China’s crackdown on dissent described as the harshest in decades

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China is in the midst of what many overseas scholars say is its harshest crackdown on human rights and civil society in decades. Since Xi Jinping came came to power nearly four years ago, hundreds of activists, lawyers, writers, publishers and employees of nongovernmental groups have been rounded up. Internet news sites have been ordered to stop publishing reports from sources that aren’t sanctioned by the state.

“As an old timer who’s been studying China since the Mao era, I have to say it’s the worst I’ve seen since then,” said Susan L. Shirk, chair of the 21st Century China Center at UC San Diego. The current crackdown, Shirk said, represents a turnabout from what appeared to be relatively steady gains in individual freedom in China. “We didn’t anticipate what looks like a U-turn back to the bad old days of a highly repressive police state.”

For much of the outside world, grasping the extent of the campaign has not been easy, given a constant flood of headlines that seem to showcase ever-deeper diplomatic and commercial connections between China and the West.

Rebukes from overseas seem to matter little to Xi, a scholar at the Chinese University of Hong Kong Willy Lam added: “Xi likes to thumb his nose at international opinion … to underscore his status as the new Mao Tse-tung by not giving a damn about what the major Western leaders, authors or media are saying about China.”

“What Xi Jinping is doing is, he’s really stirring up a Cold War mentality…. You’re either with China or against China–and Western values, universal values, are against China,” Shirk says.

[Los Angeles Times]

This entry was posted in by Grant Montgomery.

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