Sunday, May 4, 2008

Activists paint Pillar orange; Yang begins walk

Activists paint Pillar orange;
Yang Jianli begins 500 mile walk

Two stories in the latest CSN update

May 4, 2008 (CSN) -- Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot is an artist with a lengthy relationship to the Chinese democracy movement. He is the sculptor behind "the Pillar of Shame," an 8 meter tall, two ton concrete sculpture in Hong Kong that was unveiled in 1997 to protest the Tiananmen Square crackdown. The concrete pillar depicts about 50 mangled human bodies.

Its name in Chinese translates back as "the Wound of the Nation." The base of the sculpture has engraved in both English and Chinese the words "The Tiananmen Massacre", "June 4th 1989" and "The old cannot kill the young forever."

Now as the world focuses on the Olympic Games of 2008 -- slated to take place in Beijing -- Galschiot is behind a growing movement to use the color orange as an expression of concern about human rights practices in Communist China. The plan seems to be succeeding despite the authorities. The campaign asks, "Can China ban the Color Orange?"

On March 24, as the Olympic flame was ignited in Olympia, 10 Danish orange activists travelled to Greece, anticipating the March 30 ceremony where Greek officials would pass the torch to Chinese officials.

They were stopped by Greek police on March 28. Apparently, a crime is not necessary for police action in Greece. To merely wear the color orange will frighten Greek authorities. This protest action was covered by television reporters for the BBC.

According to the BBC, "The Danes have been asking whether the Chinese can ban the color orange. But the answer appears to be that the Greeks can." (Watch that report at

On April 26, the government of Hong Kong did a similar act, denying entry to three orange activists at the airport. This drew sharp condemnation from the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China. In an April 28 letter to Hong Kong's Chief Executive Donald Tsang, Chairman Szeto Wah noted, "Mr. Jens Galschiot had come to Hong Kong twice prior to this incident without any problem....All the planned activities are legal and peaceful."

It was Galschiot's plan to paint the Pillar of Shame in the color orange, drawing attention back to the Tiananmen Square massacre and China's human rights problems, opposite the May 2 appearance of the Olympic torch in Hong Kong.

What the Danes could not do, the Hong Kong Alliance could. --On April 30, Alliance activists painted the Pillar orange. A press release at said that the Pillar of Shame "was today painted orange by the Chinese Democracy Movement."

Galschiot is actually happy that the Color Orange movement has "its own life and is spreading independently of me." Can the Chinese democracy movement pick up a paint brush? Yes, it can. And, the color orange is now being used to shame the government of Communist China. (Video at

Galschiot also says, "I create my happenings independently of political, religious and economical interests. To me it is equally alarming whether it is Serbs who persecute Muslims or vice versa. The criterion for evaluating an atrocity is the same regardless of who is the perpetrator or who is the victim."

Yang Jianli begins 500 mile walk

The China Support Network is always happy when people come to Washington for the anniversary of Tiananmen Square's June 4 massacre. This year, dissident Dr. Yang Jianli is going on a month-long, 500 mile walk from Boston to Washington to mark the anniversary of June 4.

Yang will be drawing attention to China's human rights abuses in the weeks leading up to the 2008 Olympics, slated to begin in Beijing, China on August 8. It is a walk to demonstrate his freedom. Last year, Yang was released after spending five years in Chinese prisons, largely due to his political activism that has continued since Tiananmen Square's 1989 massacre.

The walk will demonstrate his freedom, remember those who are not free, and express Yang's thank yous and appreciation to Americans who supported him during captivity and called for his release. In his own words, "I am walking with a heart full of gratitude for America, my adopted country, and a soul full of hope for a better future for China, my homeland."

Yang has named his the GongMin Walk. GongMin is a Chinese term which means "citizen power." In addition to thank yous for Americans, Yang calls "for continued American leadership in the cause for Human Rights for all Chinese citizens," in the words of his web site,

[Recently in New York, when Dr. Yang could not be present to give a scheduled speech, the China Support Network read his speech to the crowd in Yang's absence. Video of that address is at .]

Yang will begin his walk today, May 4, with a send off rally at Boston City Hall Plaza scheduled for 2:30-4:30pm. He will proceed to walk through Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland before arriving in Washington DC for the anniversary of June 4.

NECN - New England Cable News - interviewed Yang Jianli about the GongMin Walk, and the video of that report can be found at

The China Support Network's John Kusumi applauded the GongMin Walk as yet another way to raise awareness of Chinese human rights issues ahead of the Olympics. "There are media people in Beijing who have a deliberate blind eye for the Chinese democracy movement, and for the Falun Gong," said Kusumi. "They make it sound like Tibet is the only issue and the only reason for current protests against the Olympics. That's malarkey."

Kusumi continued, "The Human Rights Torch Relay was largely organized by Falun Gong, and the activism we're reporting today is from the Chinese democracy movement. Besides the Tibetans, Falun Gong, Chinese dissidents, and the Save Darfur people have their own coalitions against the Olympics. There are also plenty of Burmese, Vietnamese, Uighurs, and those concerned with North Korea who are against the Olympics.

"I hope that Dr. Yang's walk will raise awareness for these other causes, and increase the turnout to the Washington rallies at the other end of his walk." Somewhat tongue-in-cheek, Kusumi concluded, "To go to a CSN rally, one can simply jump into the car. To walk 500 miles is an extreme measure, not asked of everyone. But I know why Yang is doing it!"


In line with our recent story about the Color Orange movement, there is an email appeal that we have added into the China Support Network blog. The project's originators would like all those who are concerned to be helpful to copy and paste that into an email, then send it to everyone on your list or in your address book. See it at--

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