Friday, October 8, 2010

Free Liu Xiaobo!

Demand to Chinese government:
free Liu Xiaobo!

With Liu's win of Nobel Peace Prize, Chinese dissidents
gain a first down; Chinese government stands indicted

October 8, 2010 (CSN) -- The China Support Network today welcomed the announcement, made in Norway, that jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo has won the Nobel Peace Prize and reiterated its call for the Communist party government to release Liu.

"This year, it is time to praise the wisdom of the Nobel prize committee," said the organization's founder John Kusumi. "They are highlighting a very revealing specific case of persecution which is egregious and timely for being yet-ongoing. This is a massive loss of face for Beijing. They were hoping that Liu and related issues would not come to world attention. Conversely, we were hoping for just such an occurrence."

The China Support Network (CSN) has stood with the Chinese pro-democracy movement since 1989, when the infamous June 4 massacre, perpetrated by the Communist party government, forcibly cleared out Tiananmen Square and killed some 3,000 unarmed protestors. Since 2008, when it opposed the Beijing Olympics, CSN has highlighted four high-profile prisoner cases: those of Liu Xiaobo, Gao Zhisheng, Wang Bingzhang, and Zhou Yongjun.

"I think that Liu would approve of CSN's use of today's occasion to remind the West that the Chinese democracy issue never went away; that Gao, Wang, and Zhou all have family members and children in the United States, which should escalate their cases at the State Department; and that these prisoners are patches in a wider tapestry that is the Chinese pro-democracy movement.

Kusumi opined, "Further, because the Chinese democracy issue never went away, all that changed was the attitude of those in the U.S. news media, which used to accord valuable coverage to China's human rights abuses. As they jumped on a bandwagon called free trade--which gutted the U.S. economy--they decided that human rights issues inconvenienced free trade. They have now delivered 10 years of one-sided news; they've been largely silent about human rights abuses in China. Today's news makes it obvious that those abuses are still ongoing. Coverage is not. 'No film at 11!'

He continued, "I bet that most Americans don't remember the 2009 crackdown against Uighurs in western China (alternately, in occupied East Turkestan). That crackdown got swept under the rug by the U.S. media just like the Falun Gong crackdown, and those crackdowns got less coverage than the 2008 crackdown against Tibet."

He fumed, "If I were a communist, dictator, tyrant, or thug, I would want a DC Beltway managing editor in my corner, because they make the most trusty assistants for the work of oppression out of view of the American public. More specifically, they are why Beijing's oppression has been out of view of the American public."

Elsewhere, the China Support Network blog has the full text of the Nobel Peace Prize citation. The committee correctly noted, "China is in breach of several international agreements to which it is a signatory, as well as of its own provisions concerning political rights." And it lamented, "freedoms have proved to be distinctly curtailed for China's citizens."

It noted that on Christmas Day 2009, "Liu was sentenced to 11 years in prison and two years' deprivation of political rights for 'inciting subversion of state power'." His crime, of course, was no crime. He was the non-violent author of a political tract called Charter 08, which spoke of challenges and necessary reforms which China must face in the near future.

For Americans in the home audience, it won't require deep reading into the issue, because here's the issue on the face of it: Liu Xiaobo, a good guy, is in jail. The immediate conclusion to draw is that China's government should free Liu Xiaobo, and today the China Support Network is demanding exactly that.

Wonks and analysts can note that Charter 08 was criticized by hardline Chinese dissidents for being "way too moderate." (China's dissidents come in moderate and hardline camps. Charter 08 called for reform, not revolution. In theory, Chinese authorities could lead reform, simultaneously ameliorating the perceived need for revolution.)

And yet, even for the hardline Chinese dissidents, there is a victory in today's announcement, which will reverberate in the halls of power around the world. Soviet dissidents once spoke of the relief they felt when U.S. President Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union "an evil empire." The external pressure was music to the ears of jailed dissidents. Today, the junior evil empire is getting its external wake up call. The China Support Network approves of this year's committee decision for Liu Xiaobo to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

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