5 things to know about China's crackdown on critics

In recent weeks, Beijing has arrested more than a dozen activists associated with a prominent anticorruption campaign, the latest chapter in an ongoing crackdown against government dissidents and their families. What led up to the crackdown and what is likely to be the fallout from it? 

1. Who is being targeted?

Greg Baker/AP/File
This 2009 file photo shows legal scholar Xu Zhiyong at a meeting in Beijing, China.

When Xi Jinping became president of China earlier this year, he publicly pledged to clean up government corruption. But when a group of activists calling themselves the New Citizens' Movement unfurled banners in Beijing in March calling for officials to publicly disclose their assets, Mr. Xi's government swiftly retaliated. Since then 16 activist leaders have been arrested – including human rights lawyer Xu Zhiyong, detained in late July. He had not been heard from until a visitor to the jail smuggled out a video in which Mr. Xu urges Chinese citizens to defend their rights as citizens.

Another activist, veteran journalist Chen Min (who writes under the pen name Xiao Shu), was briefly detained in early August for circulating a petition to have Xu freed.

1 of 5

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.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.