Today Zhao Shiying, writer, and secretary general of the Independent Chinese Pen Center in China (IPCC), was released after being detained for two weeks. Zhao Shying has been an outspoken advocate for the release of Liu Xiaobo, another Chinese author, and the IPCC’s president who, in case you missed it, this past Christmas Day was incarcerated for “inciting subversion of state power.” Among the works Liu Xiaobo was being censured for was Charter 08, a public call for increased democratization and protection of human rights in the People’s Republic of China. Per the Pen American Center, “Liu was sentenced to 11 years in prison for seven sentences from five articles he posted on the Internet and two sentences from Charter 08—a total of 224 Chinese characters.” Offending sentences at bottom.*
See Perry Anderson’s bigger-picture piece, Sinomania, in the latest LRB for context on the changing face of China (hate to say it but the pest parts come toward the end, around ¶ 13)
Meanwhile, at home modest home, the Menifee Union School District in California’s Riverside County recently banned Webster’s 10th Dictionary for defining “oral sex”. (via Jacket Copy)
Last but maybe best, in the previous NYRB, Wyatt Mason on reading Celine’s anti-semitic so-called pamphlets—so-called so-called because two of the three works in question are as long as novels (longer than The Great Gatsby, Mason notes). Here Mason examines not just Celine’s work and legacy but also the politics of what gets kept in-print and the purpose of free speech. (The “pamphlets” are currently out-of-print due to the wishes of Celine’s widow but French anti-defamation laws may keep them that way). [redacted]
*The Censured Sentences of Liu Xiaobo
“Since the Communist Party of China (CPC) took power, generations of CPC dictators have cared most about their own power and least about human life,” from Further Questions about Child Slavery in China’s Kilns (2007).
“The official patriotism advocated by the CPC dictatorship is a fallacious system of ‘substituting the party for the country.’ The essence of this patriotism is to demand that the people love the dictatorship, the one-party rule, and the dictators. It usurps patriotism in order to inflict disasters on the nation and calamities on the people,” from The CPC’s Dictatorial Patriotism (2005).
“Thus, all of the tricks used by the CPC are stop-gap measures for the dictators to preserve the last phase of their power and will not be able to support for long this dictatorial edifice that is already showing countless cracks,” from The Many Aspects of CPC Dictatorship.
“Changing the Regime by Changing Society,” from Changing the Regime by Changing Society (2006).
“For the emergence of a free China, placing hope in the ruler of a ‘New Deal’ is an idea far worse than placing hope in the continuous expansion of the ‘new force’ among the people,” from Can it be that the Chinese People Deserve Only Party-Led Democracy? (2006).
[Nothing was actually quoted from the article] from The Negative Effects of the Rise of Dictatorship on World Democratization (2006).
“One-party monopolization of ruling privileges should be abolished…”; and “…to establish China’s federal republic under the structure of democracy and constitutionalism.” from Charter 08 (2008).