Chinese Turn to Civic Power as a New Tool – Howard French
From the New York Times (link)
This winter, Liu Xianhong’s life was changed for the second time by her infection with AIDS.
The first time was seven years ago, when she discovered that she, along with her newborn son, had contracted the disease through an infusion of contaminated blood given to her during childbirth.
Then late last year, her story was publicized by a leading Chinese journalist, turning one woman’s quest for compensation into a national cause c√©l√®bre for a new class of advocates who are using the country’s legal system to fight for social justice.
Ms. Liu’s experience, all but unimaginable as recently as two or three years ago, is increasingly common in China, where a once totalitarian system is facing growing pressure from a population that is awakening to the power of independent organization. Uncounted millions of Chinese, from the rich cities of the east to the impoverished countryside, are pushing an inflexible political system for redress over issues from shoddy health care and illegal land seizures to dire pollution and rampant official corruption.