CSN ‘cautiously pessimistic’ about
U.S.-China rights dialogue
This week, the U.S. and China will meet in Washington
to discuss human rights. CSN issues demands for
the Communists, the Americans, and the media.
A public statement for immediate release, May 10, 2010
By John Kusumi, President, the China Support Network
The China Support Network began in 1989 when Tiananmen Square's bloody massacre – armed government troops slaughtering unarmed citizens and college students – was brazenly committed on world television. The occasion demanded push back against the Communist Party, which continues to be China’s government today. I described the atrocity and crackdown as "huge, epic, monumental, egregious, and not to be forgotten by history."
I was a fresh-faced 22-year-old undergraduate of Arizona State University. At that time, I was not versed in the full history of the CCP -- the Chinese Communist Party. They had seized power by barrels of guns, winning a civil war in 1949, and had then ruled China with an iron fist for 40 years.
At Tiananmen Square, they had called out the army against their own people, led by the college students of Beijing, who had taken over Tiananmen Square for seven weeks. It is good to recall that before it was a massacre, Tiananmen Square was an uprising that demanded freedom, democracy, and human rights for the populace of mainland China.
Chinese dissidents vowed to continue the Chinese democracy movement by other means, and the China Support Network vowed to help the cause. I’ve now had 21 years of running the China Support Network in the service of China's democracy movement. The rule of Communism in that land is now 61 years long, and I have been fighting it for half of my lifetime.
Or perhaps, in 1989 I was not so very fresh-faced. I first appeared in America’s national news as the "18-year-old" candidate for U.S. President in 1984, talking up the politics of practical idealism. Having begun at age 17, I gave new meaning to the term "minor candidate." Seemingly, I began by wagging my finger at America about its politics, and more recently I’ve been scolding China about its politics and human rights abuses, which include killing – lots of killing.
All of that killing in Communist China remains the point of the China Support Network and the wider international human rights community, of which CSN is a part. The CSN is known as a human rights group and NGO, meaning a non-governmental organization within civil society. We are also part of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court.
This week, on May 13-14, America and China have slated meetings in Washington for a human rights dialogue, being resumed for the first time since 2008. Ostensibly, this is about the concerns of the China Support Network.
The meeting this week comes during "Tiananmen season." Every year from April 17-June 4, it is the anniversary of events in Tiananmen Square -- the uprising before the crackdown. 21 years ago right now, the Square was occupied territory, controlled by college students such as Zhou Yongjun, who recently got a third prison term as a political prisoner, sentenced to spend the next 9 years incarcerated.
Likewise, Tiananmen figure Liu Xiaobo recently got a third prison term as a political prisoner, sentenced to 11 years’ incarceration. The two prison sentences are a signal that Beijing fully intends on having a third decade of ongoing persecution in the Tiananmen crackdown. Beijing should cancel the third decade of this evil crackdown, and Washington should place extremely high priority on pressing Beijing for this purpose.
The China Support Network demands the release of Zhou and Liu and also Wang Bingzhang and Gao Zhisheng. Zhou and Wang gained U.S. permanent residency and each fathered children who are U.S. citizens. The China Support Network demands that their families be reunited.
Indeed, we will agitate in Congress for U.S. citizenship bestowed by an act of Congress. This is because the U.S. State Department, in our view, cannot be trusted to handle these cases appropriately in the absence of Congressional pressure.
And we certainly don’t trust the oddly-named “news media” to keep the spotlight on these cases or on other Chinese abuses. Indeed, any and all abuses from Communist China have been swept under the rug in recent years by the news media. Any global citizens who are anti-communist can share in our disgust at the U.S. news media.
Perhaps the complaints of the two preceding paragraphs should be rephrased into demands. The China Support Network demands that the U.S. State Department escalate the cases of Zhou, Liu, Wang, and Gao into top priorities in U.S.-China relations. And, the China Support Network demands that American news outlets -- such as the AP, CNN, and news divisions of ABC, CBS, and NBC – return to prominence the human rights conditions of Communist China.
Those abuses were prominent in the first decade after Tiananmen Square, and U.S. media did a lousy job in the second decade after Tiananmen Square. These media have become a rogues gallery of dubious departments. They have spent a decade avoiding candor about human rights in China, so this seems to be a challenging week for their copy writers. Will they let on that they know about these other abuses? : –
–The China Support Network demands the immediate end of the system of Laogai slave labor camps, and the immediate end of the system of Laojiao that is administrative detention in China.
–The China Support Network demands the immediate end of the crackdown on Falun Gong, and the immediate end of the practice of killing prisoners (including prisoners of conscience) for the sale of their organs in transplant surgery.
–The China Support Network demands the immediate end of the crackdown against Tibetans, and the immediate end of the crackdown against Uighur Muslims.
The ending of these crackdowns must include the release of the prisoners of conscience: innocent people who have been swept up in these dragnets employed by a Communist police state.
Of the news media, the China Support Network demands immediate exposure of our high-profile prisoner cases and abuses in these cases; we demand immediate exposure of Laogai camps and the Laojiao system; we demand immediate coverage of the crackdown against Falun Gong, and the practice of killing prisoners for the sale of their organs. We demand that the media follow up on the crackdowns against Tibetans and Uighurs. And, we demand to see the prisoners of conscience who are the subject of our concern above.
Will this week’s human rights dialogue be a stunning success – because they will stop the killing? Or, will it be an abject failure that highlights Sino-U.S. fecklessness and government inability to change its evil ways? That answer remains to be seen.
This is definitely an opportunity for U.S. policymakers and media to do the right thing. The importance of these talks cannot be overstated. The stakes are life and death.
However, the U.S. policymakers and media have two track records of doing the wrong things on these issues. The U.S. executive branch established its act in 1989. The blood at Tiananmen was barely dry when the U.S. executive pushed to renew Most Favored Nation status. They have never varied their act since then – U.S. China policy has been a tune with one note.
As a result, the China Support Network is “cautiously pessimistic” as it anticipates the outcome of this week’s talks. Communists should stop the killing. U.S. policymakers should stop the MFN. Media should report the killing. The killing only continues because all three groups have done the wrong thing. Shame on them!