“Three Hundred Years” – Part 1 of 5

Liu Xiaobo is a Chinese human rights activist. He has been detained, arrested, and sentenced repeatedly for political activities, including participation in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.

In a 1988 interview with Hong Kong’s Liberation Monthly (now known as Open Magazine), Liu replied to a question on what it would take for China to realize a true historical transformation: “(It would take) 300 years of colonialism. In 100 years of colonialism, Hong Kong has changed to what we see today. With China being so big, of course it would take 300 years of colonialism for it to be able to change to how Hong Kong is today. I have my doubts as to whether 300 years would be enough.”

Liu Xiaobo - Chinese activist

Later, after being arrested and sentenced to eleven years in prison, Liu said this quote was taken out of context. To understand why the Chinese government would react so harshly to such a statement, knowing China’s history helps.

What Liu said could be taken to mean that to change China into a Western style culture would require a return to the 19th century when Western powers dominated China with their military—similar to what American neo-conservatives advocate for any country that does not have a Western style democracy or republic.

See Wearing China’s Shoes http://wp.me/pN4pY-1p


2 Responses to “Three Hundred Years” – Part 1 of 5

  1. tennjournal says:

    I enjoy your blog. I’m learning something of China. I can see how Liu’s statement could be interpreted as inflamatory by the Chinese government. Not only does it suggest a return to colonialism as a “good thing”, it also implies that the current Chinese political, social, and economic systems are not working. Harsh criticism to a sensitive government, indeed!
    I would like to add your blog to my blogroll.

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