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Tags: china | tried | acquire | rights | democracy | protest | book

China Tries to Buy 'Democracy' Protest Book

By    |   Friday, 19 June 2015 06:08 PM EDT

China tried to acquire the language rights to the "playbook" for democratic activists around the world — including pro-democracy Occupy movement leaders in Hong Kong — but it may have been to prevent others on the mainland from doing so, the Financial Times reports.

The request came last year when a state-owned publisher contacted the Boston-based Albert Einstein Institution about acquiring the Chinese-language rights to Gene Sharp's "From Dictatorship to Democracy" — a seemingly odd request at a time when tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters had taken to the streets in Hong Kong, the newspaper notes.

The book was written in the early 1990s by Sharp, founder of the Albert Einstein Institution and an expert on non-violent social movements, but its executive director, Jamila Raqib suspected the Chinese publisher had no intention of printing the book.

Instead, Raqib thinks the publishers wanted to stop others from doing so by "squatting" on the rights to it, the newspaper reports.

The Financial Times reports pro-democracy Occupy movement leaders in Hong Kong consider the book by Sharp, 87, who works out of his home in East Boston, "a kind of playbook for their own campaign."

On Thursday, pro-democracy legislators blocked a controversial political reform package from Beijing that would have allowed 5 million voters to elect their next chief executive in 2017 — but only after Beijing screened the candidates, the Financial Times reports.

Communist China leaders hope that when Hong Kong elects a new Legislative Council next year, democrats will lose enough seats that the reform package may still be voted through in time for the election, the newspaper reports.

But in the meantime, China is frightened that Sharp-inspired civil disobedience may spread to the mainland, the Financial Times reports — and are aggressively prosecuting activists, including three people who distributed books, including Sharp's, for containing "mistakes." They've also warned five women who spoke out against sexual harassment on public transportation they'd be arrested if they continued to speak out, the newspaper reports

"If [China’s rulers] are not scared, why are they so vigilant in following up very small things like that?" Sharp told the Financial Times.

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Newsfront
China tried to acquire the language rights to the "playbook" for democratic activists around the world — including pro-democracy Occupy movement leaders in Hong Kong — but it may have been to prevent others on the mainland from doing so, the Financial Times reports.
china, tried, acquire, rights, democracy, protest, book
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2015-08-19
Friday, 19 June 2015 06:08 PM
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