A Dissident in China

With China's economy still roaring ahead and success following success in foreign policy, the Chinese government, under the Communist Party, has every reason to feel confident. So why did a gentle former literature professor named Liu Xiaobo have to be sentenced to 11 years in prison, just because he publicly advocated freedom of expression and an end to one-party rule?

TOKYO – 2009 was a good year for China. The Chinese economy still roared ahead in the midst of a worldwide recession. American President Barack Obama visited China, more in the spirit of a supplicant to an imperial court than the leader of the world’s greatest superpower. Even the Copenhagen summit on climate change ended just the way China wanted: failure in its attempt to commit China, or any other industrial nation, to making significant cuts in carbon emissions, with the United States getting the blame.