Saturday, February 23, 2013

Freedom to travel?

The New York Times points to an outrage:
BEIJING — Flush with cash and eager to see the world, millions of middle-class Chinese spent the 10-day Lunar New Year holiday that ended on Monday in places like Paris, Bangkok and New York. Last year, Chinese made a record 83 million trips abroad, 20 percent more than in 2011 and a fivefold increase from a decade earlier.

Sun Wenguang, a retired economics professor from Shandong Province, was not among those venturing overseas, however. And not by choice. An author whose books offer a critical assessment of Communist Party rule, Mr. Sun, 79, has been repeatedly denied a passport without explanation.

“I’d love to visit my daughter in America and my 90-year-old brother in Taiwan, but the authorities have other ideas,” he said. “I feel like I’m living in a cage.”

Mr. Sun is among the legions of Chinese who have been barred from traveling abroad by a government that is increasingly using decisions on passports as a cudgel against perceived enemies — or as a carrot to encourage academics whose writings have at times strayed from the party line to return to the fold.
What a terrible practice, preventing citizens from traveling. The United States would never do such a thing.

Except to its Muslim citizens.

The graphic is from this site where there's a good summary of one of the many legal challenges to the government habit of using the no-fly list arbitrarily, especially against Muslims.

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