China has continued its effort to avoid the type of protests for freedom seen in other authoritarian regimes. By permitting free speech or association? No, a more classic approach. The Chinese are rounding up bloggers, lawyers, activists, and anyone who has expressed free thought in the last few years. The latest is prominent artist Ai Weiwei, who was arrested trying to board a flight to Hong Kong.
Chinese officials are fearful that a “jasmine revolution” might break out in China so they are throwing any free thinker into jail for “inciting subversion of state power. This has included Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner, who received an 11-year prison sentence. Free speech advocates have simply disappeared and the authorities have blocked Twitter and other avenues for uninhibited, unregulated speech.
Ai, 53, was the artistic director for the “Bird’s Nest” Olympic Stadium, but later became a critic of the games. When he was arrested in 2009 he was beaten so badly that he required surgery to have blood drained from his brain.
For those of us who call ourselves civil libertarians, it is important to keep in mind that people like Ai have stood up for freedom in the face of beatings and arrests.
Source: Washington Post