Saturday, August 16, 2008

China's Choreographed Detentions

Washington Post story about Americans and other foreigners being deported from China for attempting to protest at the Olympics.
Mahoney said the sudden anger was like one end of a seesaw they had been on for about seven hours of interrogation, as officers were alternately sympathetic and harsh. Their mobile phones had been seized, and their requests to call the U.S. Embassy had been denied.

Is that legal? I know the US Consulate is probably too busy denying visas to help but I thought foreign citizens were allowed to contact their embassies in case of legal problems. Maybe China wants to deport these protesters without further publicity. Also, if they are being deported because they broke a Chinese law, shouldn't there be some sort of judicial process that requires legal representation for the accused? It seems a lot more difficult to deport someone from the US.
About seven hours after being picked up, Hocevar and five others were marched to a plane to New York. Although they also refused to purchase tickets, police simply took their wallets, extracted their bank and credit cards, and used them to complete the purchases. "I have reported my card stolen to the bank," Hocevar said. "I will contest the charges."

That seems illegal too. If it was a department store and the police pulled the same stunt, I wonder if the store clerk would accept the credit card. What if they forced charge a first/business class seat or a ticket to another destination, i.e., New York instead of Los Angeles?

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