The Political Meaning of the Crime of “Subverting State Power”

Teng Biao

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:
The Political Meaning of the Crime of “Subverting State Power”

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This chapter explores the psychology of resistance that explains why and how some people refuse to back down, acquiesce, accommodate official lies, and reach arrangements with the system. In a largely “neo-totalitarian” system like that of China today, the problem is no longer naked fear such as might be induced by a tyrannical regime. Rather, it is the ability to avoid thinking, “that hard-to-attain confusion” that allows people not even to be aware of their deep-down anxieties and constraints. While some observers believe that the government has won legitimacy in the sense of wide social acceptance of its rule, this analysis leaves no room for such a comforting conclusion. There is no doubt that political change will come eventually — “you can destroy the flowers but you can’t prevent spring”.

Keywords: Charter 08; Liu Xiaobo; Human rights; China; Neo-totalitarianism; Political reform

Chapter.  6030 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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