Authoritarians, in China and elsewhere, normally have preferred to dress their authoritarianism up in pretty clothes. Lenin called the version of dictatorship he invented in 1921 “democratic centralism,” but it became clear, especially after Stalin and Mao inherited the system, that centralism, not democracy, was the point. More recent examples of prettifying include “The Republic of Zimbabwe,” “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” and several others. What would be wrong with plainer labels? The Authoritarian State of Zimbabwe? The Shining Dictatorship of Korea? That dictators avoid candidly describing their regimes shows that, at least in their use of words, they acknowledge the superiority of freedom and democracy.… Seguir leyendo »
Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados por el autor desde el 1 de abril de 2009. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.
In the late 1960s Mao Zedong, China’s Great Helmsman, encouraged children and adolescents to confront their teachers and parents, root out “cow ghosts and snake spirits,” and otherwise “make revolution.” In practice, this meant closing China’s schools. In the decades since, many have decried a generation’s loss of education.
Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate who was sentenced to eleven years for “inciting subversion” of China’s government, and who died of liver cancer on Thursday, illustrates a different pattern. Liu, born in 1955, was eleven when the schools closed, but he read books anyway, wherever he could find them.… Seguir leyendo »
Will the China operations of the New York Times and Bloomberg News shut down at the end of this month? Only Thursday did the Chinese government issue press cards allowing these journalists to apply for residence visas, which it had been withholding. No reasons have been given for the implied threat, but investigative reports on the spectacular wealth of top government officials probably had something to do with it.
Even if the journalists get their visas, the government’s goal has been obvious: to plant fear in the back of the journalists’ minds in an effort to rein in their future reporting.… Seguir leyendo »
Xiao Qiang is founder and chief editor of China Digital Times, a bilingual news Web site, and an adjunct professor at the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Information. Perry Link, who was a co-editor of “The Tiananmen Papers,” teaches Chinese literature at the University of California, Riverside.
Chinese New Year, which began Feb. 10, marks the season when Chinese everywhere give voice to their wishes for the future. A controversy last month in the offices of Southern Weekly, one of China’s more liberal publications, appeared to be mainly about censorship. It spread to the streets and widely on the Internet, and the focal point was indeed freedom for journalists.… Seguir leyendo »
The world looks to Nobel Peace laureates for depth of vision in human affairs, and their moral stature seems all the greater when they are persecuted by government. We have honored the views of such people as Andrei Sakharov, Lech Walesa and Aung Sang Suu Kyi.
Liu Xiaobo, winner of the 2010 Peace Prize, is in a prison in Liaoning, China, for “incitement of subversion of state power.” No one outside the prison has heard from him since Oct. 10, 2010, when his wife was allowed to visit and to pass along his wishes for the Nobel ceremony in Oslo in December.… Seguir leyendo »
Until recently, it has been very hard in China to say in public that the government, which calls itself the People’s Republic of China, in fact is something quite different from the people of China. No medium would carry such a message. But now, with the slippery Internet, such messages do get out, and do spread. They get partly blocked, but not stopped.
This month, Han Han, aged 28, a master of Aesopian wit and probably China’s most widely read blogger, wrote this:
The world over, a country is like a woman and the government is like the man who possesses her.… Seguir leyendo »
When Zhao Ziyang, the former Chinese premier who in 1989 had opposed using military force against student protesters, died four years ago, China’s top leaders formed an “Emergency Response Leadership Small Group,” declared “a period of extreme sensitivity,” put the People’s Armed Police on special alert and ordered the Ministry of Railways to screen travelers heading to Beijing. If this is how the men who rule China reacted to Zhao’s death at home, how, then, will they respond to the posthumously published “Prisoner of the State,” a book in which Zhao repeatedly attacks the stonewalling and subterfuge (and sycophancy, mendacity, buck-passing and back-stabbing) of people whose allies and heirs remain in power today?… Seguir leyendo »