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April 19, 2006



"Jiang Lijun, 40, was sentenced to four years in prison for “subversion” on 18 November 2003, accused of seeking to use “violent means” to impose democracy"

Using violent means to overthrow the government instead of using legitimate means through election is against the law in any country and not protected by freedom of speech.

In Gitlow Vs. New York, the Supreme court ruled that Gitlow who printed articles to incite a "violent" overthrow of the US government cannot claim freedom of speech as his right to print those articles. See: http://www.oyez.org/oyez/resource/case/140/

In China, there are legitimate ways to bring about regime change, through elections, as can be seen from the recent Tai Shi villagers or here: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/en/doc/2003-12/08/content_288018.htm


First of all, Jiang was convicted of inciting subversion, not subversion itself, so the illegal act is related to alleged advocacy of violence, not use of violence itself.

I've read the posted verdict pretty carefully, and I don't see evidence that Jiang's alleged advocacy of violence was conducted outside of private conversations or a diary entry. Unless Jiang took steps to publish those opinions, I don't see the analogy with Gitlow.

As for village elections being a legitimate method of achieving "regime change" in China, all I can say is that it's good to have dreams.

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