China, Liu Xiaobo and human rights

 

Sir, – The events surrounding Liu Xiaobo’s death, his rapid cremation and subsequent burial at sea are, in my opinion, another confirmation of the worrying trend of increased authoritarianism under Xi Jinping’s leadership that should absolutely be questioned and not be dismissed as an “internal affair”, as indicated by the spokesperson for the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China (July 15th).

As China seeks increased influence and respect on the international stage, how can its government expect to garner respect from its citizens and those of us outside of the country if it places such a low opinion and value on the people in whose name it purports to govern? All too often you hear about people being placed under house arrest or imprisoned on the basis of a questionable application of dubious “inciting subversion of state power” laws designed to stifle any challenge to the Communist Party of China’s rule. We are dealing with a regime that has decided it needs to control its citizens through some questionable ways, including violence and harassment. So fearful is it of debate and political evolution, the Chinese government has its “Great Firewall of China” to monitor and control internet usage and apply mass censorship.

I hope that Mr Liu’s family and friends are as safe as they can be, especially his wife, Liu Xia, who is apparently “free” but is grieving too much to speak to anyone. She has been under house arrest since 2010. Perhaps The Irish Times could ask the Chinese embassy if Ms Liu is free to give an open interview of her experiences of China in recent times? I have a feeling I know what the answer will be. – Yours, etc,

TERRY O’FLOINN,

Blackrock, Co Dublin.