hujia01.jpgLet me get this straight. A man dedicates his time, money and energy working to help the poor, the sick, the dying, the forgotten and the endangered. And rather than the acclaim and accolade he deserves, he is kidnapped, put under house arrest and now sentenced to 3 1/2 years of hard time in prison for subversion.

I think I need to check my dictionary.

From Merriam-Webster:
Subversion (sub·ver·sion | \səb-ˈvər-zhən, -shən\): A systematic attempt to overthrow or undermine a government or political system by persons working secretly from within

Something’s not right. Helping raise AIDS awareness, assuring poor people aren’t taken advantage of by unethical land developers, and assisting in protecting China’s environment and endangered animals don’t seem at all to be part of that definition.

So, the question remains – why is Hu Jia in jail?

Ah! While under house arrest and being persecuted by the powers that be, Hu became further disillusioned with his government. Fair enough, as it was branches of his government that kidnapped him and caused him to disappear for a month, leaving his family to wonder what happened to him. It was his government that locked him in his apartment for 200 days. And, retrospectively, it was branches of his government (whether through direct action, or completely lack of action) that brought on much of the suffering he advocated so passionately for.

The question, I guess then, isn’t why is Hu Jia in jail. I think we pretty much all assumed that’s exactly where he’d be put. Indeed, isn’t that where all folks with a voice go in this country? The better question then is: when are the higher ups going to recognize that the easiest way to stop dissension and subversion is by allowing greater freedoms – and in this case, that was simply the freedom to help people.

In much the same way creating a “war on terror” simply creates more terrorists, a “war on dissidents” simply creates more dissidents. For a bunch of trained engineers to ignore such basic math as greater freedoms = less dissension, and to not recognize that the freest nations of the world are also the most stable, causes me to find a whole new word in the dictionary.

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  1. You know actually thanks the work of the great M chinese people lives constantly in a climate of distrust where nobody strust nobody,dog eat dog.
    At the time i was living in shanghai i witness many incidents and some fights and i’ve never seen someone take its own time to help help.

    As my friend from xian told me he don’t trust chinese,he paradoxically trsu more foreigners than his own neigbours…
    He told me he saw at a car accident how the guy who helps this liying on the floor,ijured motorcicle guy to stand up and later been accused to be the cause of teh accident so that this guy could have a scapegoat to got some money,considering that the other guy already ran away.
    …despite those cools Huo Leifeng T-shirts

  2. You know actually thanks the work of the great M chinese people lives constantly in a climate of distrust where nobody strust nobody,dog eat dog.
    At the time i was living in shanghai i witness many incidents and some fights and i’ve never seen someone take its own time to help help.

    As my friend from xian told me he don’t trust chinese,he paradoxically trust even more foreigners than his own neighbours…
    He told me that he witness a car incident between a motorcycle and a car:teh car run away and the guy keep on lying on the floor crying..
    This guy who was actually the only helping this liying on the floor,injured motorcyclist ran out of his car to lend him support…
    After the guy got conssciuss enough to think about his rights and his interest he just accuses him to have hit him on the floor with his car…Considering that area fo shanghai you cannot drive more faster than a bycicle…

    despite those cools Huo Leifeng T-shirts

  3. Some try to help the society by working along/parallel with the government, some try to help the society by working against/perpendicular to the government. Right or wrong, I guess Hu Jia’s over criticism of the government got him where he is today.

  4. @Joe: It most definitely did. My point is more that it shouldn’t.

    If you called me ‘a complete ass’ (which I am) I have two courses of action I can follow. Laugh it off and trivialize the criticism, marginalizing you in the process; or start to cry and punch you in the face – drawing a huge amount of attention to you, your comments and my own insecurities.

    The gov’t fears if they allow criticism it may question their rule and/or lead to more subversion. But what they seem so hard pressed to recognize is that if you don’t give people an outlet for such things, the pressure just builds until it explodes.

    Take the US (or Canada, or Australia, or England…) for example. You have a multi-party system that gives people the sense they have a choice in who is ruling them. In reality the differences between the various party members is far less than the differences between the politicians and the bulk of the voting population, but that perception of choice gives people an outlet.

    The illusion of choice and freedom is the oil for the machine. The name changes, but the class and overall ideology stays the same.

    But jailing people that are criticizing you while speaking their mind just makes you look like a hyper-sensitive bully that is fearful of your position. It also has the added effect of creating a martyr out of people, bringing more attention and support to their cause.

    Putting Hu Jia in jail has pushed Hu’s agenda into the public eye far more than it ever would have gotten had he just been left alone from the beginning.

  5. Even though I would be the first one to challenge any remarks intending to blackwash China, putting people away for voicing different views is an atrocity that I shall never defend for the government. It speaks volumes of their insecurities. We may not like other people’s views. But they should be given the opportunity and the latitude to speak up, freely.

    But then I again, I do not know the ins and outs about just why he got jailed. The only source of news regarding this seems to be the Western media, which given their proven track record in black-washing China, cannot be given the credit of being objective or even strictly factual insofar as China-related news is concerned.

    That said, if Hu Jia did get jailed for the kinds of things that he does as reported in this blog, then shame on the government! Period.

  6. Seems the mode of operation for the current Chinese government has changed from exiling of highly problematic citizens (to the government that is) to house arrests indefinitely.

  7. just a short question then YinBin ? why can u only get this kind of info from western news !?
    i would say that is the first thing to start to be concerned about .

  8. To Linus:
    If you think this is the chance for you to enlighten me on the the fact that Chinese media is controlled by the government, you may save your breath. We know that all along. Surprise!!!! We Chinese can think.
    But if you think that means I trust Western media, surprise again. I don’t. The kind of sinophobia the Western media has been propagating does not inspire confidence in their good nature either, unfortunately.
    Independent political blogs (either Chinese or Western) are more trustworthy, in relative terms.
    But nothing replaces critical thinking on the part of the reader him/herself.

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