Liu Xiaobo 20 years of Populist activism for Human Right and Democracy in English Human Science by JUGAL KISHORE SHARMA books and stories PDF | Liu Xiaobo 20 years of Populist activism for Human Right and Democracy

Liu Xiaobo 20 years of Populist activism for Human Right and Democracy

Liu Xiaobo (lyōō shoubō), 1955–, Chinese literary critic, poet, and political and human-rights activist, b. Changchun, grad. Jilin Univ. (B.A., 1982), Beijing Normal Univ. (M.A., 1984; Ph.D., 1988). He taught literature at Beijing Normal, published widely, and in the 1980s became known for his fiery lectures and scathing literary criticism. Beginning in 1988 Liu was a visiting scholar at such universities as Hawaii, Oslo, and Columbia, where he was teaching when the Tiananmen Square protests began in 1989. Returning to China, he assumed a leadership role in the protests, advocated nonviolence and democracy, attempted to negotiate, undertook a hunger strike, and was imprisoned for 21 months. Since then he has been barred from publishing in China (though he has sometimes done so pseudonymously and also has published abroad), and after his release from prison he was blacklisted from Chinese academia. In 1995–96 and 1996–99 Liu was again imprisoned for his political activities. In 2008 he coauthored Charter 08, which called for political and human-rights reforms and multiparty democracy. He was arrested, charged with "incitement of subversion of state power," and after a closed one-day trial (2009) sentenced to 11 years in prison. Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010. He was the first Chinese citizen to win the award. Despite China's many bans on his work, by the 2010s Liu had published 17 books and hundreds of articles and poems. No Enemies, No Hatred (2012), a collection of his essays and poems that spans two decades and provides insights into many aspects of contemporary Chinese life, is the first of his works to appear in English translation. 

Official Media Policy
China’s constitution affords its citizens freedom of speech and press, but the opacity of Chinese media regulations allows authorities to crack down on news stories by claiming that they expose state secrets and endanger the country. The definition of state secrets in China remains vague, facilitating censorship of any information that authorities deem harmful to their political or economic interests. CFR Senior Fellow Elizabeth C. Economy says the Chinese government is in a state of “schizophrenia” about media policy as it “goes back and forth, testing the line, knowing they need press freedom and the information it provides, but worried about opening the door to the type of freedoms that could lead to the regime’s downfall.”

The government issued in May 2010 its first white paper on the internet that focused on the concept of “internet sovereignty,” requiring all internet users in China, including foreign organizations and individuals, to abide by Chinese laws and regulations. Chinese internet companies are now required to sign the “Public Pledge on Self-Regulation and Professional Ethics for China Internet Industry,” which entails even stricter rules than those in the white paper, according to Jason Q. Ng, a specialist on Chinese media censorship and author of Blocked on Weibo. Since Chinese President Xi Jinping came to power, censorship of all forms of media has tightened. In February 2016, Xi announced new media policy for party and state news outlines: “All the work by the party’s media must reflect the party’s will, safeguard the party’s authority, and safeguard the party’s unity,” emphasizing that state media must align themselves with the “thought, politics, and actions” of the party leadership. A China Daily essay emphasized Xi’s policy, noting that “the nation’s media outlets are essential to political stability.”

How Free Is Chinese Media?
In 2016, Freedom House ranked China last for the second consecutive year out of sixty-five countries that represent 88 percent of the world’s internet users. The France-based watchdog group Reporters Without Borders ranked China 176 out of 180 countries in its 2016 worldwide index of press freedom. Experts say Chinese media outlets usually employ their own monitors to ensure political acceptability of their content. Censorship guidelines are circulated weekly from the Communist Party’s propaganda department and the government’s Bureau of Internet Affairs to prominent editors and media providers.

My hero has been to prison numerous times. Not for the petty crimes of the general public, but for the using freedom most of the American public takes for granted, the freedom of speech. In China protests are immediately shut down by the military, and many people lose all freedoms they once had for speaking out. Liu Xiaobo, 58, is currently in prison and has been characterized as a thorn in China's side by the BBC and an "angry little man" by Time magazine ("Liu Xiaobo: 20 years of activism", "despite China Threats"). He has persistently defied the will of the Chinese government in order to try to give the general public a voice. Liu Xiaobo has boldly challenged the government, bravely sacrificing his own safety and security for the sake of others. "His long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China" won him the Noble Prize in 2010 ("Noble Peace Prize 2010"). Although many people cower meekly under China's rule, Liu stands up against the government, serving as a shrouded figure head for many others. Through his bravery in risking all that he had, outspokenness on topics banned by the Chinese government, and his persistent attempts to correct the Chinese government, it is clear that he possesses the traits that make up a hero. Liu Xiaobo's bravery makes him stand out in a mass of protestors. In a document entitled "I Have No Enemies: My Final Statement," he addresses his first act of activism: He was a member of the first class to enter a university and decided to earn his PhD in literature and eventually became a scholar well respected teacher at that university. Then he was stripped of his position after taking part in the 1998 protest for "the crime of counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement." He lost his teaching positions and the ability to publish or give talks in China, thus losing the rest of the limited freedoms of expressions he had just for expressing his political views and taking part in a peaceful protest (Xiaobo). His outright expression of belief in a country not only marks him as a target of the Chinese government but endangers his career. Giving up the comfort of a career and a stable social position is no easy task; by nature people strive for a comfortable lifestyle, but Liu Xiaobo, instead of staying quiet and continuing his successful career, chose to state his belief in spite of the Chinese government. In 1989 Liu Xiaobo took part in the Tiananmen Square protest, the military moved in to neutralize the situation. Despite the advancing troops, Liu decided to stay behind and convince fellow protestors to leave the square instead of facing down the military. He eventually confronted and tried to negotiate with the army himself, only to get arrested soon afterwards ("Despite China Threats,"). By choosing to stay behind instead of running off, Liu gambled his own life for the fate of others. This gamble shows his bravery. He risked his life to save a few people despite the thousands that wanted to stay and protest. Through his actions he has demonstrated the courage that makes him a man worthy of praise. Liu Xiaobo demonstrated not only a brave spirit but also the ability to speak his opinion despite the intervention of the Chinese government. Even after he had been arrested several times and thrown into a work camp, he still wrote the article "Philosophy of the Pig" in 1898, criticizing writers across China ("Liu Xiaobo"). This criticism came after a few arrests, and he knew the consequences, yet he still challenged the government and those who follow meekly its rules. He still spoke openly, not fearing the government and the people he offended as shown by the statement he made in the article: "Most of the elites have become proponents of the official position giving 'priority to stability' and 'priority to the economy'" (Xiaobo). Another example of this outspokenness is a statement he made about the futility of hatred: "Hatred can rot away at a person's intelligence and conscience. Enemy mentality will poison the spirit of a nation, incite cruel mortal struggles, destroy a society's tolerance and humanity, and hinder a nation's progress toward freedom and democracy... Although I continue to maintain that I am innocent and that the charges against me are unconstitutional." In this statement he indirectly insults the government. By starting off with hated he is blaming the Chinese government for hating its people and calling it's the "enemy" and says that it in itself "hinder[s] the nation's progress." By defining his charges as "unconstitutional," he is comparing the two superpowers in the morals they uphold. He openly accuses the Chinese government for being unjust while he is under full the jurisdictions of the government in prison. This outspokenness is paired with diligent persistence.

Confession, Redemption, and Death:
Liu Xiaobo and the Protest Movement of 1989 Geremie Barmé There should be room for my extremism; I certainly don’t demand of others that
they be like me... I’m pessimistic about mankind in general, but my pessimism does not allow for escape. Even though I might be faced with nothing but a series of tragedies, I will still struggle, still show my opposition. This is why I like Nietzsche and dislike Schopenhauer.
Liu Xiaobo, Nov 
FROM 1988 to early 1989, it was a common sentiment in Beijing that China was in crisis. Economic reform was faltering due to the lack of a coherent program of change or a unified approach to reforms among Chinese leaders and ambitious plans to free prices resulted in widespread panic over inflation; the question of political succession to Deng Xiaoping had taken alarming precedence once more as it became clear that Zhao Ziyang was under attack; nepotism was rife within the Party and corporate economy; egregious corruption and inflation added to dissatisfaction with educational policies and the feeling of hopelessness among intellectuals and university students who had profited little from
the reforms; and the general state of cultural malaise and social ills combined to create a sense of impending doom. On top of this, the government seemed unwilling or incapable of attempting to find any new solutions to these problems. It enlisted once more the aid of
propaganda, empty slogans, and rhetoric to stave off the mounting crisis. University students in Beijing appeared to be particularly heavy casualties of the general malaise. In April, Li Shuxian, the astrophysicist Fang Lizhi’s wife and a lecturer in physics at Beijing University, commented that students had become apathetic, incapable of political activism. They consisted of two types of people: the mahjong players (mapai) and the TOEFL candidates (tuopai).Thus it came as something of a surprise to the citizens of Beijing — even those who were to participate — when the student demonstrations at the time of Hu Yaobang’s death blossomed into a popular protest movement at the end of April.
While the motivations of the students in 1989 are too complex to discuss here, they do reflect a dimension of the thinking of one unique figure of the movement, Liu Xiaobo; a man who has been one of the central targets of official denunciations since his arrest in early June. Liu’s career as a renegade critic and cultural nihilist mark him as an unlikely activist in the protests, yet his involvement and the statements he made both before and during the movement reveal an aspect of the protests that may help explain the extraordinary popular energy and enthusiasm that they inspired. Even after the massacre, Liu’s suicidal decision not to leave Beijing and in fact to court disaster by traveling around the city openly on a bike, echo the tragedy of individualistic and heroic Chinese intellectuals of the last century: to travel a course from self-liberation to self immolation. t I’m saying is that there are too few people with heir own minds, their own ideas. I can sum up what’s wrong with Chinese writers in one sentence: They can’t create themselves,they simply don’t have the ability, because their very lives don’t belong to them. So when young
people go off to get involved in politics and all that rubbish, taking part in demonstrations, I see it as something completely superficial. In my opinion, true liberation for the Chinese will only come when people learn to live for themselves, when they realize that life is what you make of it. They should establish this type of a credo: ‘Everything I am is of my own Although dismissive of the 1986 student demonstrations and the lack of self-awareness that he felt they revealed, Liu not only supported but eventually joined the demonstrators in May 1989. This change in attitude and his activities during the protest movementhave placed Liu in the center of the post-massacre purge of Chinese intellectuals. Yet Li is markedly different from the other intellectuals denounced in the Party press since June Figures such as the political scientist Yan Jiaqi are establishment intellectuals, reluctant dissidents spurned by a political order that has given in to Stalin-Mao recidivism. Fang Lizhi and Li Shuxian are respected scientists and outspoken political dissidents. The journalist-cum-historian, was a central figure in the rebellion of China’s media workers in May although she strenuously cautioned against the occupation of Tiananmen Square. But Liu Xiaobo has been a loner, and although popular enough with audiences university students who flocked to hear his lectures, he has never. Born in Changchun in the northeast of China in 1955, Liu spent his youth in Changchun with a three-year stint from 1970-73 in Inner Mongolia with his rusticated father. After middle school he spent two years as an ‘educated youth’ outside Changchun and then a year as a wall-painter for the Changchun Construction Company in 1976-77. Liu said
later that he was extremely grateful to the Cultural Revolution because it gave him freedom to do whatever he pleased; it allowed ‘a temporary emancipation from the educational process,’ one he declares was then and is today solely concerned with the enslavement’ of the individual. Secondly, as the only books he had access to were the works of Marx, by reading these — he claims to have read the 40-volume complete works — he was led to study the major Western philosophers. In late 1988, while traveling overseas, he also wrote a series of articles on politics.ting as bsequently closed down in the anti-bourgeois liberalization movement of 1987. readers since aditionalism. He traced the progress of contemporary Chinese writing labor reform. Finally, one arrives at a celebration of traditional classical culture and a return to it. of the members of the audience wanted to hold a wake, China’s stillborn post-Mao culture. calmless Liu graduated from the Chinese Department of Jilin University in 1982, after which he undertook postgradute studies at the Beijing Normal University where he also taught. He was awarded degree of Doctor of Philosophy in July 1988. A prolific writer throughout his postgraduate career, Liu’s writings have covered traditional Chinese philosophy and
literature, modern and contemporary Chinese literature, and Western philosophy and literature Liu first achieved notoriety in China in September 1986, when he made a devastation critique of post-Cultural Revolution literature during a conference on the subject sponsored by the Literature Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Liu’s speech, ‘Crisis! The Literature of the New Age is Facing Crisis,’ printed shortly afterward in the Shenzhen Youth Daily, a controversial newspaper In ‘Crisis!’ Liu passed a series of scathing judgements on virtually every aspect of postCultural Revolution literature. He reserved his most acerbic comments for the atavistic ‘roots’ literature that had been in vogue among both up-market authors and 1984. He saw this literary trend as a dangerous and reactionary retreat into the nostalgia for the 1950s and affirmation of the early years of Liberation, back further to a longing for the period of the Democratic Revolution (1930s and 1940s), moving gradually from that towards a renewed affirmation of the educated youth in the countryside and those undergoing Liu’s speech, a defiant affront to the new godfathers of Chinese literary theory such as Liu Zaifu, while affirming the value of some writers, in particular the ‘misty’ poets late 1970s and a few novelists, managed to sour what had been a cheery gathering exuding an ambience of self-congratulation. Whereas the other participants, mostly the middle-aged authorities who had risen to power since the 1970s, were there to celebrate a new age, Liu Xiaobo and other younger for Xu Jingya, the arts editor of Shenzhen Youth Daily, added a foreword to the speech pointing out Liu’s strengths as a critic. ‘To be able to maintain an overall attitude of in the laudatory critical atmosphere which exists in the literary world, to have an aggressive, questioning, and challenging approach is all too rare among our critics.’ Liu’s unexpected appearance — he was dubbed a ‘black horse’ (heima) — unsettled establishment figures ranging from the most orthodox to the outspoken ‘reformers,’ the Marxist revisionists or humanists. His personal manner, a gruffness accentuated by a bad stutter, rudeness — he swears freely in his coarse northeastern accent — and his pitihonesty, not to mention his wildly heterodox views, quickly set him apart from the coteries of Beijing critics and their favored writers. Among his detractors was Wang Meng, the Party novelist who had been appointed Minister of Culture in early 1986. Wang disguised his disquiet in the face of Liu’s blistering and perceptive attacks by dismissing him as a mere transient figure; he predicted Liu would fade from the scene as uickly as he had appeared.


This report sets forth the factual basis for that conclusion, assessing available information about Chinese government actions in Xinjiang within the international legal framework. Under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), crimes against humanity are serious specified offenses that are knowingly committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against any civilian population. “Widespread” refers to the scale of the acts or number of victims. A “systematic” attack indicates a pattern or methodical plan. Crimes against humanity can be committed during peace time as well as during armed conflict, so long as they are directed against a civilian population. Crimes against humanity are considered among the gravest human rights abuses under international law. The specific crimes against humanity documented in this report include imprisonment or other deprivation of liberty in violation of international law; persecution of an identifiable ethnic or religious group; enforced disappearance; torture; murder; and alleged inhumane acts intentionally causing great suffering or serious injury to mental or physical health, notably forced labor and sexual violence. The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, located in China’s northwest, is the only region in China with a majority Muslim population. The Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other communities in the region are ethnically Turkic. Unlike the majority Han Chinese, who are primarily Chinese speakers, the Turkic population is predominantly Muslim and have their own languages. According to the 2010 census, Uyghurs made up 46 percent and Kazakhs 7 percent of the Xinjiang population. The Chinese government’s oppression of Turkic Muslims is not a new phenomenon, but in recent years has reached unprecedented levels. As many as a million people have been arbitrarily detained in 300 to 400 facilities,[3] which include “political education” camps, pretrial detention centers, and prisons.[4] Courts have handed down harsh prison sentences without due process, sentencing Turkic Muslims to years in prison merely for sending an Islamic religious recording to a family member or downloading e-books in Uyghur. Detainees and prisoners are subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, cultural and political indoctrination, and forced labor. The oppression continues outside the detention facilities: the Chinese authorities impose on Turkic Muslims a pervasive system of mass surveillance, controls on movement, arbitrary arrest and enforced disappearance, cultural and religious erasure, and family separation. The United States State Department and the parliaments of Canada and the Netherlands have determined that China’s conduct also constitutes genocide under international law. Human Rights Watch has not documented the existence of the necessary genocidal intent at this time. Nonetheless, nothing in this report precludes such a finding and, if such evidence were to emerge, the acts being committed against Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang—a group protected by the 1948 Genocide Convention—could also support a finding of genocide.  In 2017, according to official statistics, arrests in Xinjiang accounted for nearly 21 percent of all arrests in China, despite people in Xinjiang making up only 1.5 percent of the total population. Since 2017, Chinese authorities have used various pretexts to damage or destroy two-thirds of Xinjiang’s mosques; about half of those have been demolished outright. Important Islamic sacred sites have been demolished across the region.[5] As part of regional authorities’ intrusive “Becoming Families” surveillance, development, and indoctrination campaign, officials impose themselves for overnight stays at the homes of Turkic Muslims, a practice that authorities say “promote[s] ethnic unity.” In another particularly chilling practice, some Turkic Muslim children whose parents have been arbitrarily detained are placed in state institutions such as orphanages and boarding schools, including boarding preschools. The global response to these abuses has been increasingly critical. Some governments, such as Canada, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and the US, have imposed targeted and other sanctions on Chinese government officials, agencies, and companies implicated in rights violations. Increasingly, governments are joining statements at the United Nations Human Rights Council and the Third Committee, the human rights arm of the UN General Assembly, to condemn Chinese government policy. Nonetheless, many governments, including several members of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation, still praise the Chinese government’s Xinjiang policies. 

In July 2019, two dozen governments sent a letter to the Human Rights Council president urging “meaningful access” for the UN high commissioner for human rights to Xinjiang, and monitoring and reporting on alleged abuses against the Muslim population.[7] The Chinese government responded by coordinating, though not itself joining, a letter signed by 50 countries, including Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and other states with poor human rights records.[8] In November 2019, a similar group of governments delivered a similar statement of concern at the UN Third Committee. China responded with a letter signed by 54 countries. Throughout 2020, reports of abuses in Xinjiang increased, making it harder for governments to deny or avoid. In June 2020, 50 UN special procedures—special rapporteurs, working groups, and other human rights experts—issued a searing indictment of China’s human rights record, including the Chinese government’s “collective repression” of religious and ethnic minorities in Xinjiang and Tibet. The experts called for a special session of the Human Rights Council on China, for the creation of a dedicated UN monitoring mechanism on China, and for UN agencies and governments to press China to meet its human rights obligations.[10] In October 2020, a cross-regional group of 39 governments issued a stinging public rebuke of the Chinese government’s widespread human rights violations in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Tibet. The statement largely endorsed the call by the 50 UN special procedures.[11] Instead of committing to investigate the allegations, the Chinese government responded with two separate statements, including one on Xinjiang read out by Cuba and signed by 45 countries. Investigating China’s Crimes against Humanity ** Ensuring justice for serious violations of human rights is the responsibility of the state that has jurisdiction over the area in which the crimes were committed. The state is obligated to ensure that domestic criminal justice mechanisms impartially investigate the alleged violations and identify and prosecute the individuals responsible in accordance with international fair-trial standards. The Chinese government has repeatedly denied that officials have committed abuses in Xinjiang and has been unwilling to conduct investigations or permitted independent international monitors to do so.

Historically, governments that fail to conduct investigations into serious human rights violations frequently invoke state sovereignty when other authorities, such as UN bodies or regional bodies, have sought to conduct investigations. Under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which went into effect in 2002, the court is empowered to investigate and prosecute individuals alleged to be most responsible for grave international crimes, including crimes against humanity, when the state with primary jurisdiction is unwilling or are unable to do so. Then the ICC can undertake a criminal investigation and prosecution if the suspected perpetrators are citizens of a state that is party to the ICC treaty, if the alleged violations are committed in the territory of an ICC member state, or if a non-member state asks the ICC to consider violations committed on its territory. China is not a party to the ICC statute. While the ICC could assume jurisdiction if the UN Security Council refers the situation in Xinjiang to the court, because China is a permanent member of the Security Council, its veto power could thwart such an action.

Given the gravity of the abuses against Turkic Muslims, there is a pressing need for concerned governments to take strong, coordinated action to advance accountability. One approach would be for a United Nations commission of inquiry (COI) to be established to investigate alleged violations in Xinjiang. The COI should have a mandate to establish the facts, identify the perpetrators, and make recommendations to provide accountability. The COI should be comprised of eminent persons, including experts in international human rights law, crimes against humanity, the rights of ethnic and religious minorities, and gender issues. This COI could be established through a resolution adopted by the UN Human Rights Council, though the UN General Assembly, the UN Security Council, and the UN secretary-general are also empowered to take such an action.

This report also sets out other recommendations for concerned governments to increase pressure on the Chinese government to change its abusive policies in Xinjiang, including pursuing individual criminal and state responsibility for these crimes, targeted sanctions, and actions under other UN mechanisms, such as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

Individual states should consider pursuing criminal cases under the concept of “universal jurisdiction,” which refers to the ability of a country’s domestic judicial system to investigate and prosecute certain grave crimes, such as torture, even if they were not committed on its territory. Many states have laws permitting prosecutions for such crimes if the victims were nationals of that state. Human rights treaties, such as the Convention against Torture and the International Convention against Enforced Disappearance, obligate states parties to extradite or prosecute suspected offenders who are under that state’s jurisdiction. Under customary international law, it is generally accepted that states may prosecute those responsible for crimes against humanity.


Statement of December 23, 2009 Read by Liv Ullmann
In the course of my life, for more than half a century, June 1989 was themajor turning point. Up to that point, I was a member of the first class to
enter university when college entrance examinations were reinstated following the Cultural Revolution (Class of ‘77). From BA to MA and on to
a PhD, my academic career was all smooth sailing. Upon receiving my degrees, I stayed on to teach at Beijing Normal University. As a teacher, I was well received by the students. At the same time, I was a public intellectual,writing articles and books that created quite a stir during the 1980s, frequently receiving invitations to give talks around the country, and going abroad as a visiting scholar upon invitation from Europe and America. What I demanded of myself was this: whether as a person or as a writer, I would lead a life of honesty, responsibility and dignity. After that, because I had returned from the US to take part in the 1989 Movement, I was thrown into prison for “the crime of counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement.” I also lost my beloved lectern and could no longer publish essays or give talks in China. Merely for publishing different political views and taking part in a peaceful democracy movement, a teacher lost his lectern, a writer lost his right to publish and a public intellectual lost the opportunity to give talks publicly. This is a tragedy, both for me personally and for a China that has already seen thirty years of Reform and Opening Up. When I think about it, my most dramatic experiences after June Fourth have been, surprisingly, associated with courts: My two opportunities to address the public have both been provided by trial sessions at the Beijing Municipal Intermediate People’s Court, once in January 1991, and again today. Although the crimes I have been charged with on the two occasions are different in name, their real substance is basically the same − both are speech crimes. Twenty years have passed, but the ghosts of June Fourth have not yet been laid to rest. Upon release from Qincheng Prison in 1991, I, who had been led onto the path of political dissent by the psychological chains of June Fourth, lost the right to speak publicly in my own country and could only speak through the foreign media. Because of this, I was subjected to year-round monitoring, kept under residential surveillance (May 1995 to 1 January 1996) and sent to Reeducation-Through-Labour (October 1996 to October 1999). And now I have been once again shoved into the dock by the enemy mentality of the regime. But I still want to say to this regime, which is
depriving me of my freedom, that I stand by the convictions I expressed in my “June Second Hunger Strike Declaration” twenty years ago − I have no enemies and no hatred. None of the police who monitored, arrested and interrogated me, none of the prosecutors who indicted me and none of the judges who judged me are my enemies. Although there is no way I can accept your monitoring, arrests, indictments and verdicts, I respect your professions and your integrity, including those of the two prosecutors, Zhang Rongge and Pan Xueqing, who are now bringing charges against me on behalf of the prosecution. During interrogation on December 3, I could sense your respect and your good faith. Hatred can rot away at a person’s intelligence and conscience. Enemy mentality will poison the spirit of a nation, incite cruel mortal struggles, destroy a society’s tolerance and humanity, and hinder a nation’s progress toward freedom and democracy. That is why I hope to be able to transcend my personal experiences as I look upon our nation’s development and social change, to counter the regime’s hostility with utmost goodwill, and to dispelhatred with love. Everyone knows that it was Reform and Opening Up that brought aboutour country’s development and social change. In my view, Reform and Opening Up began with the abandonment of the “using class struggle as guiding principle” government policy of the Mao era and, in its place, a commitment to economic development and social harmony. The process of abandoning the “philosophy of struggle was also a process of gradual weakening of the enemy mentality and elimination of the psychology of hatred, and a process of squeezing out the “wolf’s milk” that had seeped into human nature. It was this process that provided a relaxed climate, at home and abroad, for Reform and Opening Up, gentle and humane grounds for restoring mutual affection among people and peaceful coexistence among those with different interests and values, thereby providing encouragement in keeping with humanity for the bursting forth of creativity and the restoration of compassion among our countrymen. One could say that relinquishing the “anti-imperialist and anti-revisionist” stance in foreign relations and “class struggle” at home has been the basic premise that has enabled Reform and Opening Up to continue to this very day. The market trend in the economy, the diversification of culture, and the gradual shift in social order toward the rule of law have all benefited from the weakening of the “enemy mentality.” Even in the political arena, where progress is slowest, the weakening of the enemy mentality has led to an ever-growing tolerance for social pluralism on the part of the regime and substantial decrease in the force of persecution of political dissidents, and the official designation of the 1989 Movement has also been changed from “turmoil and riot” to “political disturbance.” The weakening of the enemy mentality has paved the way for the regime to gradually accept the universality of human rights. In [1997 and] 1998 the Chinese government made a commitment to sign two major United Nations international human rights covenants, signalling China’s acceptance of universal human rights standards. In 2004, the National People’s Congress (NPC) amended the Constitution, writing into the Constitution for the first time that “the state respects and guarantees human rights,” signalling that human rights have already become one of the fundamental principles of China’s rule of law. At the same time, the current regime puts forth the ideas of “putting people first” and “creating a harmonious society,” signalling progress in the CPC’s concept of rule. I have also been able to feel this progress on the macro level through my own personal experience since my arrest. Although I continue to maintain that I am innocent and that the charges against me are unconstitutional, during the one plus year since I have lost my freedom, I have been locked up at two different locations and gone through four pre-trial police interrogators, three prosecutors and two judges, but in handling my case, they have not been disrespectful, overstepped time limitations, or tried to force a confession. Their manner has been moderate and reasonable; moreover, they have often shown goodwill. On June 23, I was moved from a location where I was kept under residential surveillance to the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau’s No. 1 Detention Centre, known as “Beikan.” During my six months at Beikan, I saw improvements in prison management.In 1996, I spent time at the old Beikan (located at Banbuqiao). Compared to the old Beikan of more than a decade ago, the present Beikan is a huge improvement, both in terms of the “hardware” – the facilities – and the “software” – the management. In particular, the humane management pioneered by the new Beikan, based on respect for the rights and integrityof detainees, has brought flexible management to bear on every aspect of the behaviour of the correctional staff, and has found expression in the “comforting broadcasts,” Repentance magazine, and music before meals, on waking and at bedtime. This style of management allows detainees to experience a sense of dignity and warmth, and stirs their consciousness in maintaining prison order and opposing the bullies among inmates. Not only has it provided a humane living environment for detainees, it has also greatly improved the environment for their litigation to take place and their state of mind. I’ve had close contact with correctional officer Liu Zheng, who has been in charge of me in my cell, and his respect and care for detainees could be seen in every detail of his work, permeating his every word and deed, and giving one a warm feeling. It was perhaps my good fortune to have got to know this sincere, honest, conscientious, and kind correctional officer during my time at Beikan. It is precisely because of such convictions and personal experience that I firmly believe that China’s political progress will not stop, and I, filled with optimism, look forward to the advent of a future free China. For there is no force that can put an end to the human quest for freedom, and China will in the end become a nation ruled by law, where human rights reign supreme. I also hope that this sort of progress can be reflected in this trial as I await the impartial ruling of the collegial bench – a ruling that will withstand the test of history. If I may be permitted to say so, the most fortunate experience of these past twenty years has been the selfless love I have received from my wife, Liu Xia. She could not be present as an observer in court today, but I still want to say to you, my dear, that I firmly believe your love for me will remain the same as it has always been. Throughout all these years that I have lived without freedom, our love was full of bitterness imposed by outside circumstances, but as I savour its aftertaste, it remains boundless. I am serving my sentence in a tangible prison, while you wait in the intangible prison of the heart. Your love is the sunlight that leaps over high walls and penetrates the iron bars of my prison window, stroking every inch of my skin, warming every cell of my body, allowing me to always keep peace, openness and brightness in my heart, and filling every minute of my time in prison with meaning. My love for you, on the other hand, is so full of remorse and regret that it at times makes me stagger under its weight. I am an insensate stone in the wilderness, whipped by fierce wind and torrential rain, so cold that no one dares touch  me. But my love is solid and sharp, capable of piercing through any obstacle. Even if I were crushed into powder, I would still use my ashes to embrace you. My dear, with your love I can calmly face my impending trial, having no regrets about the choices I’ve made and optimistically awaiting tomorrow. I look forward to [the day] when my country is a land with freedom of expression, where the speech of every citizen will be treated equally well; where different values, ideas, beliefs and political views… can both compete with each other and peacefully coexist; where both majority and minority views will be equally guaranteed, and where the political views that differ from those currently in power, in particular, will be fully respected and protected; where all political views will spread out under the sun for people to choose from, where every citizen can state political views without fear and where no one can under any circumstances suffer political persecution for voicing divergent political views. I hope that I will be the last victim of China’s
endless literary inquisitions and that from now on no one will be incriminated because of speech. Freedom of expression is the foundation of human rights, the source of humanity, and the mother of truth. To strangle freedom of speech is to trample on human rights, stifle humanity and suppress truth. In order to exercise the right to freedom of speech conferred by the Constitution, one should fulfil the social responsibility of a Chinese citizen.There is nothing criminal in anything I have done. [But] if charges are brought against me because of this, I have no complaints. Thank you, everyone.




what certainly appears to be a mood of self-indulgence, Liu rote that intellectuals are disaster at a time of prosperity, and in his self-confidence
experience the approaching obliteration. schean fulsomeness; it is also one with piquant resonance in light f Liu’s fate in 1989.Lays generally characterized by out-of-hand and dismissive responses, something, as we will Liu Xiaobo reveled in his isolation. After a long period in 1987, the year of the ouster of Hu Yaobang and the purge of ‘bourgeois liberalization,’ during which he was publish, Liu wrote both a book-length philosophical treatise13 and an update of his famous ‘Crisis!’ which appeared in the first issue of Baijia, literally `One Hundred Schools,’ a literary bimonthly first published in early 1988.14 The second issue of the magazine carried another essay by Liu entitled ‘On Solitude.’ Both articles appeared in a section of the journal provocatively named ‘the 101st school,’ indicating that the opinions expressed therein were beyond even the range of the ‘100 contending schools’ permitted by Party cultural policy. In the wisdom of the age, the soul of a nation, the fortune-tellers of the human race. Their most important, indeed their sole to enunciate thoughts that are ahead of their time. The vision of the intellectual must stretch beyond the range of accepted ideas and concepts of order; he must be adventurous, a lonely forerunner; only after he has moved on far ahead do others discover his worth...he can discern the portents of diIt is a statement of Nietz on August 1988, Liu accepted an invitation to travel to Norway where he gave a serve lectures at the University of Oslo and attended an academic conference. Although delighted to have a chance to leave China, he said he found the conference on modern Chinese film and theatre ‘agonizingly boring.’ His sense of isolation, he commented letter to the writer, was little different from that he had experienced in China.His observation of discussions of China’s problems in both Norway and the United State may be seen as having played an important role in his eventual decision to return China and participate in the protest movement. The sojourn in Norway was also  important in that it gave him time to consider the direction of his own writing, and a leaving China he embarked on war He commented that the lectures he gave at the University of Oslo were criticized for shoddy scholarship, and personality clashes with his hosts seem to have made his stay something of a trial for all parties. Indeed, in terms of his scholastic and analytical
I believe Liu can be easily faulted. His contact with Sinologists in both China and overseas led to scathingly critical comments on Sinology in general, although his remaon the subject to a Hong Kong journalist in late 1988 would indicate that he had little understanding of contemporary Western Sinology.19 In fact, Liu’s ‘nihilistic’ style was see below, quite unlike the measured and positive stance he takes during the protest movement in Beijing. Liu’s extreme and outspoken attitudes had made him generally unpopular with his peers on the Mainland. Notorious in Beijing as an abrasive and even ill-mannered figure, Liu was found intolerable by some people more used to less brusque (although not less
demanding) cultural figures. In Beijing, his coarse, stuttering harangues during academic meetings, public lectures or even at sedate dinner parties in which he would assault every aspect of conventional wisdom left few people, either Chinese or foreign, kindly disposed to the fiery critic. His indelicate style was a shock to Sinologists more used to the superficially respectful and cooperative intelligentsia of China. In fact, he enjoyed baiting foreign scholars by making blanket condemnations of Sinology — having made little attempt to study their work. It is this stance as the ‘angry young man,’ a bohemian and his anti-social truculence that made him so popular with audiences of Chinese university students since 1986. Honesty, clear-headedness and humor were also the trademarks of Fang Lizhi at the height of his public career. Even before he left China, Liu was both aware and highly critical of the peculiar relationship between the foreign ‘discoverers’ (be they Sinologists, diplomats, reporters, or teachers) in Beijing and their Chinese ‘cultural pets,’ and one of the last articles he wrote overseas is devoted to the subject.20 Without going into the details of the bitter criticisms made of Liu, it is important to keep in mind that he delighted in being painfully frank (and opinionated), about both others and himself, and his unrestrained personality is crucially important in our considerations of his role in the protest movement and his fate after the massacre. After three months in Norway, Liu was invited to America for an extended period where he first visited the East-West Center of the University of Hawai’i. There he luxuriated in the climate and wrote furiously, producing an impressive series of articles for the Hong Kong press. ‘I even surprise myself,’ he wrote, ‘I’m writing at an almost terrifying rate; sometimes I get scared that it’s all a shoddy mess.’21 Of the essays he produced one is some 60,000 characters in length; entitled ‘Contemporary Chinese Intellectuals and Politics,’ which was subsequently serialized in Cheng Ming, an opus on traditional Chinese culture for Ming Pao Monthly, as well as a number of shorter works for Emancipation Monthly, including ‘Two Types of Marxism,’ and the essay/introduction ‘At the Gateway to Hell,’ a powerful manifesto of political rebellion.23 Liu was not the only one surprised by his productivity during these months. The denunciation published of him in the Beijing press on June 24, shortly after his arrest, said that his articles were `a series of anti-communist, anti-people so-called "high-tonnage bombs." ‘In March he moved to New York, where he was sponsored as a visiting scholar by Columbia University. He was also active in organizing a petition in support of Fang Lizhi’s January call for the Chinese government to release Wei Jingsheng and other political prisoners. While on the East Coast he lectured and among other things organized
a seminar that carried the title ‘Modern Chinese Intellectuals and Self-reflection.’25 The theme of self-reflection is an important one in Liu’s writings, and it was central to his activities in the protest movement. He was also invited to participate in the China Symposium ‘89 organized by Orville Schell, Liu Baifang, and Hong Huang held in Bolinas, California, in late April 1989. The conference hosted a number of China’s most controversial intellectual figures, including Wang Ruoshi, Bo Yang, Liu Binyan, Chen Ying-chen, and Wu Zuguang, although a number of those invited from the mainland, such as Fang Lizhi, Yan Jiaqi, and Su Xiaokang, failed to get permission to leave China.It is reported that other participants already in America, Liu Binyan and his friend the political commentator Ruan Ming, balked at the thought of having to suffer Liu Xiaobo’s volatile presence on the West Coast. [For details of the final gathering, and an edited transcript of the proceedings, see] Liu Binyan in particular had been the subject of some of Liu’s scathing remarks only a few months earlier. The two suggested that Liu Xiaobo’s connections in America be ‘investigated’ (diaocha) before he be allowed to attend. It would appear that they wanted to use Liu Xiaobo’s friendship with Hu Ping, head of the Chinese Democratic Alliance, and Chen Jun, an activist recently expelled from China, as an excuse to bar him from the conference. It is noteworthy that Liu Xiaobo’s Beijing persecutors later jumped on this connection with Hu and Chen as proof of Liu’s ‘counterrevolutionary’ intent.26 Another aspect of Liu Xiaobo’s activities in America could not have failed to disturb Liu Binyan: He was planning a seminar to discuss Liu Binyan in June.27 On the eve of the Bolinas conference, however, as the demonstrations in Beijing continued, Liu Xiaobo returned to China. The socialite poet Huang Belling, a recent exile from the Beijing salons and new-found friend of Liu Xiaobo, claims that Liu returned to China at the request of his thesis adviser who had written to say he had arranged a series of classes for him. Liu returned, Huang says, out of respect for this teacher.28 Yet the official denunciation of Liu declares that his teachers received a letter from him in early May stating that he would not return un 1990. Liu certainly was frustrated by the empty talk of Chinese emigrés in America and inspired by the student protests. Chen Jun also talks of the moral pressure Liu had felt at work on him following the burgeoning of the student demonstrations.  While other Chinese intellectuals pontificated on the origins, significance and direction of the student movement from the Olympian heights of the West, Liu had the courage of his convictions. Chen quotes Liu as saying: ‘Either you go back and take part in the student movement; otherwise you should stop talking about it.’31 He was critical of Fang Lizhi’s reluctance to participate so the movement could maintain its ‘purity.’ Liu felt it was important for
people who had been part of the democracy movement in China in the past or those who had studied it now to come out and direct it. The question of moral pressure is a very important one, and not only in the case of Liu Xiaobo. If the 1989 protest movement as a whole had as one of its motivating forces the deep-seated Chinese desire for moral (and by implication responsible) leadership — something that was momentarily embodied in the person of Hu Yaobang — then the moral energy released first by the students flouting the April 26 People’s Daily editorial and then engaging in a mass hunger strike in midMay tapped the most powerful well-springs of political protest in the Chinese mind. But there was another, more personal level to Liu’s desire to return to China. Caught upfor years in the intellectual debates of the country, Liu was an important figure in China.In America, he was a nobody. He had a heroic view of himself as quite different from most Chinese intellectuals. His personal philosophy of uniting words with actions, his short but successful career as a controversial figure in China, and the feeling of impotence at being caught in America at such a historic juncture, made involvement a heady lure. This sentiment is encapsulated in a comment he made when pacing the streets of New York with Huang Beiling. ‘In China you can’t even fart without someone noticing; in America your loudest calls are lost among the innumerable sounds made by others.’32 Having watched the protests on television, Huang quotes Liu’s rather patriotic and sentimental statements on his reasons for returning. Of this, one line in particular rings true: `Haven’t we been preparing for this moment all of our lives?’ Liu Xiaobo
admired both Rousseau and Nietzsche for their personal courage, their daring, and freedom. ‘For them to choose freedom,’ he wrote, ‘was to choose suffering and 33 danger.’ 


A.          Clarity, breadth and scope of concepts of “terrorism” and “extremism”  Both the PRC Counterterrorism Law (“CTL”) and the Xinjiang Implementing Measures for the PRC Counterterrorism Law (“XIM”) define terrorism as: “propositions and actions that create social panic, endanger public safety, attack persons or property, or coerce national organs or international organizations, through methods such as violence, destruction intimidation, so as to achieve their political, ideological, or other objectives”.    Elements of the definition are broadly worded. Notions such as “propositions”, “social panic” and “other objectives” are not clearly defined and might potentially encompass a wide range of acts that are substantially removed from a sufficient threshold of seriousness and demonstrable intent to engage in terrorist conduct.41 In both the CTL and the XIM, the definition of terrorism is further accompanied by a list of acts that constitute “terrorist activities” that provide some clarity to the definition: “For the purpose of this Law, “terrorist activities” means the following conduct of the terrorist nature: (1) Organizing, planning, preparing for, or conducting the activities which cause or attempt to cause casualties, grave property loss, damage to public facilities, disruption of social order and other serious social harm; (2) Advocating terrorism, instigating terrorist activities, or illegally holding articles advocating terrorism, or forcing other persons to wear costume or symbols advocating terrorism in public places; (3) Organizing, leading or participating in terrorist organizations; (4) Providing information, funds, materials, labor services, technologies, places and other support, assistance and convenience to terrorist organizations, terrorists, the implementation of terrorist activities or training on terrorist activities; (5) Other terrorist activities” (unofficial translation).  The listed activities generally correspond to the conduct that is criminalized in the Criminal Law.43 However, again, a number of the activities listed remain stated in vague and/or subjective terms without further clarification as to the content of what these may encompass, e.g., “disruption of social order and other serious social harm”.     Further clarification on the interpretation of the relevant provisions was provided in the March 2018 “Opinions on Certain Issues Concerning the Application of Law in Handling Criminal Cases Involving Terrorism and Extremism” issued jointly by the Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Justice. In the Opinion, some guidance is provided on the interpretation and application of certain terms of article 120 of the Criminal Law pertaining to the formation, leading or active participation in a terrorist organization. While helpful in further defining certain activities considered terrorist, the Opinion does not address all concerns, including for example the scope of the term “extremism” in the description of various terrorist offences as discussed below. As such, there are concerns that the scope of the definitions leaves the potential that acts of legitimate protest, dissent and other human rights activities, or of genuine religious activity, can fall within the ambit of “terrorism” or “terrorist activities”, and consequently for the imposition of coercive legal restrictions on legitimate activity protected under international human rights law.45 Such provisions are vulnerable to being used – deliberately or inadvertently – in a discriminatory or otherwise arbitrary manner against individuals or communities.




Even though the government had sent him to prison and work camps numerous times in hopes of "correcting" him, Liu Xiaobo still decided that he could keep going. He once stated, "Twenty years have passed, but the ghosts of June Fourth have not yet been laid to rest. Upon release from Qincheng Prison in 1991, I, who had been led onto the path of political dissent by the psychological chains of June Fourth, lost the right to speak publicly in my own country and could only speak through the foreign media. Because of this, I was subjected to year-round monitoring, kept under residential surveillance (May 1995 to January 1996) and sent to Reeducation-Through-Labor (October 1996 to October 1999)" (Xiaobo). Not only did he perform the same act, and repeated his message for 20 years, but he had also persistently sent out his message through foreign means, reaching people who are most likely not going to help due to their distance from the matter at hand, in order to reach anyone willing to help. Despite the prison, despite the surveillance and despite the labor camp, he still preaches the same message of freedom and democracy across the globe. He also helped write chapter 08, a manifesto that called for reforms to the Chinese political system including democratic elections, separation of powers and an independent judiciary. Signed by thousands, the petitions quickly gained popularity before it was taken down by the government. Some of the signers were even taken in for interrogation. ("Despite China Threats"). Even as he was watched by the police he continued to try to get his message out for others to see. In the writing of Chapter 08 he shows his persistence, deciding that he would assist in writing the petition despite the police, knowing the consequence of being caught as shown by the consequences given for his many other attempts to get the same message out. This persistence has won him the respect of many, and he continues to inspire many others with the dedication to his work. Liu Xiaobo possesses the bravery, outspokenness, and persistence all modern heroes need. He stands up against the Chinese Government, constantly demanding a democratic government. He serves as an example for all to follow for his dedication to a worthy cause. His undying dedication fuels his bravery and speech, which inspires others to do the same. His ability to continue to work bravely and fearlessly makes him worthy of his position as the Nobel Peace Prize winner of 2010 as he continues his peaceful protest. Heroes are defined by their strength; the strengths of modern day heroes are not defined by their physical strength but as the ability to make a positive impact. Liu Xiaobo certainly processes the potential to change the world as we know it as he continues to push China into a better future.

In the case of Liu Xiaobo, he had the consolation during his lifetime of recognition from the outside world. In 2010, to the fury of Beijing, he was awarded the country’s second Nobel Prize for Peace. Its first had been for the Dalai Lama in 1989. Neither were welcome for Beijing. At the time of the Oslo-based committee’s announcement, Liu was already in prison, serving a sentence for what used to be called crimes against the state, but was by then classified under vague security measures. At the awards ceremony, he was represented by an empty chair. In 2017, he died of cancer, while still serving his sentence.

This makes the irony of his main criticisms of the party and the values system in China being accepted and adopted, after a fashion, by current leader Xi Jinping even more bitter and striking. In his life, those who knew Liu could appreciate his fierce intellect and self-confidence. They were also able to witness his merciless treatment of what he regarded as hypocrisy, sloppy thinking, and cant around him. Liu’s personality type, with his sharp wit and severe words, would not have been an easy one to accommodate in any environment. At least in the West, there would have been space, and an audience, to engage with his arguments and ideas. In his final years of freedom, based in China, one of his few sources of income, and ways of reaching an audience, was through the internet. The readership for his articles was limited. Of the few online pieces he was finally indicted for, their click count at the time was in the low thousands.

Rereading Liu’s work four years after his untimely death is an opportunity to appreciate again how strangely aligned his views of contemporary China’s plight were with the very different figure of Xi Jinping. In the early 2000s, while party boss in the huge, wealthy coastal province of Zhejiang, Xi had taken to berating leading cadres for their slackness, lack of faith in party dogma, and collusion with business and commerce. They wanted, he explained in one article, to be ‘good pals’ with everyone, and had forgotten their primary function – to do politics and serve the public.

It is not likely that Liu would have had much truck with someone like Xi, or much sympathy for the position Xi was in, despite these surface similarities. For Liu, his critique may have started from the same place, but was far more systemic and much deeper. For him, the issue was the party itself, and the way it gripped power as though its life depended on it. What, he asked indirectly through the pieces he published from the 1980s onwards, was the point of power if it was only for itself? To isolate and then defend political power as if it had some validity solely on its own was like buying a car and then refusing to use it. Who, after all, was the party serving, Liu asked? His answer was emphatic: the party was a network that looked after itself. That part of his message was the one the authorities were most angry at, and which Xi would have definitely not agreed with, because it challenged their fundamental legitimacy.

Officials such as Xi knew about this crisis of party faith, and accepted it was a huge problem. Their remedy, however, was utterly different to Liu’s who felt only political reform and democratisation would solve things. For the authorities, preserving the party no matter what was the only route they could consider. In 2013, they launched an anti-corruption campaign to clean cadre behaviour up, enforced ideological training, and, to ensure public support, ratcheted up nationalism. Liu foresaw this. In an essay from 2002, he labelled it ‘Thuggish and Bellicose Patriotism.’ This, in his diagnostic, mixed up Chinese disdain for the outside world, feelings of resentment at its often disastrous modern history, constant pressure to just get by economically and in daily life for the majority of citizens, brainwashing at school to inculcate jingoistic sentiments, and, perhaps most toxic of all, ‘a national psychology that regularly alternates between extreme self-abasement and extreme self-aggrandisement.’

Liu’s critique of contemporary China was a moral one, above all. That supplies the link with Xi, who was also trying to restore the Communist party’s moral standing after years of its officials being persistently on the take, swimming in the benefits of a China that had maintained lip service to socialism, but was becoming even more brutally capitalist than America or Europe. In one essay, Liu stated that ‘in spiritual life, post-totalitarian China has entered an Age of Cynicism.’ In the 1990s, and even more in the 2000s, the country had entered an era in which ‘people no longer believe in anything and in which their words do not match their actions … Even high officials and other Communist party members no longer believe party verbiage.’

It is hard to think of a more sobering description of some types of Chinese diplomatic behaviour in 2021 than that offered by Liu two decades before. In that sense, his was a prophetic voice – and like most such voices, greeted with great resentment and dismissiveness at the time he spoke. It is in the area where Liu talks of Chinese society under capitalism with Chinese characteristics being a kind of obscene erotic show, where everything is commodified and given a political utility, that his language is most unforgiving and uncompromising. In this China, the ‘serve the people’ ethos of the Maoist foundation era, the promise made by the party to lift up people materially and culturally, has long been hollowed out, so that, by the 2000s, it was a society whose political leadership was using a rhetoric utterly adrift from the kinds of language used by ordinary people trying to live their lives, and society was in almost perpetual ferment.

That disconnect was clearly the thing that bothered Xi and those who supported his eventual rise to power in 2012. China’s path since then however is not one that Liu would have endorsed. Nationalism has intensified. The party certainly has made its officials at least act like they believe in their ideology, even though the incentive for this is almost certainly to remain in power and maintain privileges in the political realm, rather than holding to the content of belief itself. Liu himself can finally be seen as representative of a tragic generation of intellectuals in China who had some voice in the wider world, and almost none in their home country. His immense courage was clear from the way he refused to even contemplate what many of his generation in his position did, and move abroad. The manner of his death was one of the few moments of the Xi era where the general air of self-satisfaction and pushiness with the outside world was momentarily dulled.

It is an interesting question to ponder what Liu would have said in a world where America and Europe, places whose systems he clearly held in high regard, seem to have lost much of their own conviction and confidence, and been beset by their own crisis of belief. Maybe his sharp diagnostic intellect could have been of service in showing where they too had gone wrong. One hopes that they would have done a better job of acknowledging the validity of any points he would have made, unlike the government of China, who if they indeed accepted his criticisms, rewarded him with imprisonment and silence.

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