CHINA

‘2008, looking forward to the Olympic Games and, even more so, a democratic China’

A pair of political activists from Shenzhen (south China) are using the Olympic Games to protest against the authorities despite a crackdown on free speech in the run up to the event. Li Tie and Zou Tao publish newsletters and organise protests, and have even prepared for their seemingly inevitable capture by the police. On Chinese New Year's Eve (6 Feb.) they organised a peaceful protest in Shenzhen City. The pair displayed banners reading ‘2008, looking forward to the Olympic Games and, even more so, a democratic China'.

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A pair of political activists from Shenzhen (south China) are using the Olympic Games to protest against the authorities despite a crackdown on free speech in the run up to the event. Li Tie and Zou Tao publish newsletters and organise protests, and have even prepared for their seemingly inevitable capture by the police. On Chinese New Year's Eve (6 Feb.) they organised a peaceful protest in Shenzhen City. The pair displayed banners reading ‘2008, looking forward to the Olympic Games and, even more so, a democratic China'.

Li Tie and Zou Tao

The pair soon attracted support from passers-by who joined in.

“Most people believe that democracy is not suitable for China”

We don't know what has happened to Li Tie and Zou Tao since the demonstration. Taking into account the increasing repression of free speech that has seen various dissidents imprisoned in recent times (Hu Jia for example, arrested in December), we can only praise them for their courage. Here is the post Li Tie published about the movement:

It's not possible to solve every social problem and corruption in 50 years. But people don't realise what's going on because the authorities don't tell us. Although our system is more developed than the feudal system, it still has a long way to go. Change is slow. If we had a better social system, people would be more active. We don't have to change overnight, but we could at least discuss things more openly. Most people believe that democracy is not suitable for China, that it would make a mess of society. But where do people get these ideas? Not from their own beliefs! It's the authorities that make us believe this. The fact that the government still cheats us means that the authorities are in fact a struggling dictator. They need to encourage free speech so that people can tell the government what they want. Then people wouldn't worry so much, because they'd know they've got support from a good institution."