White Water Falls © Richard Long. Photo: Rajat Jindal

What Is A Dissident? And Other Questions.









‘China Has No Dissidents’ 

[Chinese Government statement, late June 2017]


What could a dissident be?

A sibilant discord

a stand-up comic

an artist, or just someone

who disagrees with authority?


No dissidents in this land. Persons who

encourage state subversion are criminals.

They shall be punished as such.

Manifestos are not for citizens to write.


What to do with these embarrassing blips

of humanity, heroes to hidden hearts

that rumble inwards, cheering, remaining

more cowardly, or more pragmatic?


Because what happens to dissidents?

They spend years in jail, coming out to die.

If courage haunts them, livens their mind,

their bodies are crushed in the spotlight.




Do dissident words dissolve

into the consciousness of the people,

do they bide their time?

Gradually sift themselves through the

censor’s sieve, re-align?

Ascend as arrows darting

into the country’s future

pinning open a new page.


For Liu Xiaobo, July 2017 



You Wait For Me With Dust - Liu Xiaobo

The Lesson of Liu Xiaobo - Tammy Ho


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