Story of One Jailed Activist

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The current New Yorker has a fascinating piece by Jianying Zha about her brother, democracy activist Zha Jianguo, who was convicted of “subverting the state” for his role in helping create the banned China Democracy Party and is serving a 9-year prison sentence. The article tells of the author’s complicated feelings towards her brother and questions whether he should be considered a hero or a fool for his political activity. It also examines whether political change depends on a few brave outsiders, skilled insiders or broad social movements. Zha Jianguo’s thoughts on the matter are pretty clear, but after reading his story I find myself wondering.