Chen Guangcheng’s escape sparks a wave of arrests in China. Growing concern for jailed Bahraini activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja. And a film shot by a cat has set the web abuzz…
Chinese police crack down on entourage of dissident Chen Guangcheng
Female blogger He Peirong was arrested on Friday after helping Chen Guangcheng escape from his home in Shandong province last week, the Chinese dissident had been under house arrest for over a year and a half. It is believed she drove the blind lawyer to Beijing where he has reportedly sought refuge at the American embassy.
Other relatives and associates of the activist, who came to prominence for exposing forced abortions in China, have also reportedly been questioned by security services over the past few days: Well-known human rights activist Hu Jia, for example was arrested after meeting with Chen Guangcheng in the Chinese capital.
In this video posted online on Friday, Chen voices his concerns over the repercussions for his wife and daughter, who have remained in their home village and he appeals to the Chinese Prime Minister, Wen Jiabao, to do everything in his power to protect them.
Last year he managed to release this video in which he denounced the conditions of his detention. Both the lawyer and his family were subsequently severely and brutally punished by the guards surrounding his house.
Chen Guangcheng spent over four years in prison, and has lived virtually cut off from the rest of the world, since his release in September 2010. As we can see in this footage from last October, any activist or journalist trying to visit him has been aggressively turned away by the security guards posted around his home.
In the meantime however, and despite the recent arrests, Chinese human rights activists are hailing Chen Guangcheng’s escape as a victory. Activists like scholar Ai Xiaoming who has written a blog post saying all the efforts made to obtain the lawyer’s freedom paid off in the end.
Fears grow over missing Bahraini hunger striker
Fears are growing for Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja; neither his family or any human rights groups have heard from him for near to one week now: the Bahraini activist was sentenced to life in prison for his involvement in the anti-government protests which began across the kingdom last year, and he has been on hunger strike since February 8th to protest his detention conditions.
Over the past few days, many web users have taken to Twitter, using the hashtag “Where is Al-Khawaja” urging the Bahraini authorities to release information on the opposition figure’s whereabouts and state of health. Many have also said how disastrous it will be for Bahrain if anything happens to him.
And the jailed activist’s family has also been using the micro blogging site to try and contact him. His wife Kadhija Almousawi has posted a multitude of tweets addressed to him: poignant messages, which probably do not reach Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, but in which she reiterates her support and encourages him to keep on fighting.
His daughter Zainab, better known under her online pseudonym « Angry Arabiya » might well need the same moral support. She was arrested last week after carrying out an individual protest against her father’s detention: which we can see in a number of amateur photographs, like these ones, currently circulating online.
Catcam: a film through the eyes of a cat
Juergen Perthold always wondered what his cat got up to when it left the house for days on end. So the engineer, who lives in North Carolina in the US, developed a tiny box, carrying a camera, which he attacked to his cat’s collar. He later uploaded the images filmed by his feline friend and the film has enjoyed hug success on sharing sites, to such an extent that the little ball of fluff is even the star of a documentary selected for New York’s famous Tribeca Film festival.
Lana Del Ray dancing
American singer Lana Del Rey is hugely popular but she does have some online enemies … an increasing number of web users have recently started criticizing her live performances, and more specifically, the way she dances … a blog called “Lana Del Rey dancing” was recently set up on the Tumblr platform, and web users can send in their parodies of her choreographies … a fun site, a sure fire hit with her critics, and which depicts Miss Del Rey in all sorts of unlikely situations…
Video of the day
Since the beginning of the popular uprising in Syria, opposition activists have found all manner of ways to denounce the repression and brutal crackdown ordered by the regime. As we can see in this online video, on Friday, residents in the town of Binnish in Western Syria used football stadium-like banners to urge the authorities to end the bloodshed; a symbolic operation, which sadly did nothing to curb the violence across Syria over the course of the weekend.