Attitudes on dissent
Three major governments exhibit their attitude toward dissent in the world today.
Vladimir Putin of Russia usually assassinates his chief competitors. Not openly, of course.
Xi Jinping of China directs the full weight of his bureaucracy against his dissidents. One exiled dissident, Yu Jie, stated, according to a story printed in the Democrat-Gazette, “In front of the world, Liu Xiaobo is being murdered by Xi Jinping. Yet not a single Western political figure is condemning Xi Jinping.”
Our politicians are probably not even aware of the bold and articulate stand Liu Xiaobo took against Chinese government suppression of dissent in both his speeches and his writing before he was tried and convicted of exciting subversion and sentenced to 11 years in prison back in 2009. When I visited his hometown of Changchun in 2010, no one even knew that he had won the Nobel Peace Prize and was not even allowed to travel to Stockholm to accept it before he went to prison.
Back in the Nixon era, former Sen. J.W. Fulbright stated that political dissent was not only a right, but a duty.
Today, regardless of their stature, Donald Trump tweets against his political dissenters all kinds of vile words. There is no question about how he feels toward a free press which has revealed his apparent complicity with the Russian oligarchy to wrench the presidency from its duly elected representative.
I mourn for a brave dissenter, Liu Xiaobo, 61, who died Thursday. BILL B. RHODES Mountain Home