Last week the Chinese government proudly announced despite setting aside areas in which those who wished to demonstrate could freely enjoy the right of protest, not a single such activity had taken place. Two elderly Chinese women were sentenced to a year of “re-education through labor” because they actually wanted to take advantage of the right to demonstrate. According to the son of one of the women, Wu Dianysun, 79 and Wang Xiuying, 77, went to the police station seeking a permit to demonstrate against officials who had evicted them from their homes. After three fruitless visits they returned for a fourth only to be informed by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau they would receive a year’s punishment for “disturbing the public order.”
Wu told a reporter “when I heard about the possibility of being allowed to protest, I was very happy. My issue could be resolved. But, it turned out all to be cheating. I feel stuck in my heart.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if athletes at the Olympics staged a one hour demonstration of refusing to participate in any activity until the two elderly women were allowed to protest?