We take our (semblance of) democracy for granted

American “democracy” has rotted. Mega-corporations really call all the shots in Washington — except on issues of little importance to them — because they have effectively bought most Congressmen and presidents with billions in campaign contributions and other bribes.

Americans have done little to protect democracy or seize it back from corporate dominance. Which leaves me even more impressed with the efforts some will make to establish democracy in their politically repressive, authoritarian nations.

One example of this is the brave Chinese who so loudly protest single-party rule in China that they demand to be punished alongside their movement’s leader:

Liu Xiaobo, one of China’s best-known dissidents and a principal author of a pro-democracy manifesto that has attracted more than 10,000 signatures from Chinese supporters, was indicted Thursday on charges of trying to subvert the state, his lawyer said…

“The government is trying to tell us to stop trying to push for human rights and democracy in China,” said Xu Youyu, a Charter 08 signer and a philosophy professor who recently retired from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. “Secondly, he has been the biggest threat inside of China, and they want to get rid of him.”

…Although censors swiftly deleted the document from Internet pages and chat rooms, more than 10,000 people managed to sign it. It stated that Chinese citizens should be able to elect their own government, that power should be divided among different branches of government and that the military should come under government, not party, control.

Many of the initial signers were interrogated, but only Mr. Liu was arrested, two days before the manifesto was published. He was confined for more than six months to a windowless room in Beijing, then charged by the police with subversion and trying to overthrow the government.

Charter 08 signers have tried to show their solidarity by issuing letters of protest over his case. The most recent one, signed by 165 people, states, “If Liu Xiaobo is found ‘guilty’ that means each one of us is guilty, and we have to shoulder the punishment together with Liu Xiaobo.”

Posted by James on Tuesday, December 15, 2009