Excerpted from an article by HRIC Executive Director Sharon Hom in Foreign Affairs, “Chinese Dissidence from Tiananmen to Today”:
Ironically, instead of building the vibrant informed citizenry critical to tackling the massive environmental, social, and economic challenges facing the country, China continues to heighten its political and social control, even as it loses its ability to shore up the millions of cracks in its Great Firewall. The anticorruption protests in Wukan in late 2011 are a prime example of citizens demanding their rights and winning, as demonstrated through the images of 13,000 villagers peacefully demonstrating circulated on YouTube, the subsequent removal of the local officials, and new village elections. Another example should be the investigation of the massive corruption and abuses in Chen Guangcheng's village as requested of Premier Wen.
The increasing number of mass protests, independent lawyers, and online citizen activists urgently demonstrates that the only way forward for China's future is one shaped through respect for the rights of the citizens. The question now is: Are the authorities reading the writing on the wall, or are they too blinded by their own self-interest for party survival at all costs?