Chinese President pays tribute to political reformer

The People’s Daily newspaper published a lengthy article on ex-Party General Secretary Hu Yaobang on Thursday penned by President Hu Jintao. During his time in the Party, Hu Yaobang was known for endorsing a number of economic and political reforms, as well as helping those persecuted during the Cultural Revolution. His death and subsequent public mourning on 15 April, 1989 was the trigger for the ensuing Tiananmen Protests. Hu Jintao’s article has been analysed by many critics, and whilst some see it as a step forward towards greater openness, those more cynically minded regard it as a “calculated effort by China’s leadership to placate intellectuals, journalists and some retired party officials” in order to enhance its own national image.

China: prominent dissident faces subversion charges

Police in China have recommended that prominent dissident Liu Xiaobo be formally charged with subversion. He has been held in jail for over a year without charges and previously served 20 months for his part in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. The author has been an outspoken critic of the Chinese government for many years and was eventually arrested in December 2008 after creating the Charter 08 petition, a manifesto urging political reform. Read more here