From the Washington Post:
Human rights conditions in China deteriorated significantly in 2006, with about 100 activists, lawyers, writers and academics subjected to police custody, house arrest, incommunicado confinement, pressure in their jobs and surveillance by plainclothes security forces, a new report by Human Rights Watch said.
Several widely publicized cases involving journalists and rights lawyers were cited in the report as evidence of a severe crackdown, prompted in large part by fears that individual cases of unrest might lead to regional instability. There were 39,000 cases of “public order disruptions,” or large protests, in the first half of 2006, four times as many as 10 years ago, according to data from the Public Security Ministry.
Authorities fired and jailed journalists, shut down more than 700 online forums and ordered eight Internet search engines to filter “subversive and sensitive content” based on 10,000 key words, according to the report, which was released Thursday by the New York-based watchdog group. Lawyers who represented peasants protesting mistreatment were badly beaten, detained and arrested. In March, new restrictions were announced requiring protesters’ attorneys to report to local judges in cases involving 10 or more plaintiffs.
– See also Bloomberg’s report: China’s Human Rights Worsened in 2006, New York Group Reports
(Click on the links above to see related reports)