Since 2005, observers of the Chinese blogosphere have noted the presence of users who are paid to support the authorities in online discussions, often referred to as the “50 Cent Party” for the alleged fee they collect for each posted comment.
Hong Kong authorities reportedly barred Chinese dissident Dr. Yang Jianli from entering the territory on October 7 to attend a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution (Chinese Revolution of 1911). Dr. Yang, a Tiananmen Square activist in 1989 who earned two PhDs in the United States, was blacklisted in China for his pro-democracy activities.
Two Vietnamese Falun Gong members will go on trial this week for broadcasting news on human rights abuses, protests, official corruption, and the persecution of Falun Gong members in China. Vu Duc Trung and his brother in-law Le Van Thanh were arrested by Vietnamese authorities in June of 2010 and their broadcasting equipment was confiscated for downloading and broadcasting programs into China from the Chinese-language version of “Sound of Hope” (SOH), a global radio station associated with the Falun Gong. If convicted, Trung and Thanh could face up to 5 years in prison.
A majority of Americans see democracy in the U.S. as weak and getting weaker, according to a national survey released by The Democracy Project, a joint initiative of Freedom House, the George W. Bush Institute, and the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.