5 things to know about China's crackdown on critics

Beijing vows to end corruption – but on its own terms.

3. Is this wave of arrests unusual?

"We have continued to see a deterioration in the overall human rights situation" in China, Uzra Zeya, acting assistant US secretary of State for democracy, human rights, and labor, told reporters in Beijing early this month. Ms. Zeya cited as evidence the arrests of the 16 activists, the intimidation of dissidents' family members, and restrictive policies toward ethnic and religious minorities, particularly in the Tibetan Autonomous Region and the Uighur Autonomous Region.

Zeya also mentioned the cases of Dhondup Wangchen, a Tibetan filmmaker who has been imprisoned by the Chinese government since 2006, and Hada, an ethnic Mongolian activist jailed for nearly two decades.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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