It is therefore with no satisfaction or surprise that, following a link from JR's blog, I read the indictment of Chen Pingfu, a man whose crime was described thus:
"The Gaolan County Public Security Bureau has concluded its investigation of this case. The Gaolan County People’s Procuratorate submitted his case to the Lanzhou Municipal People’s Procuratorate for examination and review for indictment. The examination conducted according to law has found that:
Between July 2007 and March 2012, the defendant Chen Pingfu registered blogs or microblogs under the name “Chen Pingfu” on NetEase, Baidu, Sohu, Mtime.com, Sina, Tianya, and other websites where he published or reposted 34 articles including [list of blog post titles]. In these articles he expressed such inflammatory views as that Marxism, Leninism, Mao Zedong Thoughts, Deng Xiaoping Theory, Three Represents, and Scientific Development have no benefit for the society and the people; that the Communist Party rule knows only to push ordinary people around and not let them make a living; that the current system is not democratic enough, and that democracy and constitutionalism should be implemented.
The aforementioned facts of crime are proven by documentary evidence, material evidence, and the defendant’s statements."
Whilst Chen Pingfu's sentence is still yet to be announced, it is clear that, at least according to the Gaolan County People’s Procuratorate, the mere writing of articles critical of the Chinese government is subversion. Chen's 'crimes' consist of writing and publishing articles saying no more than what 95%+ of the Chinese people think in private: that communism is nonsense and the current system of governance is essentially dictatorial. No other offence is mentioned.
I do not expect the people at Hidden Harmonies to acknowledge that Liu Xiaobo went to prison merely for criticising the government publicly, nor do I expect that they would admit that this is what Chen went to prison for when, as will certainly be the case, he is eventually convicted for the same 'crime'. Experience has shown that there is literally no distortion that hard-line nationalists are incapable of swallowing, nor any incontrovertible truth that they are incapable of denying. However, thinking people should bear in mind that China still is a country where mere criticism of those in power is a crime.