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  1. Standard member uzless
    The So Fist
    29 Dec '09 18:40
    Parallels people...parallels! I can't post things directly for fear of banning or removal so I am resorting to allegory and metaphor. I can't even post comments from the President of the United States anymore without it getting removed!


    BEIJING – A veteran dissident was sentenced Monday to three years in prison after casting a spotlight on poorly built schools that collapsed during China's massive earthquake last year, killing thousands of children – an apparent government attempt to squelch such information.

    Huang Qi, founder of a human rights Web site, had been charged with illegally possessing state secrets, his wife Zeng Li said by telephone. His detention in June 2008 came after several posts on his blog that criticized the government's response to the massive earthquake that struck Sichuan province a month earlier and killed about 90,000 people.

    Huang had alleged that state-controlled media provided skewed reports on relief efforts and accused the government of obstructing the work of non-governmental organizations responding to the disaster, according to reports at the time by Paris-based monitoring group Reporters Without Borders.

    "The government is using its propaganda to portray itself as a saviour to little avail," the group quoted him as saying in one Web posting.

    Huang had also spoken to foreign media outlets about parents' accusations that their children had been crushed in badly built schools. The government has attempted to quash such complaints, fearing the contentious issue could undermine the admiration and goodwill it earned for the massive rescue effort it led, boosted by volunteers and international aid.

    But activists and parents – many of whom lost their only children in the quake – have repeatedly demanded those responsible for the shoddy construction be punished and called for an inquiry. Those seeking to press the issue have been detained, harassed and threatened by police and thugs believed to be in the employ of local officials.

    Huang's sentencing appeared to be one more attempt at silencing the discussion.

    Officials contend the sheer force of the 7.9-magnitude quake alone caused school buildings to collapse, ignoring evidence showing that schools were often the only ones to crumble in many parts of the quake zone while nearby buildings survived.