Tiananmen Anniversary: Memory of Executed Poet Resonates

Robert Marquand, former Beijing correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, writes about executed poet and . Read more about in Philip Pan’s book “Out of Mao’s Shadow.” From the CSM report:

It was hard not to think of poet Lin Zhao when I heard about Charter 08 in China. The charter is a sweeping petition for , civil reform, and to “end the practice of viewing words as crimes.”

It was signed by 2,000 brave and quixotic Chinese in December – and then seemed to be quashed. But no: It is gaining traction on the Internet; even some Chinese officials have raised the question of democracy and the party’s absolute hold on power.

Lin Zhao asked the same question – in the time of Mao Zedong. I discovered Ms. Lin – an extraordinary individual by any reckoning – in my last months as a Monitor correspondent in Beijing. She was a prophetic voice, a thinker, a Vaclav Havel of China who believed deeply in the reality of what she called “truth.”

She was executed in 1968 at the age of 36, probably by the order of Mao. She remains virtually unknown in her country.

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