The rise of the Dissident

China truly is a fascinating nation. It’s vast, it’s crowded, it’s ancient, it’s modern, and increasingly it’s a hotbed of political intrigue. First there was the case of Bo Xilai being exposed for apparent rampant corruption and the not insignificant side issue of his wife being heavily implicated in the murder of a British citizen.

Now the flavour of the month is Chen Guangcheng, the blind political dissident who managed to escape house arrest and make it to the US Embassy in Beijing. A thorny diplomatic issue? Well considering it all transpired in the week before US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was due in town for a series of high-level talks I think it’s fair to say this is one of the all-time thorniest.

As it stands, Chen is holed up in a hospital awaiting a passport and visa that will allow him to travel to America to continue his studies in the law. One can only imagine the amount of negotiation and diplomatic tick tacking that went on behind that deal.

Anyway, the Chen Guancheng case got me thinking about what it takes for the media to classify someone as a dissident. It seems that China is full of them but that the rest of the world is largely dissident-less. A child might be ‘naughty’ and a teenager might be ‘difficult’ or ‘angsty’ but I’ve come to wonder what you have to do to be labelled a dissident. Thus, another cartoon was born and I’d like to share it with the world. Enjoy 🙂

and of course you can see all of my political and current affairs cartoons in the dedicated section.

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