From the Introduction:
Several members of the Independent Chinese PEN Center conferred to decide on a selection of Liu’s writings in order to give the reader an appreciation of the fundamentals of Liu Xiaobo’s philosophy.
Looking at Liu’s many years of commentary, we can find that his views were not only sensitive, but also sober towards the contemporary political situation. He closely followed the great changes in Chinese society and observed and elaborated on the growth of civic power and the expansion of the public sphere.
Liu Xiaobo supported economic reform, but he did not believe that economic reform would automatically bring about political reform. He insisted that economic and political reforms must be carried out in tandem, lest corruption run rampant.
From the Publisher:
In this seminal work, Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo explains why he believes China is ripe for democratic reform. Liu takes the reader through an analysis of the historical conditions of China’s modernization from 1848 to 1949, before confronting the adaptation of Soviet-style Communism. After the death of Mao Zedong, Liu argues that China has once again started down a path of modernization, but that these reforms will be crippled without political liberalization. Liu argues that the time for China’s “civil awakening” is now. The growing struggle between civil rights and government power combined with the reform of property rights and the public’s growing awareness of human rights and civil rights activities presents China with a rare opportunity for reform. Liu calls for non-violent pursuit of freedom, and urges all Chinese intellectuals, domestic and foreign, to do their utmost to expand the gray area of freedom that exists today. Simultaneously, together with the dissidents within the government, they will gradually diminish the one-party rule and progress towards the democratization of China.