Just 40 years ago, as my family and I were completing a very pleasant and productive academic year in Japan, we had our first opportunity to visit China. We had been waiting to do so for more than a decade. For me, the highlight of the visit was a four-hour dinner conversation with Prime Minister Zhou Enlai.
Posts Tagged ‘ liu xiaobo ’
As China’s Communist Party elite prepare to select the country’s leadership for the coming decade, to what extent does concern for the rule of law affect their deliberations? Will the successor to Zhou Yongkang, the Politburo Standing Committee member who controls the legal system, favor continuing lawless repression or seek to subject both Party and government to the law on the books that is often ignored in practice?
Recent developments in the investigation of the famous artist-activist Ai Weiwei have again laid bare the extent to which China’s police have warped the country’s Criminal Procedure Law. On May 16, Ai’s family announced that his wife had just been allowed to see him for about twenty minutes of monitored conversation in an unknown place. It might have seemed that the police, perhaps to take the sting out of widespread foreign condemnation of their conduct in the case, were softening their attitude after keeping Ai in unexplained incommunicado detention for six weeks. Yet, as the official Chinese news agency, Xinhua, confirmed on May 20, instead of demonstrating uncharacteristic police leniency, this visit revealed a new stage in Ai’s prolonged detention, one that constitutes a stark violation of Chinese law.
In early 2009, human rights organizations criticized America’s new Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, for stating that the United States Government cannot allow disagreements over human rights to interfere with Sino-American cooperation in economic, climate and security crises. These critics also noted that, at the United Nations and in bilateral contacts with China, Obama Administration officials were emphasizing those crises but not China’s violations of its international human rights obligations.
14 members of the British Parliament urged Prime Minister Cameron to ask Chinese President Hu Jintao at the G-20 Summit in Seoul, South Korea from November 11-12, 2010, to release Chinese prisoners of conscience Liu Xiaobo and Gao Zhisheng. In a letter dated November 5, 2010, the Members of Parliament declared: “China must be discouraged from detaining individuals for exercising their fundamental right to freedom of expression.”