Tuesday, February 9, 2010

China gives 5 years to activist who probed quake

MIANZHU, CHINA - MAY 24:  Earthquake survivors...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Chinese police officers blocked nine Hong Kong journalists from interviewing Pu outside the courthouse, Hong Kong's radio RTHK said. The reporters were led to a room inside the courthouse and released after the verdict was announced.

An officer from the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu was at the courthouse for Tan's sentencing but was not allowed in, said U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Susan Stevenson.

"Persecution of individuals for the peaceful expression of political views is inconsistent with internationally recognized norms of human rights. The United States condemns these convictions," Stevenson said.

Lu, who lost his daughter, said he and other parents were still waiting for the government to properly investigate the school collapses.
clipped from www.usatoday.com
BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese activist who investigated the deaths of thousands of children crushed in their schools during the Sichuan earthquake was sentenced Tuesday to five years, underscoring the government's determination to suppress questions about why the buildings fell.

Many have asked whether poor construction was responsible for the staggering number of children killed in the May 2008 temblor, which took 90,000 lives. Parents have protested frequently, and authorities have reacted severely to such demonstrations, jailing, harassing and threatening participants.

For months after the May 12 temblor, China refused to provide an estimate of how many children had been killed in schools, prompting Tan to start his own investigation in December of that year. He hoped to have a figure before the first anniversary of the quake but was detained in March 2009. His initial estimate was that at least 5,600 students were among the dead.

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