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Chinese grannies gagged [Aug. 21st, 2008|02:39 pm]
Bob Bain
[Current Mood |pensivepensive]

From the ABC (AM)

AM - Thursday, 21 August , 2008 08:12:00

Reporter: Stephen McDonell

TONY EASTLEY: Two Chinese women in their 70s have caused a storm in China by applying to protest during the Olympics.

They've embarrassed the Beijing authorities and so earnt themselves a one-year sentence to re-education through labour for disturbing the public order, and that's even before they got a chance to actually protest.

Their case has led to criticism that the so-called Olympic protest parks were never intended to allow people to demonstrate during the Games.

The International Olympic Committee is trying to distance itself from the controversy.

China correspondent Stephen McDonell met up with the rabble rousing grandmothers.

(Women speaking together.)

STEPHEN MCDONELL: Seventy-nine-year-old Wu Dianyuan and 77-year-old Wang Xiuying are not your average trouble makers. It's just that they like the neighbourhood they used to live in. It was a place they grew up in from a young age and were forced to move out of to make way for a housing development.

When they heard about some official Olympic protest parks they applied to demonstrate about it. Wu Dianyuan was surprised by the reaction she and her friend received from the authorities.

WU DIANYUAN (translated): I didn't worry about getting into trouble. When I heard we could protest, I was very happy.

STEPHEN MCDONELL: They tried five times to get a permit to protest. The women were not only refused, they received a one-year sentence to "re-education through labour" for disturbing the public order.


STEPHEN MCDONELL: If these women who are almost 80 get into any more trouble they've been told they'll be sent off to a labour camp.