Wednesday, July 6, 2011

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  • gapala
    06-08 09:42 AM
    It is very nice discussion.

    I am in process of buying forclosure home in SUWANEE ( Atlanata) area. I based on my survey and research feel that I am getting good deal(175 K price for 2800 sqft, 2004).by th

    Are you new to Atlanta area?

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  • jkays94
    05-24 01:48 PM

    He cautioned against ghettoizing immigrants, which he noted has brought about disastrous results in France, and criticized elements in his own party as �nativist� before lambasting the punditry of Rush Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs and Michael Savage for helping to �fuel the problem,� according to two of the sources.

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  • chanduv23
    04-08 07:18 PM
    Look what really does not make sense about the "Consulting company" portion is that management consulting companies like BCG, Mckenzie or the Big 4 consulting firms have a business model where they "outsource" employees for projects to other companies. So, as it stands, these companies will not be able to hire anyone from top business schools. And we are not talking about desi consulting companies here (no pun intended).

    Again, this bill embodies the basic principle that displaces US workers do not want to understand:
    "What is good for the economy may not be good for an individual".

    And I say that because I have been myself displaces 2 times in my life, and every time, I have fallen (or stumbled), I have walked an extra mile to get a better life.

    I just feel sorry for people like me and many others who came to this country with a different mindset and now find themselves in the midst of the worst anti-immigrant clime that has existed in a long time.

    That said, I feel obligated to remind everyone - "Do yourself a favor and do everything within your means to make a meaningful change, self-help is the best help you will get"

    - Raj

    What about professional services? Like IBM global services, Oracle consulting etc.... all these companies thrive on after sales customization and support based on professional services contract and there are thousands of h1b visa holders doing professional services. It is also outsourcing of a employee to a client implementing their system. Look at SAP, Siebel consultants, they are outsourced at client places for years together to finish implementations and their work locations are changed based on client's needs from time to time in between jobs - this is again a huge pool of H1bs.
    I used to work fulltime for a company in their professional services group and travelled on the job to a lot of places. The company thrives on h1b resources for their high pressured jobs and they always bring in people from outside the country to do their jobs.

    I think outsourcing employees to a different location is a part and parcel of H1b, and this bill is nailing exactly on that. It is aimed solely to purge out H1bs from the country.

    So all said and done, we may now go down based on a racially motivated bill. I am not sure what it takes to educate the law makers, I would like to see the senior personnel at IV and more analysts to look into what can be done on this bill.

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  • sanju
    12-26 11:06 PM
    In modern times, wars between nations are not started in days or weeks. Wars are not based on one event. There is a systematic three stage process to go to war and for a nation to convince the majority of the society/nation that the other guy is pure evil and your mortal enemy. Society in Pakistan is based on their haterade towards Indians. For many years children in Pakistan were taught that Indians are evil, their belief system is barbaric, and their existence means that Islam is in danger. That was the reason some of us saw posts on this forum talking about sati system in Hinduism or some others Pakistanis saying that Hindus are attacking Muslims in India, and then other Pakistanis talking about Modi, VHP and Bajrang Dal. The first step for creating a war involves propaganda within the population of the country that your enemy is evil. Pakistan has been doing this preparation very systematically for sometime.

    Second stage to go to war involves finding a reason after the decision has been made to go to war. In this stage, one has to come up with a reason and then waits for the trigger to create the reason to go to war.

    The third and final stage to go to war involves invoking the trigger, which will create a flash point for the war, and so the war begins. Mumabi was that trigger.

    The reason why I am saying this is, because someone wrote on this form "don't be a war monger". You see, we are not creating a war. The war is being forced on us. To defend oneself is not "war mongering". Our willingness to live in peace and harmony should not become our weakness such that someone openly and deliberately attacks the population of our country. I do not hold any false sense of myth of nationalism hosting the flag. But when war is forced upon us, there is no way we can run away from it.

    For a moment, just imagine, what would have happened if Mumbai attacks were done in China as "Beijing attack", or if Pakistani terrorists would have attacked Iran and they were "Tehran attack" or for that matter an attack on any country in Europe or say US. How will any other country China, Iran, UK, US, France, Germany, and score of other, how will these countries respond to the attacks like Mumbai attack? There is only one way to reply to such attacks. Respond swiftly and with full force. Personally, I believe that 30 days is too late to respond. I believe that response has to come before the ashes of the dead is still hot. Otherwise, justice hasn't served, because justice delayed is justice denied.

    If the war begins, this will be my last post.




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  • krishna.ahd
    01-07 07:00 PM
    What a relief from these immigration issues

    Calm down guys , pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaassssssssssssssseeeee eeeeeeeeee

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  • StuckInTheMuck
    08-08 05:26 PM
    Judy was having trouble with her computer. So she called Tony, the computer guy, over to her desk. Tony clicked a couple buttons and solved the problem. As he was walking away, Judy called after him, "So, what was wrong?"

    And he replied, "It was an ID Ten T Error."

    A puzzled expression ran riot over Judy's face. "An ID Ten T Error? What's that ... in case I need to fix it again?"

    He gave her a grin... "Haven't you ever heard of an ID Ten T Error before?"

    "No," replied Judy.

    "Write it down," he said, "and I think you'll figure it out."

    (She wrote...) I D 1 0 T


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  • suavesandeep
    06-23 12:00 PM
    Tax credit for home purchase could rise - (

    1. It started with $8,000 tax credit which had to be repaid over the next x years.
    2. After a year they said you don't have repay the $8,000 tax credit. Keep IT.
    3. Now till end of 2010 they are proposing $15,000 tax credit.. And open it up to everybody and not only new home owners.
    4. 2011. There may be a bigger tax credit.

    Depending on the year you buy you lose some change.
    Somebody up there is really determined to keep the housing bubble and not let the market correct itself.

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  • waitnwatch
    08-05 03:13 PM
    It is not the Law. It is just a guidance provide in one 2000 Memo by a USCIS director.

    Wondering whether the post bachelor 5 year experience for EB2 was also a memo. If so when was that memo written - before or after the Yates 2000 memo?


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  • vrkgali
    08-12 09:57 AM
    Instructions: Just read the sentence straight through quickly without really thinking about it.

    Acocdrnig to an elgnsih unviesitry sutdy the oredr of letetrs in a wrod dosen't mttaer, the olny thnig thta's iopmrantt is that the frsit and lsat ltteer of eevry word is in the crcreot ptoision. The rset can be jmbueld and one is stlil able to raed the txet wiohtut dclftfuiiy.

    Amazing, isn't it?

    yse ,tahts hwo I awlays tyep in chat windwo s

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  • aadimanav
    07-13 09:35 PM
    Version 2 of the "Petition to Recapture Lost Visas" is added here:

    Please share your views.



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  • mbawa2574
    03-23 09:57 PM
    This whole GC process is unpredictable. Don't waste ur life for it. Do whatever u think is best for you. It will be America on the loosing side if they deny u the GC after u have bought the home.

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  • sanju
    05-15 05:42 AM
    hey guys,

    M new to this. I have applied for a H1 B this year ....i went thru the pdf on bill S 1035 ...& it states the following:

    Section 2(e) Prohibition of Outplacement
    1. Employer cannot place, outsource, lease, or otherwise contract for the
    placement of an employee on H-1B. (This prohibits any consulting work for
    an employee on H-1B).
    2. This applies to all the application filed after the enactment of this bill.

    Does it mean that all existing consulting work will also be in danger??


    M a bit confused as point 2 states that it will be for all applications after the enactment of the bill. Does that affect H1-b holders frm this year itself??


    Durbin-Grassley going after 9 firms.

    U.S. Senators question companies about visas

    Two US senators are questioning several companies about their use of a visa program for highly skilled workers. Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Dick Durbin of Illinois are focusing on nine companies -- several of them foreign-based. Those companies used nearly 20,000 of the 75,000 H-One-B visas that were available last year. H-One-B visas are for high-skilled workers and are heavily used in the high-tech industry. The industry has long complained that too few visas are available. Grassley and Durbin, both on the Senate Judiciary Committee's immigration subcommittee, sent letters to the nine companies asking questions about visa use, wages and layoffs. The top users were identified with statistics from Citizenship and Immigration Services. The letters, posted on Grassley's Web site, were addressed to:

    Infosys Technologies Limited in Freemont, California
    Wipro Limited of Mountainview, California
    Tata Consultancy Services Limited of Arlington, Virginia
    Saytam Computer Services Limited of Andhra Pradesh, India
    Patni Computer Systems of Mumbai, India
    Larsen & Toubro Infotech Limited of Mumbai, India
    I-Flex Solutions of Mumbai, India
    Tech Mahindra Americas of Englewood, Colorado and
    Mphasis Corporation of Bangalore, India
    Here is a letter from Sen. Durbin and Grassley to these companies


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  • satishku_2000
    08-02 07:10 PM
    Re-file 140 or file an appeal on the 140.

    Filing the appeal; you will be able to extend the h-1b.

    Thanks UN for your comments , any comments for the situation mentioned in this thread

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  • DSJ
    05-17 02:54 PM
    That is my point, being an employee you are not fully working for your company growth. Then don't talk about a consultant is illegal when he don't get paid.

    If it is really illegal why are they renew H1 when they can know that somebody is not paid for couple of months. All they want is money, you keep paying, you are safe and legal here.

    Your point being? If you think what I am saying is wrong, argue your case please... Case and point: The abusers prevent some honest people from getting a chance. We should all be infuriated by that.


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  • mrajatish
    04-09 11:42 AM
    Pete, I am myself a manager at a leading company and do not fit into the typical "consultant" profile.

    That does not mean I want more shackles on myself because I feel someone is abusing the system. If someone (employers) are abusing the system, go after them - why do you want to go after the employee who, in a lot of cases, has nothing to do with the abuse?

    In fact, if this bill passed in its current form, it will probably not affect me but I will still oppose the bill - why, because it goes against my fundamental belief of freedom of movement. If the senators want to reform the system, may I ask

    1. Why prevent H1Bs from joining legitimate consulting companies such as Deloitte, IBM, BCG etc

    2. Why should H1B's pay Social security and medicare when they are "temporary" and do not get a dime back?

    Think of the bigger picture and then about your own objectives - I am sure you are a well educated person and you will understand the consequences of arbitrary decision making based on vested interests.

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  • number30
    03-25 01:09 PM
    UN I think you are hyping up the current situation too much.

    Yes there are raids and arrests,

    But it is not so bad. You are saying as if everyone in consulting is getting denied. If it was so bad, all immigration forums would have been filled up with denial posts and cries for help. Maybe you have encountered people who only faced denials and not the entire spectrum. Thus your judgement may be influenced.

    I guess you are right. My company applied H1 for three people 2 transfers and one extension. All premiums. Two cases got approved and one case got big RFE like consulting company or placement agency, requirement of bachelor degree etc. Etc. We are still waiting for the third one. We are not big company having around 50 people working


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  • Macaca
    12-30 05:50 PM
    India-China relations today have to evolve in a substantially altered environment. In the current era comprehensive national power is a factor of economic growth and potential. In this China is way ahead of the rest and forging ahead rapidly. The excuse that India�s economic growth story started 13 years later and hence only two decades old and hence catch up with China soon, does not carry conviction. China has in these last three decades gone way ahead of India and the rest of the world. Today, China is four and a half times richer than India and the difference shows. Whether in domestic infrastructure, or international reach and goodwill, or in its ability to project power far from its borders, this lead is impressive. Yet, such asymmetries can be overcome through alliances and partnerships. Possibility of conflict can be reduced through developing interconnectivity and trade and commercial interdependence. In both areas substantive progress has been achieved by New Delhi.

    The real truth is that India has to get its act together, not merely in catching up in GDP growth, but in translating this in to core national power that can impact on the region and the world. Present strategy then has now to be based on consolidating our immediate neighbourhood and developing selective major power relationships that will translate in time to global influence and political strength. This is the real meaning of �balance� in strategic relationships and has to be pursued with great patience and foresight, but with single minded zeal.

    There are serious obstacles along the way. Our strategic culture of not looking beyond the immediate future precludes effective long term planning. Delhi has always defined its strategic interests in vague principles and ideological terms and not through practical achievable time bound objectives. This needs to change.

    Beyond our neighbourhood we have to develop closer ties with major powers such as the US, Australia, Japan and Korea, key democracies with shared values. This will call for a clear break with our past practice of non-alignment and solidarity among the weak. India, as a strong power in its own right, has the responsibility to assume today the leadership of the medium powers and an alignment with the strong.

    Yet, our bilateral relationship with China has to be firmly grounded in a cooperative, constructive and comprehensive relationship. That is again critically important to develop balance, particularly with China, long imbued with the sense of Middle Kingdom. Even as China begins to adjust to a reality of equal and sovereign powers, New Delhi has to exploit openings that may emerge. China�s incursion in to India�s strategic space, should be met not by lamenting over this fact, but through calm and carefully constructed counter measures in China�s periphery.


    Many options may not indeed be feasible at the present time. For example nothing can reduce the utter dependency of Pakistan as a client state of Beijing, to which it has surrendered its sovereignty. But, this does not apply to its other neighbours, such as Myanmar, Nepal or Bangladesh or other Southeast Asian countries.

    This brings us back to the larger issue of bilateral relations between India and China. Lack of knowledge of the �other� breeds mistrust and leads to fear. We need first to bridge the enormous divide and gap in mutual perceptions. This can be brought about mainly by a very much enhanced people to people contact, knowledge of each other�s cultures and history. Not just tourists and visitors, but scholars and young people must enormously increase their contacts in sports, cultural activities and through education in each other�s countries. India needs to match the capabilities of Beijing�s Confucius Centres. There is an enormous amount to learn from each other and without giving up our basic advantages of a more intimate knowledge of the global language, we can continue to enhance our knowledge of each other

    Next is in the areas of trade and commerce. As China�s living standards rise the pay and perquisites of its workers will have to rise in commensurate manner to ensure social stability and its competitive manufacturing advantage will diminish. Instead of Bangladesh, Vietnam and the Philippines benefiting from this development, India is better poised to exploit this advantage. Some simple but fundamental changes to labour laws and ways of doing business in India will have to change and could make all the difference.

    The final factor in achieving a balance is in the area of military capability and deterrence. It is not the most critical issue today to develop a dominance in military capability. For, force today is of diminishing value, except where it serves the purpose of deterring the intention of another to cause you harm. Therefore, an asymmetric but effective deterrence utilizing select capabilities can achieve greater dividends. Such a deterrence potential has to be developed not only in a strategic sense, but also in tactical capabilities. This will have to be in areas of advanced scientific areas; such as in space, under sea warfare capabilities, maritime surface attack, cyber defence and rapidly deployed special forces.

    Indeed, India and China has lived close to each other throughout history, as different civilizations, with distinct identities and simultaneously as leading global powers. Yet, it has no history of either permanent animosity or of conflict. That is a lesson from history that we need to replicate. It may be argued that in the intensely globalizing world and diminishing distance there is today a fundamental difference. Yet, our civilizational experience has also taught us to settle our differences through carefully balancing each other�s concerns and interests and through that process ensuring a peaceful strategic environment in Asia and the world.

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  • Macaca
    08-14 11:27 AM
    Convention Party Favors Include Face Time ( By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum Washington Post Staff Writer, August 14, 2007

    Congress just completed ethics legislation designed to put distance between lawmakers and the interests that seek favors from them.

    But the people in charge of next summer's presidential nominating conventions are busy selling package deals that would put them closer together.

    The host committees of 2008's biggest political gatherings are soliciting corporations, wealthy individuals and others with a lot at stake in government decisions for seven-figure payments. In exchange, the givers receive all sorts of goodies, including access to lawmakers and other politicians. The more money the donors spend, the more access they get. Donors also garner valuable publicity for their businesses and the convention's locale, which has its own commercial payoff.

    Microsoft and AT&T, to name two, have been high-profile donors to the host committees of previous conventions.

    At the Republican convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul, donors of $5 million or more will receive (among many other things) a private dinner and a separate golf outing with the Republican leadership, according to a list of benefits distributed by the host committee.

    At the Democratic convention in Denver, a million-dollar contribution purchases invitations to a series of private events that feature Colorado's governor, Denver's mayor and members of the state's congressional delegation, among other special advantages.

    The host committees do not hide their cash-for-access offers; they flaunt them. "As a corporate sponsor, you will be invited to exclusive forums and special events where you will interact with our state's and the nation's government and business leaders," the Democratic solicitation states. "In financial terms, your sponsorship is an investment in the future."

    The host committees, which are run by local officials separate from the political parties, collect the tens of millions of dollars needed to put on the extravaganzas, which next year will take place for the Democrats in late August and for the Republicans in early September.

    Yet the marketing comes at a sensitive time. Congress just passed -- and President Bush is likely to sign into law soon -- a bill that aims to restrain the amount of influence lobbyists and their clients will have at the conventions.

    The legislation aims to stop lobbyists and lobbying groups from paying for lavish parties that honor the lawmakers and the congressional committees they are hired to influence most. Such parties, a staple of the previous conventions, have been criticized by government-reform groups as giving undue clout to interests that have lots of money.

    But the bill is silent about other kinds of parties and events, including those put on by the host committees. And those not only will continue but also appear likely to proliferate.

    Top givers to the GOP convention are invited to a private reception that will include Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Sen. Norm Coleman and local mayors. They also will have the right to advertise in prime locations throughout the Twin Cities.

    The biggest contributors to the Democratic convention get invitations to all events sponsored by the host committee and special recognition in all host-committee publications.

    The nominating conventions, which are held in the late summer before presidential elections, have offered similar benefits packages before. Sponsors are the primary source for the money needed to put on these massive events, which bring together delegates from every state, a who's who of the nation's political establishment and journalists from around the world.

    Host committee representatives said they are promoting their cities and are seeking funds from corporations and others who want to make an impression locally and to a large national audience. Acting as a go-between for lawmakers and the interests that want to persuade them is a much more minor concern, they say.

    "We're not here to put on a bunch of parties to honor a bunch of individual members" of Congress, said Jeff Larson, interim chairman of the Minneapolis-St. Paul host committee. "We want to promote the quality of life we have here in Minnesota."

    "We're reaching out to a lot of constituencies, not just members of Congress," said Elbra Wedgeworth, president of the Denver host committee. "We are hoping to promote the Rocky Mountain west."

    Washington gadflies, however, see more calculation than that. Easy access to lawmakers and other senior Washington officials, they say, has long been a major attraction of these conventions and will remain so despite the recent legislation.

    "It's ironic given that the last thing Congress did before the August break is pass lobbying reform that included a provision limiting the parties that can be thrown at these conventions," said Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. "That would suggest that they didn't mean it, which will really come as a surprise to no one."

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  • waitnwatch
    08-05 07:28 PM
    I had tried to frame the debate in my previous post which is quoted below. Never received as much as a yay or nay from anyone. On the other hand there are enough folks with a lot of bluster and rhetoric to keep the storm in the teacup going.

    It should be obvious that the USCIS doesn't make changes because we spit fire on this forum.

    That is exactly why we would be better of trying to use this forum for honing our arguments instead of punching imaginary bags and getting all riled up.

    This is probably my last post on this topic but I'll sure be visiting to enjoy all the shouting and screaming!

    OP is long gone. Your post is full of big brave words and no substance. If you want to have a discussion and demonstrate your "intellect", please make some rational arguments and back them up. There is no lawsuit discussion here, just a debate on the merits of BS+5 PD porting

    Here's the logic behind this debate as I see it (not that there is much logic in the way the immigration laws/rules are framed)

    A person with a Master's or a PhD has spent 2-3 or 5-6 years respectively to get their degrees but do not get a priority date reflecting that time spent on acquiring the qualifications.

    On the other hand a person with a bachelors who gets 5 years experience can port their priority date while moving from EB3 to EB2 thereby getting credit for time spent.

    Porting is law while the Bachelor+5 is due to some memo. This memo does not take into consideration the above inconsistency and therefore this debate.

    I hope this sounds logical to atleast some of you folks.

    09-26 04:37 PM
    Just Kidding - reading your post i was feeling like I'm reading a comment from Fox News. However i do respect your opinion and thanks for expressing it.

    My Point is more long term - in the shorter term no major change can happen to economy even if Barack wins but eventually Economy would be stronger under Barack's leadership. He also stressed that he would stop "JOBS BEING SHIPPED OVERSEAS" which means companies like TATA or INFY or some Chinese company taking my Job ( or any American's Job ) away from US to INDIA or CHINA. If you are planning a future in US - you would not want your US job taken away by your brother at INDIA or CHINA and Barack will make sure that doesn't happen.

    The Bottonline is he will create tons of Jobs at US , so unemployment will be very low , average peoples will be happy and however loud ANTI-IMMIGRANTS scream and shout no AMERICAN will pay attention. Our EB reforms will Pass much easily and we will be able to able to lead a much happier and content life with GREEN CARD.

    Once again my Point is definitely Long Term - in the shorter duration Barack has to first fix the Mortgage Mess and do something with Iran by taking help from EUROPE.

    For arguments sake :)
    if Barak wins the skies will part, unemployment will disappear, GCs will rain from the sky. Americans will hug Iran and peace will is insane arguments like the one below that obamaphiles make, scares me about what will happen when he becomes the president. No legislative experience that is ok for him but not ok for Republican VP choice. Trashy ads from him are ok but from the republicans. not a single major newspaper talks about his dealings with rezko or the 100k allocated to be spent on the garden. No major deatails on a single concrete proposal...reason being that public is not interested in the finer details. In the tank with major unions, look at the promises being made to them...anyways i dont get to vote i can look at all this dispassionately and watch it from far. He has a slick marketing campaing and the media loves him. Either ways my EB is so screwed i dont think either can help us out.
    as you say 'lets take it EZ'

    05-18 05:23 PM
    Guilty by Association ( By RACHEL BEITARIE | Foreign Policy

    On a quiet block in western Beijing where otherwise only a few retirees can be seen walking their dogs or trimming their bushes, one building is under constant and conspicuous surveillance. A plainclothes policeman stands guard before an entranceway, while another keeps watch sitting inside a small cabin.

    The unlikely object of the Chinese state's attention in this instance is Liu Xia, a painter, poet, and photographer -- and the wife of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo. Guilty by association, she has been under house arrest, with almost no contact with the outside world, since November 2010, when her husband's award was announced. No one has heard from Liu since February, and her friends are increasingly worried about her health. Still, there is no sign that the authorities are planning to relent.

    Liu's arrest underscores a peculiar aspect to the recent Chinese crackdown on political dissidents that has seen the detention of dozens of prominent activists, intellectuals, and artists. Authorities are increasingly targeting not just critics of the ruling party, but their family members, including spouses, parents, and even young children. While the dissidents gain the headlines, their relatives are punished out of the spotlight. Though the wife of jailed artist Ai Weiwei was recently allowed a visit her husband, she could be next in line to lose her freedom.

    It's a punitive strategy that seeks to exploit Chinese traditions of filial piety. For China's dissidents, family is often both a source of strength and weakness: Chinese families tend to be close and highly involved in each other lives, and they take seriously the promise to stick together through thick and thin. The government, aware of these close ties, is using them to put more pressure on activists.

    It also bears echoes of the Cultural Revolution-era, when many Chinese families were torn apart as spouses and children were forced to denounce loved ones labeled by the authorities as capitalist traitors and were sometimes forced to take part in their public humiliation. Today's China is again making a policy of manipulating familial love and devotion to suppress any political challenges.

    "One of the more troubling trends we see in recent years has been for the government to more directly involve family members," observes Joshua Rosenzweig, a senior researcher at the Dui Hua Foundation, a U.S.-based organization dedicated to improving human rights in China. "We see surveillance, constant harassment, even extended house arrests. These all happened before, but now they have become routine" -- as in the case of Liu Xia. Rosenzweig adds, "Legal procedure has become irrelevant" in the Communist Party's quest to maintain stability. Under Chinese law, there is no procedure that allows for a person to be held indefinitely under house arrest without charges or a police investigation. "To put it simply, families are being held hostage," says Rosenzweig.

    Zeng Jinyan would concur. She has been under constant surveillance and subject to frequent house arrests ever since 2001, when she met her husband, AIDS activist Hu Jia, who is now serving a three-and-a-half-year sentence for "subversion of state power." Zeng was a student when they met, and she says she never imagined her life turning out the way it did. "I thought I'll graduate, find a job, and marry. I planned on a simple life and was hoping I could have enough time and money to travel the world," she tells me in a telephone interview. But she has since become an acclaimed activist in her own right, detailing her everyday life under the party's watchful eye on her blog and Twitter account. In 2007, Time magazine included her on its list of the world's 100 most influential people. Clearly, the regime's strategy backfired in this case.

    Most families, however, don't have nearly that kind of wherewithal. Take, for example, the family of Chen Guangcheng, a blind, self-taught lawyer from Shandong province who was imprisoned for four years for his work with disenfranchised villagers and woman forced to have abortions. After his release, he was forced to live in isolation in a Shandong village, together with his wife, Yuan Weijing, and their 6-year-old daughter. Yuan is denied almost all contact to the outside world, including to her son, who she sent away to be raised by relatives so that he can attend school. In February, the couple managed to smuggle a video out of the country in which they described their plight. They were reportedly beaten and denied medical treatment after the video was posted online.

    On the phone, Zeng describes the successive levels of pressure that the government applies to her: "First of all, there is worrying about [Hu's] safety. For some time, we didn't even know where he was and what kind of abuse he was suffering. I worry about his health, about his mental situation."

    "Then there is the question of making a living and sustaining some income as a de facto single mother," she continues. (Zeng's daughter is three-and-a-half years old. Her father was imprisoned shortly after she was born). "Because of constant police harassment, I could not get a good job or start a business. For a time, I couldn't even get a nanny for my child because when I hired one, the police would threaten her and scare her away."

    Zeng says the psychological warfare she faces is brutal. Between threats and detentions, she repeatedly has to deal with the innuendo from her surveillance teams and government-sponsored neighborhood committees, which suggest there were "high-positioned" men "interested" in her and imply that she could improve her situation greatly if only she would leave her partner.

    "All this is meant to isolate me from society and to break me down," Zeng concludes. "Sometimes it works. They planted deep trauma in my heart."

    Although Zeng has chosen to join her husband in dissenting against the government, picking up where Hu was forced to leave off when he was arrested for his activism, some relatives of dissidents prefer to keep quiet. Still others try to actively distance themselves from activism, sometimes going so far as to move to an entirely new city or even to file for divorce. That's what happened in the case of Yang Zili, a social commentator who was imprisoned for eight years in 2001 for organizing a discussion group on political issues. His wife at the time, Lu Kun, petitioned several times on his behalf, took care of his defense and finances, and visited prison when allowed, but eventually moved to the United States. The couple divorced after Yang was released in 2009. Yang says he understood her decision. "It is just too much pressure, being the wife of a dissident in China; it's a fate many prefer to avoid," he says. Still, Lu's choice also made Yang's life more difficult: the last couple of years of his prison term he was held in almost complete isolation, with no family visits at all.

    "Tactics are definitely designed to put pressure on those who contemplate political activism," Rosenzweig explains. "It is one thing to be willing to confront authorities or even go to jail, and another thing to know your family will suffer. This doesn't always deter everyone from speaking up, but it is a factor dissidents take into account." Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel laureate, referred to this factor in addressing his wife in a speech before the court that sentenced him -- after a speedy trial that Liu Xia was not allowed to attend -- to 11 years in prison: "Throughout all these years ... our love was full of bitterness imposed by outside circumstances, but as I savor its aftertaste, it remains boundless. I am serving my sentence in a tangible prison, while you wait in the intangible prison of the heart. Your love is the sunlight that leaps over high walls and penetrates the iron bars of my prison window, stroking every inch of my skin.... My love for you, on the other hand, is so full of remorse and regret that it at times makes me stagger under its weight," Liu said.

    Wives (and in some cases husbands) are not the only ones who earn the attention of the state: Zeng's parents, who live in Fujian province, receive frequent police visits, while her in-laws in Beijing were put under house arrest several times. In another case, the elderly parents of an activist were threatened by the local police in their small town and were then rushed to Beijing so that they could pressure their son to stop his involvement in human rights organizations. A Shanghai lawyer, Li Tiantian, reported in February that her boyfriend was threatened that he'll be dismissed from his job on account of her activism. Li has since been taken into police custody.

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