China Sentences 2 Aged Women to 'Re-education'

Pair, nearly 80, face forced labor for attempt at housing protest
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2008 8:25 AM CDT
Chinese authorities have ordered two elderly women to spend one year in a labor camp after they applied to hold a protest during the Beijing Olympics.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
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(Newser) – Officials in Beijing had promised that Chinese could hold demonstrations during the Olympics, so long as they applied for permission. But of 77 applications, none have been approved—and now, writes the New York Times, two old women upset about the small compensation for the demolition of their homes have been sentenced to a year's "re-education through labor."

Wu Dianyuan and Wang Xiuying, both nearly 80, were promised new apartments after the government razed their old homes near Tiananmen Square. Six years later they have received no new apartment and no compensation. But when they tried to protest, they were told that they would be sent to a labor camp for "disturbing public order." Currently the two women remain free, and have been told their sentence might be suspended if they stop seeking permission to protest.