Shanghai (CNN) - The only souvenir that Xie Jinghua has from her stay at a Holiday Inn Express located in a vast tourism park alongside the East China Sea is a room key.
The 52-year-old said she was not able to buy any of the beach toys in the lobby, walk around a lake nearby, or enjoy the ocean just outside of her window. Xie was there, she said, because she was forced to be – held in a hotel room for eight days after she and her 56-year-old husband, Ma Haiming, traveled to Beijing in March to protest the compensation they were given for the demolition of the family's farmhouse to make way for the expansion of Shanghai's PudongInternationalAirport in 2005. When the couple arrived in Beijing, Xie said they were picked up by plain clothes police and forced to travel hundreds of miles back to Shanghai, then held separately at the hotel.
"I really felt quite sick inside," said Xie, who now lives in a tiny apartment near the airport where her son works as a janitor. Xie said she tried to escape from her third floor hotel room on March 10 via its balcony but was stopped by at least seven guards who, she said, "put me on the bed and used the bedspread" to hold her down. She said she stole the room key when a guard was not looking.
Xie and her husband were not alone. Three other people have told CNN they were held against their will at the Holiday Inn Express Nanhuizui – located in Lingang New City on the outskirts of Shanghai – to keep them from airing grievances to the central government during the 10-day annual meeting of China's legislature in March. The hotel management and owners deny their claims.
(CNN) – China unveiled the elite group of seven who will set the agenda for the next decade. Leading the group: Xi Jinping, now the nation's most powerful man.
Now that China’s Communist Party has officially put its stamp on its new leaders, political scientist Willy Lam offers this analysis:
“By and large, we have a conservative team,” Lam told CNN. “We can expect no substantial or meaningful movement toward political reform, in favor of staying the course, maintaining political stability and defusing challenges to the party’s authority.”
Reformers are concerned that two protégés of former President Hu Jintao – Liu Yuanchao and Wang Yang – weren’t selected. “Liu and Wang were considered to be pro-reform, so for those hoping for reform this is quite a disappointment,” Lam said.
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