January 20, 2018
Art, politics, angels, demons . . . and righteous dogs.


With gratitude to the LA Times, Susan Brenneman, Wesley Bausmith, Cherry Gee.  Happy New Year!

Xu Lindong

The Chinese practice of institutionalizing dissidents is coming more to light.  This small article about a farmer Xu Lindong. who dared to challenge authority, was placed in a mental hospital and then was released after 6 1/2 years with $43,000 in damages.  There is an increase in protests and activism there as well as a realization by the government that it must respond. Horrors.  But some hope.

From the Times

A Chinese farmer who was imprisoned in mental hospitals for six and a half years as punishment for seeking government redress in a land dispute has been given the equivalent of $45,300 and an apology by officials of the Henan Province county that had engineered his confinement, Caijing Magazine reported. According to the magazine, which reported the settlement, the farmer, Xu Lindong, left, resisted accepting the award for seven months because it required him to abandon his right to sue the two mental hospitals that had confined him. Some human rights advocates say they believe that a growing number of agitators who seek government redress are confined in Chinese mental hospitals.

Palléas and Mélisande

Last night at the opera.  Debussy shone supreme, as did the singers.  The show in the audience was a close second.


Here’s my Year End Review for Need to Know.

Edited and animated by Jacob Williams and Bryan Brinkman, respectively, of The Refinery.

Here’s to a wakeful 2011.

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

In 2010 some of the most significant stories played out as if they weren’t.

[Read more…]


Blacklisted from academia and barred from publishing in China, Mr. Liu has been harassed and detained repeatedly since 1989, when he stepped into the drama playing out on Tiananmen Square by staging a hunger strike and then negotiating the peaceful retreat of student demonstrators as thousands of soldiers stood by with rifles at the ready.

Mr. Liu was seized by security officials in December 2008 as he and other intellectuals prepared to issue “Charter 08”, a lengthy manifesto that called on China’s Communist Party to uphold individual rights and relinquish its monopoly on power. Modeled on Charter 77, the manifesto drafted by Czechoslovakian rights advocates three decades earlier, Charter 08 eventually garnered some 10,000 signatures before government censors pulled it from the Internet.

After being held for more than a year in secret detention and later in jail, Mr. Liu was found guilty by a Beijing court of “inciting subversion of state power.” Mr. Liu previously spent 21 months in detention for taking part in the 1989 pro-democracy protests at Tiananmen Square. And in 1996, after demanding clemency for those still imprisoned for their roles in the demonstrations, he was sent to a labor camp for three years.

Mr. Liu’s subversion charges were based on six articles he wrote that were published on the Internet outside of China.

At the Nobel Prize ceremony he was honored and acknowledged by the empty chair.