September 8, 2011 |
A retired Chinese businesswoman was given a nine-month prison sentence Friday for obstructing traffic and "stirring up trouble" in what had become a test case for freedom of expression in China. The charges against Wang Lihong, 56, stem from her protest in 2010 in eastern China's Fujian province in support of three bloggers. The three were charged with defamation after they tried to help a mother investigating her daughter's death. Among Wang's most vociferous supporters was the dissident artist Ai Weiwei.
February 13, 2011 |
The largely peaceful revolution that ended Hosni Mubarak's regime in Egypt also has the potential to reshape the repressive cultural climate in the country and perhaps elsewhere in the Arab world, according to filmmakers, musicians and other cultural figures who have been watching and participating in the uprising in Cairo. Even as events unfolded in Tahrir Square and across the capital, many artists began filming documentaries and composing music along lines that previously would have been forbidden by the government.
December 16, 2010 |
The titles in one corner of Kinokuniya bookstore in Tokyo's Shinjuku district suggest the kind of themes that manga comics fans crave: romance, feudal-era adventure, betrayal. But above the packed bookshelves a sign reads, "Adult manga. " It's the hard-core content within this genre of comics or cartoons, depicting rape, incest and sex crimes, that lawmakers in Tokyo want to keep out of the hands of minors. The Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly on Wednesday approved an ordinance that makes it illegal to sell or rent sexually explicit manga and anime that "unjustifiably glorifies" violent sexual acts to anyone younger than 18. The law, which goes into effect next year, also bans images of fictional characters that appear to be underage and are engaging in sexual acts.
October 9, 2010 |
Imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, a bold stroke that highlighted China's ongoing repression of free expression ? and its toxic distaste for criticism from abroad. The award came despite threats from Chinese officials who sought to dissuade the judges from honoring Liu, a 54-year-old writer who has remained unbowed in his decades-long fight for freedom of expression and democratic reform. Liu's writings have brought him lengthy stints in prison, labor camp and house arrest, and have stripped him of the right to publish or teach in his homeland.
October 9, 2010 |
Before he was anything else, a hunger striker or inmate, dissident or symbol, Liu Xiaobo was a bookish literature professor and an essayist desperate to be able to write about politics, art and life without restraint. His dedication to writing has been his defining characteristic, those who know him say, and it's what hauled him into politics ? an intense and dogged desire for the freedom of expression. Everything else, the years of struggle against the Communist Party and his unveiling as this year's Nobel Peace Prize laureate, flowed from that point.
August 11, 2010 |
Their weapons are brushes; their battlefields are canvases. And here in China, where political dissent often leads to prosecution, the works of avant-garde artists can sometimes appear as threatening as a mass protest. Enter the Gao brothers, Qiang and Zhen, soft-spoken siblings who have long used startling images of Mao Tse-tung as a focal point for their sculptures, paintings and performance pieces. "I don't consider myself a dissident at all," said Gao Qiang, 48. "I never even think about this question.