Entering 2008, Chinese President Hu Jintao faced one hurdle and one dilemma. The challenge was to stage a successful Olympic Games. The dilemma was how to accomplish this while placating party members who have sought harsher policies against dissidents and protesters seen to be promoting a “color revolution”—policies sure to be unpopular abroad. An engineer by training, Hu approached the tasks in a linear fashion, first savoring his modest victories from the party congress held last October. His loyalists were poised to take over most key positions in the party and state apparatus, though Hu failed to shrink the size of the Politburo’s Standing Committee, and the candidate he had favored as his successor wound up as number two in line.
The system of juvenile justice in the United States has been a magnet for controversy and debate for decades. Social reformers have long advocated for rehabilitative approaches in dealing with delinquent youth and decry modern trends in juvenile justice modeled after the system that prosecutes adults. Their views often contrast with those who feel stricter penalties are necessary to serve up justice and to steer young people away from delinquency. Statistics show the scope and costs of juvenile justice to US society: In 2006, about 2 million youth were arrested, and half of their cases were heard in juvenile courts. That same year, California spent approximately $200 million on juvenile corrections alone.
In a 7–2 decision announced on April 16, the US Supreme Court rejected the petition of two Kentucky death row inmates who challenged the constitutionality of that state’s lethal injection procedures. The Supreme Court thus ended the de facto moratorium on capital punishment in place for much of the past year and cleared the way for states to resume executions.
The prominent Chinese rights activist Hu Jia (胡佳) was sentenced on April 3 to 3½ years imprisonment by the Beijing Number One Intermediate People’s Court. According to the Xinhua News Agency’s official report on the conviction, “Hu published articles on overseas-run websites, made comments in interviews with foreign media, and repeatedly instigated other people to subvert the state’s political power and socialist system.”
Over the past several months, Dui Hua has received updates from sources in China about several of the more obscure cases of political crime that the foundation has uncovered in its research. Among the updates received is word of several recent sentence reductions and other new information.
First 2008 trip features Hong Kong speech; Rosenzweig to head Hong Kong office; Dui Hua welcomes new staff member.