Thursday, July 13, 2017

Intersubjectivity and China

In psychoanalysis we talk a lot about intersubjectivity, seeing the other, the different other, as “an equivalent center of being” (Benjamin), the recognizing of difference. In the USA, with travel bans and threats to build walls between countries, we lament the negation of the other, the falling to one side of a polarity, failing to sustain the tension between differing subjectivities.

In 2010 I congratulated the talented Chinese therapist I supervised, for the Nobel Peace Prize had been bestowed on her fellow countryman Liu Xiaobo. She had not heard. 

Censorship was only one area against which human rights activist Liu struggled. He authored books on democracy and human rights.  Liu, imprisoned after co-authoring in 2008 ‘Charter 08’ -- a petition-manifesto signed by hundreds which criticized Chinese government and called for political reform -- was not allowed to receive the Prize in person. He died today, disallowed from receiving treatment outside of China for liver cancer. He is the first Nobel laureate to die in detention in almost eighty years. Liu had been previously imprisoned for over a decade after taking part in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest, where students faced down tanks. He had been an activist for human rights in China since then.

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