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Latest update : 2009-12-10

Emprisoned Chinese dissident gets online support

Today on the Net, Chinese net users call for the release of dissident, Liu Xiaobo. The blogosphere also fights against deforestation in Madagascar.

Liu Xiabo

For one year, Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo has been held without a trial. The police are now calling for him to be charged with incitement to subversion. He could be sentenced to a heavy prison term.

Fifty three year old Liu Xiaobo was arrested one week after the online publication of "Charter 08", to which he had contributed. This ambitious manifesto for a democratic China, whose name refers to “Charter 77” by Vaclav Havel and various Czech dissidents, is continuing to collect signatures online.


For a year now, many petitions have appeared, protesting against the arrest of the Chinese intellectual. Here we see that of the PEN Centre, a writer’s association to which Liu Xiaobo was a member.


In this video, posted online by the centre, he speaks out in favour of freedom of speech.


The Laogai foundation is also mobilising. Until December 12, it will collect tweets on the subject to demonstrate that the Chinese activist has support from around the world.


Here the founder, Harry Wu, a survivor of the laogai, the forced labour camps established by the communist regime, launches an appeal and denounces the Government’s methods.


Madagascar forest

The Madagascan forest is threatened by widespread trafficking of precious woods. An illegal trade, which has intensified thanks to the political crisis and the absence of a National Union Government. Online, net users are denouncing the illegal exploitation of the Red Islands’ forests.


The NGO, Global Witness carried out a survey on the ground and returned with these images. In its report, the organisation estimates the market value of the trees cut down each day to be 460,000 dollars. A profitable activity, but one which does not benefit the local population.
 

This video looks into the loss of biodiversity due to deforestation. 85 % of the plant and animal species present on the Island exist nowhere else in the world. These include the emblematic Madagascar lemurs.

But wood trafficking is not the only activity ravaging the Madagascan forests. The slash and burn culture practiced by farmers is also a severe threat. To highlight the extent of the problem, a local association has created this interactive map which shows forest fires on the island in real time.

But Madagascan bloggers are not satisfied with just sounding the alarm. They are also mobilising to attempt to reforest Madagascar by trying to involve local communities as much as possible.

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