On April 9, 2012, Freedom House organized an event at its New York office to recognize the accomplishments of the China Media Bulletin, its weekly update of press freedom and censorship news related to the People’s Republic of China.
Ni Yulan, a Chinese human rights lawyer, was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison, and her husband Dong Jiqin was sentenced to two years in prison on April 10 after both were accused of “causing a disturbance” and “fraud.” The charges are likely related to their work helping petitioners and victims of land confiscation and religious persecution. Freedom House condemns this unjust and inhumane sentence by the Chinese government and calls for Ni Yulan and Dong Jiqin’s immediate release.
The magazine Commentary once published an article titled, “Has There Ever Been Anything Like the Soviet Union?” The piece appeared during the last decades of the Cold War, and the title was meant to convey the message that in the long and sordid annals of despotism, the USSR was unique—in the completeness of its totalitarian scheme, in the staying power of its mechanisms of control, in its global reach, and in its determination to assemble a terrifying arsenal even as its domestic economy lay in ruins. Eventually, of course, the Soviet Union succumbed, but for over 70 years it survived and even thrived as a model of anti-freedom that inspired regimes ranging from East Germany to North Korea.
A majority of Americans see democracy in the U.S. as weak and getting weaker, according to a national survey released by The Democracy Project, a joint initiative of Freedom House, the George W. Bush Institute, and the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.