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China Daily

Good people can no longer stay silent

By mariame (chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2010-04-15 13:58

Peng Baoquan, a sane man from Shiyan in Hubei province was sent to a mental hospital by local police after he took pictures of petitioners. This issue has largely aroused people's attentions. A netizen called mariame at the forum of chinadaily.com.cn expressed her view on it:

Do you think that the local police have the medicalqualification to judge whether a citizen is insane? Are police entitled to send a citizen to a mental hospital at will? If so, do ordinary people have any sense of security?

"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

This quote from Martin Luther King Jr. has spread quickly over the last few days, linked to the story of a man from Hubei province who was forcibly committed to a mental hospital.

After taking photos of petitioners, Peng Baoquan, from Shiyan, was first sent to the local police station and, hours later, to a mental hospital.

Earlier this year, Chen Yonggang, another Hubei man, was detained by police for questioning online the extravagant spending of Yunxi county in Shiyan city.

Peng soon came to Chen's aid. He contacted Zhang Hongfeng, a renowned blogger, and Zhang's posting caught the attention of the Chinese media. After succumbing to pressure from the press, the Public Security Bureau of Shiyan city freed Chen.

The logic of power couldn't be simpler. While Peng is "mentally ill," he can no longer take photos, or aid others, but only be silenced.

Mental hospitals or detention centers are, to the powerful, both places that can silence protesters. But in this Internet-based society, the silent masses have their own language that can be spread.

And it's already been proved that the forces trying to shut the people up cannot succeed. The reason the powerful want to force silence is that the good are no longer silent.



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