Two days ago, Lü Gengsong was hauled off to prison again. He is a leader of the Democracy Party of China. He has been in and out of prison for many years, typically charged with “subversion of state power.” (For a report, go here.)
In a way, the charge is true: Lü wishes a democratic China, which would subvert the one-party dictatorship of the Communists. They would have to submit to popular will like everyone else.
Why they have not killed Lü yet is interesting. Almost certainly, they could do so with impunity — without any international repercussions. They imprison a Nobel peace laureate (Liu Xiaobo). Does it cost them anything, internationally? Not a farthing, as far as I can see.
And why does Lü stick his neck out, year after year? Why do people like him resume their democratic activities the second they get out of prison, knowing that those activities will ensure another prison term, or worse? Better than to analyze is simply to be grateful for such people.