Peter Hartcher: China opens up but only for business


There is little sign of any greater political freedom, despite economic reform, writes Peter Hartcher.

thought he could always predict when the police were coming. They arrive at his house at the same time every year, in the days approaching the annual session of China’s National Peoples’ Congress in March. They usually hold him under house arrest for a couple of weeks lest the noted advocate of democracy do anything to disturb the rituals of China’s faux democracy.

But last year the police kept him confined in his Beijing home for 3¬Ω months until well past the anniversary of the June 4, 1989 crushing of the student demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, a movement that Liu helped lead.

Then, in December, the police arrived unexpectedly and confiscated his two computers and files. And after they had finished questioning him for eight hours, they put him under house arrest once more, with his phone and internet access cut off.


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