People who made the news this week
Zhao Yan (赵岩), the Chinese journalist jailed in 2004 while working for the New York Times is expected to be freed this weekend. Zhao was charged for revealing state secrets after a Times report was published that correctly predicted the retirement of Jiang Zemin (江泽民) as president and Communist Party chief. He was also accused of fraud for taking RMB20,000 from a village official. Prior to joining the Beijing Bureau of the Times, Zhao was a well-known investigative journalist who reported on farmers’ rights issues for the China Reform (中国改革) magazine. He wrote extensively on the plight of some 20,000 peasants who had been relocated in the 1990s to make way for Hebei’s Taolinkou reservoir. Reporters Without Borders says China holds 35 journalists and 51 cyber dissidents in prison.
Father Paul Xiao Zejiang (肖泽江) has been ordained coadjutor bishop of Guizhou diocese, the first ordination approved by both Beijing and the Vatican after the Pope published a letter to Chinese Catholics on June 30. As coadjutor, the 40-year old man will automatically succeed Bishop Anicetus Wang Chongyi, 89, after his death or retirement. More pictures of the ordination can be seen here and here. Adam Minter of Shanghai Scrap has lamented the “wildly inaccurate” stories that have appeared in the press on the ordination. In the meanwhile, the underground Bishop Han Dingxiang, 71, of Hebei’s Yongnian diocese, has died in custody. Imprisoned at a labour camp from 1960 to 1979 and detained at least 11 times during his tenure as a bishop, he spent about 35 years in different forms of official custody.
David Lancashire, a Canadian hired by The Associated Press in 1956 to become the first North American reporter to defy a U.S. travel ban and report from mainland China after the 1949 revolution, has died at the age of 76 of a heart attack. Among his most famous words describing China is the following paragraph in a story written in 1956 in Hong Kong after leaving the mainland: “Red China today is an immense machine with 600 million moving parts, running at top speed. Its 600 million individuals are sacrificing individually at Communist behest in an all-consuming drive to change a backward, poverty ridden nation into a modern state.”
Photo of Zhao Yan from China Digital Times
Photo of Xiao Zejiang from ccjz.org