I wonder what would happen if Chinese customs knew you were bringing in a pack of these playing cards. Would they get confiscated? Would the let you in? Would they charge you with “subversion of state power,” like they have with many of the individuals on these cards?
Though Anthony Tau managed to smuggle a pack into Beijing for a Kontaku article, I am doubtful it would be as easy if these really became trendy enough to catch the attention of the authorities.
The card set features 13 of China’s notable dissidents, human rights activists, and prisoners of conscience, plus China’s former and current presidents as the two jokers. The joker cards alone tell me this wouldn’t go over well in China’s current political climate. Considering the amount of political prisoners in China and the diversity of issues they represent, this deck could have featured countless more faces.
The current deck features the following cards:
JACK – Tan Zuoren: Tan Zuoren did an investigation into the thousands of children killed in the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake. He created an archive of the victims known as the 5/12/2008 Student Archive and posted it online. He was detained in 2009 after publishing the preliminary results of his investigation.
QUEEN – Ni Yulan : Ni Yulan is a human rights lawyer who represented those forced onto the streets when China began demolishing property for the 2008 Olympics. She is incarcerated along with her husband.
KING – Gao Zhisheng: Gao provided legal counsel to House Church Christians and Falun Gong practitioners. He exposed the torture of Falun Gong practitioners by the Chinese government. He was then sentenced for “inciting subversion of state power.” His law firm was closed by the government and he has been subjected to constant torture while in custody.
Ace of Spades – Liu Xiabo: Liu Xiaobo won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize while serving a prison sentence in China. Liu is a human rights activists demanding reforms within the Chinese government. He is still in prison.
2′s: Zhiwen Wang – Imprisoned for practicing Falun Gong. One of countless Falun Gong practitioners illegally imprisoned for their beliefs. His daughter continues to ask for his freedom.
3’s: Kong Youping – Sentenced to a labor camp for pro-democracy blogging.
4’s: Gulmira Imin – Website administrator illegally sentenced to prison for “splittism, leaking state secrets and organizing an illegal demonstration”
5’s: Chen Xi – Veteran dissident, democracy and human rights activist. Illegally sentenced for “inciting subversion of state power” because of his writings.
6’s: Zhu Yufu – Writer and pro-democracy advocate. Illegally charged with “inciting people to subvert state power” and “slandering the country.”
8’s: Chen Wei – Democracy advocate imprisoned several times. Bogus charges include “inciting subversion of state power”, participating in the 1989 Tiananmen demonstrations, and spreading “counterrevolutionary propaganda and incitement.”
9’s: Hada – Advocate for self-determination and democracy. Tibetan Buddhist. Former chairman of the Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance. Hada has been imprisoned since 1996 despite the expiration of his sentence in 2010.
10s: Shi Tao – Journalist and poet sentenced to 10 years in 2005. Yahoo! China provided information to the Chinese Government that led to his arrest. Yahoo was later rebuked by the U.S. Congress and settled out of court with Shi’s family.
The creator is Dallas-based, Grant Shepard. He distributes the cards through his World Freedom Products website. He hopes they can one day be distributed in China.