The Liu Xiaobo case is heating up the wires among China watchers. Liu got 11 years for the “subversive” act of calling for change in China’s political system.
One of the most telling lines was offered by one Old China Hand:
Mao’s definition of democratic rights was essentially, “You have the right to hold full and free democratic discussions of why my policies are correct, and how they might be better implemented or improved. Discussion of why my policies are wrong would not be democracy — that would be counter-revolution.”
To my mind that sounds just like what Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales are saying.
Now, maybe people will understand why some of us have major concerns about Chavez and his followers in Latin America.
This is an issue to journalism groups because Liu, and other dissidents, used the Internet in the same way a pamphleteer would have 300 years ago. Or even today. The issue is freedom of speech and press is tightly woven into this case.
We see constant efforts by those with no love of dissent to limit or control all forms of media. Sometimes the efforts are as direct as jailing an outspoken person or forcing a radio station or newspaper to shut down. And sometimes the efforts are subtle such as waging a campaign accusing an editor or reporter with corruption.
The bottom line is the same, shut down alternative voices to the government.