12 February 2010

Liu Xiaobo - Update

Well, the Chinese authorities have said "No, We really mean it!." According to this report in The New York Times an appeals court has upheld the guilty verdict and prison sentence recently imposed on Liu Xiaobo. While this would be troubling if Liu had simply been exercising his individual right to free speech, it is to my way of thinking especially problematic insofar as his "subversive" acts involved composing the list joint demands that have appeared under the title Charter '08. In short Liu and the other signatories top the Charter are not just demanding democracy in some future China, but acting democratically in the actually existing China. The report in The Times makes plain how difficult and necessary such prefigurative action remains - it notes two other cases, those of Huang Qi and Tan Zuoren, who independently have been convicted and imprisoned for speaking out critically about the government.

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