Liu Xiaobo and Democracy in China

Internet makes democratic change all but inevitable, says China expert

In San Francisco on Jan. 26, Perry Link discusses the new book he edited, No Enemies, No Hatred: Selected Essays and Poems by Liu Xiaobo. (3 min., 52 sec.)

SAN FRANCISCO, January 26, 2012 — Political change in China is inevitable and will occur "from the bottom up," according to Perry Link, a China expert and professor at the University of California, Riverside, at an event organized ASNC and the Mechanics’ Institute Library to discuss a new book for which he is lead editor, No Enemies, No Hatred: Selected Essays and Poems by Liu Xiaobo.

Link's book presents a comprehensive collection of essays and poems written by imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. In 2010, Liu became the first Chinese citizen to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his political activism.

Link’s translation of Liu’s writing not only reveals the many sides of Liu's personality and political ideology, but also provides a glimpse into contemporary Chinese society and  views on democracy in the country.

"The Internet," Link said, "is the first medium in the history of the Communist Party in China that the party has not been able to figure out how to control."

Citing Liu's poem "Long Live the Internet," Link envisions the Internet bolstering the growing consciousness of human rights in China due to its function as a "platform on which opinion can be organized."

Link stressed that Chinese citizens are becoming more aware of their rights as individuals, whether they express those rights through political jokes or a public outcry like the one that followed a high-speed rail crash near Wenzhou last summer, claiming 40 lives. Following Liu's example, the Chinese are learning to think more independently and the ideas of political freedom are clashing with the Communist Party's ongoing repression. Because of this, Link believes that transformation in Chinese politics is inevitable.

"It is no longer a question of if it will take place, but instead is a question of when such a change will occur."

Click here to read an interview with Perry Link on our blog.

Reported by Eric Santiago and Charles Hufnagel