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Would-be protesters punished

Wu Dianyuan, 79, center, and Wang Xiuying, 77, wanted to protest during the Olympics. Wu Dianyuan, 79, center, and Wang Xiuying, 77, wanted to protest during the Olympics. (AP Photo)
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Washington Post / August 21, 2008
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BEIJING - Two elderly women were sentenced to a year of "re-education through labor" after they applied for permits to demonstrate during the Olympics, according to the son of one of the would-be protesters.

Wu Dianyuan, 79, and Wang Xiuying, 77, went to Chinese police five times between Aug. 5 and Aug. 18 to seek approval to protest against officials who evicted them from their homes in 2001.

The Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau did not approve or deny their applications during the first three visits. On the fourth visit, the women were told that they would receive a year's punishment, until July 29, 2009, for "disturbing the public order."

They will not have to go immediately to a re-education labor camp, but their movements will be restricted. If they violate various rules, they could be sent to a labor camp.

Wu and Wang tried to return a fifth time to inquire again about their protest application but they were told that their right to apply had been stripped.

Li Xuehui said his mother, Wu, and her friend are outraged.

"We are a Communist society, with the people the leaders and owners, but basic citizens' rights cannot even be realized today. How sad it is." Li said. 'The way things are is the opposite of the 'people-oriented' ideology of the country when it was founded."

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