By John Kusumi
This tract was published by the Wei Jingsheng Foundation, and restates points from leading Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng, originally given to TV5Monde, a French-language TV broadcast.
There is a positive effect of giving the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo. In recent years, the suppression of the Chinese people by the Chinese Communist Party has become more brutal. Many people feel frustrated and depressed in their fight for freedom and democracy. When a Chinese dissident receives an award, it boosts the mood of the people and raises people’s confidence in striving for democracy and human rights. This is the good side.
However, Liu advocated cooperation with the Chinese government and not to resist the Chinese Communists. He even assisted the government in criticizing and ridiculing others in the opposition. This attitude will lead people to give up the struggle against the Communist Party and will reduce pressure on the Communist government.
Why do I say that Liu’s road is a dead end one? It is because one cannot use reason alone in dealing with the unreasonable Chinese Communist government. We must have a strong pressure, both international and domestic, to force the Chinese government to make concessions. To guide people to give up their pressure, to make “positive interaction” with the unreasonable tyranny, and to beg the autocratic government for political reforms, is to give up the chance for peaceful evolution. Ultimately, people’s anger will accumulate to the extent that outbreaks of revolution and unrest will happen. This result will be a great loss to the Chinese society, and will not be beneficial to the international community and business as well. Liu Xiaobo himself made too much compromise and cooperation with the Chinese government, even to the degree of gibing other fellow dissidents in an effort to please the authorities. Yet, in the end, he was thrown into prison. This in itself proves that his road is a dead end road.
I did not sign the objection letter written against Liu Xiaobo’s nomination for Nobel Peace Prize before. I think that any Chinese dissident getting this prize would be a great inspiration to the Chinese people, because the Chinese people view the Nobel Prize highly. So only after he won this prize, have I begun to openly criticize him now. I do not want people to be guided by his wrong road, to give up their pressure, instead to cooperate with the authoritarian government. Liu’s own experience has proved that his road of cooperation is the wrong way.
Regarding the issue of the Falun Gong, some people agree with their arguments, some people do not agree. This is normal. But when the Falun Gong practitioners suffer from large-scale persecution by the Communist Party, we must fight for their rights to criticize the Chinese government. Yet, Liu Xiaobo and his gang satirized and gibed these abused victims, in the same tone as the Communist regime. This is not right. This does not meet the respect of an opposition, and even has no comparison to ordinary people with a conscience.
Regarding worrying about whether Liu’s Nobel Prize will split Chinese democracy movement, I think this division has always been there, from the start. Members of the China’s democracy movement come from different social backgrounds, with different ideas. So from the beginning of the pro-democracy movement, it has been a movement with inconsistent thinking and behavior. Not just from now.
Many people think I’m better qualified for this prize. But I think the situation now is that the Westerners do not want people like me to get the prize. They do not want the Chinese people to rise up, thus affecting their interests in China. Many Western companies know that without the help of the Chinese Communist Party, they cannot get such cheap and excellent labor in China. So they hope that all the Chinese people will obediently cooperate with the Chinese government and accept oppression without opposition, thus protecting their opportunity for huge profits. These Westerners do want a continued Communist dictatorship regime in China.
So which kind of road should Chinese democracy take? I think there are only two options. One is following Nelson Mandela of South Africa and the former Soviet Union. When there is both strong international and domestic pressure on the autocratic regime, authorities had to adopt the way of peaceful evolution. This is possible in China. But now, due to the economic interests, Western countries have reduced the pressure on China more and more. When the resistance of people in China also is guided to the direction of working with the Chinese regime, the pressure gets even smaller. So, what could the suffering ordinary people without any help do? Eventually, they have to rebel, leading to a major upheaval. This upheaval would not be a good thing to either Chinese society or the international community.
So, if people have been guided to the path of cooperation with the regime, there will be no hope for peaceful evolution. Even some senior government officials hoping for change, will change their minds, thus losing the motivation for peaceful evolution. Then the people have no way out but a violent revolution. If people choose violent revolution, of course I would be on the side of ordinary people. I support them in any way to overthrow an authoritarian regime.
Many people in the West say that when the economy is developed, China will be democratic. But this is not what the Chinese government thinks. The original thought of the Chinese government was that when the economy is good, people will not rebel, and then they can have a long-term stability of the authoritarian regime. Current economic development in China is of a nature that some people get rich, but ordinary people are still very poor. This huge gap between rich and poor is the real reason that the people are extremely unhappy, and ready to revolt. This situation is not a sustainable development. Chinese people are still very poor, the Chinese domestic market is very small, and therefore we cannot say that the Chinese economy has really developed. GDP growth was very fast, but ordinary people did not enjoy the fruits of growth. Major Western and Chinese companies got most of the benefits. This is also the root reason why the Western business and government want to support the Chinese Communist regime.
Nowadays, Western governments have largely adopted an unconcerned attitude regarding Chinese human rights. At the beginning of the Obama administration, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed clearly during her first visit to Asia including China that human rights is not what she is concerned about. Their policy is not to support the Chinese people’s resistance and not to offend the Chinese government, in an effort to protect their interests in China. So the concern of human rights in China is gradually cooling down over the last years. Now, with a Chinese getting the prize, we have an encouragement to the Chinese people.
Regarding my own sacrifice to democracy in China, I have nothing to regret. Whether in Chinese prison or overseas, I have always been striving to change the destiny of China, and it is very effective. When I was in prison, I become a big trouble for the Communist Party; Later on, I agreed to come overseas because I found out that the situation had changed. I can use my reputation to do more effective work here. Indeed for the past more than one decade, I have done a lot of important and effective work. I am very satisfied with what I have achieved.