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The Aum Shinrikyo Executions: Why Now?

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With the execution of Aum Shinrikyo leader and six of his followers, Japan looks to leave behind an era of tragedy. 
On July 6, 2018, Japanese authorities executed seven members of the religious movement Aum Shinrikyo (Aum true religion, or supreme truth), which carried out the 1995 Tokyo subway sarin attack and a series of other atrocities. None of the seven of the executed men were directly involved in releasing the gas on that tragic day; four of those who did remain under a death sentence, and their executions may be imminent.
The seven executed were involved in planning and organizing the various crimes committed by Aum. Asahara Shoko (born Matsumoto Chizuo), was the founder and leader of the movement, having developed the doctrinal system instrumental to Aum’s violence and its concept of a final cosmic war of good (Aum) against evil (the corrupt material world and everyone — from the Japanese government to the general public — who lived in it). Asahara is believed to have given …

China detains editor of human rights website for subversion

Liu Feiyue
Liu Feiyue
The editor of a Chinese website monitoring human rights issues has been detained on suspicion of subverting state power, according to an announcement on the website.

Liu Feiyue, founder of the website Minsheng Guancha, was taken away earlier this month by police in the central Chinese city of Suizhou. 

The site says Liu's family has been told he is under investigation for subversion, a vaguely defined charge often leveled against human rights activists and dissidents.

Minsheng Guancha, known in English as Civil Rights & Livelihood Watch, was founded in 2006 and documents protests, land seizures, unannounced detentions and other alleged human rights violations that are typically ignored by China's state-run media.

Liu has published stories about China's detentions of dissenters and activists, one of a few people living in mainland China to do so. 

His website has alleged that China has committed hundreds of perceived troublemakers to mental hospitals under the guise of giving them psychiatric treatment. He has also documented local corruption cases and protests by veterans seeking benefits after their discharge from the military.

Liu has been detained multiple times for brief periods, often during high-profile events such as meetings of the National People's Congress or international summits.

But if he is convicted of subversion, Liu could face life in prison, the maximum penalty for anyone guilty of organizing a "scheme of subverting the state power or overthrowing the socialist system."

Word of Liu's detention comes shortly after news that another activist has disappeared. The wife of legal activist Jiang Tianyong said Thursday that he had not been heard from since Monday. 

Jiang represented some of China's most politically sensitive figures in recent years, including the dissident lawyer Gao Zhisheng and blind activist Chen Guangcheng.

In a separate column on its website, Minsheng Guancha called Liu's detention the latest incident in a "prolonged suppression" of activists.

"As long as the rights of a single person fail to be guaranteed, the appeals for human rights will never die," the site said.

Patrick Poon, a researcher for Amnesty International, said the cases of Liu and Jiang were "worrying," and a possible sign of "another wave of crackdown against human rights defenders."

An official who answered the phone at the Suizhou public security bureau Friday said he had no knowledge of Liu's detention. Calls to Liu's mobile phone rang unanswered Friday.

Source: The Associated Press (via Jakarta Post), November 25, 2016

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