New member publication: The Return of the Show Trial: China’s Televised “Confessions”

Magnus Fiskesjö's picture

X-post from H-Asia, June 28, 2017


My new publication on the neo-Stalinist show trials recently revived and deployed in China:

The Return of the Show Trial: China’s Televised “Confessions”
By Magnus Fiskesjö Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, Volume 15, Issue 13, Number 1. (June 25, 2017).
Online: http://apjjf.org/2017/13/Fiskesjo.html

In my article I review the recent revival of the Stalinist-style show trial in China, and its historical origins, including the phenomenon of torture without scars, as practiced in China today on the victims of state disappearances, who are then forced to present scripted confessions that are staged on Chinese TV -- despite protests from Chinese jurists that these acts are all illegal.
I include discussion of my fellow Swedish citizen, the Hong Kong based writer, bookseller and publisher Gui Minhai, who was paraded in this way on Chinese state TV, twice, after he was first abducted from a third country, from Thailand, by Chinese agents in October 2015 -- and who remains in secret detention even today.
I also make comparisons with certain East Asian and other parallels. Finally, I turn to Hannah Arendt, Michel Foucault and above all to Franz Kafka, to consider what these forced confessions mean today, and how these authoritarian devices threaten us all.

Comments welcome.

Magnus Fiskesjö nf42@cornell.edu