President Barack Obama on his recent visit to China urged the nation’s leaders to open the parameters of freedom of speech in order to assist their society to progress. Within days of his plea, a Chinese court sentenced a leading human rights activist to a three year jail term. His crime was to raise questions concerning the 2008 earthquake which resulted in the death of thousands including many children trapped in their school and killed due to faulty construction of the facility. Huang Qi assumed the role of spokesman for parents whose children died in faultily constructed school buildings. After a ten minute trial he was found guilty of possessing state secrets, but according to Qi, “they still won’t say what the specific charge is, not even the verdict.”
About 5,000 children died in the earthquake and except for the voice and determination of Qi there are no other voices willing to take on the challenge of uncovering the truth. In this case, the truth will not set you free– it will get you a one way ticket to jail.