Friday, May 30, 2008

Remembering Tiananmen Square 2008

Remembering Tiananmen Square In 2008


Events to be held around the world this week


May 30, 2008 (CSN) -- It is that time of year for the annual commemorations and memorial observances to remember the freedom fighters of Tiananmen Square, including the dead, the wounded, and their families who were victimized by the Chinese government's crackdown against the Chinese democracy movement. It was 19 years ago, on the night of June 3-4, 1989, when the government used "the People's Liberation Army" to shoot its way into Tiananmen Square, unloading live ammunition into unsuspecting civilians -- unarmed demonstrators on the streets of Beijing.


Today, CSN is offering this roundup of expected events. (1.) Washington candle light vigil; (2.) New York consulate protest; (3.) Hong Kong candle light vigil; (4.) Washington rally with Yang Jianli and Nancy Pelosi.


(1.) Washington candle light vigil


The IFCSS (Independent Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars) will hold the 19th annual vigil to observe the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, on Sunday June 1, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm, outside the Chinese embassy in Washington DC. The China Support Network and Freedom First Olympics Second Coalition will co-sponsor the event, along with Light Club, the modern rock band that will play American rock music in support of the causes of Chinese freedom, democracy, human rights, and an Olympic boycott.


The Chinese embassy is at 2300 Connecticut Avenue, NW in Washington DC.


(2.) New York consulate protest


Chinese groups including the China Democracy Party World Union will hold a protest opposite the Chinese consulate in Manhattan of New York City, on Tuesday June 3 from 5:00pm to 8:00pm. The Chinese consulate is on the north east corner of 42nd Street and 12th Avenue. The protest will be on the west side of 12th Avenue. This is for the 19th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.


(3.) Hong Kong candle light vigil


The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China will hold the candle light vigil for the 19th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre "to commemorate those who were killed in the June 4th Massacre in China and express our eagerness for democracy, freedom, human rights and rule of law." The vigil will occur on Wednesday, June 4, beginning at 8:00pm. The location is the football fields in Victoria Park of Hong Kong.


(4.) Washington rally with Yang Jianli and Nancy Pelosi


On Capitol Hill in Washington DC, a daytime rally will commemorate the 19th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. This will be in the late morning of Wednesday, June 4, from 10:30am to 12:00pm. The venue is the Upper Senate Park, which is on Constitution Avenue next to the Russell Senate Office Building. This rally will also feature the end of Dr. Yang Jinali's 500 mile "GongMin Walk," in which he has walked from Boston to Washington during the month of May, 2008. A 21-foot replica of the Goddess of Democracy statue (originally erected by students in Tiananmen Square) will serve as a backdrop. In addition to Dr. Yang Jianli, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will speak, as will T. Kumar (of Amnesty International), Carl Gershman (of the National Endowment for Democracy), Rebiya Kadeer (of Uyghur American Association). Co-sponsors include Initiatives for China, the Independent Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars, the Chinese Democratic Party, the Federation for a Democratic China, the Alliance for a Democratic China, Beijing Spring, the Chinese Social Democratic Party, the Uyghur American Association, Falungong Practitioners, the International Campaign for Tibet, Freedom Now, Reporters without Borders USA, Human Rights First, Amnesty International USA, Human Rights Watch, and the US Campaign for Burma.


In addition to the events above, Chinese embassies and consulates around the world will be locations for local protests. Check local human rights groups for details. Here are some that we're aware of:


(5.) London rally with Wei Jingsheng


The Chinese embassy in London is at 49-51 Portland Place, W1B 1JL. This event will be Wednesday, June 4, from 6:00pm to 7:00pm. The UK section of Amnesty International (AIUK) is responsible for organizing this demonstration, which will include famed Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng. Other speakers include Kate Allen (of AIUK), Xia Ze (of Friends of Tiananmen Mothers in the UK), and Chinese dissident Shao Jiang. This is for the 19th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.


(6.) Oxford demonstration


On Wednesday June 4 AIUK is holding a demonstration at the Martyr's Memorial in Oxford, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. This is for the 19th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.


(7.) Stratford upon Avon vigil


The Stratford upon Avon Methodist Church in Old Town will be open for 12 hours of vigil, from 9:00am to 9:00pm on Wednesday June 4. This is for the 19th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.


(8.) Belfast (Northern Ireland) demonstration


On Wednesday June 4 AIUK in Northern Ireland is holding a demonstration at the Corn Market in Belfast City Centre, beginning at 12:00 noon. This is for the 19th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.


(9.) Edinburgh (Scotland) demo w/die-in


On Wednesday June 4 AIUK in Scotland is holding a demonstration to include activists performing a dramatic "die in" at 1:00pm. The venue is The Mound, Princes Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2EL. They will have a table, booth, or stall in the open square next to National Gallery throughout the morning, to help the public / activists to make paper red roses. Those will be used in the program that runs from 12:45pm to 3:45pm. This is for the 19th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.


(10.) Siegburg, Germany seminar


On Wednesday June 4, the Federation for a Democratic China will be running a program at Asia B├╝fett Restaurant, Holzgasse 42, 53721 Siegburg, from 2:00pm to 5:00pm. This is for the 19th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Condoleeza Rice On Hot Seat Again

Condoleeza Rice On Hot Seat Again

An open letter to the U.S. Secretary of State from the China Support Network; calls for diplomatic demarche to Communist China
By John Kusumi

Dear Secretary Rice,

Perhaps you look upon relations with Communist China as a tight rope or high wire, where one in your position must perform a balancing act. It may also be true, to extend the analogy, that you have wobbled during your act. That would explain why you and I have sometimes agreed and sometimes disagreed. Two examples of where we disagree are the "Countries of Particular Concern" list, and the "worst human rights offenders" list. When you took Vietnam off of the former, I called for you to resign. When you took China off of the latter, I called for you to resign. I continue to feel strongly that those nations belong on those lists.

Conversely, we have been on the same page, as when you were pushing for the freedom of China's dissident, Yang Jianli. And of course I applaud any blandishments for freedom, democracy, and human rights. I run the China Support Network, formed by Americans in 1989 when everyone had the urge to respond to the bloody Tiananmen Square massacre -- the carnage and tragedy that befell China in that year.

Now I have a new matter for you, and this one calls for a diplomatic demarche to Communist China. There has been the sudden onset of "rent a mob" counter demonstrators, confronting and harrassing the peaceful protestors of the Chinese democracy movement and the Falun Gong spiritual movement. In fact, similar "rent a mobs" have been counter demonstrators for pro-Tibetan campaigners. I'm not sure about the Save Darfur coalition; they, too are against the Summer Olympic Games if they are held in Beijing given its current policies. While I can't speak for the latter campaigners, I am regularly found among Chinese dissidents and Falun Gong practitioners -- or just say, human rights campaigners.

In the United States of America, which advertises an environment of free expression, should we be tolerating overt interference, vandalism, and assault directed at human rights campaigners in their peaceful, lawful activities? --No! Very clearly, Communist China is testing its limits, because the recent actions against human rights campaigners have been coordinated and stage managed -- we believe from officials at Chinese Consulates.

Perhaps I can recount my own personal experience, due to my involvement with the human rights campaigners. The Human Rights Torch Relay, an alternative to the Olympic torch, began crossing the United States on March 30. I began a speaking tour at related rallies. The crowds were very supportive, and there were no hecklers, counter demonstrators, or opposition -- at first. I witnessed half a dozen rallies with warm receptions. On April 24 at Princeton University was the first occasion with counter demonstrators. They were Princeton students and they were peaceful and orderly -- not overly disruptive. On April 26 at Yale University, Chinese students did a separate program of their own nearby, using another area of the New Haven Green for a counter demonstration. There may have been tense moments as our parade passed by their area, and "the reds" aggressively crowded "the blues" to jeer the procession.

So far, I would say "no harm, no foul." America is a democratic environment and I support the right of "the other side" to be there (even while I disagree with "the reds"). Also on May 17, I was present at a rally in Flushing Queens of New York City. This was for the "Quit the CCP" campaign, a different effort than the Human Rights Torch Relay. The "blue" rally on our side of the street, of perhaps 50 people, was jeered by a crowd of about 400 "red" Chinese on the other side of the street. While this situation was tense, I thought that Flushing police did a great job of keeping the two sides apart. At least while I spoke, I witnessed no violence.

Jeering can be considered acceptable in a democracy -- if I could tell you, "no harm, no foul" then we wouldn't have this letter. Unfortunately, the "red" crowds have been crossing the line into the area of unacceptable interference, vandalism, and assault. Reports from the scene are that a 70-year-old retired engineer was beaten at that May 17 occasion. The Epoch Times reported, "Peaceful Rally Attacked in New York City's Chinatown." To my knowledge, the Falun Gong presence in Flushing, New York has been attacked repeatedly, each day since May 17. --And reports tell us that similar attacks have simultaneously occurred in Los Angeles and in Japan.

The Flushing police department and City Councilman John Liu can attest to escalation that has happened in recent days. At least two arrests have been made by Flushing police, and Councilman Liu appeared on the scene to lecture through a bullhorn. As expressed by the Falun Dafa Information Center (FDI), "Queens police arrested two men in connection with Tuesday’s assaults.... Both stand charged with assault, and may be prosecuted for a hate crime. The victims’ identity as Falun Gong members is believed to have been the crimes’ motive."

Peaceful human rights activists stand with materials such as their booth and their signs. Whether we speak of vandalism to those materials, or whether we speak of physical assaults and death threats to human rights campaigners, these actions serve to deprive the victims of their freedom of expression. They should not be suffering a penalty in consequence of their use of political free speech. A line has been crossed, and these actions are Communist-organized (see below). Councilman Liu drew the line as he said, "This is a fundamental fact in the United States of America: that everybody has a right to say what they want. There's freedom of speech. But nobody has a right to lay a physical hand on anybody else. Or to even touch their belongings including their own signs that they use to make their statements."

Hence, we and I call upon you, Secretary Rice, to make a diplomatic demarche with Communist China. Their consular officials -- in making trouble for human rights activists -- have crossed a line; have gone too far; and have exceeded the limits of what is acceptable conduct on our soil here in the United States of America. One of our volunteers under attack is a U.S. citizen and mother of two U.S. Marines who are serving the USA in Iraq. She was assaulted and received a death threat. Now she has written an open letter to President Bush. See that letter from Judy Chen at http://en.epochtimes.com/news/8-5-23/70945.html. Also for video from Flushing, NY see http://english.ntdtv.com/?c=258&a=3261.

Are we correctly pinning these actions upon the Chinese Communist Party? --You betcha! Think about the PR -- public relations situation. Would mainland Chinese media ever cover the rallies of human rights activists? Not usually. Usually, "the blues" are a verboten taboo in red China. --However, and not by accident, mainland Chinese media arrived at the scene of the attack upon Saturday's rally. According to FDI, "One woman at the Flushing scene identified herself as a reporter sent from Changchun Television, a state-run media entity in northeastern China. A second individual, a male, identified himself as a Beijing journalist assigned to take photos."

As reported by the Epoch Times, "The attack on the rally seems to have been coordinated with Chinese-language media that are controlled or influenced by the CCP. These media outlets, such as CCTV, ordinarily do not cover rallies held to urge people to quit the CCP.

"On Saturday, these media outlets were present in force. Immediately after the event ended, they published and broadcast stories whose themes were that the participants in this rally 'do not care about the victims of the Sichuan earthquake' and 'do not love China.'" The Times also reported that "One of the attackers shouted in Chinese into his cell phone 'Hurry! Bring more people over here. Each person will be paid 90 dollars.'" Hence the term "rent a mob."

To sophisticated Western eyes, the sequence of events is very telling. On the one hand, it is a new day when human rights campaigners get coverage from Mainland news media. But on the other hand, the press coverage amounted to hit pieces to tarnish and slander the human rights campaigners. I can say again that this does not happen by accident. Mainland media does not get dispatched to Flushing, NY unless the assignment is in accordance with wishes of the Chinese Communist Party. The regime has tipped its hand. These incidents are a calling card, and they are testing the United States.

A diplomatic demarche is the least you could do. We continue to call for a boycott of the Olympics and the removal of PNTR trade status from Communist China. Thank you for taking these concerns into consideration.

Cordially,
/s./ John P. Kusumi
China Support Network, Director Emeritus
- Washington DC events will mark our annual observance of the Tiananmen massacre, June 1 and 4 this year -

Friday, May 16, 2008

Disaster for China adds to
woes for the Beijing Olympic Games
Wei Jingsheng and IFCSS call for cancellation or curtailment of the Olympics
May 15, 2008 (CSN) -- This has clearly been a very troubled year for China. Immediately before Chinese New Year, the worst snowstorms in 50 years paralyzed travel, cut off power and supplies, and created a refugee crisis. Soon thereafter, demonstrations in Tibet turned deadly and led to a clamor of international condemnation and calls for boycott of the 2008 Olympic Games, scheduled to start in Beijing, China on August 8. The clamor about human rights re-opened the issues of Chinese involvement in Sudan's Darfur genocide, and support for the regime in Burma. Burma itself experienced Cyclone Nargis on May 2 and 3 this month, killing perhaps 100,000 people.


Now China has experienced the Sichuan earthquake of May 12, 2008 which is their largest earthquake since 32 years ago, when the Tangshan earthquake killed over 240,000 people. The 2008 death toll is now estimated at 50,000 and may still rise further. Over 4 million homes are thought to be damaged or destroyed.


The China Support Network (CSN) would like to hereby express its shock and grief at these unexpected, sudden, untimely, and tragic losses; and, extend its sympathy and condolences to the victims, families, and communities that have been devastated.


For some audiences, it may be important to clarify that CSN is a human rights and political advocacy group; we support the pro-democracy movement of mainland China. This is not the same as humanitarian and disaster relief; we can refer donors to other groups for that purpose, but we are not a direct relief group ourselves. (The Chinese name of our group translates back as, "China democracy support international.")


To provide disaster relief, we have three suggestions. The first is the Red Cross. Red Cross policies allow 9% of donations to be used for organization overhead and administration, and that may exclude credit card processing fees which may be levied first.
https://american.redcross.org/site/Donation2?idb=1960971630&df_id=3198&3198.donation=form1


A second option is the IFCSS (Independent Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars), which has opened a distinct Sichuan Earthquake Relief Fund. According to them, "All the money will be used for the disaster relief." Checks should be directed to-- IFCSS (Sichuan Earthquake Relief Fund). Mailing address: IFCSS, PO Box 15449, Washington, DC 20003. They also note that donors will receive a tax-deductible receipt.

A third option is the Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation. In their words, "Tzu Chi has opened a special account to accept your donation for Sichuan earthquake." They have experience with China disaster relief going back to 1991. Materials from Tzu Chi say that even credit card processing fees are given to disaster relief, so that 100% of your gift goes for disaster relief. Tzu Chi US is a 501(c)3 organization. Donations are tax deductible (Tax ID No. 94-2952782). For credit card donation, please call: 1-888.989.8244 1.888.9TZUCHI. Checks should be directed to-- Tzu Chi Mailing address: Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation USA, 1100 S. Valley Center Ave., San Dimas, CA 91773. Tel: (909) 447-7799 For direct deposit or wire transfer: Cathay Bank (777 N. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012) ABA: 122203950 Account No: 01-130005


The political fallout of these disasters


In the wake of the earthquake disaster, Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng has already called for the cancellation of the Olympics. IFCSS has called for the Olympic torch relay to be curtailed, because it is set to go through the disaster area between now and the Olympics. Both Wei and the IFCSS have also suggested that "less is more" for the opening ceremony of the Olympics. It is true that Olympic opening ceremonies are ostentatious displays of conspicuous consumption, and that advocates for disaster victims now want Olympic resources to be diverted into relief and recovery efforts, which are sure to be costly in the affected areas.


For most Chinese, when they hear in the news of government spending in preparation for the Olympics (35 or 40 billion dollars), one thing that they know for sure is that those sums of money are not hitting their pockets. It is an enormous amount of government spending -- some would say waste -- and, it is not going to them. At a time when China needs humanitarian relief, the Olympic spending breeds resentment. The Chinese government is also the butt of grumbling on four more earthquake-related issues.


First, some people feel that the government could have predicted the quake and provided warning to residents. Chinese officials were able to predict and warn residents in Haicheng to evacuate, one day in advance of its earthquake in 1975. In advance of this year's quake, a self-described seismologist posted a warning on the Internet, but government officials dismissed the post as rumor. It said, "I predict China will have an earthquake on May 12, 2008. The approximate location will be in the middle of Sichuan and Hubei, though all China may feel the tremors." Now, angry bloggers are expressing sentiments such as- "Why should we tax-payers spend money on you high officials in the National Seismology Bureau? The head of the National Seismology Bureau should resign from his position." Another blogger, less polite, said "The China Earthquake Administration should die."


Second, it is very suspicious when a new building collapses while older buildings around it stand. A report in the Globe and Mail cites a local construction worker with knowledge about the Juyuan Middle School in Dujiangyan, which collapsed upon 900 students. "Local officials...pocketed money that was budgeted for the school, while a private construction company had saved money by cutting corners on the project....To boost its profits, the company used iron instead of steel in many parts of the construction of the building. It cut back on the size and number of steel braces in the cement foundation slabs. And it used cheap materials to make the concrete walls, weakening the entire structure. The supervising agencies did not check to see if it met the national standards."


Third, the occasion of this earthquake is bringing renewed attention to China's "one child per couple" policy. It is a hideous policy which has led to human rights abuses such as forced abortions and sterilizations -- and steep fines for families which are out of compliance. The children killed in this earthquake tend to be "only" children, meaning that they are the entire progeny of their parents. Western news reports have highlighted the cruelty of this situation, and the earthquake will lead to calls for ending the one child policy, as well they should.


Fourth, the government is in trouble with the Chinese democracy movement. At the China Support Network, Director Emeritus John Kusumi phrased it this way-- "Premier Wen Jiabao visited the disaster area, and promised that 100,000 troops would be used in the relief efforts. That's remarkable, because when it was time to shoot unarmed protestors out of Beijing's Tiananmen Square, the government called out 300,000 troops. Let's compare these numbers, 100,000 versus 300,000. Tiananmen's massacre took three times as many troops! So now, we can see the government's priorities. Today's disaster is important, but only one-third as important as stopping democracy and free speech! And, if the government has the capacity to call out 300,000 troops, it suggests that two-thirds of them are idle right now. Have they got their feet on the desk while China reels from disaster?"


"In imperial China, earthquakes traditionally signaled the end of a corrupt dynasty. This earthquake has done no favors for the corrupt regime of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The people have growing anger, and lower expectations, for the CCP on the basis of this, the latest in a long sequence of Chinese disasters." Kusumi has been scheduled to give one or more speeches in New York City this weekend, at which time he can highlight these issues.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Chinese dissident begins 500 mile walk

Chinese dissident Dr. Yang Jianli is walking from Boston to Washington DC, May 4 - June 4, 2008. This is his speech at the kick off rally at Boston City Hall Plaza, May 4 2008:

Good afternoon.

Thank you for coming to send me off on my walk to Washington DC. We, people of different faiths and of different ethnicities came together for a peaceful assembly to make a profound testimony: that under God, we are all equal.

(applause)

And we can live together without fear. And we can speak out without facing persecution.

Today, May 4th, is a very significant date in the history of China. 89 years ago, Beijing students demonstrated, calling for democracy, which marked the beginning of China's modern peaceful democracy movement. And today, this cause has not yet been accomplished.

We start our GongMin walk today here in Boston. GongMin in Chinese means "citizen." It is my firm belief that China's hopeful future lives in the awakening of its citizen spirit, and the growth of its citizen power.

(applause)

Being a citizen means that we have the right to make our voice heard. Being a citizen, we have many responsibilities for our country we love so deeply. Our walk will conclude in Washington DC on June 4th, another historic date. On that day, I will join a large group of human rights advocates and political and religious leaders to remember untold numbers of Chinese compatriots who were killed on that date 19 years ago in Tiananmen Square.

After five years as a political prisoner, I'm once again free, thanks to the efforts of countless friends in the United States. But I'm not walking simply for my personal freedom, as blessed as I am to have it. I'm walking on behalf of the millions of others who cannot walk with freedom --who cannot speak for freedom without fear of persecution.

At a time when the eyes of the world are on China, as it prepares to host the Olympic Games, I'm walking to draw attention to the people the Chinese government tries to make invisible. I'm walking for the powerless whose land has been grabbed by China's officials and their associates. I'm walking for the powerless who face forced evictions because their homes were demolished for Olympic beautification and to make a way for government supported developers. I'm walking for the powerless who are constantly subjected to exploitation by predatory officials and deprived of all means to make their grievances heard.

I'm walking for the Tibetan monks, the Falun Gong practitioners, the underground house church members, the petitioners, the human rights defenders, the political prisoners who fill Chinese prisons. I'm walking for all citizens of China who wish for freedom and democracy.

(applause)

Earlier today, I walked the Freedom Trail. My heart was filled with hope. If this great monument to the founding principles of this country is to resonate more broadly in the 21st century, it must extend beyond Boston. It must extend to Tiananmen Square.

(applause)

It must extend to the Chinese countryside as well as to the people of Tibet.

(applause)

I'm walking with a deep love for my compatriots and my homeland. Chinese farmers, workers, thinkers, holy men, students, and ordinary citizens, men and women, are entitled to a government that respects their rights as human beings. Rural Chinese deserve land. Urban Chinese deserve housing. Both deserve shelters in which they are protected, not just from wind and rain, but also from the King's unwanted entrance.

Today, this 500 mile GongMin Walk begins our new steps to continue the same walk the Beijing students started, and have marched for nearly a century.

My friends, I stand here today knowing that the Chinese people want change. And that that change will come only as a result of brave efforts inside China and our supportive efforts outside China. It may not be change that comes as quickly as we want it to; but it will come, one step at a time. Or perhaps, 1,408,000 steps -- that is 500 miles -- at a time!

(applause)

Our cause is true and of justice. Because freedom is our birthright. It is, in the words of Jefferson, inalienable. Because the lord who gave us life gave us liberty. I believe the onward march of freedom is irreversible. And with the grace of God, freedom will prevail.

Thank you. God bless you all.

(Video version of speech at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEUtCuzNSeA )

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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T92fGP-SEVM)

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 TheColorOrange.net 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 http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8365571767211550290)

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, InitiativesForChina.org.

[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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gc2GYBAkC1k .]

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 http://www.necn.com/Boston/World/Former-prisoner-will-walk-from-Boston-to-DC/1209513428.html

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!"




Extra

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--
http://chinasupport.blogspot.com/2008/05/appeal-for-color-orange.html