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posted on 25 July 2017

Chinese Dissidents

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This post was triggered by two recent news stories:

  1. How Chinese artist Ai Weiwei became an enemy of the state.
  2. The death of Liu Xiaobo marks dark times for dissent in China.

How should we view these stories in general and these two dissidents in specific? In this post, I will give you my two cents ...

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1. Who is Ai Weiwei?

Below is an excerpt from Wikipedia - Ai Weiwei.

Ai Weiwei (Chinese: 艾未未; born 28 August 1957 in Beijing) is a Chinese contemporary artist and activist. His father's (Ai Qing) original surname was written Jiang ().[1][2][3] Ai collaborated with Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron as the artistic consultant on the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Olympics.[4] As a political activist, he has been highly and openly critical of the Chinese Government's stance on democracy and human rights. He has investigated government corruption and cover-ups, in particular the Sichuan schools corruption scandal following the collapse of so-called "tofu-dreg schools" in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.[5] In 2011, following his arrest at Beijing Capital International Airport on 3 April, he was held for 81 days without any official charges being filed; officials alluded to their allegations of "economic crimes".[6]

2. Who is Liu Xiaobo?

Below is an excerpt from Wikipedia - Liu Xiaobo.

Liu Xiaobo (28 December 1955 - 13 July 2017) was a Chinese literary critic, writer, poet, human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate who called for political reforms and was involved in campaigns to end Communist single-party rule.[2] He was incarcerated as a political prisoner in Jinzhou, Liaoning.[3][4][5] On 26 June 2017, he was granted medical parole after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer and he died in hospital on 13 July 2017.[6]

3. China: the era of historic changes

I was born in China in 1959, in the same era as Ai (born in 1957) and Liu (born in 1955). Throughout my lifetime, China has gone through historic changes totally unprecedented in human history. Three highlights:

  1. 1966 - 1976: The Cultural Revolution brought China down to the bottom of hell.
  2. 1976 - 1978: China was in search of a way out of hell.
  3. 1978 - Present: China has rocketed back. It is now the largest economy in the world by Purchasing Power Parity, and will be by GDP by 2030!

Specifically, China has lifted some 600 million people out of poverty over the past four decades, with a burgeoning middle class. It was such a huge change for mankind that it has even shifted the balance of power from the West more to the East, with more to come!

Many things, both good and bad, happened in an era of this kind of huge historic changes. On one hand, there are people like me who keep learning, adapting, and becoming a positive force of change (My American Dream Has Come True). On the other hand, there are many dissidents like Ai and Liu, who seem to be stuck with one ideology (i.e. democracy), with some paying the ultimate price for it.

4. Discussion

Time is the best judge of everything.

Here is my assessment of the biggest dissident event, ever, in China:

  1. Tiananmen Square.
  2. Tiananmen Square Protest and Put-Down, 25 Years Later.

Birds fly; dogs bark; students protest. Here is my advice to all the young folks: listen to your mom and stay out of trouble!

Here is my assessment of today's China:

  1. "Communist China", Really?
  2. Chinese Presidency: An Earned Kingship for 10 Years.
  3. The Legitimacy of the Chinese Government.

Bottom line: Today’s Chinese system (i.e. “state capitalism”) is by far the best system for China, ever!

Here is my assessment of today's world:

  1. Towards an Ideal Form of Government (Version 3).
  2. Human History Greatly Simplified.
  3. Governance in China: Past, Present, and Future.

Bottom line: China’s system (i.e. capitalism + autocracy) is slightly better than America’s system (i.e. capitalism + democracy)!

5. More on Ai and Liu

With everything discussed above, including all my previous writings cited, let's know more about Ai and Liu, respectively.

5.1 More on Ai

As an artist, Ai lived in America from 1981 to 1993, without realizing his American dream though. After returning to China in 1993, he became increasingly politically provocative with his art works. Eventually, he became a professional political agitator, resulting in a life in exile.

To know more about Ai, watch the video at the end of this post.

5.2 More on Liu

Like Ai, Liu spent a few years in America. He returned to China during the Tiananmen Square movement in 1989, when democracy was most fashionable (Democracy – ‘End of History’, Really?). He published extensively about democracy, without truly understanding it though, in hindsight at least. Liu was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, which will eventually prove to be as good as President Obama's (President Obama and War).

Note that the Nobel Peace Prize is so almost totally western, and hence out of synch with the real world with the rise of the East, that history will eventually prove its worst recipient: Mikhail Gorbachev! For more, read: Mikhail Gorbachev vs. Deng Xiaoping.

6. More discussion

What is China's biggest problem for Ai and Liu? The lack of freedom of speech! Is this problem true? Yes!

Here is China's version of freedom of speech: say anything you want, as long as you do not challenge the political system.

When will China adopt America's version of freedom of speech? Not before the totally deceptive American democracy collapses!

For a holistic diagnosis of America's failing political system and the best possible solution, read my book: American Democracy - Why is it failing & how to fix it?

7. Closing

Life is a succession of choices, with good and lucky individuals often ending up on the positive side. On the other hand, dissidents, Chinese or otherwise, often end up on the negative side.

Now, please watch the short video below in order to know more about Ai Weiwei.

If you have a paid subscritpion to CBS the full program is available:

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