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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

tis the season to crack down on democracy.

As a friend of mine put it, "When you open your Chinese-made Christmas presents this week, take a moment to remember how fortunate we are to be able to tell our governments to get stuffed."

Prominent Chinese Dissident Is Tried
Published: December 23, 2009

BEIJING — In a two-hour hearing that was closed to the public, Liu Xiaobo, one of China’s most prominent advocates of democratic reform, was tried Wednesday on charges that his calls for open elections and free speech are a threat to the ruling Communist Party.

Mr. Liu, a poet and social critic who has spent more than a year in detention, faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of charges legally defined as “incitement to subvert state power.” His lawyer said a verdict would likely come Friday, Christmas Day. Read more...
Here is the 'subversive' document that Xiaobo helped write.


kenchapman said...

And Canada can be smug with Omar Khadr, a child soldier and Canadian citizen, still in an American military prison pending trial for seven years.

Anonymous said...

Ken, perhaps I am misreading your comment, but in my view, any suggestion that the Omar Khadr situation is even remotely comparable to the situation experienced by Chinese dissidents is at best misguided. Khadr is one person; China is one sixth of humanity, and there are hundreds (if not thousands) of Chinese activists and dissidents who are jailed or routinely intimidated. While the legal regime Mr. Khadr is being tried under is certainly imperfect, he does benefit from many rights that are unheard of in China, and he has certainly received excellent legal representation. Perhaps most importantly, Canadians and Americans are free to criticize how their governments are handling his situation, and they can work to install a new government that will repatriate him. The Chinese can't criticize or change their government.

This isn't about "being smug." It is about putting matters in perspective and appreciating the fact that we are free to speak out against injustices. We should feel proud to live in a country where advocating social change doesn't result in your arrest followed by a show trial -- even if we also believe our government is occasionally complicit in some human rights abuses. To imply that because of the Khadr situation we have lost our moral authority and no better than the Chinese government is to grossly misjudge the magnitude of the human rights abuses experienced in China.

Anonymous said...

the above comments largely ignore the real debate that should be taking place. sure, our system allows the criticism of our government. but should we really be embracing democracy?

Curmudgeon-at-Large said...

Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have tried from tiem to time. - attributed to Winston Churchill, but echoing Plato.

So, yes, let us introduce democracy to Canada and the rest of the world, and when it is introduced, embrace it.

Anonymous said...

Comparing Omar "I threw a grenade at US soldiers" Khadr to one of China's leading democracy advocates shows how confused a typical lefty, like Ken, can get.

Those two individuals and the stories surrounding them are almost night and day difference. Omar is a terrorist and POW, being given a lot of spotlight and ensured of fair process thanks to the two countries involved. Liu meanwhile is little known outside of his own nation (and probably less known in it) and will suffer whatever fate the autocratic Chinese Communists decide upon.

Gross comparison by someone who obviously approaches world events and politics with a certain naivety.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 6:06 is right.

Difference is Khadr is a terrorist and we have no obligation to bring him back. Harper is right to challenge it and he should stay where he is and pay for the acts he did.

flipper said...

Khadr will get his day in court and can produce any evidence that will show his innocence....But THAT is the rub..His legal team have tried every manuevre (short of going to trial) to get him released..It hasn't worked!