How security states work: China

From the NYRB blog, ‘A Turning Point in the Long Struggle’: Chinese Citizens Defend Liu Xiaobo by Perry Link:

Meanwhile, the Chinese authorities continue to try to control how the story is perceived both at home and abroad. Liu Xia, who is Liu Xiaobo’s wife, is under house arrest without having been charged, which violates Chinese law and is bad press internationally for the regime. Her telephone and computer have been confiscated, but she managed to get this message out on October 16 by Twitter on a cell phone:

One of the policemen watching me said that it was his wife’s birthday and that he wanted to go shopping for her. But his orders were that he had to stay with me, so would I like to accompany him to the shopping mall? Sure, I thought, and went. When we got to the mall, I noticed all kinds of strange people photographing me from various angles. I realized it had all been a trick. The authorities wanted photographs to prove that Liu Xia is free and happily shopping at malls.

This shows, beyond the regime’s bald mendacity, that it cares about international opinion.

Read the rest of the post for the open letter written by 109 friends of Liu Xiaobo — very courageous people all — calling for political reform in China. It's the same kind of demand that got him in jail.