Human rights

China’s refusal to tolerate dissent at home has split families apart, creating exiles who continue to fight for free speech from afar. The saga of Bao Tong and his son, Bao Pu, is one of these stories. Bao Tong once served as the right-hand man for China’s leader, Zhao Ziyang. Both were purged when the Chinese military cracked down on pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Bao spent seven years in prison, the highest-ranking Chinese official to serve time for resisting the military crackdown. Despite warning from his minders, Bao agreed to meet with me at his Beijing apartment in early 2015. Read more:

McClatchy, Feb. 2, 2015, Torn apart by Tiananmen, father, son still fight for free speech in China

Xiao Qiang fled China after the Tiananmen crackdown, and because of his human rights work, was unable to return to his home country. He launched China Digital Times, a Berkeley based website that collects, translates and publishes many of the censorship directives the Communist Party sends to state media. The site aggregate breaking news deemed “sensitive” by China’s rulers and highlights the codewords Chinese people invent to get around the censors. In 2015, Foreign Policy magazine included Xiao in its “Pacific Power Index” as one of the 50 people most influential in shaping the U.S.-China relationship. But he can’t return home. Read more. 

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