Sunday, 14 February 2010

Kung Hei Fat Choy 恭喜发财 2010

It may well be Valentines Day but it is also Chinese New Year, so as we enter the year of the Tiger let's look at what I said last Chinese New Year.

Then I looked at some of those that were sentenced under the crime of subversion. Just before this new year another sad tale is added to the list Liu Xiaobo who lost his appeal earlier this week against a eleven year sentence for inciting subversion.

He is one of the co-authors of Charter 08 and I wrote about his arrest in December 2008. Last month 4 retired members of the Communist Party officials had written to authorities pleading for Liu's release. T
hey suggested his conviction violated some of the principles for which they had fought.

Charter 08, taking its name from Vaclev Havel's Charter 77 movement in Czechoslovakia against Soviet occupation, originally was signed by 303 people from across China's communities (intellectuals, editors, lawyers, artists and people who described themselves as peasants and workers). It quickly gathered pace and was signed by 10,000 signatories, but the authorities were anxious that so many people had managed to show their support for the discussion laid out in Charter 08 without their authorisation.

His defence lawyers said that in court there was a lack on commonsense to distinguish between the government and ruling party, which Liu had criticised, and the state which he did not attack.

Charter 08 is calling for human rights, democracy and an end of the Communist Party's monopoly on power. The last is the line that has been crossed which has brought the party hierarchy down on those who are leaders of the movement.

Kung hei fat choy means "congratulations and be prosperous" so yet again this year there isn't too much, outside of economic prosperity, to be congratulatory to China about. There is more to prosperity that what is in the bank.

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