View Full Version : the Democrat-Herald

12-11-05, 14:44
By Hasso Hering
Albany Democrat-Herald
We all know that much of the stuff we buy and use comes from China, so we think of that big country mainly as a growing industrial powerhouse.

There’s another side to China, the side of a tyrannical system that does not tolerate dissent.

A private outfit called Radio Free Asia, based in Washington, from time to time sends an e-mail with the latest news from that other side.

This week it was the story of “Wild Pigeon.” That’s the title of a fable that appeared in a literary journal. It’s the story of a young bird that is trapped and caged by humans when it travels too far from home, and it appeared in the Kashgar Literary Journal.

When they read it, the Chinese authorities considered this fable a veiled criticism of their rule in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of northwest China. So they nabbed the writer, confiscated his computer and sent him to prison for 10 years for inciting separatism. And now the editor of the literary journal has also been sent to jail, for three years.

Prison time for fairy tales — it’s something to ponder now and then as we wander about in our Chinese-made shoes.

Hering has been editor of the Democrat-Herald since 1978.