Conflict & Justice

Writers petition China

(What kind of a reception did you get at the China UN mission?) Absolutely none, we rang the doorbell for ten minutes and no one showed up so we just left the letter. (Is this the kind of episode you were expecting?) I've learned to expect an awful lot and over the years I've done a lot of protesting to a lot of embassies and one expects a certain initial indifference if not hostility. (Tell me about one or two of these writers and what they've done to land in jail.) Well first of all there are a couple reasons we're doing this and the first is because the Chinese government said there would be no arrest or detention of journalists during the period of the Olympics. It is our policy to be in opposition to any detention or repression of journalists or writers. I consider this as vital to the survival of culture. There's one freelance journalists and environmentalists who was arrested in 2007 for �subversion of state power.� The Chinese government has so many justifications for arresting journalists, among them giving out state secrets and fomenting revolution. (Are those the broad strokes by which a lot of these journalists were detained?) Yes, and I find this to be the procedure in any authoritarian country. (Do you think this petition makes any impression on the Chinese government?) The Chinese do not like to lose face and if they're embarrassed in front of the world perhaps they lose face. But you never quite know what the reaction in a state like China is going to be.

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