What Criteria Does China Use to Target Dissidents?

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The Chinese government’s decision, reportedly made at the highest levels, to arrest not only world-renowned artist Ai Weiwei, but also several of Ai’s lesser-known associates, raises the question of what criteria, if any, Chinese authorities use to determine who to target with such crackdowns. Understanding the political calculus behind the crackdowns is no easy task, according to Iain Mills, a Beijing-based World Politics Review contributor. “It’s ambiguous and totally arbitrary, really. There is no apparent logic as to when they decide to arrest someone,” Mills told Trend Lines earlier this week, noting that “probably 90 percent of those arrested or […]

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