Salman Rushdie: Free China's Artists
Communist regime has become 'the world's greatest threat to freedom of speech'
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2011 1:44 PM CDT
Pro-democracy protesters holding a banner bearing a picture of detained Chinese artist Ai Weiwei outside the China Liaison Office in Hong Kong Sunday, April 17, 2011.   (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
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(Newser) – Securing the release of Ai Weiwei, and the other artists China has arrested and silenced, “is a matter of urgency and the governments of the free world have a clear duty in this matter,” argues Salman Rushdie in an op-ed in today’s New York Times. The charges Ai has supposedly confessed to—like tax evasion and pornography—“are not credible to those who know him,” Rushdie assures us, concluding that the regime is simply silencing the outspoken genius “in the most brutal fashion.”

Nor is he alone. Liao Yiwu has been denied permission to travel to the United States, and Liu Xianbin has been sent to prison for incitement to subversion—the same charge Liu Xiaobo’s imprisoned on. “The government of China has become the world’s greatest threat to freedom of speech,” Rushdie declares. That’s why we need artists like these—they’re “often the only ones with the courage to speak truth against the lies of tyrants.”