China still cracking down on human rights activists

China has charged yet another human rights activist with attempting to undermine the state by writing a poem urging citizens to defend their freedoms, according to the NY Times. The poem,  “It’s Time” is translated, in part, as saying:

It’s time

It’s time, Chinese people!

It’s time,

The square is ours,

The feet are ours,

It’s time to use our feet to go to the square and make a choice.

China has been notorious for detaining human rights activists who urge its people to speak up against the government.  However, since 2008, when Liu Xiaobo was detained for helping write the Charter 08 democracy manifesto, the Chinese government has been ever more diligent about detaining activists.

The Chinese government cannot keep locking up its activists and giving them such harsh prison sentences because it will only cause more anguish and conviction amongst its people.  The simple fact that they have been locking up activists for such an extensive time goes to show that the government knows it is doing something wrong (and not beneficial to its people) but it is unwilling to change.  That is why these activists are being locked up.  But at some point the Chinese people will rise up.  They will say, “enough is enough. We want our rights that are inalienable to us as people and as human beings.  And we will fight and defend our rights until we obtain them.”

China is a well-developed state when it comes to certain areas, such as productivity, economic stability and being debt free; however, when it comes to human rights and the rights of its citizens, China has a lot of catching up to do.  The 2008 Olympics in China were meant to show the progress the country has made, but it only affirmed what we all feared: they have not progressed much.  And it has only been reaffirmed with the imprisonment of many activists in China.

It is time for China to understand that it has to enter into the 21st century and allow its people to enjoy basic human rights.


About Haley Behre

I graduated from Syracuse University in December 2011 with majors in newspaper journalism and women and gender studies. Using these majors, I aspire to become a journalist who writes about human rights issues. I have held internships at the Syracuse New Times, Dash Media PR Firm, Syracuse Post-Standard and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. I also had an internship at the Not For Sale Campaign Syracuse chapter, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating human trafficking. I was born in Seoul, Korea on September 30, 1990 and moved to the United States before I was one year old. When I was 8, my family and I moved to Norwich, England for three years. While I was here I was immersed into a new culture and got to experience many things other children my age do not get to. Over the three years, I visited Ireland, France and the Netherlands several times, and Belgium, Wales and Sweden once. In the winter of 2010, I got an amazing opportunity to visit Kenya for a month. This was by far the single most eye-opening experience of my life thus far. The natural beauty of the landscape and its people do not compare to anything I have seen. I currently intern for the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press in the hopes of getting a full-time job at a newspaper or non-profit after.
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