Chapter

The Sky is Falling: <i>Inciting Subversion and the Defense of Liu Xiaobo</i>

Joshua Rosenzweig

in Liu Xiaobo, Charter 08, and the Challenges of Political Reform in China

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9789888139064
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9789882209732 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5790/hongkong/9789888139064.003.0003
The Sky is Falling: Inciting Subversion and the Defense of Liu Xiaobo

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This chapter examines Liu as a target of criminal prosecution. It provides a careful and detailed historical review of the offence of inciting subversion, on which Liu was convicted. The chapter traces the legislative change from “counter-revolutionary crimes” to “crimes endangering state security” and the accordingly changing elements and nature of subversion offences. In the second half, Rosenzweig provides an analysis of the defenses that Liu Xiaobo and his lawyers presented in the trial. The chapter concludes that, given the offence of subversion is so vaguely defined, defenses are hard to come up with and of little legal consequence. This analysis thus supports the conclusion that prosecution of “subversion” only serves the purpose of silencing political speech.

Keywords: Charter 08; Liu Xiaobo; Human rights; China; Constititutionalism; Criminal justice; Legislation

Chapter.  10112 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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