Sunday, 9 June 2013

Vindictive Government

Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years in jail in 2009
A day after watching jailed activist and Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo recounting his experiences in Tiananmen Square during the spring of 1989 in the documentary The Gate of Heavenly Peace, we find that his brother-in-law was sentenced today for 11 years for financial fraud.

State prosecutors accused Liu Hui, the manager of a real estate company in Shenzhen, of working with a colleague to steal 3 million RMB ($490,000) from a man named Zhang Bing through a complicated fraud scheme.

Liu Hui maintains his innocence and his lawyers plan to appeal. "As Liu Hui's defense attorney, I definitely do not approve of this verdict, because we see this fundamentally as a civil issue, and it fundamentally does not constitute criminal fraud," lawyer Mo Shaoping told reporters.

Liu Xiaobo's wife, Liu Xia, and sister of Liu Hui, was in the courtroom and briefly spoke to reporters in tears before she was whisked away by car.

"I absolutely cannot accept this. This is simply persecution. This is completely an illegal verdict," she said.

Liu Xia added she had completely lost hope in the government, adding that should could not leave her house, referring to her house arrest as the authorities have cut off phone and internet access to her home and limited visits with her family.

This verdict does not jive with what happened earlier in the week when the Chinese government suddenly allowed Hu Zhicheng, a Chinese-American businessman to finally leave China after five years in limbo. This came just before Chinese President Xi Jinping met with US President Barack Obama in California.

But now, after their talks -- which were only somewhat productive -- Beijing is back to its vindictive attitude. It seems hell-bent on destroying Liu Xiabo and anyone related to him -- using the democracy activist as an example to those who are even remotely thinking of trying to organize a Chinese version of the Arab Spring.

However the Chinese don't want violence nor do they want to overthrow the government -- they want reforms and changes to make their lives better, from making it easier for migrant workers to get a hukou to social security, quashing corruption and implementing rule of law.

Many of these grievances were the same ones 24 years ago that were aired from Tiananmen Square. Surely the government doesn't want history to repeat itself...

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