Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Liu Xiaobo by the government of the Peoples Republic of China
WHEN: Tuesday, December 29, 2009 2:00 p.m.
WHERE: Consulate of the Peoples Republic of China
42nd Street & 12th Avenue , New York , NY 10036
CONTACT: Ann Noonan 646/251-6069
Jonathan Cao 917/292-7348
Dr. Anna Cheung 516-708-3985
SPEAKERS INCLUDE: Dr. Wang Juntao, Prominent June 4th dissidents, masterhand on the June 4th 1989 democratic movement; Mr. Hu Ping, Beijing Spring Magazine Chief Editor, famous writer and political analyst;
Mr. Chen Pokong, Writer, former June 4th 1989 democratic movement leader at Guangzhou
Background: Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years in prison for calling for political reform in China through a manifesto called Charter 08. He has already been in detention in China for a year, and his 2-hour trial ended on Christmas Day with a guilty verdict.
“We continue to call on the government of China to release him immediately,” US embassy official Gregory May told reporters outside the courthouse following sentencing. “Persecution of individuals for the peaceful expression of political views is inconsistent with internationally recognized norms of human rights.”
In 2008, while human rights supporters throughout the world prepared to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the International Declaration of Human Rights, Liu Xiaobo, one of China's most prominent human rights activists was arrested in his home in Beijing. His crime was drafting a document, Charter 08, which calls for political reform in China . His telephone and internet lines were cut, and his personal papers, books and computers were seized.
Charter 08 reiterates many of the rights as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It calls for democratic reform in China and it calls for change in 19 areas, including a new constitution, an independent judiciary, freedom of assembly, election of public officials and stronger guarantees for personal freedoms. It expresses a sense of urgency for the future and destiny of China . The document has more than 8,000 signatories including intellectuals and human rights activists, lawyers, journalists, dissidents, artists and rural leaders in China .
Charter 08 was based on Charter 77, a human rights manifesto which challenged Soviet rule and was originally signed by about two hundred writers and intellectuals in Czechoslovakia in 1977. One of the signers of Charter 77 was playwright Vaclav Havel who later became the first President of democratic Czechoslovakia after the 1989 "velvet revolution". Charter 77 serves as an example of how Czechoslovakian dissidents who signed the Charter 77 petition changed history when they stand up for what they believe.
Friday, December 25, 2009
The China Support Network condemns this flagrant outrage; calls for the PRC/CCP government to release Liu Xiaobo; calls upon the U.S. State Department and the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama to intervene and to apply pressure to the Chinese government for the purpose of securing the release of Liu Xiaobo; and, CSN calls upon the Chinese people to implement the recommendations of Charter 08. Don't wait for Liu to be free. Don't wait for the Communist Party to move. Don't wait for the American government to move. Charter 08 must be heeded now, and implemented beginning at once.
For researchers who will write about the Chinese democracy movement, the sentence for Liu Xiaobo is an historic turn in the story. And now, the Chinese government has clearly pointed out that which they would suppress: Charter 08. The abuse of Liu Xiaobo is a clear indicator that the CCP fears Charter 08 and its influence upon society.
Liu Xiaobo became prominent as a leader in Tiananmen Square's uprising of 1989, for which he became a political prisoner (twice previously). He has been prominently visible as a writer, an intellectual, and a leading dissident voice. And one year ago, he was involved in the preparation of Charter 08, a document whose release was timed to coincide with International Human Rights Day on December 10, 2008.
As described by the group, Human Rights In China,
"Charter 08 is an open appeal to Chinese authorities to promote legal reform and political democracy and guarantee human rights. It was issued by 303 Chinese individuals from all walks of life, including writers, scholars, lawyers, journalists, workers, peasants, entrepreneurs, and retired Party officials, to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It sets forth 19 specific recommendations, including constitutional reform; separation of administrative, legislative and judicial powers; freedom of association, expression, and religion; and civic education based on universal values and civil rights."
Charter 08 started with 303 co-signers, and later attracted thousands of signers as an internet petitiion. A Facebook group for Charter 08 has 1,251 members. On Twitter, @freeliuxiaobo has 397 followers.
Two notable features of Charter 08 are (1.) its call for the end of one-party rule -- the monopoly on power currently held by the Chinese Communist Party; and (2.) it follows the pattern of Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia. Charter 77 was an effort by anti-communist dissidents in Czechoslovakia to change their country during a time when it was still dominated by Soviet Communism. Due to the first aspect, Charter 08 directly challenges Communist Party rule in China; and, due to the second aspect, Charter 08 is not just a document; it's a movement.
Liu's current case began when authorities arrested him two days before the release of Charter 08, on December 8, 2008. His formal arrest was announced on June 23, 2009. Human rights groups such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the China Support Network unanimously condemned the arrest and detention of Liu Xiaobo, as did governments of the US, EU, and Canada. On Twitter, @freeliuxiaobo has 397 followers. His formal indictment was rendered on December 10, 2009, International Human Rights Day.
As the trial approached, Charter 08 signatories began to appeal on the internet, with a petition saying, "We Are Willing to Share Responsibility with Liu Xiaobo." Ding Zilin of the Tiananmen Mothers urged fellow signers of Charter 08 to gather outside the court "to be part of the trial." Ding Zilin -- who lost her 17 year old son in 1989's crackdown against the Chinese democracy movement -- has maintained prominence by issuing very statesman-like appeals for justice on each anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called for the Chinese government to have dialogue with the Tiananmen Mothers.
In addition, Bao Tong, a former top Communist Party official who also signed Charter 08, warned that a guilty verdict "will be nothing other than a stripping away of citizens' right to freedom of expression, publication, association, protest, and demonstration. It will mean nothing less than an announcement that the Constitution is null and void."
On Wednesday, December 23, 2009, the two hour trial was held behind closed doors at the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court. Authorities prevented many people from entering the courtroom to attend the trial: Liu Xia, the wife of Liu Xiaobo, was kept out, as were about one dozen diplomats from the US, Europe, and Canada; and, about two dozen Charter 08 signers who had answered the call of Ding Zilin to attend the trial; and, some number of journalists. No verdict, nor sentence, was announced on Wednesday.
The verdict and sentence were then announced on Friday, December 25, 2009, Christmas Day. For "incitement to subvert state power," Liu Xiaobo is sentenced to spend 11 years in prison. Liu will turn 54 years old on December 28, 2009. The sentence suggests that Liu may be 65 years old when next he has his freedom, although this trial really indicates that "freedom" does not exist for Chinese citizens, even when outside the walls of a prison.
As a matter of analysis, we should note that Charter 08 is an entirely non-violent effort to shine a light on solutions for Chinese society. In fact, the Chinese democracy movement has both "hardline" and "moderate" wings. Perhaps the difference between the two camps is the difference between revolution and evolution. Charter 08 called for a significant evolution in the Chinese polity and political structures. Some in the hardline wing criticized Charter 08 for being "way too moderate."
Perhaps the hardliners feel, "never mind a 'significant evolution,' let's have a significant revolution." And now, the case of Liu Xiaobo demonstrates the oppression and the arbitrary rule-by-fiat which is practiced by the Chinese government. The case is an excellent example of the reason why hardline Chinese dissidents feel as they do -- and why they say "tuidang" (Quit the Party) and why they established the China Interim Government to be a dissident group waiting in the wings.
Once again, the Chinese government is testing the outer limits of how much abuse the people will tolerate. And, no matter whether they hail from the moderate wing or the hardline wing, Chinese dissidents will be united in calling for the freedom of Liu Xiaobo.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Feckless on human rights, Obama may also prove to be feckless on the economy, because a better U.S. economy begins with recalibrating U.S.-China policy.
Whether we speak of human rights or speak of the economy (or speak of the communist agents who were passed off as college students in Obama's "town hall" in Shanghai), Obama displayed a blithe lack of awareness for the state of affairs between the U.S. and China.
And now, Wei Jingsheng is calling out Barack Obama about these matters. Wei, often described as China's most famous dissident, lives in the United States since his 1997 release from 18 years' imprisonment in Communist China.
---=== (drumroll) ===---
Why Did Obama Come Back from China Empty Handed?
-- Wei Jingsheng
What we all have been most interested in this week, is US President Obama's visit to China. That is because we all had great expectations of this US President's visit.
Chinese at home or Overseas have hoped that President Obama could do something regarding Chinese human rights. Ever since Hu Jintao came to power, the human rights situation in China has been deteriorating. Many people have been arrested, put in jail, and abused. Those who are out of jail also experience more pressure than in the past, to the degree that it is hard to breathe. The Chinese Communist regime controls the media, blocks the Internet, and tightens the room of speech. The Chinese people more than ever wondered if the US president could help them to reduce some of the pressure. In the past, the pressure from a US president always had some effectiveness, because the Communist regime is most afraid of the human rights diplomacy of the USA.
It seems Americans care most about the exchange rate between the US dollars and the Chinese currency RenMinBi. This is the key to reducing the trade deficit. Even 10 years ago, most of Americans already knew that the unfair trade system would increase the trade deficit and thus result in unemployment. But some politicians who were bought out by the big business enterprises forced the passage of the Most Favored Nation status (later on named Permanent Normal Trade Relationship to reduce the attention and pressure) for the Communist regime. At that time, the Americans still enjoyed a pretty good life with a trade deficit of less than 57 Billion dollars, so most Americans took it. After all, we have to respect the democratic system and respect the law.
But now, the US economy has deteriorated with increasing unemployment and depression in every corner. The trade deficit between the USA and China has skyrocketed to more than 268 Billion dollars. Many Americans know that is due to the fact that the Chinese government manipulated the currency exchange rate, in addition to an unfair trade system. Just as the US senator Charles Schumer pointed out: the whole economic crisis started with the Chinese government's manipulation of the Chinese currency. If we do not solve this root problem, other efforts are meaningless.
Yet, President Obama did not bring back anything from China. The United Kingdoms' Times article today has a title: "President Obama returns home from visit to China almost empty handed". This result is indeed totally out of people's expectations. When the strategic advisors in the White House designed the topics for Obama, they felt that these core issues are hopeless. So they left a lot of room to play, such as environment, troops in Afghanistan, etc, even to the details of Iran's nuclear facility. They were not even expecting any substance from the Chinese Communist regime, but simply wanted to express its attitude on these issues.
But President Obama did not even get these issues done in China. In the human rights front, he did not even get the Chinese government to release a few political prisoners just to make a show. Hu Jintao really did not give Obama any face, not even a human rights show, except to waste Obama's trip to China. In comparison to the previous a few terms of not so successful presidents of the USA, Obama seems to be the least successful in dealing with China.
Not mentioning conservative news media, even news media that lean to the left such as the Washington Post published commentaries strongly criticizing Obama for not doing anything to reduce the trade deficit. It went so far as to review the Permanent Normal Trade Relationship that President Clinton signed for China, and narrated in detail how the huge increase of the trade deficit with China is the result of politicians and businesses selling out America. If we read these words in the past, we might have thought the Post was a Republican newspaper attacking the Democrats.
Why did President Obama, who could give eloquent speeches is so popular in Europe, fail so much in China? We could name a list of reasons, but there are two root reasons. One is that he and his advisors do not know either China, or the Chinese. They thought that they are dealing with a democratic country. The diplomacy between democratic countries is the diplomacy of gentlemen. If you release a signal of kindness, then the other must return with the same. Or we could use a popular way to describe it as a "cooperative diplomacy of mutual compromises and mutual benefits."
However, if you ever hear an American president referring to the Chinese Communists as a cooperation partner, then you know that they do not know about the Chinese Communist Party at all. Even those Western diplomats who speak good Chinese do not know that this "cooperation partner" is an error of basic concept. The logic of the Chinese Communist Party is a "philosophy of struggles" that believes "when the enemy retreats, we shall invade". If you retreat, it will believe you are afraid of it. If they do not take a step forward, they will be teased within the Communist Party, even be attacked as a result. In dealing with the Chinese Communist Party, it is totally wrong to practice this spirit of compromise and cooperation that the Western democratic societies are accustomed to. So if we view the stand that Obama offered to China before his trip, we could tell that his visit would come to a total failure.
The second most important reason is the impedance from the business community. The biggest beneficiary of the trade deficit with China and unemployment in the USA is big business in both America and China. Ever since many years ago, these businesses have voluntarily defended the interests of the Chinese Communist party. In these issues of unfair trade and manipulation of currency, they share the interests of the Chinese Communist Party. Just ten years ago, they were already able to manipulate both the US Congress and the US administration to the degree that they went against the desires of the majority citizen voters in the USA. Even with the prerequisite of being unable to hide from the public, they were able to pass a resolution that the majority of voters were against and thus offered free trade to the Chinese Communist Party unilaterally. Now, their benefits are already 4 or 5 times more dependent on business, so the average voters have even less power to against them. Even President Obama has a hard time to go against the businesses' will. This is one of the root reasons that the US President had to put down his posture in front of the Chinese Communists.
Therefore, the US-China relation is not just an issue of economy, or Chinese human rights. It is already testing the Western democratic system. Both Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin were unable to dissolve the Western democratic system, yet the current Chinese Communist Party is in its effort to realize Lenin's wish: to make the "American imperialism" be the last stage of capitalism. It seems to be successful so far. This is why this one time visit of the America president to China received so much attention from the people. People are not only caring about the issues of currency exchange and unemployment. People are concerned mainly if the Western democratic system as represented by the USA will be defeated by an autocratic Communist system.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
No verdict was announced at the end of the five-hour hearing.
For an array of press coverage about today's action, see the following links.
Times Online: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article6923192.ece
Reuters via Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/19/AR2009111901506.html
Associated Press: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5ih_hP1LWb_3qhbcM1onJF6W1XpHgD9C2JNI00
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
'Still Lousy After All These Years'
During Obama's visit, China quietly sets a trial for Tiananmen Square student leader Zhou Yongjun
- Trial to occur Thursday, one day after Obama leaves China -
By John Kusumi
This is a newsbreak, coming to you from the China Support Network. Yes, it's more than 20 years after the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy uprising and massacre of civilians at the hands of the Chinese army. But never mind that; Communists, dictators, tyrants, and thugs continue to rule China, and they still don't know when to quit, or when to stop persecuting the participants of the pro-democracy uprising that was led by Chinese college students back in "Spring Semester, 1989."
In fact, Communists, dictators, tyrants and thugs have slated more such persecution to be coming up this week -- one day after U.S. President Barack Obama leaves China. During this week's presidential summitry, China has quietly scheduled a trial to be held on the morning of Thursday, November 19 2009, in Shehong County Court [in Suining] of Sichuan Province.
They will put on trial Tiananmen Square student leader Zhou Yongjun, who is now in his third stint as a prisoner of Mainland Chinese authorities. Zhou was previously a political prisoner from 1989-1991, and from 1998-2001. When he is not a political prisoner, Zhou is a U.S. permanent resident who lives in California and has two U.S. citizen children.
The China Support Network has worked as part of RAZY, the Rescue Alliance for Zhou Yongjun, during much of 2009. Zhou's case has been submitted to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; we have held press conferences in New York and Hong Kong; and, we have allied with Hong Kong legislator (and Chairman of the Democratic Party) Albert Ho to pressure Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang to explain why Hong Kong authorities performed the arbitrary detention of Zhou -- followed by the secret rendition of Zhou to authorities of Mainland China.
(For CSN's web page that chronicles the Rescue Alliance, see http://www.chinasupport.net/CSN/razy.aspx
Now, let's have ourselves a thought exercise which might reasonably be called hypothetical conjecture.
Could there be a reason why the American people are distrustful of government? --And a reason why they distrust their news media? Let's conjecture that freedom and democracy matter to the American people, and that human rights are important.
In its day, the Tiananmen massacre was an eye opener. Indeed, it was a jaw dropping atrocity by the hand of evil. More than eye opening, it was eye popping. At that time, Pew Research found that 45% of the American public was "closely following" the political turmoil in China, which was all over the news for months. It was entirely reasonable that some American college students set up the China Support Network; the Tiananmen massacre was an occasion similar to other vast tragedies in the news -- Hurricane Katrina and the Asian tsunami come to mind as eye popping tragedies that played out on world television. For all of these tragedies, many relief efforts sprang up, and the China Support Network was initially just one more effort, among many, to help the cause of the "laobaixing," the common people of China.
Americans would have seen the uprising populace of China as similar to the people of Poland or East Germany or Czechoslovakia. The people were oppressed by Communism and were demanding their freedom. Clearly, that is a cause that Americans can support. Americans could support a rebuke for Tiananmen Square, but not George H.W. Bush, who was then the U.S. President. His policy was loudly criticized by many commenters. There are freedom loving people. There are anti-communists. And then, on the other hand, there is George H.W. Bush (who can be called Bush-41).
The policy of Bush-41 can be summarized thusly: "La Di Da. Mass murder is just fine, or A - OK." For freedom loving Americans, this policy is unacceptable.
The administration had a blind eye for the Tiananmen massacre, but the news media did not, at that time. Tiananmen Square student leaders escaped from China and came to the United States and began working with the China Support Network. The discontent with Bush's China policy continued all the way to the next presidential election cycle, when a challenger named Bill Clinton invited Chinese dissidents to the Democratic National Convention of 1992. That convention was addressed by not one, but two Tiananmen Square dissidents. Bill Clinton vowed that he would "not coddle tyrants, from Baghdad to Beijing," and promised specifically that he would renew China's MFN trade status only with linkage to progress on human rights.
Clinton's promises were "more like it." The tougher stand with China is what the American people wanted, and it contributed to the election defeat of Bush-41, who became a one-term President, and the victory of Bill Clinton. Once he was in office, Bill Clinton threw away his earlier playbook -- he double crossed the Chinese dissidents by breaking his campaign promises -- and Clinton's policy became, like that of Bush-41, "La Di Da. Mass murder is just fine, or A - OK." For freedom loving Americans, this policy remains unacceptable.
To have such easy countenance for mass murder, I believe that it doesn't take a village. It takes an evil, bloodthirsty monster. Bush-41 and Bill Clinton both qualify as evil, bloodthirsty monsters -- in my book.
To the degree that Barack Obama inherits and continues that China policy, and acts just like it's Bill Clinton's third term, then I believe that he also inherits the designation--from me--of being an evil, bloodthirsty monster.
The mass murder of Communist China is not acceptable; the easy countenance of the United States to overlook the Tiananmen massacre is not acceptable; and, the China Support Network has said it well in a prior statement, and we repeat it here and now:
"All Maoism must cease immediately."
Because there is such distance and disconnect -- between a freedom-loving policy as at CSN on the one hand; versus the evil bloodthirsty monster policy of the U.S. administration on the other hand; this leads to the headline on this article, which begins with a hashtag, "#ObamaFAIL," and which headline says: "U.S.-China Policy 'Still Lousy After All These Years'."
And the news media? --is very obviously comprised of buffoons, sociopaths, and propagandists. I've called U.S. television news people "bent, craven, depraved sock puppets managed by a corrupt cabal," and today let's add an additional designation, namely that of being evil, bloodthirsty monsters. At least for myself, when I see faces of people such as Hillary Clinton and Chuck Todd, I imagine the blood of innocents drooling out of their mouths, over their lips, and down their chins. To watch American TV news in the present day is to gaze directly into the faces of evil.
The American people have very good reasons to turn off their televisions and to boycott CNN and other networks. To watch the news is only to watch sociopaths at work; if one has a low tolerance, or not much stomach for sociopaths, then it is best to avoid America's TV news channels.
To my reader, thank you for reading to the bottom of this thought exercise, which might reasonably be called hypothetical conjecture -- as long as freedom, democracy, and human rights are only window dressing for the United States of America. If rights mattered, the news media would revolt against a China policy that is akin to its very own crime against humanity. As it stands, I think that every newscast of theirs -- if excluding the Chinese democracy movement -- is a crime against the American people. (And indeed, sending Americans' jobs to China is a crime against the American worker, so the White House has got crime in progress too.)
# # #
Thursday, November 5, 2009
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20500
November 5, 2009
Dear President Obama,
The China Support Network is aware that you will visit China soon. We are a human rights group with a long history of solidarity with Chinese dissidents and their pro-democracy movement seeking reform in Mainland China to include freedom, democracy, and human rights.
Our work began in 1989, as American college students witnessed the eye-popping atrocity of Tiananmen Square’s crackdown and massacre, by troops of the Communist Party, which still runs China today with no freedom, no democracy, no human rights, and no accountability nor justice for the victims of that among other crackdowns.
A current of thought says that U.S. politicians lose sight of the forest for the trees. They get lost in the weeds of issues. What happens if we step back and look at the top line of Mainland China’s experience under the Communist Party-led regime founded by Chairman Mao?
When the Maoism has passed, the history will be written. And, history will neither be kind to that regime, nor to the pliant Baby Boomer Presidents of the U.S. who turned a blind eye and gave Chinese Communists a nod and a wink to tacitly bless their disregard of human rights.
When the history is written, the reign of Maoism – including three recent successors to Mao – was the world’s largest humanitarian disaster ever, anywhere, bar none. For the number of untimely deaths caused by the regime, credible estimates range from 65 million to 80 million dead.
That is larger than the death toll of World War II. The Chinese Communist regime is the world record holder in mass murder. As we observe this situation and the unforgiveable U.S. China policy which followed Tiananmen Square, there is a lack of situational awareness that smacks of George W. Bush during Hurricane Katrina.
Observing the scene, one might conclude that at the U.S. White House, there is no such thing as a humanitarian emergency; and that in U.S. newsrooms, there is no such thing as a humanitarian emergency. But, history knows, and history will tell.
Will you appear on the right side or the wrong side of history? Will Wolf Blitzer appear on the right side or the wrong side of history?
The tenures of yourself and Blitzer reflect either an absence of situational awareness, or a deliberate choice to feign an affected nonchalance. That is to say, a blind eye, a deaf ear, and a choice to see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil may in fact be willful on your part. However, you each have ongoing tenure, hence may yet appear on the right side of history.
We urge you to do so, and to stop the trade deficit which the U.S. runs with Communist China. When the Maoism has passed, the Chinese leaders must answer for genocide and crimes against humanity. And the indifferent leaders of the Western world will need alibis or plausible deniability, lest history record them as accessories during the fact of genocide.
You will soon visit China. If you follow in the footsteps of Bill Clinton, you may be wheeling and dealing to enlarge, rather than reduce, the U.S. trade deficit which robs the U.S. economy of jobs and purchasing power. That trade deficit ought to be categorized as a crime against the American worker, while it also finances genocide and crimes against humanity at the other end of the trade.
Again, we urge you to reduce and then eliminate the trade deficit. The health of the U.S. economy requires at least balanced trade, if not a surplus.
Do we want a Reaganesque, "Tear down this wall" speech? –It would be a step in the right direction.
Short of that, we urge you to speak up for prisoners of this cause. Zhou Yongjun and Liu Xiaobo are leaders from the Tiananmen Square action, again suffering deprivation of their liberties -- over 20 years after that historic occasion. When in exile, Zhou is based in California, has U.S. permanent residency, and applied for citizenship. He has two U.S. citizen children.
Wang Bingzhang is the father of the China democracy movement overseas and referred to as China’s Nelson Mandela figure. When in exile, Wang is based in New York, and he has four U.S. citizen children who have not seen their father since 2002.
Gao Zhisheng is an attorney famous for taking on cases of the persecuted (e.g., Christians and Falun Gong practitioners) and referred to as China’s Conscience. The regime has vengefully persecuted Gao in reply, and he disappeared on February 4 of this year. His wife and two children fled to safety in the United States.
President Obama, reunite these families! It’s the right thing to do; it would be a step in the right direction; it would give Wolf Blitzer something to talk about; and thereby enable his redemption.
The China Support Network has its own message that might be delivered to China, that "All Maoism must cease immediately!" Thank you for taking in our missive. May God bless America and China both.
/s./ John Kusumi, President
The China Support Network
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
CSN updates of October 13, 2009
RAZY rises to lodge objections in Hong Kong
The Rescue Alliance for Zhou Yongjun, co-founded by the China Support Network, held another news conference Monday -- this time, in Hong Kong.
Zhou Yongjun (also known as Majer Zhou) was an early bird -- fast off the mark -- as the first student leader in the uprising at Tiananmen Square -- an occasion in 1989 that led to the army crackdown against demonstrators, who were seeking freedom, democracy, and human rights in Mainland China. Students elected him the first Chairman of the Autonomous Students' Federation of Beijing Universities, the group which initially ran the Tiananmen Square protests.
Zhou, now legally a permanent U.S. resident, is presently in the custody of Mainland Chinese authorities in the Suining district of Sichuan Province, for his third stint as a political prisoner in Mainland China. The authorities have lodged trumped-up charges accusing him of financial fraud, even though Zhou lived in the United States and could not have committed any crime whatsoever in the jurisdiction of the Mainland, on Chinese soil.
He was arrested by border police of Hong Kong as he tried to enter there in September, 2008. He had been motivated by the declining health of his aging parents, and by the devastation of the Sichuan earthquake which struck his hometown in early 2008. He was travelling with a false passport, purchased from an immigration company, bearing the name Wang Xingxiang.
Monday's news conference highlighted a peculiar aspect in this human rights case: The case is one of arbitrary arrest and detention. But, there are really two complaints which can be lodged with two governments: Hong Kong performed the arbitrary arrest, and then with no legal basis nor proceedings whatsoever, handed Zhou over to Mainland China, which continues the arbitrary detention.
As a result, RAZY is lodging Zhou's case with the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, but in addition there is an effort by lawyers in RAZY to focus Hong Kong attention on the baseless rendition of Zhou, performed by Hong Kong authorities in flagrant disregard of international human rights, the judicial independence of Hong Kong, and normal procedures.
Newswires covered Monday's news conference, and they noted the normal procedures and how they have been violated in this case. In the Reuters story--
"Hong Kong, a former British colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1997, enjoys a high degree of autonomy and a separate judicial system under its mini-constitution, the Basic Law, but critics say the case of Zhou Yongjun sets a worrying precedent....
"Extradition of individuals from Hong Kong to China remains rare, while the Basic Law obliges authorities to "safeguard the rights and freedoms" of all those in the city....
"The Hong Kong government responded to the incident in a statement by saying anyone with an invalid travel document would be 'repatriated to his or her place of embarkation or origin'.
"It wasn't made clear, however, why Zhou was not sent back to Macau or the United States where he is normally resident."
The AP quoted RAZY co-founder Li Jinjin, a dissident Chinese attorney who was himself a Tiananmen Square student leader, as saying "Zhou was sent to China without legal basis. Hong Kong is responsible."
On the DPA newswire, Hong Kong "has a separate legal and political system and a mini-constitution that guarantees freedom of speech and political freedoms. Extraditions to China are rare."
Albert Ho, the head of Hong Kong's Democratic Party, joined the news conference. On the AFP newswire, Ho said, "Hong Kong does not have a rendition treaty with mainland China so should not have transferred dissident Zhou Yongjun to the Chinese city of Shenzhen in September last year."
On the AP newswire,
"Hong Kong, a former British colony, was returned to China in 1997, but the territory retains separate political, legal, economic and immigration systems from the mainland. It also lacks a deportation and removal treaty with mainland China.
"They are totally disregarding the obligations under the law," Albert Ho, a Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmaker who is helping with Zhou's case, said of Hong Kong authorities. "It seems the government is acting on the direction from China."
On the Reuters newswire, Ho said, "This possibly constitutes a very serious infringement of (Zhou's) rights, which is guaranteed in the Basic Law," and added, "He was taken back against his will to China for trial or investigation."
On the AFP newswire,
"'We are pressing for the government to explain why it sent him (Zhou) to the mainland,' said Ho, who is acting as a lawyer for Zhou and his family.
"Ho said he was also asking to see police records for Zhou's case.
"Zhou, who is being held in a detention facility in his home province of Sichuan, has been charged with defrauding Hong Kong's Hang Seng bank, Ho said."
Zhou's girlfriend Yuewei Zhang also featured prominently in the coverage. On the AP wire,
"'I am here with our little girl to look for Daddy,' said Zhang Yuewei, Zhou's girlfriend and the mother of his young daughter. 'It's Hong Kong's government who sent him to mainland China.'...
"On Monday, Zhou's girlfriend carried a portrait of him as she marched with other supporters to Hong Kong's government headquarters. They called on Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang to explain why Zhou was turned over to Chinese officials, a possible violation of the territory's laws, and asked for help securing his release."
On the DPA wire,
"At a press conference Monday, his girlfriend and mother of his young daughter accused the Hong Kong government of sending Zhou to China where he is detained in Sichuan....
"Girlfriend Zhang Yuewei said Zhou's family only learned of his arrest and detention in Sichuan seven months after he was placed in custody in mainland China....
"His girlfriend and lawyer said there is a political motive for trying him in Sichuan rather than in Hong Kong where the alleged offences took place."
On the Reuters wire,
"Zhou, a former student leader from the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement in Beijing, travelled to Hong Kong from Macau last September under a false identity, but was held and transferred by Hong Kong officials to police in the South China city of Shenzhen, his girlfriend and lawyer told reporters.
"'Zhou Yongjun went missing in Hong Kong and the Hong Kong government sent him to China, leading to him being detained till now,' said Zhang Yuewei, Zhou's girlfriend."
Speeches mark 60 million resignations from the Chinese Communist Party
A rally was held on October 4 on the Boston Common to salute the progress of the Tuidang (Quit the Party) campaign. In the past four years, it has recorded 60 million statements of Chinese people leaving the Communist Party and related organs such as the Communist Youth League.
"Nobody believes in communism anymore," said CSN's John Kusumi in a speech at the rally. In another speech, Boston-based campaigner Michael Tsang listed the sins of the Communist Party (a partial list) and then considered the stance of U.S.-China policy.
In Tsang's speech, it's about more than "whether the U.S. is going to be displaced as the economic power of the world, or increasingly lose its military edge. My concern is whether America continues to lead the world in freedom and democracy. We are increasingly condoning all of this and in danger of losing our standards without our realizing it. Not cognizant of their [CCP] tactics, we are conceding to them rapidly on every front."
More on the Boston event can be found as follows.
Article in the Epoch Times:http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/23483/
Kusumi speech in CSN's blog:http://chinasupport.blogspot.com/2009/10/prepared-remarks-of-oct-4-2009.html
Tsang speech in CSN's blog:http://chinasupport.blogspot.com/2009/10/speech-by-michael-tsang.html
China marks a different occasion with the number 60
On October 1, the regime of the Chinese Communist Party turned 60 years old.
At the China Support Network, nobody celebrated. Instead, we co-sponsored a protest prepared by REAL at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC.
That protest heard speeches from organizer Jeffrey Imm and from Timothy Cooper, the Executive Director of Worldrights.
An article about that protest appears at the URL below, and we thank Jeffrey Imm and REAL for the co-sponsorship.
Bao Tong reviews the PRC at 60
Bao Tong was a political aide to ousted chief Zhao Ziyang. (Zhao was a Communist Party leader who took the side of the students in the Tiananmen Square matter, and was deposed by the hardliners who won the power struggle in 1989. Zhao lived under house arrest for 16 years until his death in 2005.) Bao lives under house arrest in Beijing, and he wrote an essay for the October 10 occasion of Taiwan's National Day.
Bao may have written the best summary of the past 60 years in Mainland China. Bao said the last 60 years of “glorious” Communist rule contained “a big lie.”
“In the first 30 years, tens of millions either died of starvation or were ‘struggled’ to death under the banner of revolution,” he wrote.
“In the second 30 years, anyone standing up for civil and constitutional rights, for religious freedom, for ethnic autonomy has been declared an enemy of the people en masse, all in the name of stability.”
Bao also praised Taiwan's model of government, and as reported by Radio Free Asia, Bao said that "reunification should occur on the basis of Taiwan’s system of government, not China’s."
Friday, September 25, 2009
A providential coincidence in modern Chinese history:
Falun Gong and CDP
By Timothy Cooper, Executive Director, Worldrights
A providential coincidence of modern Chinese history may have aligned the strategic interests of two profoundly important but different groups of persecuted Chinese nationals who have suffered the same unhappy fate. Ten years of unrelenting state-sponsored repression against two sets of innocent nationals—one political, the other nonpolitical—may have, ironically, set the stage to potentially advance the well-being of both in the common cause of ending unchecked human rights oppression in China.
These two independent groups—linked only by national identity and vitality of purpose as well as their common faith in a more benign future for China—include courageous exiled leaders and mainland supporters of the China Democratic Party (CDP), together with the well-organized and intelligent members of the Falun Gong, which boasts more members worldwide than the entire Chinese Communist Party.
The near simultaneous emergence of the two on the Chinese landscape ten years ago, with CDP rising peaceably to register as an opposition party to advance prospects for political pluralism in China, and the gentle practitioners of the Falun Gong appearing silently and respectfully at Zhongnanhai headquarters in Beijing to protest the beatings of forty fellow members in Tianjin, generated lightening-like repression by former president Jiang Zemin, leaving a tsunami of human suffering in its shocking wake.
Despite international diplomatic interventions on behalf of both CDP and Falun Gong, the long season of oppression against them, as well as others, remains in full flower. In early September 2009, CDP dissident Xie Changfa was sentenced to 13 years in prison for “subverting state power.” He was convicted of attempting to organize a national meeting of the outlawed CDP in Hunan province—nothing more. On May 23, Falun Gong practitioner Li Min died at the age of 51 in Daqing Prison in Harbin. Reliable information suggests that he was denied proper medical attention after suffering a likely stroke. Evidently, he was also tortured. Tortured for practicing the art of qigong.
Astonishingly, even after all these years, Chinese leaders still fear Falun Gong practitioners’ benign language of tolerance and compassion; they persist on making enemies out of legions of otherwise kind and gentle citizens. And after sixty years of unbroken challenge to Communist Party monolithic rule, they go on recoiling at CDP’s not unreasonable call to advance the vital cause of political pluralism; they turn patriots into innocent prisoners, stifling the organic expansion of democracy while damaging the future political brain trust of the country.
While the economic landscape of China radically changes, China’s long era of brutality remains unchanged. Good people suffer. Illegitimate prisoners pack prisons. Citizens in custody die dreadful deaths. It is a government that is reliant on the brutal use of force to check the civil conduct of its citizenry, and is generally regarded as morally bankrupt, spiritually bereft, and lacking in political legitimacy, a government living on borrowed time. The only question is: How much time does it have left? It could be two years or twenty. However many years remain, if history has taught us anything, it’s that between now and then, the Government of the People’s Republic of China is perfectly willing and profoundly capable of destroying many more people’s lives in its desperate attempt at self-preservation.
Though a principal victim of Beijing’s offenses against humanity, the Falun Gong has exhibited a remarkable profile in courage by waging a pacific battle against a merciless empire that uses unbridled force to fight empty shadows. In doing so, it has been very careful to define itself as being one hundred percent non-political. That position is understandable in light of the fact that the practice of qigong—Falun Gong or otherwise—has been historically devoid of political affiliations, concentrating on a “mind-body cultivation practice” instead.
On the opposition end of the political spectrum is CDP. It is one hundred percent political. The guiding principles of CDP read in relevant part: “The CDP advocates fair competition in both the economic and political arena, opposes political monopoly and economic monopoly in any forms; the CDP is also committed to promote transparency in political life and administrative efficiency; the CDP calls for social and political institutional transformation in a peaceful and orderly manner, we oppose chaos, we oppose the removal of violence by using violence. We believe that we should achieve our goals through peaceful, rational and non-violent means. We support that political confrontation should be replaced by civilized dialogues...”
Such a keen emphasis on replacing confrontation with sophisticated dialogue is welcome and above all, necessary, if qualitative institutional change tilted toward democracy and a genuine respect for human rights is to arrive nonviolently in China at the earliest possible date. Chaos serves only the scavengers of history, not its most noble architects. However, a fundamental question about the development of CDP as a vehicle for positive political change remains. How is CDP to evolve into a mature instrument of power capable of asserting its political legitimacy worldwide and replacing the Communist Party when democracy finally takes hold?
On this question, the separate paths of Falun Gong and CDP could merge. If for no other reason than to compound the visibility of their oppression at the hands of the Chinese government and to extend the reach of their campaigns to nonviolently progress historical change inside China. How? By exercising—even in exile—their fundamental right to vote as Chinese citizens.
An internationally recognized human right, the right to vote is enshrined in core UN human rights treaties, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The act of voting is arguably one of the highest acts of citizenship—if not the highest. Its authority stems from the fact that voting for duly elected representatives is the most direct expression of the will of the people and represents the consent of the governed. It is a profoundly moral act because it allows citizens to take responsibility for and control over the policies and performance of their governments. There can be no steadfast protection of basic human rights in any society without the effective exercise of the right to vote. Arguably, it is first among equals in the universal pantheon of civil rights.
Which is why the CDP needs to engage in the democratic process—even in exile. In order to mature its leadership on behalf of the overseas Chinese community in preparation for the day when it can and will compete for political power in China, and demonstrate that it is fully capable of conducting itself as a credible organization, it needs to practice what it preaches—democracy—and on a grand scale.
That is to say, CDP will best serve the cause of human rights in China—and one of its main constituencies, the Falun Gong—by calling elections, fielding candidates, overseeing the voting in of elected officers, and starting to function on a daily basis as a legitimate political party. This will be the first step toward eventually accomplishing two other critical goals: 1) the establishment of a truly global Chinese World Congress, composed presumably of both CDP and non-CDP members; and 2) the creation of the official Chinese “shadow” government-in-exile, along the lines of a high profile, fully operating “China Interim Government,” responsible for the authoritative articulation of official overseas Chinese democrats consensus views in opposition to the CCP. Other prime examples of democratically-run political organizations-in-exile, formed to serve the interests of their constituencies, are the Government of Tibet in Exile, under the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and the World Uyghur Congress, led by Rebiya Kadeer.
The overseas CDP is fully capable of coordinated and qualified leadership. Such exiled leaders as Xu Wenli, Wang Youcai, Ni Yuxian, Wang Jun, Xie Wanjun, Tang Yuanjun, Wang Xizhe, and Wei Jingsheng, among many others, could choose to run for election to senior CDP leadership posts, drawing global attention to important Chinese issues, both in the mainstream Western press as well as the Chinese press. Candidates for office could take part in a myriad of vigorous public debates, before any number of interested constituencies, including the Falun Gong, in order to stump for votes. Their views and opinions would then be communicated to the entire world through newspapers, including the World Journal and the Epoch Times, for appraisal by potential voters. Indeed, those news sources could sponsor candidate debates and forums, as is done in the West in national elections. Television networks, like NTD, could broadcast those debates internationally, informing voters about the candidates on a grand scale. On Election Day, polling places would open in America, Canada, Europe and Australia, permitting the first-ever slate of CDP leaders to be elected by ballot box.
Such elections would immeasurably enhance the institutional and political legitimacy of the current Chinese human rights/pro-democracy movement, and significantly raise its political profile worldwide, especially if voters turned out at the polls in large numbers on three continents. Political leadership elected by such large numbers would start CDP down the path toward becoming a highly persuasive opposition voice for the Chinese people. Moreover, it would demonstrate that the Chinese rights movement had finally arrived and was capable of practicing the essential art of democracy, moving it down field toward establishing a Chinese World Congress and eventually a functioning “shadow” government, one day mounting a serious political challenge to Beijing.
How are Falun Gong’s nonpolitical interests served by CDP’s political empowerment?
Assuming that Falun Gong practitioners accept that a democratic China will best protect their right to practice qigong, it is clearly in their vested interests to perform one of the first duties of citizenship in a democracy: cast their vote for duly elected representatives, exercise their human right to enjoy representation in exile. It is the most meaningful way in which the Falun Gong, singularly and collectively, in Australia, Europe, America and Canada, can contribute to the advance of democracy in China that does not—and will not—violate its peaceful and nonpolitical nature.
The Chinese pro-democracy movement has been steadfastly supportive of the Falun Gong. It has stood by them for over ten years. It is time for Falun Gong to reciprocate by helping them, by supporting their right to do what democrats do the world over—run for election.
In this way, with the simple exercise of the power of one person-one vote, a ten-year-old coincidence of oppression, initiated by a paranoid Chinese government against the Falun Gong and CDP, can be turned into an historic providential coincidence of another kind—one that advances rather than retards democracy and human rights in what may one day become the New Republic of China, or in CDP’s own visionary language of China’s future, the “Third Republic of China.”
Chinese dissidents should heed Tim Cooper's advice
- More ideas on unity for Chinese dissidents -
By John Kusumi, Director emeritus, the China Support Network
In a recent article, friend of freedom Timothy Cooper (Executive Director of World Rights, also experienced with the Free China Movement and the China Democracy Party), advocates that Falun Gong and the China Democracy Party (CDP) should move closer together, with CDP to hold an election and Falun Gong practitioners to vote for its leadership.
It is well known that Falun Gong urges everyone to move away from the Chinese Communist Party -- so it seems natural as they move away from the old arrangements, that they should move towards new arrangements for Chinese society.
The CDP is indeed working on new arrangements for Chinese society. They have a project of enormous proportions to change the sweep of history. In June 2007 in the U.S. state of Rhode Island, a First Party Congress of the CDP was held under the auspices of Xu Wenli. That Congress adopted a Declaration of "China's Third Republic," an expression of intent to build a third republic while respecting the work, effort, and legacy of two earlier attempts (1911 and 1946) to make a democratic Chinese republic.
For many years, Chinese dissidents have focused on the party system. One could argue that too many dissidents have made too many political parties, but from a review of all of the efforts, higher name recognition and hence greater strength is present for the China Democracy Party. The effort of CDP is "out in front," ahead of the pack of additional dissidents who work on more alternative parties.
Dissident Xu Wenli had ambitions to make a political party -- and that Declaration of the Third Republic of China -- but, was not ambitious to make a government-in-exile.
A saying says that "nature abhors a vacuum," and late in 2007, other dissidents announced plans for the China Interim Government (CIG), which went into operation at the start of 2008. The CIG has a very hardline flavor to its politics, while at the CDP, Xu Wenli is known to be more moderate. Xu might be willing to talk to Maoists; while CIG would be more inclined to jail Maoists, bringing them to justice for their crimes against the Chinese nation.
The free Chinese movement includes towering intellects such as Yang Jianli, who has been able to formulate a proposed Constitution for a future democratic China.
All of the mentioned efforts are strong steps in the right direction -- I believe that China needs these things, and that the mentioned efforts should be welcomed. And for my part, I came up with a proposed flag for a future democratic China.
Timothy Cooper and this author are known friends of the cause for a better China. For both the CDP and the Falun Gong, we are observers and often guest speakers in their activities. I can't speak for the origins of Tim Cooper, but when June 4 happened (the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989), I was a 22 year old American student -- an undergraduate of Arizona State University.
I thought that American students should help the Chinese students. I started the China Support Network. Hence, mine is authentically a "grass roots" group, which takes no money from government. We do not have CIA involvement, nor even that of the NED (National Endowment for Democracy).
As a result, for free Chinese we have advice that is sincere and not sold out. I believe that this one thought in particular underpins the article of Tim Cooper: Chinese dissidents are like a school of fish, and they would be more graceful if they all swam in the same direction. Added power would flow from the added grace.
Mentioned above are four things that nations need:
- a political party;
- a government;
- a Constitution;
- a flag
These are four separate efforts coming from four separate camps in the democracy movement. My article title is "Thoughts About Unity for Chinese Dissidents," and I am arriving at the bottom line. Let's imagine that all four efforts can be united with the common theme and branding, that these are for the Third Republic of China.
"Third Republic of China" is the project declared by CDP, yet the project is larger than CDP itself. Theirs is good leadership, because they have provided a theme into which all of the other efforts fit.
Suppose that China Interim Government changed its name to be the Interim Government of the Third Republic of China. With one move, the CIG could increase its relevance and legitimacy, and by moving closer to the moderate wing of the democracy movement, it would become more central and more attractive to "centrist" Chinese dissidents.
Suppose that Yang Jianli renamed his Constitution to be a proposed Constitution for the Third Republic of China. Simply by renaming it, he would express that his is part of the larger, integrated effort to establish the Third Republic.
Suppose that CDP took up a slogan of being "the majority party of the Third Republic of China," and suppose that Falun Gong practitioners chose to be citizens of the Third Republic of China. They can be a large part of the constituency that is represented, even while the Third Republic lives overseas in exile.
The Interim Government could be more democratic by holding elections like those proposed by Tim Cooper, and Falun Gong practitioners could vote.
And for my part, I will rename my flag proposal as a proposed flag for the Third Republic of China. (Note that the word "proposed" indicates that the Constitution and the flag are not even provisional; they are merely suggestions on the same plane with all proposals. It is for others to take up, adopt, approve, or ratify the proposals, or to reject them, or to accept alternatives.)
We have already reached the bottom line of my article. And now, here is the proposed flag for the Third Republic of China:
Monday, September 21, 2009
This week, Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) is all about protesting the arrival of China's President Hu Jintao in New York City. Their schedule of protests is as follows:
Monday, September 21st
PROTEST: Hu Jintao's arrival in NYC
Where: Waldorf Astoria Hotel where Hu Jintao will be staying (50th St & Park Ave)
Tuesday, September 22nd
FREE TIBET RALLY & POLITICAL THEATRE
Where: Dag Hammerskjold Plaza, United Nations (47th Street and 1st Ave)
Why: Hu Jintao to attend UN Climate Summit with President Obama and other world leaders
Note: At 5pm the protest will continue at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel (50th St & Park Ave)
Wednesday, September 23rd
OPENING OF UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Where: Protest at United Nations - Dag Hammerskold Plaza (47th Street and 1st Ave)
Why: Hu Jintao will be addressing the UN General Assembly
At 2pm we have been invited to join the Iranians/Burmese and other groups for a Human Rights Protest (same location)
On September 23rd from 8-10am there will also be a protest at the WaldorfAt it's website, SFT also credits the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, Regional Tibetan Women's Association, US Tibet Committee, and Tibetan Community of NY/NJ.
One week later, the China Support Network will co-sponsor protests in New York and at the Chinese embassy in Washington. Those protests on September 30 are timed to coincide with the October 1 anniversary of the People's Republic of China.
Details about the September 30 New York event will follow in a later post.
Wednesday, September 30th
CHINA EMBASSY PROTEST IN WASHINGTON DC
Where: Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, 3505 International Place, NW
Co-sponsors: R.E.A.L. (Responsible for Equality And Liberty) and the China Support Network
Note to other human rights groups: More co-sponsors are welcome. A permit exists
from noon-6pm, which allows creativity in expanding the program.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
been forgotten, or abandoned?
September 20, 2009 (CSN) – A coalition co-founded by the China Support Network held a New York City news conference on Friday (September 18, 2009) to highlight the case of political prisoner Zhou Yongjun, who is a prominent figure from China’s Tiananmen Square pro-democracy uprising of 20 years ago. Zhou was the first elected president of the Autonomous Students Federation of Beijing Universities, the force which occupied Tiananmen Square during the run up to the infamous massacre of June 4, 1989. In that occasion of mass murder on global television, the Chinese Communist Party used its army and live ammunition to clear Tiananmen Square, killing about 3,000 unarmed protestors on the way in.
Zhou was captured and jailed from 1989-1991. International pressure led to his release, after which he emigrated to the United States. In the U.S., he obtained legal permanent residency, and became the father of two children who are U.S. citizens. In 1998 he attempted a return to China, and was captured and sentenced to three years in a labor camp. He was released somewhat early in 2001 because the Chinese government was bidding for Beijing to win host city status for the 2008 Olympics. His early release was a token gesture to display human rights improvement for the benefit of the International Olympic Committee.
In 2002 he returned to the United States and settled in California. Almost one year ago, in September 2008, he again attempted to return to China, out of concern for the declining health of his aging parents and the effects in his hometown of the Sichuan earthquake, which ravaged that area early in 2008.
Using a false Malaysian passport that Zhou purchased from an immigration company, Zhou went to Macao and tried to enter Hong Kong. At that point, Hong Kong police questioned him about an allegedly fraudulent letter that was written to Hang Seng bank by a person named Wang Xingxiang, which happens to be the name on the false passport that Zhou presented.
Zhou has made it clear that he did not author the letter in question. The bank had declined to transfer money in reply to the letter, because it had discerned that the signature did not match its records. After questioning, Hong Kong police concluded that Zhou was not the man in whom they were interested.
Zhou was then notified that immigration still needed to verify his identity, and that he was not allowed to enter Hong Kong, nor return to Macao nor the US. HK immigration authorities held him at the border for 48 hours, from September 28-30, 2008. In the words of Zhou, “Later they said ‘sorry’ to me that they misidentified me and turned me back over to immigration.”
Hong Kong immigration authorities experienced some mercurial lark and turned Zhou over to authorities of Mainland China. This was arbitrary arrest, not supported by any provocation, nor legal basis, nor any shred of due process of law. With no proceedings, no official decision, no chance for review, hearing, representation, or appeal, Zhou found himself moved to “a small hotel in Shenzhen.” What Zhou experienced may accurately be called an extrajudicial kidnapping.
The story inside China proceeds as we have seen in the world news. On May 13, 2009, Western news wires reported the formal arrest of Zhou, based on an arrest warrant dated May 8, 2009 citing suspected fraud. His detention was kept secret by the Chinese government for more than seven months prior to mid-May, 2009. The China Support Network scooped the news wires by writing about this case a month earlier, in mid-April, 2009. On Sept. 4, 2009, Radio Free Asia reported that Zhou will soon go on trial for the trumped up charge of attempted financial fraud stemming from the Wang Xingxiang letter.
At this point, it is observable that absurd and ridiculous (arbitrary) actions have and continue to occur in Mainland China. However, we must not lose sight of the point that absurd and ridiculous (arbitrary) actions occurred on the part of Hong Kong immigration authorities in September, 2008. If the present story were a movie, it would be a double feature, with two examples of script writing that should be denounced for barely plausible story lines.
The coalition formed by CSN, called RAZY (Rescue Alliance for Zhou Yongjun), held a news conference in New York City on September 18, 2009. Two Chinese dissident attorneys spoke about the two sides of this “double feature” human rights abuse case.
Attorney Li Jinjin spoke about the fact that Mainland Chinese authorities have no jurisdiction over this case – even if we suppose (for the sake of argument) the allegations were true. (Any attempted fraud on a Hong Kong bank is in the jurisdiction of Hong Kong authorities to prosecute. Because Zhou had not yet set foot on Chinese soil, he cannot have committed any crime in Mainland China.)
Attorney Ye Ning spoke about the ominous and precedent-setting violations by Hong Kong authorities. Such treatment is a new experience for Chinese dissidents. The case report notes, "Normally a non-HK resident refused entry to Hong Kong would be sent back to his place of origin, i.e. the place from which he travelled to Hong Kong."
In recent memory this has happened to other Chinese dissidents -- Wuer Kaixi and Yang Jianli have attempted to enter Hong Kong, and they have been put onto planes that returned them to Taiwan.
Also at the press conference, John Kusumi for the China Support Network and Yuewei Zhang for the families of Zhou Yongjun denounced and decried the whole double feature atrocity.
Back up materials released at the newser included a case report and copies of China’s arrest warrant for Zhou, its indictment of Zhou, an interview with Zhou, an opinion from the attorneys at Beijing's Mo Shaoping law firm, and an open letter to Donald Tsang, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong. Also within the materials was a family impact statement from Yuewei Zhang, the fiance of Zhou Yongjun and mother of his daughter Fiona.
The actual news in the news conference may be the formation of the Alliance and the fact that it is submitting all of the above materials to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. The Alliance happens to feel that it is a slam-dunk case and hence that we can anticipate a U.N. determination of arbitrary detention.
The other actual news from the news conference is the open letter to Donald Tsang, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong. Hong Kong is supposed to exist with administrative and judicial independence from China’s central government, under the principle of ‘one country, two systems.’ Hong Kong has no legal basis to perform a secret rendition of a Chinese dissident to Mainland China.
Of course, the geopolitical climate in today’s world may have been tipped to favor secret renditions, due to the bad example and precedent set by the administration of a leading global superpower, which will remain nameless. (Perhaps the nation with the bad example should be called the Republic of Balagua. Thereby, the name is changed to protect the guilty superpower.) Bad example notwithstanding, the practice remains gangsterism without a legal leg to stand on – and, it is a challenge to the fundamental freedoms of the people of Hong Kong.
An ominous bad precedent has been set in Hong Kong’s handling of this case, and the open letter to Donald Tsang notes that it assists human rights abuse in China; forfeits Hong Kong’s administrative and judicial independence through “indecent and disgraceful” police cooperation with Mainland China; is a violation of all well recognized international protocols; and is a disgraceful betrayal. The signers call upon Hong Kong for self-restraint and remedy; calls for the international community to launch an investigation of this “serious development”; and calls upon Hong Kong people to stand up and speak out for the administrative and judicial independence of Hong Kong.
All presenters at this news conference became signatories to the open letter for Hong Kong’s chief executive Donald Tsang.
Prepared remarks for 9/18 news conference
Zhou Yongjun's Case Report, by attorney Li Jinjin
Zhou Yongjun's Arrest Warrant (English translation)
Zhou Yongjun's Indictment (English translation)
Zhou Yongjun's Jailhouse Interview (English translation)
Zhou Yongjun's Defense Attorney's Memo (English translation)
Zhou Yongjun's Family Impact Statement
Hong Kong Chief Executive Scolded in Open Letter
# # #
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Obama praised for tariff on Chinese tires;
Friedman blasted for ignorance about China;
Chinese dissidents host art exhibit
September 13, 2009 (CSN)
CSN to host RAZY press conference
In responding to the Tiananmen Square crackdown, the China Support Network and the Chinese dissident community are rightly outraged by the capture, mistreatment, arrest, and upcoming trial for Zhou Yongjun, who in 1989 was the first Tiananmen Square student leader elected to chair the Autonomous Students Federation of Beijing Universities. The Federation was the occupying force in Tiananmen Square.
The Chinese government plans to hold a trial for Zhou, who lives in the United States where he has two U.S. citizen children, and who attempted a return to China in September, 2008. As he attempted to cross from Macao into Hong Kong with someone else's passport, Hong Kong immigration authorities decided that he should go to Mainland China in the custody of authorities. They transferred him to Mainland authorities who held him in Shenzhen before moving him to his home province of Sichuan and arresting him with trumped up charges.
There is absolutely no merit to the trumped up case against Zhou, and CSN has already described this case as Tiananmen Square persecution carried forward into the present day. On Friday, September 18, 2009, CSN will host a Manhattan press conference with Chinese legal experts to detail the case and to announce next steps which are being undertaken by RAZY. RAZY is an acronym for the ad-hoc Rescue Alliance for Zhou Yongjun.
The press conference will run from 12:00 to 2:00pm on Friday the 18th, at the National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, New York, NY 10003. Presenters will include attorney Li Jinjin, who is also well known from the Tiananmen Square student leadership; attorney Ning Ye; John Kusumi for the China Support Network; and Yuewei Zhang for the family members of Zhou Yongjun.
Obama praised for tariff on Chinese tires
The China Support Network extends its applause for the recent decision by U.S. President Barack Obama to raise import tariffs on Made-In-China vehicle tires. CSN's director emeritus, John Kusumi, said, "This is a first baby step towards closing the barn door and retrieving the U.S. economy from Communist China. However, it is very welcome news in that this step is in the right direction. Kudos must go to Barack Obama and to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk.
"We used to think that a currency manipulation tariff would be the first Obama tariff against economic dirty pool by the Chinese regime. It turns out that a tire tariff appeared first. We are happy to take progress where we can get it -- so today, the China Support Network offers a round of applause to President Obama."
The China Support Network also calls upon Beijing to abolish Laogai and Laojiao systems in China. Because those systems promote slave labor, they too are economic dirty pool and serve to unbalance trade, tilting the playing field. As internationally-recognized human rights abuses, Laogai and Laojiao could easily become the basis of future tariffs from an enlightened U.S. presidential administration.
Kusumi commented, "When they want the jobs back in America, Laogai and Laojiao are ready reasons for tariffs. They are low hanging fruit -- easy to criticize and easy to tariff, in the same spirit of social and economic justice as that of the Emancipation Proclamation." In line with that, rhetorical questions came from Kusumi: "Should labor be worth nothing? Or, should labor be worth something? And, how noxiously objectionable is this Chinese practice of employing slave labor?"
Friedman blasted for ignorance about China
The New York Times published an abomination on September 8, 2009 -- a rambling, incoherent, disjointed editorial from columnist Tom Friedman, which has been roundly criticized and lampooned on the internet.
Tom Friedman wrote, “One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages.”
The entire Chinese pro-democracy movement will take a dim view of such dim witted statements. At CSN, John Kusumi said, "Friday's upcoming press conference, where my group will detail human rights abuse in China, serves to put the lie to Tom Friedman's romanticized notions of one-party autocracy.
"The New York Times has become an open sewer emitting the propaganda of Tom Friedman. His statements should be noxiously objectionable to all peoples of the free world. Someone else described Friedman as ‘your classic power slut.’ In the current case, he is brown nosing Chinese Communists, and the shoe seems to fit.
“At Friday’s CSN event, I will speak and may have more choice words either for Friedman specifically, or for the New York Times in general. If the Times fires Friedman before Friday, then I will applaud the Times for doing the right thing; but certainly not in the alternative case."
Chinese dissidents host art exhibit
The upcoming press conference of Friday will be hosted within an art exhibit that is already in town from the Tear Down This Wall Foundation. “Tear Down This Wall” reminds of the fall of Soviet Communism in Germany, but at this commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the event, the Foundation is actually run by a series of Chinese dissidents.
The Foundation has been co-sponsored by numerous well known Chinese dissidents, including Fang Lizhi, Liu Gang, Wang Dan, Wang Juntao, Wei Jingsheng, Xiong Yan, and Xu Wenli.
Their point is to say that The Wall is still there for those under Communism in China. We still need to tear down this wall. About the art exhibit, see also an earlier announcement from the Foundation, at: http://www.duping.net/XHC/show.php?bbs=11&post=998854
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Continues, Over 20 Years Later
A public statement by John Kusumi, China Support Network director emeritus
We have at hand an issue -- inattention to which demonstrates how the international community has sunk to lows of being inattentive to China's human rights crisis and the plight of China's pro-democracy movement, which garnered so much sympathy in the wake of 1989's Tiananmen Square massacre. Indeed, for the first decade after Tiananmen, Western news organizations constantly featured Chinese dissidents, abuses committed by the regime there, and high profile cases of prisoners of conscience. Then, for the second decade after Tiananmen, Western news largely did a 180-degree turn, and while prisoners of conscience continued to suffer, newscasters themselves seemed to have no conscience.
The Tiananmen crackdown is not over. The case of Zhou Yongjun is particularly galling because it can represent the entire Tiananmen Square student movement. Why? Because as the first student leader actually elected to lead the Autonomous Students' Federation of Beijing Universities, Mr. Zhou already once did represent the entire Tiananmen Square student movement.
What happened, and continues to happen, to Zhou is emblematic of China's handling of political dissidents from 1989 all the way up to the present day. Zhou is now in his third stint as a political prisoner in Mainland China. Twice before, he was arrested and imprisoned.
He was first arrested by Chinese authorities soon after the massacre of June 4, 1989. The international community raised pressure for his release, which happened in 1991 after about 1.5 years' imprisonment. In 1992 he made his way to Hong Kong and in 1993 he resettled in the United States. He became a legal permanent resident and also applied for citizenship. He now has two children who are U.S. citizens.
In 1998, he attempted a return visit to China, was arrested in Guangzhou, and became a political prisoner for the second time. He was sentenced to three years in a laogai ("reform through labor") camp. He was released about six months early in 2001, because the Chinese government was bidding for the Olympics to be awarded to Beijing. By making a token release of political prisoners, Beijing was able to display a fakey, staged impression of "human rights improvement." Zhou then returned to the United States in 2002.
Now, he is in his third stint as a prisoner of the Chinese government. Homesickness and his ailing father led Zhou to attempt another return to China in September, 2008. He was detained by Hong Kong immigration authorities as he attempted to enter Hong Kong from Macao. At that point, he could have been turned away just like other dissidents. (Yang Jianli and Wuer Kaixi have also tried to re-enter China recently, and they were put onto airplanes that returned them to Taiwan.) Instead -- and unlike their handling of other dissident cases -- the Hong Kong immigration authorities turned him over to Mainland police.
To enter China, Zhou had obtained a Malaysian passport which bore the name Wang Xingxiang. Authorities in China have charged him with "financial fraud," solely on the basis of a letter that is alleged to be from Wang Xingxiang to Hang Seng Bank in Hong Kong requesting to withdraw money. Zhou has made it clear that he did not author that letter, but it is the basis for the Chinese regime to continue to hold him now.
In this case, several objections are immediately obvious.
1.) Even if some crime were committed against Hang Seng Bank in Hong Kong, that would be for Hong Kong authorities to prosecute. At the time he was detained, Zhou had not even set foot in Mainland China, so absolutely no crime could have been committed within their jurisdiction.
2.) The Hong Kong authorities are not prosecuting the case. No government outside of China is charging him with a crime. Just as no crime was committed inside of China, neither did Zhou commit any crime outside of China.
3.) Zhou Yongjun is not Wang Xingxiang. Even if the Wang letter was real and not manufactured by Chinese authorities, the matter pertains to someone else, not Zhou. China's authorities are using slimmer-than-slim evidence to press trumped-up charges against Zhou in the absence of legal jurisdiction over the allegation that they complain about.
4.) Zhou was held incommunicado, with no legal representation and no notification to his family, for the first seven months of his current incarceration. This violated a Chinese law that a prisoner's family must be notified within 24 hours that a prisoner is held.
5.) Zhou suffered mistreatment in prison and his family was subject to harrassment, threats, and intimidation.
6.) The family hired famous attorney Mo Shaoping who is known for defending Chinese dissidents. Then, the authorities threw Mo off the case, depriving Zhou of legal representation and due process of law.
7.) I also object to how the U.S. State Department and the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama handled this case. The case is so thin as to be transparent. Instead of demanding Zhou's immediate release, the State Department made a mild bleating noise. They may have muttered something about how they hope Chinese authorities will handle this case fairly in accord with due process of law and international human rights norms -- but, the spokesman might as well have said "Baaa" or "Moo." Hillary Clinton herself, and Barack Obama likewise, said even less than that. We have at hand a case that shows the ineffectiveness of the U.S. State Department in defending human rights, and that displays how the U.S. executive branch is little more than a shoe shine boy for the Chinese regime.
8.) I object to how U.S. newscasts have shown no interest in this case, which is in fact Tiananmen Square persecution carried forward into the present day.
Under the Criminal Procedure Law of China, Zhou should have been given a trial by August 27, 2009. There is no word of any such proceeding having occurred in recent days; hence, the regime in China is once again violating its own laws in the handling of this case.
This case displays flagrant and egregious abuse by the Chinese government of Zhou's human rights. It falls into a pattern of crimes against humanity by the Chinese government. Not only political prisoners, but religious prisoners and other prisoners of conscience are swept up by the Chinese government. And clearly, the pushing and shoving in the matter of 1989's student uprising and June 4 massacre continues.
The China Support Network demands the immediate release of Zhou Yongjun. We also insist that it is time for the Chinese government to say "uncle" to the pro-democracy movement, and to implement the reform suggestions that have appeared in Charter 08 (a tract published in 2008, attributed to Liu Xiaobo, another detainee whose release we also demand) and the writings of Xu Wenli (co-founder of the Chinese Democratic Party) and other top Chinese dissidents. Xu Wenli called for a "Future of China" conference to be held this fall in Beijing; the China Support Network echoes that call and encourages the Chinese leadership to enable and implement that conference. To enable the conference, dissidents abroad must be permitted to go home from exile. We also urge that step to be undertaken.
/s./ John P. Kusumi, September 1, 2009
Sunday, August 2, 2009
August 2, 2009 (CSN) — Leading Chinese dissident Tang Baiqiao doesn’t take misbehavior from the Chinese government sitting down. Recently, violence was directed against him with a suspicious attack in Flushing, New York.
The attack came after threats of violence that Tang received last year while Chinese pro-democracy campaigners were opposing the Beijing Olympics and CCP violence then directed against Falun Gong practitioners in Flushing, New York.
Tang was a leader in the student uprising of 1989 that led to the Tiananmen massacre. Tang escaped from China into exile in the 1990s, and now lives in the United States. As a Chinese dissident, his resume is lengthy and distinguished. Previously, he was known for his organizations including the China Peace and Democracy Federation–formerly called ‘China Peace’–and the All China People’s Autonomous Federation.
It is true to note that Tang’s group and the China Support Network have cooperated in the Global Coalition to Bring Jiang to Justice; the Tuidang campaign; the Freedom First Olympics Second Coalition; and the Human Rights Torch Relay. At the beginning of 2008, Tang became an officer and spokesman for the China Interim Government. As previously reported by CSN, Tang explains that–
“The goal of the Chinese Transitional Government is to overthrow the Chinese Communist dictatorship; to establish a democratic society. Because only the overthrow of the Chinese Communist tyranny can solve all the problems in China.”
It was July 6 when Tang was assaulted at the Hollywood Karaoke Bar on College Point Boulevard in Flushing, Queens of New York City. The attack was unprovoked, and caused injuries for which Tang was hospitalized, but the incident did not include robbery. Since nothing was stolen, that reinforces suspicions that the attack was politically motivated.
Last year on May 17, there began to be organized and orchestrated violence directed against Falun Gong practitioners in Flushing, New York. Investigation revealed that “diplomats” at the Chinese Consulate were involved, as the Consul General Peng Keyu was caught on a tape recording, bragging about his leadership to instigate the attacks. (See this link) Multiple Falun Gong practitioners were assaulted, and according to Wenyi Wang of the Tuidang campaign, 22 arrests were made. In June, Falun Gong practitioners living in Ireland reported recieving death threats and physical intimidation.
At roughly the same time, Tang Baiqiao was investigating the CCP violence in Flushing, and working for the China Interim Government, and campaigning against the then-upcoming Beijing Olympics. This is when threats of violence began to be directed against Tang.
The Epoch Times reported in early July (See this link) that Tang and another dissident, Wang Jun, were “the targets of online attacks and threats.” Then in early August (See this link), the Epoch Times reported–
“Tang Baiqiao reported that an agent of the Chinese Communist Party threatened him while he was hosting a press conference in Flushing, New York on July 31.
“According to Mr. Tang, the agent threatened to spend US$300,000 to hire someone to cut off one of his hands.”
The above points strongly suggest that the July 6, 2009 attack on Mr. Tang was an instance of the CCP following through to make good its threats. However, the evidence remains circumstantial, and the precise origin of the attack has yet to be formally established by investigators.
However, Tang has not taken the attack sitting down. He has done much campaigning in the aftermath of the attack.
On July 16, Tang appeared at a rally on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, along with along with Congressmen Chris Smith (NJ), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), Gus Bilirakis (FL), Wm. Lacy Clay (MO), Anh “Joseph” Cao (LA), Roscoe Bartlett (MD), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (FL), Dana Rohrabacher (CA), and Sheila Jackson Lee (TX). It was a previously-scheduled rally to denounce the ten years’ persecution of Falun Gong, but with his hand still wrapped in a cast from his injury, Tang made a dramatic appearance.
As reported by the Epoch Times, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen made note of Tang’s injury:
“The Congresswoman also noted a meeting she had with a man who had been ‘beaten up by Chinese thugs’ in the U.S. [Tang Baiqiao]
“Ros-Lehtinen had a warning for the Chinese embassy and consulates in the U.S.:
“‘Any Chinese diplomat who engages in the coordination of an assault on an American citizen inside this country should be declared ‘persona non-grata’ by the State Department and sent out of the United States.’”
Next, Tang Baiqiao made a campaign out of this incident. He held one press conference in New York on July 21, and another press conference in Washington on July 30. The New York event was part of a series of “Flushing Forums.” As reported by the Epoch Times (See this link),
“The Flushing community began to hold the forums and other activities exposing the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) involvement in a sequence of violent assaults of Falun Gong practitioners by the CCP organized individuals that began on May 17, 2008 on the streets of Flushing.”
The Flushing Forum also heard a speech from Dr. Gao Dawei, reprinted here: at this link
Both the New York and Washington events had representatives from several other pro-democracy groups on hand to denounce the attack against Tang Baiqiao. In Washington, the press conference was held at the Rayburn House Office Building of the U.S. House of Representatives. Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL) sent a representative. Also, the exiled leader of the World Uyghur Congress, Rebiya Kadeer, was represented by Alim Seytoff, Vice President of the Uyghur American Association.
As reported by Gary Feurerberg in the Epoch Times,
“The purpose of the press conference was to awaken the public and alert law enforcement in the U.S.—Justice Department, F.B.I., the Congress, Homeland Security—to illegal activities being allegedly conducted by the People’s Republic of China within the shores of the United States, and that the violence towards free expression common in China is being transplanted to America….
“Mr. Tang expressed some frustration in convincing others that the attack on him was planned and executed by Chinese communist agents in the U.S. The police, F.B.I. and Homeland Security still ‘do not believe 100 percent’ that the attack was from the CCP, he said.
“‘I am confident the CCP did this to me,’ Tang said. There was no reason for anyone else to beat him, he explained. ‘We have a lot of evidence on the truth of the CCP, but I don’t want to affect the investigation. I can’t say much more, or give too much detail.’….
“‘Mr. Tang’s activities and close association with the Falun Gong group aroused the attention of the Chinese Communist [regime] and he has been closely followed,’ said Jintao Cao, Chairman of Chinese Coalition for Citizens Rights, at the news conference. ‘He received death threats a number of times and he told me before that the Chinese [regime] has been trying to have one of his arms or legs for tens of thousands of dollars.’”
Tang Baiqiao wants the U.S. justice system, including figures such as Attorney General Eric Holder, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to lean into this case. Leaders of the pro-democracy cause are seeing the Flushing incidents as part and parcel of their struggle for democracy in China. They see linkages between the situation in Flushing and the situation in China, and many dissidents have responded with denunciation for the violence, and by making the incident a jumping off point to underscore what they have been saying about the coming demise of the CCP.
For its part, the China Support Network (CSN) deplores the violence in Flushing, and has no doubt that the attacks are initiated by those who salute the red flag of Communist China. We reiterate our prior denunciation of violence in Flushing, and refer observers to a prior update (See this link), which has a CSN speech that was delivered at a rally in Flushing, run by Falun Gong practitioners on June 14, 2008.
CSN also recommends a change in the China policy of the U.S. executive branch. North Korea and Cuba do not get any rewards for having Communist Party-run governments; the rewards for China’s communists, dictators, tyrants and thugs are obscenities, and place the United States in the morally reprehensible situation of being a financial backer and hence accessory to the crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Communist Party.
When U.S. China policy more closely resembles its North Korea policy; when we are calling out China as a rogue nation and a failed state; then, justice will be better served and the U.S. will be back to its original values, nature, and character. Until then, “We are off the rails,” in the words of John Kusumi, CSN’s founder and director emeritus.