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Great leap backward

Chinese Nobel Laureate Liu Xiabo was a prominent dissident who died in a Solzhenitsyn style Cancer Ward. Beijing even denied him treatment abroad. It was a tragedy reminiscent of the Nazi times. Liu was the moving spirit behind Charter 08 signed by 350 Chinese intellectuals. They demanded rule of law, democracy and freedom of expression in their country. With the rise of China it was expected to see the advent of citizens’ personal freedom in the country. But President Xi Jingping has on the contrary tightened curbs on civil society and on debate and dissent. Liu was imprisoned from 2009. His wife is also under house arrest. China has also turned its heat on India exacerbating relations over the border dispute, India entering the Nuclear Suppliers Group and according permanent membership to it in the UN Security Council.

What is more, China has more or less succeeded in persuading Western powers to dilute their advocacy of democracy and human rights. China’s economic strength despite the slowdown in its growth rate has proved decisive. The West had once stood up for the rights of Solzhenitsyn, Sakharov and Nelson Mandela. The West appears to be reconciled to peaceful co-existence with tyranny. It always exhibits a tilt towards Pakistan viz a viz India which emerged with President Eisenhower’s meeting with Ayub Khan. The liberalisation in China with Benjiao Ping withered away in Tiananmen Square.    

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