Back to the Dark Ages

I've been sitting here rather listlessly in Beijing for a few months, exhausted by Christmas and the endless grey winter, Only the news that Tan Zuoren is to be imprisoned for five years for subversion has outraged me enough to return to this blog. But now I'm here, I find I'm speechless. All one needs to do is repeat the facts. Tan Zuoren is a literary editor who has campaigned to investigate the collapse of school buildings in Sichuan during the earthquake in 2008. Children died out of all proportion to adults, and in their thousands, because corruption meant that money intended for school construction had found its way into the pockets of local officials. Court documents of course make no mention of this impertinence, only of the fact that Tan has also spoken out against the army's massacre of civilians in 1989…. Ai Weiwei, however, has found the words here, and they are important because he points out how important it is to people inside China that the rest of the world notices these things, and responds properly.