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Obituaries of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo have largely focused on his spirited defence of free speech in a communist country. Far less attention has been paid to his equally robust defence of free markets. He quite correctly saw them as an essential component of open societies.
Liu, who died last week, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 for his “long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China”, which the Chinese described as “inciting subversion of state power”.
Liu was one of the authors of the landmark Charter 08 that was signed by Chinese democrats. One of its demands was free markets as well as the protection of private property. He was also a votary of privatization of government enterprises. The charter called for social security for citizens as well. In India, this link between political and economic freedom is unfortunately underplayed.
Reinstating the right to property as a fundamental right would be a good way to bolster the freedom of Indians.