In late 2011 China has been seized by an intensified political chill across the board, continuing what appears to be a general tightening trend since August. He Weifang (贺卫方), one of China’s leading proponents of rule of law and press freedom, posted on his Sina Weibo account on December 11: “The ship of reform has come upon dangerous shoals. The red city to the West [Chongqing] resorts to endless scheming. Utopia [the radical leftist website] is fierce as a starving tiger. And the Nanfang Daily Group [known for its bolder reporting] is as quiet as a cicada in the frost.” This cartoon, which He Weifang appended to the above post on Sina Weibo, is drawn by artist Kuang Biao (邝飚), and depicts a lawyer (holding a book that says “law”) and a journalist, both with their mouths forcibly shut by a dark figure in the background. The anonymity of the figure in the back strikes home the point that China’s political future remains uncertain in the midst of jockeying ahead of next year’s Party Congress.

David Bandurski

CMP Director

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