Future Handcuffed


Cartoons can be a simple and powerful means of conveying basic ideas and truths, and eliciting emotions. The following cartoon, posted by artist Ah Ping (阿平) to Sina Weibo, could refer to any of the many instances in China of government suppression of Chinese citizens pushing for change, from artists like Ai Weiwei to lawyers like Xu Zhiyong, from journalists like Shi Junrong to ordinary citizens on the streets of Shifang. In Ah Ping’s cartoon, a tree spreads its limbs to the sky like outstretched arms, effortlessly defying a pair of handcuffs that restrained it lower down. A new pair of cuffs has been attached to the new limbs. The caption on the picture reads: “How many pairs of handcuffs does it take to keep the future from coming?”

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