5 things to know about China's crackdown on critics

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

2. What about those not directly involved in protests?

Beijing often goes after dissidents' families as well. In May, for instance, the nephew of human rights activist Chen Guangcheng accused Chinese authorities of refusing him surgery in prison, where he is serving a sentence for assault – a sentence many say is itself a punishment for Mr. Chen's activism.

Just weeks earlier, the brother-in-law of another prominent activist, Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, also found himself in court and charged with fraud in another case with political underpinnings.

"Persecuting relatives is part of the arsenal deployed against dissidents, critics, and whistle-blowers as a matter of routine," Nicholas Bequelin, a researcher for Human Rights Watch in Hong Kong, told the Monitor in April. "It is very much part of the repertoire of political repression."

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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.”

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