Liu Bai: The Trial of Zhao Dong-min and China’s Political Reform

[This article was published by Revolutionary Frontlines and details the struggles of contemporary Maoist activists in China. – RI Ed.]

[Update: On October 20 Zhao was sentenced to three years in jail for “gathering a crowd to disrupt social order”]

The legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party has been challenged from both the Right and the Left. These challenges have become more open and vocal. The Right has been pushing for political reform that will change China’s Constitution to allow a multi-party Western style democracy. This is the movement behind the 08 Charter. Liu Xiao Bo, who was recently given the Nobel Peace Prize, is one of the leaders of this movement.

The Left has rallied to support Mao Zedong Thought. The growing number of memorials held in September in many parts of the country on the 34th anniversary of Mao’s death demonstrated their strength. In these memorials the masses and their leaders demanded that Yuan Teng-fei be stripped of his Party membership. Yuan has been openly denouncing the Chinese Communist Party, socialism, and viciously attaching Chairman Mao. The Communist Party is trying to find a way out through some kind of political reform. The arrest and recent trial of Zhao Dong-min has led to support from the Left and has further intensified the crisis faced by the Communist Party.

Mourners follow the coffin of Deng Yongxia, wife of detained labor activist Zhao Dongmin. Deng Yongxia died of the auto-immune disorder lupus on Aug. 31, never having been allowed to visit Zhao in the detention center.

Zhao Dong-min is a Communist Party member and has a law degree from a corresponding school (of the Party School) in Shaanxi. Before his arrest in August 2009 he worked for many years providing legal services to many workers to resolve issues such as unpaid pensions and loss of other benefits. He did this as a volunteer without any compensation. Zhao also served as the temporary coordinator of the Mao Zedong Thought Study Group in Xian, Shaanxi until his arrest.

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