10 Dark Truths About China

10 Dark Secrets About China 10 Internet Borders The Great Firewall of China is the vast apparatus that limits the country’s internet

More specifically, its role in the Internet censorship in China is to block access to selected foreign websites and to slow down cross-border internet traffic As a consequence, it limits access to foreign information sources and blocks foreign internet tools, such as Google, Facebook, and more Why are we talking about the Great Firewall? Because, at the beginning of July, the censorship system crossed borders and reached Hong Kong So, as part of a contentious new national security law and allowed by the Hong Kong government, police powers now include online speech censorship They can also force internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms

No need to say that this is an historical moment Hong Kong citizens are terrified by the prospect of Beijing-style internet controls where residents are not just restricted but monitored and PUNISHED for what they post online The authorities can demand individuals and service providers to remove content, or directly access to content deemed threatening to national security Noncompliance can result in fines, confiscation of electronic devices and imprisonment for company staff or individuals 9

Gender Imbalance Gender inequality is a worldwide issue that’s been going on for centuries But we’re not talking about opportunities and treatment, we’re talking about the ratio of men to women in terms of population The literal gender imbalance China has been facing in these past few years is a direct consequence of the government's strict regulations of the decades gone by In fact, we could say that most of it is due to the one-child policy in place from the late 1970s and early ’80s till 2016 What happened to the country after almost 50 years of births’ repression? First of all, let’s understand why the policy was in place for so long

Back then, the growth rate of the population in China was rapidly approaching the one-billion mark, so the government opted for limiting the great majority of family units to only one child each As a consequence, many families – still today – recurred to sex-selective abortion, in favour of male fetuses Traditionally, male children have been preferred because sons inherit the family name and property and are responsible for the care of elderly parents To give you an idea, between 1980 and 2017, the total number of selective abortions was around 2866 million

Today, the country has the world’s most skewed sex ratio at birth, with about 33 million more men than women 8 Birth Defects But Gender Imbalance is not the only problem when it comes to population growth In 2017, the China Disabled Persons' Federation reported that about 900,000 babies are born with birth defects annually The incidence of birth defects grew from 87

8 per 10,000 people in 1996 to 1499 per 10,000 people in 2010 How? The cause can be traced back to 2003 from when China abolished compulsory prenatal checkups, according to health authorities Additionally, the one-child policy has something to do with this too In fact, according to the National Health and Family Planning Commission, when in 2016, couples were allowed to have two children again, the average age of women eligible for a second child was 35 years or more

A pregnancy in advanced maternal age could involve risks of biological deficiencies Hopefully, things are going to change Last year the China Medical Education Association and the WHO launched a campaign to prevent birth defects The goal is to spread knowledge on prenatal check-ups during pregnancy 7

Ghost Towns Some cities in China have an overpopulation problem, while other areas have the opposite issue: modern metropolises that seem completely abandoned There are hundreds of ghost cities across the country, the majority of which are a part of China's larger plan to move up to 300 million citizens currently living in rural areas into urban locations In doing so, the country hoped to become a visible powerhouse in the global economy The Kangbashi District in Inner Mongolia is the most famous example The city has been developed for at least 14 years: residential skyscrapers, a modern museum and library, and schools fill the place, but no people do

However, according to photographer Kai Caemmerer, who explored these new developments for his collection Unborn Cities, instead of building small developments that grow in accordance to the local industries, these new Chinese cities are built to the point of near completion before introducing people Dinny McMahon, the author of China's Great Wall of Debt, adds that the phenomenon has been driven by the debt splurge after the global financial crisis Local governments around the country tried to stimulate their economies by building more infrastructure, but it seems to have failed miserably 6 Treatment of Dissidents Last year, the Human Rights Watch, an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights, released a long report highlighting the human rights violations allegedly committed by the Chinese government

So, with a government that maintains tight control over the internet and a lot of the media, arbitrary detention, imprisonment, and enforced disappearance are commonplace Not to mention the increasing control of the authorities on mass surveillance systems As reported by the Human Rights Watch, in 2018, the government has collected people’s biometrics – including DNA and voice samples – to develop a nationwide reward and punishment system known as the “social credit system” Stories of alleged abuses on political dissidents have been going on for a while Ji Sizun, a veteran Chinese activist died in 2014 in police custody, after being denied the medical parole he requested for months

5 Religion Repression The same Human Rights Watch report highlighted the government’s strong alleged repressions against some religious groups in the country But since then many other organizations and media, such as Amnesty International, the BBC,The Guardian, and the New York Times, have been covering the topic By now, chances are that most of you have heard about Uighurs, an insulated ethnic minority in western China The Uighurs are a small predominantly Muslim group

Right now, the UN human rights committee claims about a million Uighurs are held indefinitely in re-education camps – And yes, it is as bad as it sounds People are subjected to totalitarian indoctrination in an attempt to erase their identity, their language, their religion and their culture The Chinese government has denied all the accusations Still, in 2017, President Xi Jinping issued a directive that restricts religious practice to five officially recognized religions, classifying many religious groups outside the government control as “evil cults”

This allows the state to harass said groups, with the the country apparently increasingly cracking down on Buddhists and Christians too, according to reporters from the Observer 4 Executions China is the world’s leading executioner, according to Amnesty International Since the government keeps its data classified, we can’t know the precise extent of China’s use of the death penalty However, as Amnesty claims, allegedly the country carries out thousands of executions per year

It may shock you to know that the majority of executions are for drug-related crimes Drug offences in China can lead to extremely severe penalties The Chinese authorities focus their attention particularly on foreigners, who might smuggle illicit substances from abroad There have been cases in which China executed foreigners too, though rarely those from the West In 2009, British national Akmal Shaikh was executed for carrying 4 kilograms – 8

8 pounds – of heroin In January 2019, a Chinese court upped Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg’s sentence – for a failed attempt to smuggle 225kg of methamphetamine – from 15 years in prison to execution after he appealed against the court’s verdict 3 Prisoners Used For Transplants Do any of you remember the 2005 movie The Island, or the novel by British author Kazuo Ishiguro Never Let Me Go? Both works present a dystopian world in which clones are used for organ harvesting for wealthy people Now, replace the clones with convicts

That’s what's apparently been going on in China in the past few years, according to the independent people’s body the China Tribunal They released the result of its investigation on the allegations of forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in the country According to this report, about 15 million detainees in Chinese prisons were killed for their organs to serve a booming transplant trade of the worth of around $1 billion a year The tribunal concluded that “many people have died indescribably hideous deaths for no reason, that more may suffer in similar ways

[] There is no evidence of the practice having been stopped and the tribunal is satisfied that it is continuing” It has also been alleged that among those killed, there were members of religious minorities such as the Falun Gong

The persecution of the group in the country began in 1999 2 Entertainment Censorship Okay, the fact that China applies censorship basically on every industry on its territory is not exactly a secret The government controls all media, from newspapers and books to TV and cinema If you don’t respect their censorship criteria, you’re out

Lou Ye, for example, is one of the many film-makers who’ve been banned from making films over the years because of the controversial topics in his movies, such as issues of sexuality, gender, and obsession But those are the country’s rules, what can you do? Not much Especially when HOLLYWOOD itself had to give in to Chinese censorship A recent report by the free speech charity PEN America claimed Hollywood is censoring films to avoid losing access to China's lucrative box office market Fair enough, considering that American films earned $2

6bn in China last year, with Disney's Avengers finale, Endgame, making $614m Speaking of which, PEN said for 2016’s Doctor Strange, Marvel changed the nationality of a major Tibetan character for fear of jeopardizing the title's chances of success in China It was also pointed out how in a 2019 trailer of the forthcoming Top Gun sequel the Taiwanese flag patches, featured on Tom Cruise's jacket in the original film, mysteriously disappeared 1 Human Sacrifices Okay, before you go around telling people China makes human sacrifices let’s make it clear right away that there is evidence this happened, but thousands of years ago

Discovered in August of 2020, a 4,300-year-old fortress city known as Shimao is challenging traditional narratives about China’s early history Research on the site – in central China's Henan province – has been going on for years, since the fortress is crowned by a stepped pyramid more than 200 feet tall Only recently, the ongoing dig has revealed an inner sanctum with painted murals, jade artefacts and gruesome evidence of human sacrifice: a still-kneeling skeleton aligned facing north, with its hands crossed and secured in front of the body The team of Chinese archaeologists estimated the person was sacrificed around the time of the late Shang Dynasty – 1600 BC

to 1046 BC Archaeologists had already discovered details of human sacrifices during this period recorded as carvings on artefacts One of those relics such relic from Chaizhuang described a method of placing humans and animals in a pit in an upright posture in preparation for sacrifice Still, this is the first TANGIBLE evidence of Chinese ancient sacrifices

The discovery of a kneeling victim in combination with a glyph describing the upright placement of sacrifices, suggests that the unfortunate victim was sacrificed

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