Sunday, January 22, 2012

Crackdown on Chinese dissidents

Washington Post
Editorial Board
January 22, 2012

“As far as we, state security, can tell, there are no more than 200 intellectuals in the country who oppose the Communist Party and are influential. If the central authorities think that their rule is facing a crisis, they can capture them all in one night and bury them alive.”

So said a Chinese state security officer to the dissident Yu Jie on Dec. 9, 2010 — the day before his good friend Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in absentia. In a statement last week, Mr. Yu, a well-known writer and Christian activist, said that he was beaten nearly to death that night, then held under house arrest for more than a year. He finally was allowed to travel with his family to Washington on Jan. 11; in a news conference, he vowed to “make public to the international community all that I have endured over this past year” and to publish books about Mr. Liu and President Hu Jintao, whom he calls a “cold-blooded tyrant.”

Mr. Yu is having an impact. According to the Wall Street Journal, the phrase “bury them alive” has gone viral on the Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo. And no wonder: In the past few weeks Mr. Hu’s regime has appeared to be implementing the thuggish cop’s threat, at least figuratively.

While Mr. Yu was pushed out of the country, three other pro-democracy writers have been given long prison sentences. The most recent is Li Tie, 52, who was handed a 10-year prison term on Wednesday in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Mr. Lie’s crimes, according to the regime, included joining the China Social Democratic Party and writing essays with such titles as “Human Beings’ Heaven is Human Dignity.”