China spends even more on internal "stability maintenance" and security than it does on its army. Some of that incredible budget goes to forced holidays for dissidents that get them out of the way during events like the 25th anniversary of Tienanmen Square. It's called "being traveled."
The bizarre form of kidnapping is reportedly very popular with high-ranking members of the security services, who get to accompany the dissidents on long beach holidays and share access to the best booze and food while away. Regular dissidents don't get this kind of treatment, though -- they go to "black jails" for beatings.
Police "went with me every day and paid for everything" on a trip to Ningxia in the north-west that took in the towering dunes of the Tengger desert.
"If you refuse to go travelling there will be consequences," he said. "You have to go. Even though you are at tourist sites, you have been forced to go, so you're not in the mood to enjoy it."
Government personnel relish the trips, some regular forced travellers suggest. "We ate the best food and drank the best alcohol. The security officials enjoyed it too. Not just any security official can go on this kind of trip, they need to be above a certain rank," said the environmental campaigner Wu Lihong, adding he was taken to the ancient city of Xian for two weeks in March. "Quite a few" officials from Beijing's secretive ministry of state security accompanied him, he said.
China sends dissidents on free holidays [Agence France-Presse]
(via Super Punch)
(Image: Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Mark Fischer, CC-BY)