The Corner

A Gesture of Solidarity

Sometimes, people shave their heads in solidarity with others. Bush 41 did this last year, as the young son of one of his Secret Service agents was battling leukemia. Some friends of mine are doing it outside the Chinese embassy in Washington today. The event is at 2:00 p.m.

They are shaving their heads in solidarity with Liu Xia, the wife of Liu Xiaobo, the political prisoner who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010. Liu Xia has long been under house arrest. She has a shaved head and is in very bad shape. Her supporters would like to see her go to a free country for medical treatment. Some of these supporters shaved their heads in Hong Kong last month.

It seems like a small gesture — but it is maybe better than nothing. A couple of years ago, people participated in a “sunglasses campaign,” donning sunglasses in order to show solidarity with Chen Guangcheng, the blind legal activist. Maybe that did a smidgeon of good. Maybe that drew attention to Chen’s plight.

(He later made a daring escape to the U.S. embassy in Beijing.)

I feel sure of this: To move the Chinese government, you have to have the support of Western elites — and that means, by and large, the Western Left, or Center-Left. The professors, the journalists, the entertainers, the writers, etc. The power lies with them. They did a lot for South Africa.

It would be nice if they could be aroused on the question of China. Cuba is just a pipe dream. It would be achievement enough to get them to stop supporting Castro. To support the opposition, including the imprisoned and tortured opposition, seems really out of reach.


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