Father Stan Swamy: The Indian authorities target one of the country’s oldest human rights defenders

On 8 October, members of India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested Father Stan Swamy, a Jesuit priest and long-time activist on tribal rights in the country. While the targeting of those who stand up for human rights in India is nothing new, Father Swamy’s case has drawn particular international attention because, at 83-years-old, he is one of the country’s oldest human rights defenders (HRDs).

“The oldest person to be accused of terrorism in India”

Father Swamy has been working with India’s Adivasis (Scheduled Tribes) for over three decades. Even in his old age, and despite suffering from numerous health issues, he has continued to advocate for the group right up to the present day. In a video released just days before his arrest, Father Swamy said that he had filed a case in the Jharkhand High Court on behalf of 3,000 young Adivasis who had been imprisoned.

He was arrested at the Jesuit-owned Bagaicha social centre in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand state, and was subsequently informed that he would be remanded in custody in Taloja Jail near Mumbai until 23 October.

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