Posts tagged ‘Liu Xiaobo’

11/05/2014

Chinese elite push for release of jailed Nobel laureate | Reuters

A group of “princelings“, children of China’s political elite, has quietly urged the Communist Party leadership to release jailed Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo on parole to improve the country’s international image, two sources said.

Workers prepare the Nobel Peace Prize laureate exhibition ''I Have No Enemies'' for Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo December 9, 2010. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Liu‘s release is not high on the agenda of the party, which is trying to push through painful economic, judicial and military reforms amid the most extensive crackdown on corruption in over six decades, the sources with ties to the leadership said, requesting anonymity.

But the back channel push for Liu’s parole shows that a debate is taking place among leaders about damage to China’s reputation caused by his jailing. It also suggests the ruling elite are not monolithic when it comes to views on dissent.

Liu, 58, a veteran dissident involved in the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests crushed by the army, was jailed for 11 years in 2009 on subversion charges for organizing a petition urging an end to one-party rule. He won the Nobel Peace Prize the following year.

“For many princelings, the pros of freeing Liu Xiaobo outweigh the cons,” one of the sources said. “Liu Xiaobo will definitely be freed early. The question is when.”

He is eligible for parole after serving half his term.

via Chinese elite push for release of jailed Nobel laureate | Reuters.

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01/01/2013

* Reform now or there’ll be a revolution, Chinese leaders told

The Times: “China faces the prospect of “violent revolution” if the Government fails to implement political reform, a group of prominent intellectuals is warning six weeks after the country’s change of leadership.

Liu Xia was filmed in her house as activists pushed past the guards

The call, from 73 of China’s leading scholars, came as dramatic footage emerged yesterday of activists pushing past security officials to reach Liu Xia, the wife of the Nobel Prizewinning dissident Liu Xiaobo.

In a pointed open letter, the academics warn: “If reforms to the system urgently needed by Chinese society keep being frustrated and stagnate without progress, then … China will again miss the opportunity for peaceful reform, and slip into the turbulence and chaos of violent revolution.”

Drafted by Zhang Qianfan, a Law Professor at Peking University, the letter has garnered signatures from such prominent figures as Zhang Sizhi, a lawyer who is known in China as “the conscience of the legal world” and is best known abroad as the man who defended Mao Zedong’s widow at her 1980 trial. Other well-known signatories include Hu Xingdou, a noted economist at the Beijing Institute of Technology, and Jiang Ping, the former dean of the Chinese University of Political Science and Law.

The letter was circulated on the internet but was quickly removed from Chinese news sites, and links to it have been removed from Mr Zhang’s profile on the microblog Weibo.

Entitled “An Initiative on Reform Consensus”, it has echoes of Charter 08, a manifesto published in 2008 calling for the protection of human rights and an end to one-party rule. The main author of that manifesto, Liu Xiaobo, was arrested on charges of subversion and sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment in December 2009.

In a separate development Hu Jia, one of China’s leading dissidents, broke through a security cordon to enter the apartment of Mr Liu’s wife, who has been kept under house arrest since her husband won the peace prize. In a video clip of the confrontation, which was posted on YouTube yesterday, a security official is shown telling Mr Hu and two other activists that it will not be possible for them to see Ms Liu. In response, the three force their way past, saying: “Who are you to tell us it’s not possible?”

Although the petition, signed by the 73 academics last week, raises the spectre of violent revolution, the demands made are not as radical as those found in Liu Xiaobo’s 2008 charter. The signatories to the latest letter urge China’s new leaders to rule according to the country’s constitution. In particular, the letter underlines the Government’s duty to protect freedom of speech, the press and the right to demonstrate, to deepen market reform and to allow for an independent judiciary.

These advocates of reform may have been encouraged by signals sent out by Xi Jinping, China’s new leader, who succeeded Hu Jintao as General Secretary of the Communist Party in November.

Commentators have noted Mr Xi’s easy-going style compared with his predecessors and his decision to do away with red carpets for officials.

He has been quoted in the state press saying: “The Government earnestly wants to study the issues that are being brought up, and wants to perfect the market economy system … by deepening reform, and resolve the issues by strengthening rule of law.”

Judged by actions, the signals sent out by the new government have been mixed. An apparent easing of internet searching restrictions, during which it was possible to search Chinese microblogs for the names of top officials for the first time in months, was followed by legislation that critics say will discourage free commenting online by requiring real-name registration for internet users.

Similar hopes that Mr Hu would prove to be a reformer, which were aired when he first took office, were later dashed by years of stagnation on political reform, a period that has come to be known by many as the “lost decade”.”

via Reform now or there’ll be a revolution, Chinese leaders told | The Times.

09/11/2012

* Just one joke in 10 years, but Hu has the last laugh

Which world leader can look back at his/her past decade in power and point to the achievements that president Hu can?

Extract from The Times, London, 9 November, 2012 – http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/asia/article3594528.ece

Hu Jintao, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Chinese president, delivers a keynote report during the opening ceremony of the 18th CPC National Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Nov. 8, 2012. The 18th CPC National Congress opened in Beijing on Thursday. (Xinhua/Rao Aimin)

“China’s economy was the world’s sixth biggest when Hu Jintao took power. A decade later, it is second to the US and gaining.

Most Chinese could only dream of owning a house or a car when Mr Hu took over. In 2002, just 3.2 million vehicles were sold; the number reached 18.5 million last year. Traffic jams seem endless and 65,000 miles of road have been laid — up from just 20,000. China overtook the US as the world’s biggest auto market in 2009. Only 16 people out 100 owned a mobile phone in 2002; today 74 in 100 have one.

About 59 million Chinese used the internet in 2002. Last year, nearly 520 million surfed cyberspace. The censors are meticulous in weeding out conversations deemed to be subversive. Perhaps more surprising is that such open discussion is allowed at all. Incomes have nearly tripled.

He ensured his popularity among 800 million peasants — and possibly his place in history — by abolishing a 2,600-year-old agricultural tax levied by emperors on every farming family.He put a man in space, launched an aircraft carrier (Soviet-made, admittedly) and developed technology to shoot down a satellite.

Some 200 protests erupt daily and the gap between rich and poor has widened to threaten Mr Hu’s cherished stability. In one of his jails Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner, serves 11 years. Mr Hu pledged to tackle corruption and arrested two Politburo members. An average of 94 officials are picked up every day for such offences. It’s a drop in the ocean of venality.

He once quipped: “A fall into the pit, a gain to your wit.” His rule was an odd mix of bold decisions and stasis.”

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