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Chinese Nobel Winner's Wife Detained 289

Posted by timothy
from the cutting-off-prime-source-of-nobel-gossip dept.
suraj.sun writes with word (snipped from CNN) that censoring the news of Liu Xiaobo's Nobel prize wasn't enough for the government of China; now, Liu's wife "has been detained in her apartment in Beijing, China, and is not allowed to see people or use her telephone, a human rights group citing her attorney said Sunday. The woman, Liu Xia, has not been charged with a crime, said Freedom Now, a US-based group. 'Liu Xia is under enormous pressure,' said Dr. Yang Jianli, a member of Liu Xiaobo's defense team and a human rights specialist with Freedom Now. 'We hope that world leaders will immediately condemn this shameful act by the Chinese government and urge Liu Xia's immediate and unconditional release.'"
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Chinese Nobel Winner's Wife Detained

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  • China... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 10, 2010 @12:54PM (#33852704)

    ...the country of honour.

  • Re:China... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by kurokame (1764228) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @01:02PM (#33852752)

    ...the country that doesn't quite grasp the Streisand effect.

    The good ol' US of A understands it quite well, which is why it towards throw celebrity scandals and other forms of misdirection instead of directly censoring things.

  • Re:Tipping Point (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 10, 2010 @01:02PM (#33852758)

    Action? What action? The international community is shit scared of China, and the citizens of China are shit scared of China too.

  • Isn't this great? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @01:03PM (#33852766)

    I can't think of a country more deserving to receive the entirety of our scientific and engineering knowledge.

  • Re:Tipping Point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vux984 (928602) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @01:03PM (#33852768)

    Military invasion of a 1st world western country.

  • by MRe_nl (306212) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @01:07PM (#33852800)

    Yeah, what with all the abductions of suspects from foreign countries, secret detention camps, torture and whatnot they should definitely be blacklisted by all civilised nations.

  • by clang_jangle (975789) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @01:24PM (#33852914) Journal
    And they spy on their own citizens -- savages!

    The U.S. is much more similar to China than it cares to admit. Then there's the little matter of China owning enormous chunks of the U.S....
  • Re:Tipping Point (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lennier1 (264730) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @01:26PM (#33852934)

    The Chinese just need to withdraw the money they've put into western assets and which they lent to the west to finance our national debts.
    No need to waste a single bullet since there are better ways to devastate the western world in one stroke.

  • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @01:46PM (#33853068)

    The U.S. is much more similar to China than it cares to admit. Then there's the little matter of China owning enormous chunks of the U.S....

    I know, why here in the U.S. saying such a thing like that will get you and your wife tossed into jail.

  • Power (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 10, 2010 @01:49PM (#33853090)

    To simplify, power doesn't need to respect freedom or the principles of liberty; any showing of "respect" to liberty is merely lip service. After all, political power is typically the direct opposite of liberty. So what does power respect? Greater power. Why? Because they have to. Yes, it really is as simple as being the biggest bully on the playground, but here, we aren't talking about beating up the smaller kids and stealing their lunch money; we're talking about killing, death, and destruction, and trillions of dollars at stake.

    Let's examine the realities of history. The US government's economic and military dominance of the world is "respected" not because the US government holds any moral high ground; it is respected because the US government is currently superior to all other governments in terms of both power and revenue. However, that is changing. The chinese government is quickly becoming a big fish in the pond once dominated by the US government. Therefore, despite their obvious distaste for freedom and individual liberty, they will be respected simply because they are a big fish.

    Sometimes "real politics" really is as simple as grade school politics.

  • Re:China... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 10, 2010 @01:52PM (#33853118)

    The Streisand effect, like the Gandhi effect, only exists if several other components are in place, which they not always are.

    In particular the Streisand effect relies on a) the existence of a media that wants to publicise anything that is sought to be hidden and b) a wider public that wants to / is able to / is mentally capable of hearing about it. In China either of these is rather debatable.

    The Gandhi effect similarly relies on a) the existence of a military that doesn't kill the poor bugger for any of a million reasons and b) a civilian population that b1. stands above the military and b2. is inclined towards sympathy. There's probably been millions of Gandhis in all periods of time that have just been subject to immediate execution and nobody notices.

  • by arose (644256) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @01:59PM (#33853176)
    Indeed, where did I write that?
  • Re:China SUCKS ASS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BungaDunga (801391) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:02PM (#33853208)

    Yes. Soviet-era Russia, Iran, and Iraq were/are all as bad as this. Detaining a dissident and his family is hardly the worst thing any of them did.

    It's not stupid- it can be pretty damn effective (see: Aung San Suu Kyi).

  • Re:Tipping Point (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:04PM (#33853222) Journal

    Russia hasn't been a meaningful ally of China since the 1950s, and they have fought at least one undeclared war. As well, with Siberia being so heavily depopulated and a lot of Chinese moving into these areas, I think another Sino-Russian conflict can't be too far away. The Chinese are obviously eying the vast and largely untapped resources of Siberia and it's hard to look at the recent large number of Chinese migrants to that area as anything other than a colonization effort.

  • Re:Tipping Point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by germansausage (682057) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:07PM (#33853248)
    Then the companies that buy from China and sell to us would get their goods from Vietnam or Malaysia or Thailand or someplace else. China has a lot of cheap labor, but they don't have a monopoly. Also if China stops shipping to the West all their factories close and you suddenly put 300 million people out of work. The Chinese government is far more afraid of the social unrest that would cause than they are of Western criticism of their human rights record.
  • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:12PM (#33853288)

    Our governments have no need to resort to jailing our dissidents anymore. They can rely on our own populace deciding that their views fall into the 'opposing group' and then will launch a self-powered smear machine which is VERY hard to avoid.

    Need examples? Watch as people with even the slightest belief outside the two parties in the United States gets immediately attacked as being kooks, Nazi's, communists, nutcases, idiots, or just plain character assassinated by tying them together with actual nutcases.

    How do you do it?

    Well, if anyone supports a position, first, take that position and move it as far to the extreme as you can. Then, find someone who holds the same position, but additional extreme beliefs and then whenever the first person or group is mentioned be sure to include the actual nutcase in your 'critique'.

    So anyone expressing any sort of libertarian suggestion should be suggested to be presenting the views of an Anarchist, associated with Christine O'Donnell and her extreme viewpoints (because she also mentioned lower taxes, therefore lower taxes = push for creationism in schools)

    If you express any sort of desire to suggest changes to our insurance system, well now you are a nutcase who wants the government to also ban fatty food, and allow a shrill voice to tell you that you aren't doing your exercises vigorously enough as monitored in your telescreen. Associate them with Barbara Boxer (I honestly don't know who to label as the kook here, because I'm not in the practice of it, but you get the idea).

    In the end, the people who actually try to advance our country are tarred and feathered by the populace and the government rarely needs to lift a finger to silence them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:12PM (#33853296)

    The same reason the USA does despite ramming is laws down the throats of other countries, starting wars of aggression, extra-judicial rendering, committing acts of torture, and so on. Because both China and the USA are powerful economically, and money rules the world.

    Everyone now sees that the new big dog on the block is going to be China, not the USA any more, and everyone wants to be on China's good side out of self interest.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:18PM (#33853334)
    He didn't say the US was identical to China. The claim is that many things that China does, and that we are outraged by, are exactly business as usual in the US already, Pointing out one way, even an important one, where the US differs does nothing to disprove that.
  • Re:Tipping Point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cf18 (943501) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:24PM (#33853378)
    Liu is going to love reading this when he get out of jail - he advocates peaceful reform but all you guys can talk about is war and violent uprising. It is like you guys are trying really hard to prove the Chinese government is right to lock him up - that his ideas are actually dangerous.
  • Re:Tipping Point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DDLKermit007 (911046) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:26PM (#33853388)
    Actually you forgot a number 3. Chinese citizens are even more apathetic than Americans to their government. As long as problems do not affect them DIRECTLY, they do not care. It's really common among my friends who are from there.
  • Re:Tipping Point (Score:4, Insightful)

    by obarthelemy (160321) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:34PM (#33853444)

    I support that. given how little backbone other institutions have had, we sorely need some of those.

  • Re:Tipping Point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by couchslug (175151) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:41PM (#33853500)

    Why does this continue to come up?

    We can nationalize their assets if they begin economic warfare. We can do anything we have the physical power to do, and that bears reminding. Laws are technical conveniences for maintaining social stability during ordinary conditions.

    If laws are inconvenient, we can change or ignore them because force trumps law. Law is not a suicide pact. Enemies don't deserve protection of law, so we can choose not to protect them if there is sufficient public support. We can do anything enough of us want to do within the limits of our economic, military, and other capabilities.

    We restrain ourselves with law (ALL law = restraint) because we expect benefit from doing that.

  • Re:Tipping Point (Score:3, Insightful)

    by publiclurker (952615) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:42PM (#33853504)
    What production? Nearly anything of any worth has been exported to other countries so the executives can make even larger bonuses. If you honestly think we could bring back any of those lost industries in the short amount of time needed, then you would be in for quite a surprise.
  • Re:Tipping Point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by negRo_slim (636783) <mils_oRgen@hotmail.com> on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:42PM (#33853506)
    It's no more a colonization effort than Mexican immigration is into the united states.
  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:58PM (#33853598)

    I know, why here in the U.S. saying such a thing like that will get you and your wife tossed into jail.

    On a per capita basis, the USA imprisons four times as many people as China.

    Very few Americans are imprisoned for dissent, but that is just because we don't have many dissidents, or at least few that anyone listens to. In the past, when there were serious dissident movements in the USA, we imprisoned lots of them. Habeas corpus was suspended to lock up war protesters without trial. Many leaders of the labor movement, and most hard-left politicians spent time in prison. If you included suppression of dissidents in other countries where the US excercised military or diplomatic control, then we are one of the worst suppressors of dissent that ever existed.

    I am not defending what China is doing. But you should not be holding up the USA as a beacon of freedom and tolerance.

  • Re:China SUCKS ASS (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 10, 2010 @03:36PM (#33853864)

    In Soviet Russia, it depended on the period of time you lived in Soviet Russia :)
          * in 1930s or under Stalin, someone speaking against Stalin would die and their family most likely deported to siberia
          * in 1970s, persons speaking against the government would get the shit kicked out of them, got jailed, etc.
          * in 2010, see 1970s. Oh wait, it's not "Soviet Russia" anymore!!! And it's not Soviet!

    Under Hussein's Iraq, speaking bad or being in a wrong place would get yourself killed.

    China's actions are not totalitarian - they are *nationalistic*. Speaking against the government is viewed as speaking against China. You want to compare China to something, compare them to the Nazis party except there is less racism. In China, if you speak out against the government, you may get sent to prison, but you may end up getting killed by any local crowd of people you speak to. Of course it depends on the crowd. Even back in 1990s, when President Clinton was speaking to some university students about Human Rights and China. Most of the comments from the students were essentially "fuck you, you don't know China".

    Communism was never a threat to peace. Nationalism is always a threat to peace, be that US nationalism or China's or North Korea's.

  • by thoughtsatthemoment (1687848) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @03:53PM (#33853998) Journal

    The reason we demonized USSR checkpoints

    To pretend US checkpoints are worse is to be intellectually dishonest.

    I have always been puzzled by the practice of demonizing your enemy, especially by people who seem to appreciate intellectual honest.I don't know about the checkpoints, so allow to me use another example. North Korea has always been demonized as a crazy guy who could blow up at any time, but it turns out the US had(or has) considered nuking them several times and the US even said talks about the nuke options had an actual effect. Why don't we, people who appreciate intellectual honest, just state the facts without the often abused practice of demonizing?

  • by emt377 (610337) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @04:40PM (#33854284)

    They say "All these securities are worthless now, they can't be traded." Basically, they just write off the debt. It is all stored in their computers anyhow. All they have to do to succeed at that is convince the other debt holders it is ok. So long as everyone else, the pension plans, the other nations, etc that own US securities say "Yep, we are happy, we are convinced you'll only do this to China because they are assholes and not to us, we'll still buy your stuff," then they are fine.

    This isn't realistic in any way or shape; there's really no way to clearly distinguish securities owned by a Chinese bank from ones owned by a Russian or French bank - while owners are registered they get pooled and layered globally. The securities will become part of global funds, which have investors outside China; they're used to guarantee loans for investments in China for foreign businesses; they're flat out pooled in global index funds; and they're even used a payment. I don't think Russians would appreciate not getting paid for oil because the U.S. suddenly eliminated China's main means of payment. There's no way to destroy one country's economy without destroying everyone's economy - this should be pretty clear from the U.S. banking troubles which dragged down banks everywhere. Part of this stems from investments effectively having become liquid assets; I can today liquidate stock quicker, easier, and cheaper than I can get currency from the nearest ATM! It's all effectively cash. The other issue worth considering is that much of Chinese infrastructure is actually owned by U.S. investors and corporations, which means our economic well being is tied to theirs. It's worth keeping in mind here that income from foreign investments is not considered part of the trade balance or GDP (it's accounted for in the country where the return was produced). So these two metrics don't tell the whole story.

  • Re:Tipping Point (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 10, 2010 @04:45PM (#33854296)

    And the U.S. passively allowed the Japanese to conduct the bombing. It wasn't so much sabotage as it was a long-term gamble. It allowed the U.S. to enter the war, against the wishes of the people. Similarly, China banning export to the United States, which includes countermeasure bans on U.S.-owned multinationals, may well prevent future economic conflict as China slowly slides into irrelevancy.

  • Nobel (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @04:57PM (#33854364) Homepage Journal

    There was an interesting interview in a german online magazine about how Nobel's ideas have been betrayed by politicians [heise.de]. This years peace price - just like many in the recent years and decades - has nothing to do with peace and everything to do with politics.

  • Re:Tipping Point (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 10, 2010 @05:00PM (#33854380)

    The US has two orders of magnitude more nukes than china.

    The only thing to be afraid is not taking action now and waiting until China achieves nuclear primacy.

    You're suggesting thermonuclear warfare over the arrest of the wife of a Nobel Prize recipient? Yes, the arrest is wrong - really wrong. But nuking a billion or so people over it?

    An effective response would be a threat to China that the US would "look the other way" if Japan or - watch the Chinese shit bricks - Taiwan were to go for nuclear weapons.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 10, 2010 @05:08PM (#33854434)

    No, they are not republicans. People like Glen Beck and Limbaugh are entertainers who would never back up thier rants with actually holding an office. The tea party folks are a combination of conspiracy nuts and xenophobes. Even the GOP doesn't mesh with them and the GOP sold part of its soul to the religious fundies decades ago.

    The key to free speech in this country is to speak about things the government/econimic elite doesn't really care about. But if you do happen to step on their interestes (labor organizers, drug reformers, etc) then you will be harrassed, imprisoned, monitored, etc.

  • by ultranova (717540) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @05:15PM (#33854478)

    I have always been puzzled by the practice of demonizing your enemy, especially by people who seem to appreciate intellectual honest.

    Demonizing your enemy is a lot easier than becoming a saint yourself. And saying you appreciate intellectual honesty is not the same as actually being intellectually honest.

  • Re:Tipping Point (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gtall (79522) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @05:22PM (#33854524)

    I'm not sure if the citizens are all that scared. I don't think they trust their government, but they appear to be quite nationalistic. The majority are likely to think that social harmony trumps civil liberty and that a foreign entity threatening that by appearing to insert themselves into internal Chinese affair isn't welcomed.

    It is possible that the Chinese government will overplay the "foreign influence" angle. After all, this is a government that gets their bloomers in a knot when the Falun Gong do ballet in public places. It isn't as though the government is well-adjusted and, not being elected and essentially secular, they worry about a lack of legitimacy. No elections to give them a mandate or feedback and no gods to smile at them from the heavens means they are essentially operating blind. All they can do is whack away at perceived threats and attempt to keep up the facade of boldly marching into the future by focusing the military towards their eventual conquering of Taiwan.

  • by vadim_t (324782) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @06:28PM (#33854878) Homepage

    People like thinking things are easy. "We're good, they're evil" is very simple to think about. Pondering about generations worth of wrongdoing in the past, and a lot of shady actions in the present on both sides is complicated and unpleasant, and means you have to spend a lot of time on figuring out which side is better. And that might be you.

    Also, pretty much everybody thinks they're good, so their faults if they admit they exist at all are all justifiable for excellent reasons, while whoever is on the other side is of course evil.

  • Re:China... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jappus (1177563) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @07:45PM (#33855254)

    There is a great short story about this, I think by Harry Turtledove. One of these alternate history concepts, where the Nazis end up ruling India instead of the British. When Gandhi tries his non-violent resistance the Germans arrest him. After a brief interview with the German commander, who is genuinely curious why Gandhi thinks his methods would have any effect on the German occupation, the German have him shot out of hand. End of story.

    Probably? I'd say almost certainly! Before he had a significant amount of followers, Ghandi was a very easy target. But that's actually not a point against Ghandi's methods, it merely points out that people need to know about you, before you can raise them to do anything. But if no-one knows you, why would you need to be shot?

    Of course, the Nazis had a much, much lower threshold of when you were a sufficiently dangerous subject that needed to be dealt with, but to say that unarmed resistance would not have worked is a strange argument. After all, if the Nazis were aware of one thing, it was always keeping the majority of the Germans in a state of mind where they might not like what the government does, but would not actually raise up against it. Hiding information was a big part of it.

    But so was avoiding to exert too much openly visible violence against those who could not be easily demonized in the eyes of the populace.

    For example, there is an incident, where several men (at least a dozen) were imprisoned by the SS -- I think they were suspected communists, but I might be mistaken about that. Anyway, their capture went quietly and their fate was almost sealed. But the SS hadn't expected that their wives would come to the prison and loudly demand their husbands to be released; openly visible by a lot of bystanders.

    What do you think the SS did at this point? Given the short story, you'd expect them to have also imprisoned the wives and put the proverbial jackboot to the response of the populace.

    But that's not what happened. Instead, they released the husbands and didn't touch them again. Why? Because they were well aware that if they exerted their terror too openly, it was just a matter of time till one dead dissident was joined by two of their relatives, which would necessarily mean more relatives and friends having to be dealt with, and so on. If the Nazis feared one thing after they assumed power, it was applying too much open terror against the majority.

    You can see this even in how they dealt with the Jews. Only few of them were actually killed directly in the cities, towns and villages. Instead, they were imprisoned and carried away, first into Ghettos, then into concentration camps. So while the populace knew that something happened to the Jews, and everyone with half a working brain could imagine exactly what happened to them, they could deny it, because they did not witness it. So they only needed to push a few people to do immoral to atrocious acts, the rest could be calmed with propaganda, misinformation and building on the already latent anti-semitism (or generally racism). The fact that a war was around to keep the populace focused probably helped, too.

    Now, knowing this, yes, the Nazis would've shot Ghandi -- but if they dallied only a bit till he had a somewhat visible following in the broad populace, they couldn't have stopped his ideas. Maybe his death would've meant that the people would've stopped the non-violence (afterall, it happened even with Ghandi present), but if it had reached the threshold were fighting it would've meant full genocide, they would've needed to mask it just as with the Jews -- and that only works with an insane amount of planning and very careful steps to make it acceptable to the majority.

    But imagine doing this on a scope of 1 Billion people, instead of ~10 million. Possible? Yes, certainly. But see what reaction already the latter conjured up. And that's exactly what Ghandi was getting at. Even IF the

  • Re:China... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by uninformedLuddite (1334899) on Monday October 11, 2010 @12:09AM (#33856494)
    At least we know where she is. If it was the US government doing the detaining she could be in any one of dozens of third world shit-holes with total government denial of her whereabouts.
  • by whorfin (686885) on Monday October 11, 2010 @12:24AM (#33856558)

    Although the West cannot reasonably be held responsible for this situation, I believe that we must be held to account for the fact that we're funneling huge sums of money into corrupt regimes around the planet...Oil money going to questionable (at best) nations exporting oppression, drug money going to criminal organizations worldwide, and all of the manufacturing being done in China.

    Are we willing to change our lifestyles to deny our support to global criminals, or are we weak of mind and spirit?

  • Re:Tipping Point (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Alan R Light (1277886) on Monday October 11, 2010 @04:42AM (#33857404)

    China is, in fact, doing a fantastic job. That is not to say that they have arrived at a fair and free society yet - not by far. They still have much farther to go, but they have already come a long way.

    The Chinese people, much like the American people, have been fed nationalistic propaganda and are inclined to believe it. The educated classes usually know better than to take that propaganda at face value but still love their country.

    That said, there is still widespread dissatisfaction with the Chinese government for many reasons, including its policy of censorship. Even many within the government understand the problems with the system as it is, but having seen such examples as the breakup of the Soviet Union they have chosen stability over freedom. In fact, I partially approve, though I think they could be working their way towards freedom much more quickly. Freedom doesn't mean much if a deeply ignorant public turns it into a free-for-all which turns into violence and millions dead.

    And, after all, it's not as if the West is in a great position to criticize: Women have had the vote for less than a century in the United States, effective civil rights for blacks is less than half a century old, and gay rights are still in contention, and other struggles have doubtless not begun. Children's rights in the United States have actually regressed a great deal in the past century - witness the prisons we call public schools.

    It is also notable that in this article [reuters.com] a Chinese spokesman says "This is an obscenity against the peace prize," because obscenity remains unprotected speech in the United States. The Chinese government simply has a different definition of obscenity than Americans do.

    For all that, I see this as a great thing for China and Chinese freedom. External pressure can be very useful in struggles for civil rights. The Soviet Union rightfully criticized the United States for its unequal treatment of blacks, and enough Americans saw the truth and embarrassment of it that they changed. Perhaps most important was that the American people understood the validity of the criticism and demanded change. Among themselves it wasn't such a big deal, but when they saw that the whole world - even the Soviets - could see through their hypocrisy it was just too much. Hopefully now the Chinese people will see the truth of the situation and demand change for the sake of national pride, and maybe Americans and others can learn something from all this too. We still don't have a single free nation in the world - just different shades of freedom.

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