Posted by: bklunk | December 14, 2006

Gao on Trial

What does this imply for the possibility of China becoming the next great power?

Chinese Rights Lawyer Put on Trial

New York Times


Gao Zhisheng, human rights lawyer, was tried on Tuesday at Beijing’s No. 1 People’s Intermediate Court accused of stirring up a rebellion. But no verdict has been announced as of now. Even though the trial was conducted in an open court, authorities kept such a tight control over the trial that his family members weren’t even allowed to attend the trial. And this not the first trial of this kind to be held in China, there were two previous cases. In one of the cases, the Chinese court reinstated a guilty verdict on Chen Guangcheng, a blind legal expert who had spoken out against local abuses of population control policies. This comes to show that Chinese lawyers are facing tighter scrutiny more than ever before. A lot of if has to do with the lawyers speaking up against governmental policies. And it seems as if China will not be moving towards political liberalization anytime soon. It very sad to see that despite all their developments in the last couple of years, they fail to recognize the situation of political freedom. Gao is most well known for his harsh criticism of the Chinese Communist Party. Gao constantly stated that the Chinese Communist Party would eventually fail in the coming years due to corruption and the abuse of power. It seems as if the Chinese government is extremely concerned with their reputation. Any negative act towards the government is view as a threat, thus they must eradicate it by getting rid of those expressing treason. This is simply not fair to the Chinese citizens, they are not even able to express their feelings about the government—no freedom what so ever. 

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  1. It seems to me that China’s “image” gets in the way of their civil rights quite frequently. The case highlighted here has to do with a Chinese citizen voicing his opinion and speaking out for what he believes. It says something about a country’s human rights policies when they are convicting human rights lawyers themselves of defying the state’s interests. Political freedom and freedom of speech are the cornerstones of a free society. Though China may state there is freedom of speech in its Constitution, stating a freedom and actually implementing it are two different things. If you work so hard to suppress the voice of the people, you are biting yourself in the foot. Their ideas and input in the political process whether through agreement or disagreement are an integral part of the government’s ability to provide its people with a better quality of life. Though these may sound like democratic ideals versus those of a communist state such as China, they still have that “image” they are trying to convey to the world of this robust country. It only seems logical that taking care of your citizen’s best interests would be a major part of your “image”.

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