Nearly four years ago, eight young Chinese adults gathered to talk politics and form something called the New Study Youth Group. It wasn't much of a big deal; the original group never actually met again. Still, as detailed in this harrowing Washington Post account, all eight had their lives mangled by the Chinese government.
Three and a half years later, four members of the study group are in prison, serving sentences of eight or 10 years on subversion charges. Two are free but living with the shame of implicating the others when interrogated by police. And Li has fled to Thailand, where one recent afternoon he leafed through some of his reports and struggled to explain why he became an informer and betrayed his friends.