Liu Xiaobo lives under the repressive communist Chinese system. Liu Xiaobo is going to jail. His crime? He’s a blogger who dared to call for basic freedoms in China. For that act, Liu has earned himself an 11-year sentence, and unfortunately for Liu, in the Chinese penal system that means hard labor.
A Chinese court has sentenced a leading Chinese dissident to eleven years in prison. Liu Xiaobo was convicted of “inciting subversion of state power.” The human rights activist and academic was arrested after he co-authored a petition called Charter 08 that called for freedom of assembly, expression and religion in China. Human Rights Watch condemned Liu’s conviction, calling it a “travesty of justice.” Liu previously spent twenty-one months in prison for taking part in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Meanwhile, a top Chinese police official has ordered preemptive strikes against perceived threats to social order. In a speech published earlier today, Vice Minister of Public Security Yang Huanning said Chinese officials must step up efforts to curb the enemy by “predicting, preempting and discovering them.” He also urged Chinese police forces to “strike at hostile forces at home and abroad.”
Take a moment to reflect on the above passage, as there are several key elements in it worth noting:
China has just handed out its harshest punishment in nearly two decades to one of its citizens who had the effrontery to criticize the government. Despite its efforts at showing the world that it has “opened-up,” since the days of the Cultural Revolution, it is still a repressive communist regime that tolerates no dissent.
Besides Human Rights Watch’s condemnation of Liu’s sentencing, world leaders including President Obama, Angela Merkel of Germany, the United Nations, and the European Union have condemned China’s harsh sentencing of Liu. Bottom line: China doesn’t care.
China’s threat to punish others in similar fashion, even if they don’t live in China (“strike at hostile forces at home and abroad”). Chinese (and non-Chinese?) citizens living abroad, who criticize the government, must now begin looking over their shoulders–just as their compatriots back home do.
Liu is going to jail for calling for three things that we take for granted here in the non-communist world: freedom of assembly, expression and religion. Under communism, those are three freedoms that will never be allowed. Under communism, freedom of opinion will always be restricted. Under communism, a citizen has no basic right to free speech or religious expression. Communism and individual rights will always be mutually exclusive.
China has come far in 50 years, but it is still a communist country. And as Liu’s case so clearly demonstrates, it will always be a repressive country as long as it is communist.
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