China Support Network Demands Media Apology

Right on schedule, here is our 750 word Op-Ed on the eve of
Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel Peace Prize

By John Kusumi, CSN President

December 8, 2010 (CSN) — This week has the world-notable occasion of the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

The entire Chinese democracy movement should be demanding an apology of Western policy makers and media Managing Editors.

This Op-Ed could be submitted to the mainstream ‘news’ outlets, but we already know how those outlets have been with CSN and with the Chinese dissidents for the past decade. I have described the relationship between U.S. media and U.S. politicians as the corrupt, flacking for the corrupt.

Legacy news media are on the ropes, and desperately need a ‘reset moment.’ That, for more reasons than just the Chinese democracy movement. (The current Wikileaks episode reveals both the corruption and the flacking, which serves to validate that my observation holds true, even in matters away from the Free China cause. Meanwhile on national leadership, the U.S. President has painted himself into a corner and the media has climbed ever further out on a limb.)

The China Support Network can say to the MSM: We don’t believe in you any more. There is more to be expected of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy than from the high and mighty figures who (mis) manage their narratives in the public discourse, while posing as “objective journalists.”

The tragic and bloody massacre at Tiananmen Square of 1989 — ordered by China’s government, conducted by the army — tore at the heart strings of the public and policy makers alike, while inspiring other freedom fighters such as those in Eastern Europe (where the Berlin Wall came down later in 1989). Chinese students could feel short changed because they pushed and yet it was East Germans who got freedom that year.

Did the news media report the massacre? Yes, definitely. In fact, they had coverage of the inspiring, student-led uprising for seven weeks before that massacre. Because the uprising was that lengthy, there was lots of time for word to reach the West, and for all talking heads of the news media to digest and analyze the movement. Television coverage was so riveting that Pew Research reported 45% of Americans were “closely following” the political turmoil in China.

When the army killed some 3,000 people and finally reached the square, this jaw dropping atrocity was a tragedy on television. Similar to Asia’s tsunami, or Hurricane Katrina, or Haiti’s earthquake — tragedies motivate the kind hearted to respond. My fellow Americans and I launched the China Support Network. Soon, we were working shoulder-to-shoulder with leading Chinese dissidents.

Think tanks, and the Senate Joint Leadership, and the Republican National Committee all reached out to the newly-exiled dissidents. One, Wu’er Kaixi, was mobbed by women. The China Support Network co-managed his first week in Washington, along with other dissidents. And when news reporters wanted the daybook, or scheduling requests, they called the China Support Network, as a “go-to” organization. I know these stories because I personally accompanied Wu’er Kaixi; I wrote releases, alerts, and advisories; and I fielded those phone calls with media requests. In that week, we got the ear of former Senators Bob Dole and George Mitchell, but not the U.S. President and executive branch.

In fact, the Chinese dissidents had a presence in the news media throughout the 1990s. America’s Managing Editors have played a trick. “Now you see them, now you don’t” is the trick specifically. One decade the democracy movement had a voice; and the next decade, there was no voice for the pro-democracy people; the true heroes of freedom and human rights.

The 2000s were a time of stories getting squashed. A time of the media’s blind eye for human rights abuse. Even while China ramped up its Falun Gong crackdown and added new ones: the Tibetan crackdown of 2008, and the Uighur crackdown of 2009. Squashed stories include dissident opposition to the PNTR free trade deal between the U.S. and China; all word of the Falun Gong crackdown that is still going today; and, the hideous story that China uses Falun Gong prisoners as the unwilling source for organ harvesting and transplant surgery.

Oh, was this supposed to be an Op-Ed about Liu Xiaobo? –Well, in a way, it is. This is an Op-Ed about what became of his cause. This is an Op-Ed about the cause of freedom, democracy, and human rights — and, how it is received in the U.S. news media.

It is as though U.S. Managing Editors have a message for Chinese people: Death for you is fine by them.


2 responses to “China Support Network Demands Media Apology

  1. Nobel Peace Prize awarded to China dissident Liu Xiaobo

    Jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo has been named the winner of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

    Making the announcement in Oslo, the head of the Norwegian Nobel committee said Mr Liu was “the foremost symbol” of the human rights struggle in China.

    Several countries including the US, France and Germany, called for his immediate release.

    China said the award could damage ties with Norway, and summoned the country’s ambassador in Beijing in protest.

    Norwegian Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland admitted he knew the choice would be controversial.

    He told local television before the announcement: “You’ll understand when you hear the name.”

    ‘Curtailed freedom’

    Mr Jagland, reading the citation, said China’s new status in the world “must entail increased responsibility”.

    “China is in breach of several international agreements to which it is a signatory, as well as of its own provisions concerning political rights.”

    Mr Jagland said that, in practice, freedoms enshrined in China’s constitution had “proved to be distinctly curtailed for China’s citizens”.

    He said the choice of Mr Liu had become clear early in the selection process.

    Mr Liu, 54, was a key leader in the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.

    Last year he received an 11-year sentence for “inciting subversion” after drafting Charter 08 – which called for multi-party democracy and respect for human rights in China.

    The Nobel Foundation citation read: “Liu has consistently maintained that the sentence violates both China’s own constitution and fundamental human rights.”

    It praised Mr Liu for his “long and non-violent struggle” and highlighted its belief in a “close connection between human rights and peace”.

    Ending the citation, Mr Jagland said: “The campaign to establish universal human rights in China is being waged by many Chinese, both in China itself and abroad.

    “Through the severe punishment meted out to him, Liu has become the foremost symbol of this wide-ranging struggle for human rights in China.”

    Beijing quickly condemned the award, saying it could damage China-Norway relations.

    Foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said: “Liu Xiaobo is a criminal who violated Chinese law. It’s a complete violation of the principles of the prize and an insult to the peace prize itself for the Nobel committee to award the prize to such a person.”

    Later Norway said its ambassador in Beijing had been summoned to the Chinese foreign ministry.

    “They wanted to officially share their… disagreement and their protest,” a Norwegian spokeswoman said.

    “We emphasised that this is an independent committee and the need to continue good bilateral relations,” she added.

    Unlike other Nobel prizes, which are administered in Sweden, the peace prize is awarded in Oslo by a committee appointed by the Norwegian parliament.

    Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said it would be “negative for China’s reputation in the world” if it chose to punish his country over the award.

    Mr Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, said she was “so excited” by the award.

    She told AFP news agency: “I want to thank everyone for supporting Liu Xiaobo. I strongly ask that the Chinese government release Liu.”

    Mrs Liu said police had informed her they would take her to Mr Liu’s prison in the north-eastern province of Liaoning on Saturday so she could give him the news.

    The prize is worth 10 million Swedish crowns ($1.5m; £944,000) and will be awarded in Oslo on 10 December.

    US President Barack Obama said Mr Liu had “has sacrificed his freedom for his beliefs” and called for his speedy release.

    German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said China should free him so he could attend the ceremony.

    France’s Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner also welcomed the award and also called on China to release Mr Liu.

    UN human rights commissioner Navi Pillay said the prize recognised a “very prominent human rights defender”.

    The London-based rights group Amnesty International said Mr Liu was a “worthy winner”.

    But Catherine Baber, Amnesty’s deputy Asia-Pacific director, added: “This award can only make a real difference if it prompts more international pressure on China to release Liu, along with the numerous other prisoners of conscience languishing in Chinese jails.”

    No candidates are announced ahead of the peace prize but others mentioned in the media included Afghan women’s rights activist Sima Samar, Russian human rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina, former German chancellor Helmut Kohl and Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

    The Nobel committee had to defend last year’s controversial peace prize choice of US President Barack Obama.

  2. Pingback: The Progressive Mind » COTO Report | Full Spectrum Defiance

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