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

    by Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @12:38PM (#33853014) Homepage
    Seven percent of US national debt is all China holds. They need us a lot more than we need them, at least for now.
  • Re:Tipping Point (Score:2, Informative)

    by hedwards (940851) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @12:51PM (#33853106)
    Not really, almost all of what they produce can be sourced elsewhere. They'd end up hurting themselves far more than they hurt us. The things which we really need are pretty much all produced by somebody else. Oil is mainly Canada and OPEC, food is mostly ourselves.

    Same goes for trying to pull out their money too quickly. It would definitely be a case of MAD, they'd end up hurting us, but they'd end up hurting themselves worse. The US still has the production capacity to fix the problem, it would just be one hell of a shock to the system. But ultimately as we're the most productive nation on Earth we would ultimately survive it.
  • by arose (644256) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @12:55PM (#33853142)

    "Preemptive" wars of conquest based on fabrications, secret detentions, extra-judicial assassinations via drone, Fatherland ... I mean Homeland Security Department with all of its lovely extra-judicial powers etc and so on.

    Treatment of native americans, slavery, Jim Crow laws, women's rights, prohibition, Japanese American internment, McCarthyism, the Guatemala medical experiments and so on, and so forth. It has never really been significantly different. Where does this meme that the US has suddenly abandoned it's perfect record of freedom come from?

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @01:24PM (#33853376) Journal

    boarding an airliner in the US is now an experience far worse then doing so in the Soviet Union in the heyday of the USSR (and yes, I've been there so I have first hand data to contrast the two).

    Right, assuming you could get a ticket. For the average Russian, travel was far worse than it is now.....so bad, it didn't happen at all. Russians not only needed permission to leave the country, they needed permission to travel to a different city. The reason we demonized USSR checkpoints was because they restricted movement for the vast majority, not because they were annoying. To pretend US checkpoints are worse is to be intellectually dishonest.

  • Re:China SUCKS ASS (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:23PM (#33853754)

    Difference being, each of those countries were/are seen as enemies to the West for what they have done. China is seen as a business partner.

    Rumsfeld [gwu.edu] was sent to Iraq by Reagan to patch things up with Saddam in 1983 only months after Saddam had used chemical weapons. There is even an official photo of them meeting. You see, however bad Saddam was, he was considered better than the bogeyman-of-the-day Iran. And to make things even more stomach-churning, Rumsfeld used Iraq's purported chemical weapons arsenal in 2003 to justify invading the country. They couldn't even bother to find a person to head up the propaganda push for the invasion who hadn't been one of the chief apologists for the regime twenty years before.

    So Iraq wasn't seen as 'just' a business partner - it was seen as a key ally in the region. Of course, Reagan's team had previously bribed the Iranians to release hostages using illegal arms deals, so it's not like there was no contact at all. Meanwhile Russia was selling massive quantities of raw materials and heavy industrial products onto the market through the 80s to make up for its lack of success in producing higher-grade technology or consumer goods. The idea that realpolitik is new, and that previously US foreign policy was based on some sort of assessment of moral purity is hypocritical bullshit.

  • Re:Tipping Point (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ironsides (739422) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:34PM (#33853844) Homepage Journal
    Well, you can start here [ourfuture.org]. The US produces more than anyone else in the world.
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:35PM (#33853854)

    Is is treasury securities of various kinds. Bonds, notes, bills, whatever. Go have a look on their site if you are curious, they'll tell all about all the kinds of stuff that you can buy. That's how you get yourself some US debt, if you wish to own it. You purchase treasury securities. Anyone can do it, they even have an easy setup to let individuals do it for small amounts. Now then if you look at that you'll notice three important things:

    1) This debt is purchased for a fixed time. The shortest is a 4 day t-bill, the longest is a a 30-year bond. You receive payment on a fixed schedule. For many securities, you pay a discount price (some amount less than the face value) and then receive the value at the end of the term. For others, they pay interest at defined times and you receive your principal at the end. There is no provision for "calling the loan due." You can't say "I want all the money now." It pays when it pays, that is how that stuff works. The only way to cash out early is to sell your securities to someone else. Of course you'd have to sell them for less than their value, to make it worth it.

    2) You don't actually get anything. You don't receive an actual paper copy of anything. All that happens is an entry is made in their computers saying you own a certain amount of securities. You can't take them and hide them, or trade them without the government knowing. They have control over it.

    3) They pay in US dollars. Doesn't matter what currency you like, they are bought and sold in US dollars. Also it is a fixed amount. A note might pay $10,000. What that $10,000 is actually worth in purchasing power is not guaranteed. Should the value of the dollar tank, so do the value of your securities. Even if the reason for the tank is the government inflating the currency, only a few special ones like TIPS are indexed to inflation. The rest pay what they pay.

    Now this means that if China tried to use their securities as weapons, it'd have severe consequences for them. Even if the US did nothing, they'd take a massive hit. You dump a trillion in US securities on the market and that'll massively depress the price. They'd have to sell them dirt cheap, way less than they paid. Means they'd be losing massive amounts of money. However the US might not play nice. They might declare that is was war, and in war they can freeze assets. 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.

    Owning US debt does NOT give China the ability to bust the US economy at will. In fact it puts China in a position of relying on the US. A non-trivial amount of their wealth is tied up in US securities, which are worth something only so long as the US dollar is. If they screw over the US, they would lose a bunch of their assets, not to mention trade. That would be rather disastrous for them.

    In the long term they can disassociate themselves. They can stop buying securities and slowly sell what they've got or just wait for it to mature and take the cash. However to try and do it quickly and disruptively would be worse for them than the US. At best, it would cause havoc in the US and massive damage in China. At worst, the US would simply null the debt and stop trading with them causing little trouble in the US and ruin in China.

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

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:36PM (#33853872)

    I think you'll actually find that the citizens of China think their government is doing a fantastic job, if they remember what life was like 15-25 years ago.

  • by Cytotoxic (245301) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:51PM (#33853986)

    Here's what the man himself had to say about his wife on the eve of his conviction: [typepad.com]

    Ask me what has been my most fortunate experience of the past two decades, and I’d say it was gaining the selfless love of my wife, Liu Xia. She cannot be present in the courtroom today, but I still want to tell you, my sweetheart, that I'm confident that your love for me will be as always. Over the years, in my non-free life, our love has contained bitterness imposed by the external environment, but is boundless in afterthought. I am sentenced to a visible prison while you are waiting in an invisible one. Your love is sunlight that transcends prison walls and bars, stroking every inch of my skin, warming my every cell, letting me maintain my inner calm, magnanimous and bright, so that every minute in prison is full of meaning. But my love for you is full of guilt and regret, sometimes heavy enough hobble my steps. I am a hard stone in the wilderness, putting up with the pummeling of raging storms, and too cold for anyone to dare touch. But my love is hard, sharp, and can penetrate any obstacles. Even if I am crushed into powder, I will embrace you with the ashes....

    More quotes and commentary can be found here [reason.com]. I think the Nobel committee may have accidentally found a worthy peace prize recipient for a change.

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

    by AK Marc (707885) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @03:12PM (#33854110)
    We don't. We sell it to the highest bidder. They deliberately buy it over other securities because of some other factors. And even if we made it illegal for them to buy it, they still would and there's nothing we could do about it.
  • by the linux geek (799780) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @03:19PM (#33854154)
    22% of the US foreign debt. 75% of the US total debt is owed to domestic holders, mostly corporations. The actual amount that the PRC holds is closer to 4.5% of the total.
  • Re:China... (Score:5, Informative)

    by arielCo (995647) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @03:24PM (#33854196)
    a bit of googling turned up The Last Article [wikia.com]

    Mohandas Gandhi continues to employ techniques of Satyagraha against the occupation forces led by Field Marshal Walter Model. While the techniques may have worked well against the British, the Germans respond with violence. Despite Jawaharlal Nehru's urging that Gandhi to change tactics, Gandhi does not comprehend the horrific violence the Nazis were willing to employ, and refuses. He is finally arrested and summarily executed by Model.

    The theme of this story is summed up at the end, as Gandhi realizes that his pacifism worked because the British were at least capable of being ethical, although they didn't always act ethically. The Nazis, on the hand, were by definition unethical, and so had to be met with force.

  • by eddy (18759) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @03:37PM (#33854268) Homepage Journal

    You are right in most of what you wrote, but I must take issue with this:

    >At worst, the US would simply null the debt and stop trading with them causing little trouble in the US and ruin in China.

    If you think that would cause "little trouble in the US" then I think you're extraordinarly naive. The Economy of the World of built on trust, if the US were to say "screw you, we won't honor our oblications wrt US treasury bonds"... let's just say the ramifications would be extraordinarily bad for the US and the world. But mostly for the US.

    Also, given the recent CDO fiasco, I wouldn't dare speak of the US vs China relation in such simplistic terms as "We owe them so much it's their problem".

  • by haruchai (17472) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @05:05PM (#33854740)
  • Re:Tipping Point (Score:2, Informative)

    by VocationalZero (1306233) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @08:28PM (#33855678) Journal

    Liu is going to love reading this when he get out of jail

    Reads what, Slashdot comments?

    all you guys can talk about is war and violent uprising.

    You must be kidding; if you actually bothered to read the posts you would note how most of them seem to be about hypothetical trade futures between superpowers, ideological rants (both sides), or other nerdy nonsense. In fact, it has even been stated (and positively modded) on this page that the "tipping point" would only occur if China executes a "Military invasion of a 1st world western country." [vux984] Violence, as most of us here will agree, is the last refuge of the incompetent. [Asimov]

    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.

    Have you even read Charter 08? [wikipedia.org] Considering its content and that he "dedicated the receipt of the prize to the Tiananmen martyrs." [abc.net.au], his ideas are very dangerous to the people in power in China, according to those same people, especially if they catch on.

  • Re:China... (Score:2, Informative)

    by opposabledumbs (1434215) on Monday October 11, 2010 @01:58AM (#33857080)

    And of course the very concept of concentration camps is a British thing, invented during the Anglo-Boer war in South Africa.

  • Re:China... (Score:2, Informative)

    by ciaran.mchale (1018214) on Monday October 11, 2010 @04:17AM (#33857494) Homepage

    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. [...] But the SS hadn't expected that their wives would come to the prison and loudly demand their husbands to be released [...]

    A small correction: the people were Jewish spouses of (non-Jewish) German citizens. The event happened in Berlin in 1943. I agree it is amazing that the Nazis released an estimated 35 Jewish people during the height of the Holocaust. You can read the fascinating story on the first page of a 6-page article [hpu.edu] (148-KB PDF file).

    Regarding Gandhi... I spent four years researching and writing an open-source training course called Skills You Need to Change the World. The training course is not exclusively, or even mainly, about Gandhi, but he does feature a bit. My research lead me to realise that Gandhi (and some of his biographers) explained his non-violent tactics exclusively in spiritual terms, which is a shame because that makes it difficult for people who don't share similar spiritual beliefs to understand why his tactics can be so effective.

    I found some non-intuitive but easy-to-understand psychological principles that explain the effectiveness of Gandhi's tactics, and the circumstances required for them to be effective. If you are interested in reading about this, then look at The Bell Curve of Intolerance and Satyagraha parts of the training course's slides manual. You can download it from my website [ciaranmchale.com].

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken

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