Everyone in Hong Kong is here because of China. You stare at her just across the harbor all day long. Every line in the paper chronicles her steps forward… and also backwards. So I pretty much spend all day wondering whether China is the be-all, end-all, and will soon eclipse the West… or whether her shortcomings will keep her power in check. We all hope that China’s star will continue to rise, but not so far as to eclipse our home countries. The question I ask myself all day long is will she peak next year… or never? This is the first of a mini-series on what you need to know about China right now.
- Human rights still don’t exist and there is growing civil unrest, which the Party is petrified of.
China’s hissy fit after jailed dissident Liu Xiabou was awarded the Nobel Peace prize last month is perfect evidence of this. Liu published Chapter 08 in 2008, which called for a myriad of human rights reforms. It angered the government enough to sentence him to a 11-year prison term.
After he won the award, China blocked all key word internet searches and SMS text messages under his name—just the fact that they can even do that shows how far-reaching their power is. They also immediately began pressuring other countries not to attend the ceremonies as it is seen by Beijing a “challenge to China’s judicial systems” and they threatened that it will impede “developing economic relations.” The Chinese instantly responded by creating code words for Xiabou to use in social networking, which I think is pretty clever.
Just recently, a journalist was jailed for two and a half years for seeking justice for his child and other children harmed and killed by the melamine tainted milk. The charge was “disrupting social harmony.” All he had done was create a website so parents whose children were effected could network to share information and resources. Unbelievable right?
Police in southern China have arrested and charged a rights campaigner with subversion for handing out flyers announcing Liu Xiaobo’s 2010 Nobel Peace Prize win, fellow activists said Wednesday.
His wife, also an activist, Liu Xia has been placed under house arrest and so issued an open letter inviting 100 of her husband’s friends to receive the award on December 10th. The Chinese have detained the entire list, but one environmental journalist was in Canada at a conference and so she will go receive the award on his behalf. I can’t wait to hear how everything will go down on the 10th and will be following this closely.
Either way, it’s worth remembering why the Chinese are fighting like the dickens on this one; “the average Chinese person doesn’t know that Liu Xiaobo has won the prize, or even who he is.” Here are some enlightening tweets from after the award was announced from China Geeks:
Seething with excitement, everywhere is seething with excitement. It’s just that a big group of idiots don’t know what’s happened. It really makes you fucking feel for them…
Tell your friends, family and classmates who Liu Xiaobo is and why he is loved and respected by “anti-China” forces.
Norway is badass [牛逼], I’m crying in the car right now [on the way to visit Liu Xiaobo’s wife].
I bet some officials are regretting it now. Perhaps they’re thinking, if we hadn’t given Liu Xiaobo a harsh sentence, would the Nobel Peace Prize still have come to China?
Note: You have to use a VPN to hide your computer’s location when you are in China to be able to Tweet, Facebook, or even access your Google Docs… made it quite slow for me to work while we were in Beijing earlier this month.