Forty-five-year-old investigative journalist Jiang Xue is one of the most influential members of a group of journalists who came of age in the early 2000s, taking advantage of new—if temporary—freedoms created by the Internet to investigate pressing social issues, Ian Johnson writes for the New York Review of Books. She has kept writing to an ever-shrinking audience on social media, most notably about the wives of several high-profile civil rights lawyers who have been arrested.
Haven’t some people given up on civil society? The term in Chinese, gongmin shehui, is even used derisively as something failed or a waste of time.
In the past, everyone thought we needed civil society. People thought we should build it. It was our hope. Now, a lot of people have lost hope. The way society has developed under the Communist Party, it’s impossible to develop civil society. Public media has been killed. Public institutions have been closed. Teachers who dare to speak up have been driven off. It seems that civil society has no force.
But I don’t agree with this view. Civil society is something we have to struggle for. It’s something we can fight for bit by bit. RTWT