For a foolish 20 year-old, my Chinese friends' and teachers' calm, objective views on the Chinese regime were frustrating (educated people tend to have reasonable access to foreign news through internet loopholes). They could see that the government curbed their freedom, but tended to think it was okay. Stories about Mr Ai and Mrs Chang made their lips curl. One friend would curse them, calling their work "misery art" – they were making a profit from playing into Westerners' perceptions of "Evil China".
I really didn't want to believe this.