14 Hastings Int'l & Comp. L. Rev. 475 (1990-1991)
Soviet and Chinese Criminal Dissent Laws: Glasnost v. Tienanmen

handle is hein.journals/hasint14 and id is 499 raw text is: Soviet and Chinese Criminal Dissent Laws:
Glasnost v. Tienanmen
By ZACH GEORGOPOULOS*
Member Class of 1991
I. INTRODUCTION
Recent developments in the People's Republic of China (China) and
the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Soviet Union) have been dra-
matic. Because these two countries have similar political ideologies, a
comparative study of the imposition of criminal liability for political dis-
sent is timely. On April 8, 1989, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of
the Soviet Union enacted a decree which amended the law on criminal
liability for antistate crimes.' The Soviet press has heralded this decree
as a strong step towards democratization.2 The decree amends certain
criminal articles which restricted: (1) criticism of the Soviet state; (2)
advocacy of change in the Soviet state; and (3) the incitement of national
and racial enmity.3 These laws were amended again in August 1989.
In China, on June 4, 1989, the government crushed the pro-democ-
racy movement which had arisen that spring. Speeches by then Chair-
man of the Central Military Commission Deng Xiaoping and Party
General Secretary Jiang Zemin have suggested a return to harsh legal
* B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1986. This Note is dedicated to my father
and friends, and to the late Dr. Paul Seabury: persistent critics all.
1. Supreme Soviet Changes Anti-State Agitation Law, Foreign Broadcast Information
Service [hereinafter FBIS] Daily Rep.: Soviet Union, Apr. 10, 1989, at 43.
2. PRAVDA Views Criminal Law Changes, FBIS Daily Rep.: Soviet Union, Apr. 11,
1989, at 41 [hereinafter PRAVDA].
3. Several articles of the Soviet Criminal Code have not changed recently, and the use of
these laws against political dissenters have been studied elsewhere. These include laws prohib-
iting hooliganism, UK RSFSR art. 206, reprinted in W.E. BUTLER, BAsic DOCUMENTs O.
THE SOVIET LEGAL SYSTEM 295, 371 (1983); banditism, IR art. 77, reprinted in W.E.
BUTLER, supra, at 331-32; mass disorders, Id art. 79, reprinted in W.E. BUTLER, supra, at
332; and organization of or active participation in group activities which violate public or-
der, Id art. 190(3), reprinted in W.E. BUTLER, supra, at 365-66. These laws continue to be
used to curtail political expression, though with less frequency under the Gorbachev regime.
Cf. DEP'T OF STATE, 101ST CONG., 1ST SESS., COUNTRY REPORTS ON HuMAN RIGhTS
PRACTICES FOR 1988, REPORTS SUBMITTED TO THE HOUSE COMM. ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
1215-17 (Joint Comm. Print 1989).

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