We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
In the summer of 2004, Yuan Hongbing, a Chinese writer, defected to Australia, taking with him four fiction manuscripts. After Yuan’s novels were published abroad, some top Chinese leaders were flustered. Luo Gan, director of the Politics and Law Committee of the Chinese Communist Party at the time, went so far as to give orders to punish with a death sentence whoever dared to pirate the books. Li Changchun, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau, who is in charge of ideology, issued the following directive: “The General Administration of Press and Publications, the Border Police, and Customs must work closely to prevent Yuan Hongbing’s novels from being smuggled into the mainland. We must ponder about this phenomenon: For many years our party has spent a great amount of manpower, money, and material resources in bringing up many writers, but our writers have not created any work that can trump Yuan Hongbing’s fiction artistically.” Regardless of whether Li was capable of literary judgment, he did raise a serious question for the party. The answer is clear and simple: The system of harsh censorship has crippled and “sterilized” the writers and artists who exist within its field of force.