China’s Remnant Liberals Keep Flame of Liberalization Alive
By Willy Lam
China seems to have entered deep winter as far as political reform and human rights are concerned. While the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership seems to have pulled out all the stops to stifle dissent, intellectuals both inside and outside the party still are pushing the ideal of liberalization. In a recent article in the party theoretical journal Seeking Truth, CCP General Secretary Hu Jintao reiterated the imperative to “unshakably going down the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics”—and staying away from the deviant path of Western-style political norms. “Enemy forces in the international arena are stepping up conspiracies to Westernize and divide us,” he wrote, adding that the party must “forever ring the alarm bell” against “infiltration from the West” (Qiushi, January 1). In the past two months, three dissidents known for their Internet articles about non-violent political liberalization—Chen Wei, Chen Xi and Li Tie—were given sentences of nine or ten years for “inciting subversion of state power” (New York Times, January 20; Ming Pao [Hong Kong], January 20).