Communist Party elders call for free speech. Seriously.

I don’t expect this to get very far, but you really do have to read it.

On October 11, 23 Chinese Communist Party elders known for their pro-reform positions, including Mao Zedong’s former secretary Li Rui (李锐) and former People’s Daily editor-in-chief Hu Jiwei (胡绩伟), submitted an open letter to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, formally China’s highest state body, calling for an end to restrictions on expression in China.

The letter urges the Communist Party to abolish censorship and realize citizens’ right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Seizing on the opportunity afforded by the awarding of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波) with the Nobel Peace Prize last week, the letter refers explicitly to prior statements on reform and free speech made by both President Hu Jintao (胡锦涛) and Premier Wen Jiabao (温家宝).

You can read the entire translated letter at the link above. I think this takes the wind out of the sails of those who’re been chirping that Liu Xiaobo’s winning the Nobel Peace Prize wouldn’t have any effect in China. These people are almost as annoying as those chirping that Liu Xiaobo is an American agent because he’s supported by the NED, a claim that is patently absurd. Just because someone gives you some money doesn’t make you their spy or agent. Lots of US NGO’s give money to the Dalai Lama, and he is still an outspoken and self-avowed Marxist. The fenqing have their long knives out for Liu and will grasp at any straws they can. For some interesting debates about this see the comments to this post and this post. Our friend pugster is really banging the NED drum on both threads, and probably others as well. 50 mao here, 50 mao there.

Meanwhile, I strongly recommend that no one hold their breath while waiting for censorship in China to go away. But it’s encouraging to see Liu’s prize embolden others who want to make China and its government freer, more transparent and more accountable.

______________

Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 164 Comments

I take it as a sign that there is considerable diversity of opinion within the Chinese Communist Party. I’ll leave it to the China experts to say whether there are deeper divisions or some sort of power struggle going on.

October 13, 2010 @ 12:07 pm | Comment

Very true, and I think we all know this diversity of opinion exists. It’s nice to see it rise to the surface and become a direct challenge.

October 13, 2010 @ 12:13 pm | Comment

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound?

The signatories have done this sort of stuff before. If you “don’t expect this to get very far”, then it hardly “takes the wind out of the sails” of those arguing that the Nobel would not have an impact.

Petitions and letters and discussion are one thing. Results are another matter entirely.

October 13, 2010 @ 12:40 pm | Comment

I said I don’t expect rapid change and that we shouldn’t hold our breath – but I never said efforts like this petition wouldn’t make a difference. In fact, I wrote, “But it’s encouraging to see Liu’s prize embolden others who want to make China and its government freer, more transparent and more accountable.”

Change starts with documents, with petitions, with words. Like the Declaration of Independence. It starts with communication and awareness and a call to action. Like Martin Luther nailing the Diet of Worms to the church door. The change will not occur in a vacuum. Results come about because of agreements and words. There are never, ever results without words, plans, agreements leading up to those results. Now, whether this petition will have any effect is impossible to say. But it is definitely a welcome sign, especially when it’s made in such a public manner. Results won’t happen overnight, but actions like this chip away at convention and can play an important role in change down the road.

October 13, 2010 @ 12:51 pm | Comment

“Just because someone gives you some money doesn’t make you their spy or agent.”

That may be true elsewhere, but it appears that in China giving some money to someone is all it takes to make them spies or agents of the CCP. Probably no real money is needed. Just look at the number of people heaping false accusations on their own parents, friends, family, teachers, class-mates during the cultural revolution.

October 13, 2010 @ 12:51 pm | Comment

I went to look for this piece on Chinese internet, and I found some websites in China still carrying the Chinese version. Some of the sites did have them, but later harmonized. There is a long list of hundreds of signatures too.

So I think the harmonizing has started and not yet complete.

October 13, 2010 @ 12:57 pm | Comment

Bill, I hope you’re right. And yeah, if we give the DL some money it’s automatically assumed that makes him a secret agent of the US. The DL’s political sympathies run absolutely counter to that of most Americans, but arguing about that with pugster & co. is akin to banging your head against a wall.

October 13, 2010 @ 12:59 pm | Comment

Lets send some money to pug & Co….

October 13, 2010 @ 1:11 pm | Comment

50-centers conspicuously absent. HQ in turmoil over memo to coordinate response?

October 13, 2010 @ 2:06 pm | Comment

The West’s call for Western style democracy in China is a Trojan Horse tactic for a corporate takeover of China. Democracy can only properly function if there’s equality. If everyone has a right to influence the government, but one party (i.e., the corporation) is an 800 pound guerrilla, then everyone else is pushed aside. If U.S. corporations wanted democracy in China, then they’d advocate for worker’s rights, but they don’t because they want the Chinese people to be their slaves.

October 13, 2010 @ 4:16 pm | Comment

50c friends

“Must….find….way…..to criticise….Party elders…..

Logic….conflict….cannot……….”

BANG!

October 13, 2010 @ 8:40 pm | Comment

Yes, the Dalai received a ton of money from CIA. This definitely makes him a CIA agent.

About Li Rui and his like-minded friends. There was a big idealogical debate in the eighties between liberals like Li and conservatives like Hu Qiaomu. Eventually Deng Xiaoping sided with the liberals on their economic views, but not their political ideas, and hence this division. Most liberals were happy with the outcome and enthusiastically supported Jiang Zeming and Zhu Rongji in the nineties. But the desire for political reform is not dead. It’s just not easy to achieve consensus among all party members on the best time for political reform. Sooner or later it will come.

October 13, 2010 @ 11:03 pm | Comment

This follow the money thing doesn’t make sense. I have a Chinese friend who works in the bureau of a major American news corporation in China. His education was funded entirely by scholarships from the Chinese government including his time overseas studying in the US. But I think he would be offended and hurt if his colleagues used that single fact as PROOF he was a government mole, and I suspect that many Chinese who heard about such a case would be equally upset.

October 14, 2010 @ 5:41 am | Comment

With Liu Xiaobo’s award, it’ll be worth seeing how Wen Jiabao proceeds in the future…

October 14, 2010 @ 8:01 am | Comment

I Believe Liu Xiaobo Is Very Sad When He Heard the News of his Nobel Prize Win

Before receiving this prize, his calculation probably was: CCP will probably use me as a hostage against the US. So in the next round of Hu-Obama meeting, or some Sino-US economic Dialog, CCP will release me to America on “medial parole” as a condition for some concession from the US. This way, I’ll get to live in this beautiful democrazy country I’ve always dreamed of, get some visiting scholar title at some University doing some research on Chinese society/democratization, and some human rights foundation will pay for my living expenses for the rest of my life. After all, that’s what happened to Wang Dan, Wei Jingsheng, etc. He never thought he’d win the Nobel Prize, he believes there are many more famous celebrities in the field of “Chinese dissidents”, such as the Tiananmen Mother, Hu Jia, etc. He simply copied from Charter 77 and changed the number to 08, and he’s wondering why he hasn’t been sued for plagiarization yet.

Unfortunately for him, the Nobel Peace Committed is unaware of his thinking, and therefore decided that his is a great way to “put pressure” on China and awarded this prize to him. This completely ruined his plan: now there’s no way the CCP can release him to America on Medical Parole, because then he’ll make too much noise once released, and the CCP would look too bad using a Nobel Prize winner as hostage against the US in negotations.

So what can Liu Xiaobo do? I suggest him to not accept the Prize, and instead denounce the prize, denounce the hypocrisy of the West, and tell the world through his wife that he’s been a patriotic Chinese all along, and all this effort is intended to expose the dark secrets behind the NED and their funding for subversive activities in China. He can then write a book, called “The Dark Web of the NED and the so-called Human Rights Movement”, and immediately portray himself as a hero of the Chinese people going undercover as a Democrazy puppet for the West. He can then openly reveal all the recordings and meetings he’s held with heads of the NED, their discussions on how he should write his articles, how the NED heads urged him to delete paragraphs of his articles criticizing American militarism, how he gets a check every month in a secret account managed by his friend overseas. This will be an instant best seller in China, and he’ll probably be released from jail and earn a decent living.

Many democrazy and freedamn lovers reached orgasm again on the news of Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel Prize win. They scream “Human rights defender! Hero of the world! Dissident!” I agree that Liu Xiaobo is a dissident, but is he a hero? A great man? According to the logic of democrazy and freedamn lovers, as long as you are opposed to a “dictatorship” and is “oppressed” by that dictatorship then you are dissident, and you should win the Nobel Prize. Well, then tomorrow I can move to England, start writing articles calling for the return of a Nazi regime in Europe. I’ll be arrested according to European Law. Does that make me a dissident and nominee for Nobel Prize? I certainly have been oppressed (jailed) by a dictatorship (British emperialist dictatorship), and I’ve lost my freedamn. Now you say, “but this is different! supporting nazi is supporting hate crime and violence!”. Well, did Liu Xiaobo not say that he wants China to be colonized by for 300 years? Is colonization not violence, not a crime? Is there any period of colonization that did not cause violence and mass death and suffering to the locals? So why is Liu Xiaobo not considered promoting violence and hate when he calls for colonization? How is it not worse than calling for Nazism? In the minds of third world’s countries’ citizens, of course it’s equally offensive.

Of course, the true mentality of these democrazy and freedamn lovers is that: 1) opposing third world government that has a different system of governent than the West must be heroic, opposing a Western style democrazy government is dangerous and radical. 2) being arrested by such a third world government is injustice, being arrested by a Western style democrazy government is just normal legal procedure 3) Advocating Nazism is a crime, advocating colonialism is ok. In their mind, the world = Western liberal democrazies. Western liberal democrazies should make the rules, the values, the institutions, the laws, the rest of the “unenlightened” third world are just dictatorships and backward (except for India, the world’s largest democrazy).

October 14, 2010 @ 8:19 am | Comment

Math, I have to disagree with your analysis. I think Liu wrote his Charter exactly in the hope of getting a Nobel.

He calculated, rightly, that it was about time a Chinese dissident would be awarded the Peace Prize, There are many candidates out there, Wang Dan, Wei Jingshen, Hu Jia, etc. The NYT reported that some Chinese dissidents even urged the Nobel Committee not to award the prize to Liu Xiaobo:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/07/world/asia/07china.html?_r=1&scp=13&sq=Nobel%20Peace%20Liu&st=cse
Apparently if Liu got the prize, the others would not have a chance for a very long time.
I don’t intend to comment on the quality of the Chinese dissidents here. Let’s just say that the competition is fierce.

To win the prize Liu cannot push for democracy within the system. He must find a way to provoke the government to make him a martyr, so the Charter story started. One striking thing about this episode is that he sent his writing straight to the foreign media, with no intention to actually have it reach the Chinese public.

One thing he might not have expected was the long prison sentence he received. Are 11 years of imprisonment worth the Nobel? I have a very low opinion about the prize, so to me it is not worth it. He may have other ideas.

October 14, 2010 @ 8:55 am | Comment

Math, if Liu had wanted to live in a “democrazy”, he could have boarded a plane to Taipei or San Francisco, and surely found himself a position at some university that would have been happy to have a well known Chinese dissident scholar on staff. He didn’t have to get himself thrown in jail. In fact, over the weekend a few people asked me that… “Why didn’t Liu just move to Taiwan, Hong Kong, America or Europe, like the other Tiananmen dissidents did?”

My answer: “Because his work is here, not there.”

As for your statement about Nazis, as far as I know it’s not illegal to be a Nazi in England (or the United States, where I’ve known several self-proclaimed neonazis in my time). It is illegal in Germany. Nobody will stop you from propagandizing for Nazism, at least not through legal means, but don’t expect a friendly welcome.

Serve: Well, the Nobel comes with $1.5 million. 11 years of imprisonment… that adds up to over $130K a year. Even if Liu had a fairly high academic salary, it would have taken him over a century to earn that… hmm…

Still probably not worth it.

October 14, 2010 @ 9:11 am | Comment

I would really like to know who “Math” is (I am a mathematician)! Spelling it “freedamn” on each and every occassion, that cannot be a typo. Are you aware of the fact that you are taking the liberty to speak your mind without fear of repercussion (as you have every right to do), which is exactly what brought Liu Xiaobo to jail?

October 14, 2010 @ 12:16 pm | Comment

To Math:
well, that wasn’t the dumbest thing you’ve ever said. The first two paragraphs almost seem bordering on plausible. Although as Nicholas points out, he’s probably making more money per annum than most people sitting in Chinese prisons.

THe third paragraph seems less plausible, and as Serve points out, his way out of jail was to not write the Charter and stay out of jail to begin with. Trying to count on the CCP to let someone out of jail surely is a fool’s game.

Your fourth paragraph is where you start to fall down, but as mentioned, you stayed upright for longer than usual. England isn’t a dictatorship (nor a British imperialist dictatorship, whatever that is). And Liu isn’t advocating for a system that did what the Nazis had done. Oh, and Liu’s remark about “colonization”, as Richard has already shown us with his link to the other blog, is a 22 year old relic that you’ve not surprisingly taken out of context.

So I think you deserve a ribbon for effort and participation, but sorry, still no prize (Nobel or otherwise). But if you want to live in something akin to a dicktatorship, forget England and look towards China instead for a closer facsimile.

October 14, 2010 @ 12:46 pm | Comment

I would challenge Richard to show some proof that the people who post NED matter do receive 50mao. Fengqing, surely they are, but 50 mao is much more insulting and requires some proof to justify this attack as I always believe Richard is a reasonable person. Don’t create a strawman.

October 14, 2010 @ 2:13 pm | Comment

50 mao? They gave the fenqing a 1000% raise? That’s what I call inflation!

October 14, 2010 @ 2:24 pm | Comment

I thought the common term is 5 mao but Richard decided that these post worth more.. lol

But seriously, labeling people 5 mao is ad hominem attack that need some more proof.

October 14, 2010 @ 2:34 pm | Comment

Fancieryu, on one thread you are voicing your suspicions that many pro-democracy activists are financially motivated, while on this thread you come to defend against what you call “ad hominem attacks” towards people who are clearly taking their arguments straight out of Xinhua’s trashbin.
I can tell you one thing- rationalization and defense of the current Party-state structure is never selfless. Who would have the motivation to go to prison for 11 years to defend the current system? No one, because it’s not worth saving.

October 14, 2010 @ 2:45 pm | Comment

Kevingnolongerinpudong, even “people who are clearly taking their arguments straight out of Xinhua’s trashbin”, unless you can show that these people are financially motivated (or at least they are paid for posting), you cannot call them 5 mao. I have no problem that they are called fengqing, because they are, but 5 mao implies they are PAID to do so, which is totally different!

October 14, 2010 @ 2:59 pm | Comment

“I can tell you one thing- rationalization and defense of the current Party-state structure is never selfless. Who would have the motivation to go to prison for 11 years to defend the current system? No one, because it’s not worth saving.”

If you’re raised believing that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, you’ll die for it. If you’re raised to believe that the sun won’t rise unless regular human sacrifices are performed, you’ll gladly sharpen your knife. If you’re raised to believe that Jews are controlling the world capitalism and are a threat to the Aryan race… well, I think you get the point. You may not think it’s worth saving- and you may be right- but there are hundreds of millions of people who would disagree with you, and they don’t have to be paid to do it. Read Eric Hoffer.

I honestly think that while there may be some paid posters out there, they’re way too unsophisticated to actually be a coordinated propaganda effort. I could organize a better one than that. I think it’s nationalist/populist resentment- especially as I’ve seen many fenqing posters making statements that went deliberately against the party (even reading Shanghainese posters venting about how they would prefer KMT-style nationalism and Chiang’s regime over Mao, for instance- that doesn’t sound like organized propaganda to me). Especially given that their tone, style and resentment are little different than what I’ve seen from other angry Asian populists (especially Hindutva nationalists in India, and really dumb/pissed off Japanese neofascists).

October 14, 2010 @ 4:28 pm | Comment

I actually don’t believe that everyone is paid- I have certainly been around long enough to know in advance that there would be plenty of people stupid enough to have an instinctive nationalist reaction to the Prize.
I just find it ironic that you are so quick to doubt the intentions of people willing to risk exile and imprisonment, but rush to the defense of nationalist conspiracy theories designed to re-legitimize and illegitimate government. That’s all.
And while I agree that there are plenty of unorganized responses (albeit organized in a sense through their cultivation in the Chinese media and educational systems), it is also a well-established fact that there is a well-coordinated effort in China, where tens of thousands are paid to guide opinion and delete inharmonious opinions ruthlessly.

October 14, 2010 @ 6:11 pm | Comment

“I just find it ironic that you are so quick to doubt the intentions of people willing to risk exile and imprisonment, but rush to the defense of nationalist conspiracy theories designed to re-legitimize and illegitimate government. That’s all.”

Not I. I don’t doubt their intentions.

I’m just saying that nationalist sentiment is very powerful here and comes in a number of forms. I had a friend- a girl who had been a student leader in college, invited to join the party twice, and who refused on moral grounds- who I still saw react more heatedly to anti-Chinese provocations than most patriotic Republicans I’ve known would towards anti-American provocations. And she’s about as liberal as Liu Xiaobo. Whatever Benedict Anderson might think about the “imagined communities” of nationhood, they’re powerful and they’re real, and they’ll paper over political differences in no time. Deng Xiaoping knew this very, very well.

October 14, 2010 @ 7:09 pm | Comment

Math – That’s one of the stupidest things I’ve ever read. Put simply the idea that Liu Xiaobo was trying to get to the US is pure idiocy, not least because Liu Xiaobo lived and worked in the United States before returning to China in ’89. He again had the opportunity to go back to the US after being released following his imprisonment for “counter-revolutionary activities”, but chose not to.

I guess I should also say that the same guy who has been emailing the Liu Xiaobo quote around, including to James Fallows amongst other people, Wayne Lo, also sent me this delightful email:

” . . . one day we are going to sweep down, and just really flay fuckers like you alive and rip the breasts off your whore mother and and fuck your sister with a shotgun up the pussy. And you are going to watch while I deal to your girlfriend with a claw hammer. And then smash your head to a pulp with a baseball bat you white motherfucker.

The real ‘world’ true ‘global’ opinion does not hate China or the Chinese. They hate your lot.

Rise of the Coloured Races.”

What a delightful man. Of course, to such people it seems legitimate to label someone who unfavourably compares mainland China to colonial Hong Kong a ‘traitor’. I wonder what they make of this statement in the letter signed by Li Rui:

“We have for 61 years “served as master” in the name of the citizens of the People’s Republic of China. But the freedom of speech and of the press we now enjoy is inferior even to that of Hong Kong before its return to Chinese sovereignty, to that entrusted to the residents of a colony.

Before the handover, Hong Kong was a British colony, governed by those appointed by the Queen’s government. But the freedom of speech and freedom of the press given to residents of Hong Kong by the British authorities there was not empty, appearing only on paper. It was enacted and realized.

When our country was founded in 1949, our people cried that they had been liberated, that they were not their own masters. Mao Zedong said that, “From this moment, the people of China have stood.” But even today, 61 years after the founding of our nation, after 30 years of opening and reform, we have not yet attained freedom of speech and freedom of the press to the degree enjoyed by the people of Hong Kong under colonial rule. Even now, many books discussion political and current affairs must be published in Hong Kong. This is not something that dates from the [territory's] return, but is merely an old tactic familiar under colonial rule. The “master” status of the people of China’s mainland is so inferior. For our nation to advertise itself as having “socialist democracy” with Chinese characteristics is such an embarrassment.”

It is worth noting that exactly the same kind of statements for which Liu was given an 11 year sentence can be made by party elders without any question being raised as to whether they should receive sanction.

The letter goes on to say exactly what many in the pro-CCP camp deny – that the 5 Mao party exists, that even Wen Jiabao has been censored:

“It’s not even just high-level leaders — even the Premier of our country does not have freedom of speech or of the press! On August 21, 2010, Premier Wen Jiabao gave a speech in Shenzhen called, “Only By Pushing Ahead With Reforms Can Our Nation Have Bright Prospects.” He said, “We must not only to push economic reforms, but must also to promote political reforms. Without the protection afforded by political reforms, the gains we have made from economic reforms will be lost, and our goal of modernization cannot be realized.” Xinhua News Agency’s official news release on August 21, “Building a Beautiful Future for the Special Economic Zone,” omitted the content in Wen Jiabao’s speech dealing with political reform.

On September 22, 2010, (U.S. local time) Premier Wen Jiabao held a dialogue in New York with American Chinese media and media from Hong Kong and Macao, and again he emphasized the importance of “political system reforms.” Wen said: “Concerning political reforms, I have said previously that if economic reforms are without the protection to be gained by political reforms, then we cannot be entirely successful, and even perhaps the gains of our progress so far will be lost.” Shortly after, Wen Jiabao addressed the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, giving a speech called, “Recognizing a True China,” in which he spoke again about political reform. Late on September 23 (Beijing time), these events were reported on China Central Television’s Xinwen Lianbo and in an official news release from Xinhua News Agency. They reported only Wen Jiabao’s remarks on the circumstances facing overseas Chinese, and on the importance of overseas Chinese media. His mentions of political reform were all removed.

….

Our specific demands are as follows:

….

4. The internet is an important discussion platform for information in our society and the voice of citizens’ views. Aside from information that truly concerns our national secrets and speech that violates a citizen’s right to privacy, internet regulatory bodies must not arbitrarily delete online posts and online comments. Online spies must be abolished, the “Fifty-cent Party” must be abolished, and restrictions on “tunneling/[anti-censorship]” technologies must be abolished.”

Let us be clear about this, the droning voices of the 5 Mao-ers, the fengqings, who for years have served to willingly relay the CCPs lies to us, and to accuse people who speak the truth as either racists or traitors, and who now attempt to label perhaps China’s greatest living hero a ‘traitor’ or foreign agent, are shown to have been speaking vacuous nonsense by people within their beloved CCP. What did Liu do that Li Rui has not done? If the 5 Mao party does not exist, then why is Li Rui calling for its abolition? If praising aspects of colonial rule in Hong Kong is treason, then why is Li Rui doing it?

You can read the rest of David Bandurski’s excellent translation of the letter here:

http://cmp.hku.hk/2010/10/13/8035/

October 14, 2010 @ 8:16 pm | Comment

Sorry Nicholas, that “you” was directed towards fancieryu, not you.

October 14, 2010 @ 8:20 pm | Comment

It’s also worth noting that, in accusing Liu Xiaobo of being a foreign agent, the fenqings are going beyond even what the PRC courts have said. Liu Xiaobo was convicted under Article 105 of the PRC criminal code, specifically, he was accused of “subverting state power” by “slandering” (why is this translation always used? if it’s written it is not slander, but libel) and “incitement” in his written work. No mention was made of the NED in his conviction, Liu was not accused of being a foreign agent.

Had the court wished to convict him of collusion with foreigners, he would have also been convicted under Article 106 (foreign collusion by someone in breach of Article 105). Had the court wished to accuse someone of providing financial support to Liu, then such a conviction would have gone forward under Article 107 (providing financial support to someone in breach of Article 105). Had the court wished to accuse him of being a member of an espionage group, he would have been convicted under Article 110 (1) (joining an espionage organization or accepting a mission assigned by it or its agent). Had the court wished to convict Liu Xiaobo of stealing state secrets, then they would have found him to have broken Article 111 (theft of state secrets).

However, the court in Liu’s case made no such rulings. China remains a country in which, de jure, you are innocent until proved guilty. Therefore, even according to the law of the PRC, Liu is innocent of all of these things.

October 14, 2010 @ 8:35 pm | Comment

FOARP

Two great posts – thanks!

October 14, 2010 @ 8:45 pm | Comment

I would also like to hear the party line on the following:
If Liu Xiaobo is a traitor because he accepted funding from the NED, then so is Mao who had no troubles with Soviet weapons and ammunitions during the civil war.

October 14, 2010 @ 9:29 pm | Comment

@Peter – No doubt their reply would be that Mao was engaged in a justified armed struggle and that Liu is not. Whilst I sympathise, such arguments get you nowhere, and may even be counter-productive. The NED is not providing armaments to Liu, Liu is not in a state of rebellion against the Chinese government, in fact the link between Liu and the NED has not even properly proven. To say otherwise supports those who agree with Liu’s imprisonment.

The argument against Liu, as I understand it, is that, as he is president of Chinese PEN, and as Chinese PEN has received grants from the NED, and since the NED is partly funded by the US government, this makes Liu a US agent. The chief person pushing this argument, Charles Liu, makes this claim based on data found using Google searches and cached information on the Wayback machine. The fact that intelligence operations do not behave in this way, and even if the information he presents is accurate, it only shows that Liu’s organisation received funding from the NED, not that Liu was a paid agent.

Charles Liu, of course, is the same man who said that he saw nothing wrong with this statement:

“(after describing Charter 08 as “a poisonous infection” which must be “expelled”) . . . apart from strengthening our immunity [to the 'disease' of Charter 08] , what is most important for us is to kill this disease. Let us look at the creators of this disease, two long term mischief-making clowns [i.e., Liu Xiaobo and Bao Tong], harming our country through foreign powers! Let us not indulge them again, we must sweep away these enemies as the autumn wind sweeps away the leaves! A righteous reckoning at the people’s guillotine is the best solution for them!”

That is, Charles Liu, the same man who is producing the ‘evidence’ connecting Liu to the NED, sees nothing wrong with calling for Liu Xiaobo’s death. Were we to say who has been acting in good faith and who is a mere shill acting out a revenge fantasy, I think such a judgement could easily be arrived at based on the above information.

October 14, 2010 @ 9:51 pm | Comment

To be fair, the chain of reasoning that Xiaobo receive NED funding is relatively solid despite the way it was uncovered: He is the president and receives stipend from an organization that is mainly supported by NED. He is still receiving stipend from PEN according to a regulatory filling.

Honestly I am sad that he does receive NED money. He would be much more powerful in people’s mind otherwise.

The fact that he receive such money neuturalize the message he and the Nobel price committee wants to send to PEOPLE of China even if he is doing it selflessly.

October 14, 2010 @ 10:16 pm | Comment

@fancieryu – And what about the case of Guo Quan, who was imprisoned on the same charges as Liu, but who no-one has accused of having any involvement with foreign organisations?

Let us also remember, Liu Xiaobo was not the only writer of Charter 08, does your reasoning also extend to Bao Tong – who, like Guo Quan, no-one has accused of involvement with foreign organisations?

And what about Charter 08 itself, if Liu’s alleged NED connection invalidates his view, does it also invalidate the charter? Perhaps you could point out for us exactly what part of the charter, in your mind, displays its NED origin? Charter 08 has now reportedly been signed by more than 10,000 people both inside and outside China, are all these people also connected to the NED?

October 14, 2010 @ 10:49 pm | Comment

Kevin, thanks for demolishing the argument that activists like Liu are in this for the money. The fact that they languish in jails for big chunks of their lives is a fairly good indicator that they are not doing it for personal gain. mAnd thanks to FOARP for expanding on the idiocy behind these charges. It’s all they have; they have to smear Liu at any cost, and “proving” he’s a CIA agent is the easiest way, nonsensical though the charge may be. As soon as I see the NED issue arise I know it’s either a 50-center or a moron.

I’ve been involved with PEN in the past, and the notion that PEN money is tainted because NED gave money to it is patently absurd. PEN has given money to thousands of writers whose works were suppressed. Those writers do not then become “agents” of anyone.

From what I can see so far, there is no evidence that NED has Liu on their payroll. But the issue will keep coming up because it reinforces the sacred meme that all actions that lead to criticism of China originate in the US. Pure horseshit, but it keeps ciphers like Charles Liu busy and makes them feel important. It’s a diversionary tactic, and it’s totally false.

October 14, 2010 @ 11:34 pm | Comment

“As for your statement about Nazis, as far as I know it’s not illegal to be a Nazi in England (or the United States, where I’ve known several self-proclaimed neonazis in my time). It is illegal in Germany. Nobody will stop you from propagandizing for Nazism, at least not through legal means, but don’t expect a friendly welcome.”

Nicholas M. You are being disingenuous.

You should know full well that right now there are several academics languishing in European prisons, just for questioning the actual extent of the Holocaust.

These academics have not advocated violence whatsoever.

Look at what happened to David Irving in Austria.

Now I’m not saying that Europe is wrong to jail these people. But if Europe can jail who she considers to be social misfits, why point the finger at China for doing the same?

Sounds hypocritical to me.

October 14, 2010 @ 11:37 pm | Comment

“The fact that they languish in jails for big chunks of their lives is a fairly good indicator that they are not doing it for personal gain”

Come on Richard. Don’t be so naiive.

He needs this jail time to gain his bona fides as a true anti-China running dog.

Sort of like getting a few battle scars.

He knows that when he is eventually released on medical parole, he and his wife will be whisked away to the US, where they will enjoy being feted by all the usual suspects. Then its a lucrative career on the lecture circuit touted as ‘former political prisoner’ and ‘Nobel prize winner’ Liu Xiaobo.

October 14, 2010 @ 11:44 pm | Comment

“It is worth noting that exactly the same kind of statements for which Liu was given an 11 year sentence can be made by party elders without any question being raised as to whether they should receive sanction.”

Liu clearly relished the thought of colonial rule for China, and regretted that this was unlikely to happen. This is consistent with his subsequent actions and other utterances. The man is a classic running dog type, or Uncle Tom.

Li Rui’s statement, is along different lines. His is ‘look even the British colonialists allow this…..etc etc.’ It’s a way of emphasizing a point by drawing a reference to something or someone everyone agrees is bad, in order to admonish one’s own side. There is absolutely no suggestion that Li Rui supports colonialism, and to my knowledge still holds that Mao is 7 good, 3 bad, precisely because he kicked out the colonialists.

Obviously all this is beyond the limited comprehension of FOARP.

October 14, 2010 @ 11:57 pm | Comment

kevinnolongerinpudong said:
“Fancieryu, on one thread you are voicing your suspicions that many pro-democracy activists are financially motivated”

Well, not just financially motivated. Also of course they are into self-glorification. Also this. Like a dog will do anything for his master in order to get a pat on the head, so will some running dogs do anything in order to gain the approval of their white masters. Liu is obviously one of these – just look at his wide circle of foreign friends. What on earth does he need these people for?

“I can tell you one thing- rationalization and defense of the current Party-state structure is never selfless. Who would have the motivation to go to prison for 11 years to defend the current system? No one, because it’s not worth saving.”

An absurd statement. You don’t know. If the system needed defending and was in danger of being subverted, especially by foreign agents and their lapdogs like Liu Xiaobo, some people would be prepared to even lay down their lives, I am sure.

October 15, 2010 @ 12:11 am | Comment

Sorry that I mixed MingZhuZhongguo with PEN. Somebody found an IRS 990 filing that Liu has been receiving $23K from MZZG with the approval of NED.

http://www.mitbbs.com/article_t/ChinaNews/32211423.html

I would like to find the original source to validate or invalidate this argument.

But unlike you, I am not going to label anybody “moron” or “5 mao” or “5 US cent” as it would be ad hominem attack.

October 15, 2010 @ 12:25 am | Comment

@Richard – Couldn’t agree more. We’re talking about the kind of people who can watch this video of Melissa Chan, journalist for that well-known anti-China western media outlet, Al Jazeera, being prevented by plain-clothesmen from meeting Liu Xia, Liu Xiaobo’s wife, and say:

“As for the video, who cut the phone – the journalist and you assume it’s the gov’t. The journalist think the gov’t is playing game. Me thinks the journalist is.

As for the security guards – my apartment complex here has meaner guards. The ones on the video were quite nice and reasonable. It’s the journalist that is the brat – making a story out of her own incompetence.”

This from Allen over at Hidden Harmonies. There’s just no debating with people when they refuse to do so in good faith. I give up.

October 15, 2010 @ 12:32 am | Comment

@fancieryu – Let me say this again – even if you show that Liu Xiaobo received money from MinZhuZhongGuo, and even if MinZhuZhongGuo received approval to continue such funding from the NED (which, once again, is not the US government), this still does not make Liu an agent.

Moreover, I note that you have not even bothered to engage with my previous point: you say that you would support Liu Xiaobo if it weren’t for what you consider to be his foreign connections. However, there are others, particularly Guo Quan, who have been imprisoned for doing just as Liu did, but who have not been in any way implicated in receiving foreign funds. Do you support Guo Quan? Do you support Bao Tong? Do you support the other original signatories of Charter 08?

October 15, 2010 @ 12:43 am | Comment

@FOARP
First, I have never said Liu is an agent of CIA, please quote me otherwise. What I said is the fact that he receive NED linked payments reduced his impact on Chinese People as he can easily PERCEIVED as tainted. For myself, I still respect Xiaobo.

I do support every one who really love China as a country (not CCP government) and not implicated by foreign funds. I am not too familiar with Guo Quan and Bao Tong, but if they are as you said, I support them. For Charter 08 signatories, I support every one who signed it because of their love of the country and their love of real democracy, but not support anybody who signed it for gaining favor from foreign donors.

October 15, 2010 @ 12:55 am | Comment

@fancieryu – The things is, I rather suspect that if people like Guo Quan (who, whilst he may be many other things, is undoubtedly a patriot) did become more famous, then some reason would be found as to why he was not deserving of respect. In fact, I remember people accusing Hu Jia of doing as he did merely to become famous.

October 15, 2010 @ 1:16 am | Comment

fancy, you do a good job of talking out of both sides of your mouth. Your stealth message is that, while you applaud Charter 08 and its signatories (right), Liu took foreign donations and that was his key motivator and this is what we should all be talking about. To which I reply again, if his goal was personal enrichment does it make sense that he put himself into a situation he knew could lead to many years in prison? That we’re even talking about this donation from PEN or whoever is pure absurdity, a diversion from what Liu actually stands for, which is not getting money from NED or elsewhere. His was not the path to self-aggrandizement and wealth.

As i mentioned, I’ve actually had dealings with PEN. They are an extremely liberal group of writers and they don’t hate China. They just try to help out writers who’ve been suppressed and/or imprisoned, everywhere in the world. It makes total sense that they’d get some support from the US government and/or NED. But there’s this bizarre thought process that if they do, then PEN immediately becomes suspect for acting as an intermediary of the US government and that, even more absurdly, that everyone who benefits from PEN’s interventions is also a puppet of the US government. I wish I could tell you just how wrong this thinking is, and how it is truly a case of grasping at any straw in the wind to damn Liu as something he is not. But keep at it. Your arguments are quite slick; I have to say I admire them, in a way.

October 15, 2010 @ 1:52 am | Comment

To Zhu Mao above, who wrote:

Nicholas M. You are being disingenuous.

You should know full well that right now there are several academics languishing in European prisons, just for questioning the actual extent of the Holocaust.

Let me challenge that: There is no academic languishing in any prison cells in Europe for questioning the Holocaust. None. Not one. Some Holocaust deniers who were spectacularly stupid like David Irving received fines and short prison sentences not only for denying the Holocaust but for glorifying the Nazi Party, which is a crime in Austria and Germany. Anyone following Irving’s career know full well he was needling the authorities and doing all he could to generate controversy around himself, claiming at the top of his lungs there were no gas chambers in the death camps. That was 20 years ago. Now, is it fair that someone can be fined or imprisoned for voicing a belief? I would have to say not. But you need a lot of historical context to understand exactly why Germany and Austria passed these laws. These nations were literally destroyed and pulverized and they believe, accurately, that it was Nazi ideology and their embrace of it that ignited the catastrophe. So while I don’t like the laws they passed inhibiting total free speech, I well understand why they passed them. Irving, always loving to be the lightning rod of attention, knew full well what he was getting into.

Repeat, no academic is languishing in European prisons for denying the Holocaust.

October 15, 2010 @ 2:27 am | Comment

fancieryu: Thank you for drawing my attention to this 990 form. Now we know that Liu Xiaobo received
$23,000 from Democratic China, Inc, of which he is the president. It also indicates that the payment was authorized by NED.

I would very much like to know how this Democratic China, Inc is financed by NED. Do they receive funding from other sources. or is NED their main sponsor. Anyhow it is disturbing to see a connection between Liu’s organization and NED, since we all know that NED is a front organization of CIA.

October 15, 2010 @ 2:40 am | Comment

“….we all know that NED is a front organization of CIA.”

Because? The fact is you don’t.

October 15, 2010 @ 2:48 am | Comment

Thanks FOARP – he doesn’t. But they need it to be, whether it really is or not, as it would then confirm the narrative they need to cling to. As I said in another thread. no one got more aid from the CIA than the Mujahadeen, including Osama Bin Laden. Were they agents of the CIA? Hardly. Maybe pawns in America’s game of chicken with the USSR, but their receiving the money did not make them agents of the US, the country they were soon to hate more than any other.

Zhu Mao, a bunch of your earlier comments got caught in my spam filter, and on second glance I think I should have left them there. I know a troll when I see one.

He needs this jail time to gain his bona fides as a true anti-China running dog.

Sort of like getting a few battle scars.

He knows that when he is eventually released on medical parole, he and his wife will be whisked away to the US, where they will enjoy being feted by all the usual suspects. Then its a lucrative career on the lecture circuit touted as ‘former political prisoner’ and ‘Nobel prize winner’ Liu Xiaobo.

Definitely displaying trollish tendencies.

October 15, 2010 @ 2:55 am | Comment

@Richard – Whoa wait, Noriega received CIA funding, and those guys are still best buddies, no?

@Zhu Mao – Learn to troll. Liu was imprisoned for his comments about Hong Kong, he was imprisoned for his criticism of the Chinese government, and that was why I was asking why Liu’s criticism lead to his imprisonment but Li Rui’s criticism was apparently not so serious.

October 15, 2010 @ 3:06 am | Comment

We forgot Saddam Hussein – he received hundreds of millions from the US in the 80s for his war against Iran. Never knew he was a CIA agent, though.

October 15, 2010 @ 3:25 am | Comment

Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, said this: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.” Isn’t this clear about NED?

October 15, 2010 @ 3:48 am | Comment

It in no way alters the fact that receiving money from them does not in any way make you their agent. Sassan, bin Laden, Noriega, and the list goes on. Does anyone receiving a campaign. contribution instantly become a paid agent of said group? Of course not

October 15, 2010 @ 4:08 am | Comment

@Richard,

I am a little disappointed that you are trying to plant words into my mouth. Please find words that I said I believe the NED money is Xiaobo’s chief motivator. I didn’t say anything like that.

Also I have no experience with PEN and mixed it up with MingZhuZhongGuo, as such, I have already apologized for this mixed up. I would appreciate PEN if it functions like what you describe.

Nevertheless, I stressed “Perception” of NED funding.

To many Chinese, somebody who advocate freedom and democracy and got jailed because of his belief is utterly different from somebody did that while receiving NED funding. One is hero, the other, a pawn of foreigners (well, not necessarily agent per se). I don’t subscribe to such view myself but it is a majority view among educated Chinese, which I assume Xiaobo would like to impact.

For me, I believe Xiaobo will be freed soon. I wish Xiaobo renounce any foreign money afterwards(except the Nobel Price money he received). This is made possible by the amount of money (I do know many Ming Yun people do not have such luxury), so that he can do great work and come out clear that he is not doing any other country’s bidding. This would maximize his impact.

October 15, 2010 @ 4:30 am | Comment

@fancieryu – I cannot share your optimism. Liu Xiaobo was imprisoned on the same grounds that Hu Jia and Guo Quan were imprisoned. If Liu Xiaobo is released, then Hu Jia, winner of the European Parliament’s Sakharov prize, whose sentence is only 3 1/2 year but which is for same charge, and who is apparently in very poor health, should also be released. The same is true of Guo Quan.

Yes, I am aware that foreign involvement dirties Liu in some people’s eyes. But the truth is that many of those people do not agree with Liu anyway, and would seek to justify his imprisonment whatever the truth of the matter. The case of Guo Quan in particular shows this, since he has received no support despite never having been accused by anyone of foreign connections, and having himself forsworn all such connections. It is remarkable how, until he became active in the pro-democracy movement, Guo Quan was actually quite popular amongst nationalists for his writing on the subject of the Nanjing Massacre.

If I were to try to give a western example of the same phenomenon, I would talk about the construction of the Park 52 Mosque near the former site of the World Trade Centre in New York city. Many people say that they did not initially oppose it, but came to be so when they learned the shady nature of the backer of the imam who sought to establish the mosque through the Fox News network, which accused him of meeting with Middle Eastern leaders with connections to terrorism. Of course, this was a false motive, as was shown by the fact that the backer in question had also met with George W. Bush, and owned a major stake in Fox News. The real motive, when it came right down to it, was anti-Muslim bigotry.

Similarly, the real motive behind criticism of Liu is not fear of foreign influence, but a sheer desire to punish someone for challenging the state and advocating democratic elections. Democracy in China is something that everyone claims to be in favour of, but which almost no-one in the political class is willing to implement.

October 15, 2010 @ 4:56 am | Comment

@FOARP,

The optimism is based on my recent reading that the CCP wants to release him through so called medical parole (which was used to many Ming Yun people to secure their release in the past). It appear Xiaobo rejected that offer but I assume something would work out.

As of the the second point, I believe these are the Chinese people that need to be engaged and influenced. Opting out them would make Xiaobo or any other activist isolated and effectively become marginized. It’s is hard to do but they have do to it.

October 15, 2010 @ 5:18 am | Comment

@fancieryu – It may well be that Liu Xiaobo will not take such parole if offered, as it is likely to only be offered in exchange for him going into exile, or at least ceasing his pro-democracy activities.

I understand the argument that the Chinese people must be engaged with. However, I cannot see how this is, in reality, likely to do anything more than what has already been achieved. The Chinese people know, to a large extent, only what their leaders allow them to know. Whilst the internet leaves some room for communication, it propagates black propaganda as easily as it does anything else. Anyway, the Chinese people need no more convincing of the need for democratic reform.

Really, it is the leadership that must be convinced, it is the leadership who can take action, and it is therefore against the leadership that pressure should be exerted. Based on this assessment, the path chosen by Guo Quan and Liu Xiaobo – forcing the leadership to embarrass themselves by imprisoning them, and dirty their name in the international arena, is the correct one.

October 15, 2010 @ 5:31 am | Comment

Why should Liu Xiaobo renounce the money that people/organizations outside of China have given/donated to him, fancy? Should the Sichuan officials renounce the money donated to them by OxFam after the earthquake? Does accepting a donation make the recipient a puppet? Are the Sicuan officials pawns, agents of a UK charity?

You definitely have an agenda to tie Liu Xiaobo to foreign money and, in a veiled way, to subtly smear him for it, congratulating him with one hand, stabbing him in the back with the other. As I said, I “admire” your artfully composed comments, but please don’t think that they fool anybody.

October 15, 2010 @ 6:06 am | Comment

The problem here is NED. If Liu receives funding from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, I wouldn’t mind at all. But NED is a government agency dressed as an private organization to do dirty works that the government is not allowed to do.

Let’s look at it this way. What will Americans feel, if the Chinese government funds certain political candidates in a US election? Wasn’t there a big story about alleged illegal campaigned contributions from China some years ago? Remember Al Gore and some Buddhist temple? Charlie Trie?

“What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others.” — Confucious

October 15, 2010 @ 6:31 am | Comment

http://wsws.org/articles/2010/oct2010/pers-o12.shtml

Nobel Peace Prize: Another exercise in political cynicism
12 October 2010

Last Friday’s announcement awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was a highly political decision designed to stoke up the issue of “human rights” in China on behalf of the US and European powers.

This underscores the fact that China remains a police state that tramples on the basic democratic rights not only of middle class dissidents, but of hundreds of millions of working people. However, the decision to pluck Liu Xiaobo from relative obscurity is not aimed at fostering democracy in China, but rather is to further the interests of the European powers and the US against a rising economic rival.

One only has to recall the reaction of the Western powers to the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. Liu was a leading figure among liberal intellectuals who initiated the student protests that were crushed by soldiers and tanks after workers began to join and voice their own class demands. Hundreds, if not thousands, were killed and many more students and workers were arrested in Beijing and other cities throughout China.

The US and European powers shed crocodile tears for the dead and imposed a token arms embargo on China. Later that year the Nobel Peace Prize Committee handed the 1989 award to the Dalai Lama in a further diplomatic slap in the face to Beijing over “human rights”.

However, the actual conclusion drawn by Western governments and corporations was expressed in the hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign investment that flooded into China. Far from being concerned about the abuse of democratic rights, investors took the massacre as a guarantee that the Chinese regime would use all means to suppress any threat by the rapidly expanding working class to their property and profits.

By becoming the cheap labour “workshop of the world”, China has undergone a vast economic expansion over the past two decades—propelling the country from the tenth largest economy in the world in 1989 to the second largest this year. The global financial crisis that erupted in 2007-08 highlighted the relative decline of the United States and intensified the debate in Washington over how to respond to the Chinese challenge.

The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu gives a boost to the ideological component of the Obama administration’s aggressive campaign to demand economic concessions from Beijing, particularly on the revaluation of the yuan, and to undercut growing Chinese influence in Asia and internationally. The lack of “human rights” in China is exploited to highlight Chinese support for repressive regimes on the world stage such as Burma and Sudan—while keeping a diplomatic silence, for instance, on the oppressive US-led military occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Nobel Peace Prize announcement came amid the rising danger of a “currency war” over the undervalued Chinese yuan. The US House of Representatives recently passed a bill enabling Washington to impose tariffs on China for allegedly manipulating its currency. At the International Monetary Fund meeting last weekend, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner again called “on countries whose currencies are significantly undervalued”—that is, China—to do more to boost domestic consumption and rebalance global growth.

OWhile the Obama administration did not publicly link Liu’s Nobel Prize to these broader economic and strategic issues, the American media has not been so reticent. In an editorial last Friday declaring that China should be “ashamed” over Liu’s detention, the New York Times issued the following call to arms: “Beijing is used to throwing its weight around these days on currency, trade, the South China Sea and many other issues. Too many governments, and companies, are afraid to push back. Maybe someone in China’s leadership will now figure out that bullying is not a strategy for an aspiring world power.”

“Chinese bullying” is becoming the rallying point around which the US is seeking to marshal support to throw its own weight around in Asia and internationally. By enlisting in this ideological campaign, the Nobel committee is not advancing “peace”, but is helping to fuel the drive to currency and trade wars that ultimately will produce war itself.

October 15, 2010 @ 6:56 am | Comment

@Serve the people – But this is exactly what you would not do. However Liu derived his funding, so long as it was from a foreign source (and even if it was not) the talk would be of him being a foreign agent. You mention the Gates foundation – but is it not easy to imply that Bill Gates has an interest in installing a friendly government in China and is this not exactly what people would say if Liu were linked to the Gates foundation? Is this not already exactly what people say about anyone linked to George Soros? I think you are being disingenuous here.

As for interference in elections – first hold elections, then we’ll talk.

October 15, 2010 @ 7:01 am | Comment

John, that’s exactly the kind of post I would expect from the World Socialist web site.

October 15, 2010 @ 7:08 am | Comment

@John Chan – Do you really want to invoke WSWS as a true source of information about China? It seems that all you actually did was read the title and then cut and paste the article onto this forum. Anyone familiar with WSWS would know that they are highly critical of the Beijing regime, just as they are of many western nations. WSWS’s bizarre hypothesis that the award was somehow given on the instructions of the governments of the US and the western powers, however, cannot be credited.

October 15, 2010 @ 7:08 am | Comment

I’m not John Chan btw, just copying his writing (credited). It’s a refreshing perspective compared to the senseless drivel from the Western press. I’m not going to repeat the “300 years of colonization” quote, but here’s another gem of wisdom from LXB in that same interview with the HK magazine in 1988:

“我没法用英语那样好的表达自己的内心世界,我将来有可能用英语表达的意思,但语言的味道会一点儿也没啦。我最大的悲哀就是因为语言的局限性,还不得不为中国说话,我是在与一个非常愚昧、非常庸俗的东西对话,这种对话只会使自己的水平越来越低。”——刘晓波,1988

Rough Translation:
“My command of the English Language is not good enough for me to express my innner world. Perhaps in the future I will be able to express my thoughts in English, but it will have lost all the nuances of a (native) language. My biggest tragedy is my language barrier, which leaves me no choice but to speak Chinese, to speak Chinese is to dialog with a very backward and very idiotic world, this type of dialog will only debase myself.”

Btw, does LXB need to pay taxes on his winnings?

October 15, 2010 @ 7:18 am | Comment

Again, the real audience here is the domestic Chinese audience, not the American or European one (and even between Americans and Europeans you are likely to find different reactions to the awarding of the peace prize, if not in direction then in scope).

So what does the Chinese audience think of Liu Xiaobo? Does giving him a peace prize besmirch or better that view? If it alters it, how does that response fracture amongst the fault lines of Chinese society?

For example, the claim that this is orchestrated by Western power brokers with an interest in seeing China fall would be perceived as patently ludicrous by anyone in the foreign policy or economic apparatus, because they perceive just how desperately financial elites in the West (the heads of major banks and corporations) need Chinese “imports” of Western financial products and assets in order to maintain their positions atop Western societies. Indeed smart analysts (and Zhongnanhai especially) probably view this as an attempt by the Nobel Committee to remain relevant in the minds of foreign viewers following the negative reception to Barack Obama’s peace prize last year.

However, the military may view it as a direct attack, the police/state security organs too. To private citizenry, it depends on their income and education; a rich but poorly educated Chinese may respond more angrily to this than a bohemian Chinese student, for example.

To most Chinese, though, the prize will be a newsworthy item only until their next round of Farmville or Supergirl/telenovela episode. Like the average American, the average Chinese citizen is politically morose and distracted. The stated hope of the prize is to “inspire” in China, but that is unlikely to be the case because, quite frankly, nobody really gives a damn. Liu Xiaobo’s Charter 08 would probably make a deeper chord if he was railing against high housing prices, but then he wouldn’t win a Nobel Prize nor would the Chinese government lock him up in prison–they’d simply put him on retainer in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

So net, no effect on China, shows Chinese analysts that the nobel committee is trying to rebuild its image by besmirching China’s human rights record, which is the path of least resistance, gives some generals another sub-bullet-point in their funding request powerpoint deck, and the police some more manpower to watch over poor bohemians no one else in China really cares about.

October 15, 2010 @ 7:19 am | Comment

Do you have any context on the “colonization” quote from more than two decades ago? Do you really know anything about Liu?

This thread has been flypaper for all kinds of ____ [fill in the blank].

October 15, 2010 @ 7:20 am | Comment

@Richard,

The proposal of Xiaobo renouce other donations is to make his works EFFECTIVE. He can choose to receive NED funding, but he would make a much less compelling case to Chinese people than if he severs his tie to NED.

I don’t want his jail time spent in vain.

As foreign money, I want to get people clarity. I would also like to have proof that he is NOT affected by such money, that would give a better picture to everybody.

People can make judgement on this, but they need to know the truth. If you are afraid of truth and label truth as smear, I would be very disappointed, especially because you are advocating democracy.

October 15, 2010 @ 7:21 am | Comment

Richard, I assume you don’t think this “colonization” quote is forged. If you think it’s real, then what context could possibly alter the meaning of what he said?

Paint me a scenario under which he delivered this quote that can be considered less offensive than what this quote sounds when taken out of that context.

October 15, 2010 @ 7:23 am | Comment

The context is that it was at the cusp of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations when China was a very different country than what it is today. You can dig up moldy chestnuts uttered by anybody if you comb through their words of the past quarter century. If you believe this is what Liu stands for and that that is what is lifework is about, more power to you. Of course, you’d be being an asshole, but that’s your choice.

October 15, 2010 @ 7:26 am | Comment

If so, then why is it that he refused to retract it or apologize for it when asked about it many many years later? If this was a quote made out of emotion at the time, and “does not represent what he stands for” surely he would have had time to “calm down” and re-assess? But he didn’t.

October 15, 2010 @ 7:29 am | Comment

@By John Chan – Once again, this does not appear to be a serious statement. In fact, when I read this quote, I automatically thought of this quote by Eduard Limonov, leader of the Russian National-Bolshevik party (i.e., an unavowed ultra-nationalist) –

“I am the best Russian writer, but I am forced to confess that I hate Russian language. Russian words are painfully long, they remind me of naked slimy worms. You know, those pink awful creatures that you can see on some hot summer night on path you walk. Worms get out of soil to copulate under the moonlight. Russian words are copulating on my table every day and night. I am looking at them with hate and I am screaming. I am gnashing my teeth. Why should put “icheskaya” to the end of “social” in “Social Republic?” Seven letters I am adding for what fuck? Fucking “icheskaya!” Hysterical, hystericheskii laugh goes out of me when I am imaging those fucking Urgo-Finns in their shadowy forests. They move in slow motion, they take their time. Why wasn’t I born in a clear lucid language dealing in “Achtung!” and “Shnell?” And when I think that Russians are only a handful of 142 million readers, it’s really depressing for a writer.”

Are you really going to suggest that Eduard Limonov is in someway slavish to foreigners based on this quote? Or could it be that he is not being serious here? Doesn’t Liu’s quote also appear not to be a serious one?

AND WHY THE HELL DOES EVERYONE WANT TO DISCUSS AN INTERVIEW HE GAVE 22 YEARS AGO WHEN THE THING WHICH PUT HIM IN JAIL WAS WRITTEN LESS THAN 2 YEARS AGO?

That’s right, did you even read Charter 08? Why do you think that this interview is more representative of his thought than the actual document for which he went to jail and which led to him receiving the prize? By what write to you feel you can take comments made 22 years ago out of context and then present them as if they were representative of the entirety of Liu’s political ideas?

I ask again – have you read Charter 08? Have you read the articles for which he was put in jail?

October 15, 2010 @ 7:31 am | Comment

fancy:

As foreign money, I want to get people clarity. I would also like to have proof that he is NOT affected by such money, that would give a better picture to everybody.

Once more you are stabbing Liu in the back while feigning diplomacy. If he doesn’t renounce foreign money (what a deranged request) that means he’s somehow “tainted.” I guess all PEN recipients should go into the public square and renounce PEN. And what else? Donations from foreign individuals? As if he needs to prove to fenqing like you that he’s pure and free of foreign taint. Your racket is pretty obvious. Sound fair, soft-spoken, painstakingly reasonable, but your actual message is sinister and detestable: Liu is not to be trusted if he doesn’t renounce foreign donations; he is tainted, and it’s bad that he accepted money from PEN (or whoever).

Slick as a puddle of oil on the highway.

I’m losing my patience. :-)

October 15, 2010 @ 7:34 am | Comment

John WSWS Chan:

If so, then why is it that he refused to retract it or apologize for it when asked about it many many years later?

Has he said that he still stands by the statement? Has he said he refuses to retract his decades-old assertion? Ball is in your court, as you claim he refuses to retract it. Where and when?

October 15, 2010 @ 7:37 am | Comment

@fancieryu – There is no point in him severing his ties with the NED, because it is not actually him who has them, it is, if anyone (and even this is dubious), the organisations with which he associates. Moreover, not having ties with any foreign organisations and eschewing all foreign involvement has not helped Guo Quan. Many people likely only know of Liu Xiaobo because he won a western award. It therefore seems that Liu’s foreign connection has helped, not hindered him.

And I say again, all this is merely changing the subject. But if you wish to show willing, perhaps you might tell us what exactly your opinion of Charter 08 is, of its 19 points, which do you agree with and which do you disagree with?

October 15, 2010 @ 7:38 am | Comment

@John Chan – Surely even you can realise the stupidity of criticising a man currently imprisoned incommunicado for not renouncing obviously un-serious statements (I mean, quoting Marx in his defence!) made 22 years ago. I would say he has more pressing concerns at this moment.

And I’m waiting to hear how all this justifies his imprisonment, and the extra-judicial house-arrest of his wife.

October 15, 2010 @ 7:43 am | Comment

I don’t think anyone here can judge whether or not he’s serious when making that statement. Why do we need to discuss his past quotes? Because these quotes are especially lurid and sensational that no normal person could ignore. You would have to FORCE yourself to ignore these quotes.

I have Charter 08, pretty much a plagiarized version of Charter 77 – full of highfalutin notes and abstractions, very little substance, and like t_co said above, very unlikely to strike a chord in the heart of the average Chinese. And that’s the problem with today’s Chinese democracy movement – too much abstraction and elitism, too little connection to the common folk on the ground. As t_co said, they would be a lot more effective if their messages focused on rising real estate prices, rising income gap, forced relocation, etc. That’s why the Maoists, the freakin’ Maoists in China today can get more resonance with their “Look back the old days, at least Chairman Mao gave us equality and iron-bowl” message than the “We must learn from the enlightened Westerners” message that LXB and his buddies carry.

It’s not that I don’t think there’s nothing to learn from Western ideals of democracy, modern judiciary system, free press, etc. I think China needs to move towards that direction eventually. But what’s the best way to do it? In USSR and Czech, the best ways were probably what LXB is doing now: getting a bunch of elitist (no derogatory meaning intended) intellectuals and write a bunch of leaflets. Unfortunately, the social composition and cultural “soil” of China is entirely different than the former Soviet republicans, and social change in China NEVER EVER started with educated intellectuals, it ALWAYS ALWAYS starts from the bottom – the uneducated farmers. That’s how every dynasty in China rose and fell.

So the the Chinese democracy movement needs to take a lesson from history if they want to have any chance of succeeding.

October 15, 2010 @ 7:46 am | Comment

Wow, what an accusation! “racket” “sinister” “Detestable”.

To be fair, I do not suggest anybody else doing so — it’s simply infeasible. But for Xiaobo, his Nobel price can enable him to do so. Not for the sake of purity by himself but for the sake of GETTING HIS MESSAGE ACROSS!

If he cares more about NED dontation (not PEN, if you bother to read carefully) than getting his message across, he can do it, but I would be disappointed.

October 15, 2010 @ 7:47 am | Comment

Has he said that he still stands by the statement? Has he said he refuses to retract his decades-old assertion? Ball is in your court, as you claim he refuses to retract it. Where and when?

Here’s an article he himself wrote in 2006
http://www.open.com.hk/0701p26.html

Taken from the above link:

這句話,不過是我至今無改的信念的極端表達而已,即,中國的現代化需要經過長期的西化過程方能實現。因此,官方的批判也罷,愛國憤青的口水也好,每每想起,我都懷著感激,讓我有機會即興發揮。

Translation” That quote was simply an extreme expression of what I still believe in – The modernization of China requires pro-longed Westernization. Therefore, no matter who criticizes me over it – government or the fenqing’s – I still feel grateful when thinking about that quote, it gave me a chance to be spontaneous.

October 15, 2010 @ 7:53 am | Comment

He clarified and said China requires “prolonged Westernization.” And that is certainly what today’s CCP believes. He is making it clear he doesn’t mean colonization. You’re as bad as American wingnuts who try to flay politicians alive for something they said decades before and that gets pulled out of context. But I don’t expect you to get this. You and fancy have your minds made up. You’re playing word games. The notion of desiring the colonization of China by the US is not what Liu stands for. He believes China can benefit from being more Westernized, and, for all the flaws of the West, I can’t disagree with him.

October 15, 2010 @ 7:58 am | Comment

@John Chen – So your suggestion is that Liu Xiaobo should take to the hills and try to organise a rural insurgency? I believe that has been tried in China at least once before. Anyone remember how it turned out? I forget.

Back in the real world, nobody wants a revolution of the workers and peasants, least of all the workers and peasants themselves. Maybe you think that the Maoist have resonance in modern-day China, my guess is that you think this based on the people you associate with there. Myself, living in Nanjing, I met a lot of people sympathetic with the old KMT. Down in Shenzhen, I met a lot more people who wanted to follow a route similar to that of Hong Kong (with out too much colonialism of course). I’m not going to pretend that either of these is the central theme of what stands for China’s political mainstream, or is even a widely considered alternative. The same goes for Maoism.

Charter 08 at least offers concrete proposals for reform. Can you say which of these proposals you actually considered to be unwholly or incoherently articulated? Which you believe to represent copying of the west? There are 19 of them – a brief run-down would do.

October 15, 2010 @ 7:59 am | Comment

What LXB believes in, if you are familiar with his writings, is 全盘西化 – “Wholesale Westernization”. Meaning, every aspect of chinese culture and society should move towards the west, the faster and closer China becomes like the West, not just in areas of rule of law, democracy, but in culture, world outlook, philosophy, mentality, and even, yes, even food and language, the better it is for China. It not a new concept – many many Chinese intellectuals, including Hu Shi himself, believes in it.

http://books.google.com/books?id=LO4xG-bH1CQC&lpg=PA105&ots=rgY5JhVmRb&dq=%22wholesale%20westernization%22&pg=PA105#v=onepage&q=%22wholesale%20westernization%22&f=false

October 15, 2010 @ 8:03 am | Comment

So your suggestion is that Liu Xiaobo should take to the hills and try to organise a rural insurgency? I believe that has been tried in China at least once before. Anyone remember how it turned out? I forget.

What’s with this black-white dual logic? How did you arrive at the conclusion that I am saying he must start a insurgency? Are you serious?

There’s no way to start an effective insurgency today anyways, given the organization of the gov’t and the huge gap in military equipment. For one thing, the gov’t has an airforce, cruise missiles, atomic weapons. How is an insurgency today gonna compete with that?

October 15, 2010 @ 8:07 am | Comment

Thanks FOARP. I shouldn’t let fancy or John Chen get to me, but they so clearly have an agenda of smearing Liu, and they’re both playing right from the fenqing playbook – NED and the 22-year-old quote.

October 15, 2010 @ 8:07 am | Comment

FYI: saw a repost of “My Old Friend Liu Xiaobo” by poet Bei Ling in the China Study Group list, in which Bei Ling says –

“Liu is an iconoclast. He pulls no punches and has little regard for “face,” once flippantly commenting that China would benefit from “300 years of colonization by the West.” He didn’t mean this literally, of course, it was an ironic description of the damage centuries of authoritarian rule has inflicted on China’s scholars, but Liu’s critics seized the remark as evidence of his “reactionary” and even traitorous nature. What they don’t know is Liu wields ironic humor to veil how passionately he cares about the fate of our country.”

October 15, 2010 @ 8:12 am | Comment

Thank you Xujun. A voice of sanity around here is truly welcome.

October 15, 2010 @ 8:14 am | Comment

So Chen, maybe you disagree about to what extent China should be Westernized. Fine. But it wasn’t this that landed him in jail, nor was it this that won him the Nobel Prize. You are obfuscating the issue, trying to shine a light on an aspect of Liu’s worldview that offends you, while ignoring the issue at hand, his winning of the Prize, and why he was selected. It was not for his views on Westernization, but on reform and accountability.

October 15, 2010 @ 8:17 am | Comment

If a US citizen receives fund from a foundation associated with the Chinese government, and in return, runs a magazine whose political stance is the complete abolition of the US Constitution and Federalism in favor of a Stalinist style Communist system, hails Osama Bin Laden as a hero, visits and holds friendly meetings with Castro and Kim Jung Il, etc. I’m not familiar with the politics of America today, but I think if I were to run such an operation funded by the Chinese government, I MUST HAVE broken some laws of the US, even today? Now imagine if I were to do this during the Cold War, where the US was not as dominating and confident in the battle of ideology, where the future is UNCLEAR for the United States, I am PRETTY SURE I would be in SOME VERY DEEP trouble, wouldn’t you agree?

October 15, 2010 @ 8:23 am | Comment

Brilliant analogy, John. I agree, Liu is best compared to Osama Bin Laden. He is advocating something totally evil. The two things he stands for are evil and death. He shouldn’t have won the Nobel Prize, he should have been drawn and quartered. Brilliant.

I think we’ve said enough about this. I think it’s pretty clear what you’re all about.

Where do these commenters come from? How do they find this site?

October 15, 2010 @ 8:31 am | Comment

Nope that’s not my analogy at all.

I’m not saying What LXB is advocating is “evil”. I’m saying, he’s advocating wholesale abolition of an existing system of government. No government in the world tolerates someone getting paid by another govermnent to advocate whole sale abolition of its own system. The examples about Bin Laden was to illustrate how I would be friendly with figures and organizations the US gov’t is a de-factor enemy of (rightly or wrongly, and that’s totally irrelevant), and that’s intolerable in the eyes of the US gov’t.

I suspect you understood all that, but are just deliberately trying to misconstrue or oversimplify what I’m trying to say.

Btw, it’s not just the Chinese gov’t who’s against LXB winning this Prize.

The FLG, if you care to go to their site, is lashing out against LXB, using the most offensive insult against him, if you think the fenqings are bad, just read some of FLG’s articles on LXB.

October 15, 2010 @ 8:36 am | Comment

I trust the FLG as much as I trust the WSWS. And as much as I trust you. Thanks for commenting.

Just in case anyone missed it, let me repeat the quote that Xujun left above from a member of the China Study Group:

“300 years of colonization by the West.” He didn’t mean this literally, of course, it was an ironic description of the damage centuries of authoritarian rule has inflicted on China’s scholars, but Liu’s critics seized the remark as evidence of his “reactionary” and even traitorous nature. What they don’t know is Liu wields ironic humor to veil how passionately he cares about the fate of our country.”

Does anyone seriously believe Liu stands for destroying all Chinese culture, that he is an enemy of the state? Of course not. This is like Pam Geller seizing on an offhand remark by the Imam Rauf (of the so-called Ground Zero Mosque) and saying it’s proof he’s a jihadist (he’s long been a friend to Israel). It’s a toxic process of smearing someone based on bullshit. Charles Liu and the other smearers making these claims on blogs everywhere should be ashamed. The NED malarkey is just another smear tactic, taking something utterly inconsequential and making a huge tempest in a teapot. It’s calculating, it’s ruthless and it’s revolting.

October 15, 2010 @ 8:38 am | Comment

What about Weijing Shen? What about Wang Dan?

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/07/world/asia/07china.html?_r=1&scp=13&sq=Nobel%20Peace%20Liu&st=cse

Are all of those people Fenqings? Lackeys of the CCP?

October 15, 2010 @ 8:41 am | Comment

Those activists were down on Liu because they say he was too soft on the CCP. God, there’s no way he can win – he’s hated by all sides, the fenqing who say he’s too pro-Western, and the anti-CCP activists who say he’s too pro-CCP! This all tells me the Nobel committee made a decent choice. I don’t let extremists from either side do my thinking for me, thank you.

October 15, 2010 @ 8:49 am | Comment

@Richard – I am afraid the methods first carried out by the US Republican party (back in the early days they used to refer to it as “Moby-ing” based on a quote suggesting the tactic by US DJ Moby) to dominate discussion on-line by simply posting a discussion link onto a website filled with hot-heads and saying “go bash this site” have gone global. The simple deluge of people attacking Liu (but only after he won the prize) has been quite astounding. It’s remarkable how many of them seem to know only one or two facts about Liu Xiaobo, all coming from the same source, and how few of them have ever read anything written by him – especially not Charter 08 or the articles for which he was imprisoned.

As for fancieryu’s basic premise – that Liu should ditch foreign links to avoid possible taint of bias – I simply cannot take this seriously. Liu’s foreign connections right now are the only thing he has working for him, only they can exercise influence on the Chinese leadership to get him release. Moreover, Liu is currently being held incommunicado – the only route of communication was via his wife, who is now being held under extra-judicial house arrest.

Finally, and I keep saying this, but Guo Quan is an example of pro-democracy activist who did exactly as fancieryu urged – had nothing to do with foreign organisations. Whereas many of Liu’s writings were published abroad, Guo sent his appeals for democratic reform in letters to Hu and Wen, and attempted to create a grass-roots self-funding pro-democracy party.

The result? He is also imprisoned on a ten-year sentence on exactly the same charges as Liu. The difference is that fancieryu has never even heard about him, much less read any of his writings, nor can she/he because the Chinese websites which hosted them have all had them wiped. Whilst Liu will receive the full weight of support from foreign pro-Human Rights organisations, Guo’s case will be much lower in profile, because he eschewed the connections which might have helped him in favour of the greater credibility he thought would come from avoiding foreign involvement.

Essentially, Guo did what fancieryu wanted, but it didn’t help him or his ideas, instead he got shafted for it.

October 15, 2010 @ 9:00 am | Comment

@John Chen – Anyone who has ideas, has enemies. None of this excuses Liu’s continued imprisonment (the justice of which you do not seem to want to comment on), or invalidates Liu’s winning of the prize.

October 15, 2010 @ 9:02 am | Comment

Thanks FOARP, for both of the above comments. A pity they’ll fall mainly on deaf ears. They’ve got their talking points, and if they know anything it’s how to stay on message.

October 15, 2010 @ 9:07 am | Comment

@FOARP,

Thanks for pointing Guo Quan for me. Do you have any websites that have his writings? I’d like to read them. I am not in China so you can show me any links :) (Well, even for people within China, it wouldn’t be too difficult anyway)

October 15, 2010 @ 10:07 am | Comment

Fancy, you’re so polite! You remind me of Eddie Haskell on Leave it to Beaver.

October 15, 2010 @ 10:49 am | Comment

“If a US citizen receives fund from a foundation associated with the Chinese government, and in return, runs a magazine whose political stance is the complete abolition of the US Constitution and Federalism in favor of a Stalinist style Communist system, hails Osama Bin Laden as a hero, visits and holds friendly meetings with Castro and Kim Jung Il, etc. I’m not familiar with the politics of America today, but I think if I were to run such an operation funded by the Chinese government, I MUST HAVE broken some laws of the US, even today?”

Totally legal, as long as you aren’t engaging in “hate speech”- speech advocating violence against another group based on race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, etc. (As far as I know, “class warfare” isn’t covered under hate speech laws.) In fact, while Nazis and fascists aren’t welcome in mainstream American society (at least of the Euro/Jew-bashing variety- extreme right American militarists who thoroughly wrap themselves in the flag are fine), Communists are given a pass, especially in academic circles.

You’re barking up the wrong tree here. You can spread any propaganda you want in the US, provided it’s not threatening the lives of others.

October 15, 2010 @ 11:08 am | Comment

Nick is absolutely correct.

Go through this thread and see how much nonsense is being spouted by those who seem to detest Liu with a passion – people in Europe are “languishing in prison” for denying the Holocaust; the false notion that you are breaking the law in the US by advocating propaganda; the notion that Liu wants to stop the Chinese from eating Chinese food and force them to eat McDonald’s…. John Chen et. al. sound sane at first glance, but looking more closely you see everything they say needs to be taken with a heaping tablespoon of salt.

October 15, 2010 @ 11:41 am | Comment

I am still wondering if LXB needs to pay taxes on his winnings to the Chinese government. Legally, I think he does. From the IRS filing, his compensation (note: COMPENSATION is different from DONATION) was close to 30,000 USD per year, that’s much much higher rate than what wu mao receives on a per-article basis.(btw, wu mao is 5 cents, not 50 cents. Not sure why everyone keeps saying 50 cents). CCP’s department of propaganda needs to have a more competitive compensation rate to compete effectively with their American counterparts.

All joking aside. The problem with Liu Xiaobo and his associated democracy movement is that it’s failing to strike a chord with the vast majority of the Chinese population. In other words, it has no grassroot support, it has no broad appeal. It’s a bookworm initiated movement, not a peasant initiated movement. This model worked in Czechoslovakia, in Romania, in USSR; it won’t work in China. In American political lingo, LXB’s message is too narrow and his base too small. If you still are puzzled by this, you gotta study more about history and culture and politics.

October 15, 2010 @ 12:18 pm | Comment

I actually agree that his base is narrow. It seems like you’re a new reader here. I’ve never said or implied that I think Charter 08 had grassroots support. I always felt that while it was a noble enough effort, it was having far more impact on the foreign media than on the Chinese population. This is why I’ve stated many times here that Liu would not necessarily have been my first choice for the Nobel Prize, though I support the committee’s choice. I would go so far as saying that not a single reader here is under any illusions that Liu’s is a grassroots, broadly supported movement. You are making assumptions based on your own pre-conceived notions of how Westerners perceive Liu. There are no such illusions here.

October 15, 2010 @ 12:30 pm | Comment

This topic sure has legs, on the several blogs I visit, and probably on the thousands that I don’t. But the detractors sound remarkably similar. NED/foreign funding. No street cred with average CHinese because of this foreign funding. No government would allow someone paid by another government to advocate dissolution of their constitution. The guy gave some rather colourful quotes 22 years ago. Or some combination thereof.

When FOARP goes chapter and verse outlining how the funding does not factor into the conviction, the detractors ignore it. When FOARP asks why another person just like Liu minus the foreign funding ends up exactly where Liu sits, the silence is deafening. When their analogies and examples are shown to be baseless and irrelevant, they ignore that too.

It’s becoming epidemic on sites like these, based on my experience. Some people will write/say just about anything, logic, relevance, and context be damned. They’d rather massage a quote to make a point, rather than realize that the quote in its entirety and in the proper context might actually discourage that point.

On days like these, i kinda miss Math. At least he can be original at times, and quite funny.

October 15, 2010 @ 2:42 pm | Comment

Richard said:
“But you need a lot of historical context to understand exactly why Germany and Austria passed these laws. These nations were literally destroyed and pulverized and they believe, accurately, that it was Nazi ideology and their embrace of it that ignited the catastrophe.”

Yes Richard. You talk of ‘context.’
Well, surely China can justify imprisoning those who threaten social stability and the progress and well-being of 1.3 billion Chinese people, and are to boot indisputably slavish to the West, that same West which inflicted on China 100 years of invasion and humiliation?

It is accepted by everyone here, that China has been lifting people out of poverty at a rate unprecedented in all of human history. Even Liu’s Nobel citation says as much, as did Obama’s congratulatory statement.

Surely progress in improving the lives of hundreds of millions of people, would be put at risk by sudden shifts in political direction at this stage of China’s development? And surely the so called ‘rights’ of Liu Xiaobo are outweighed by the human rights of hundreds of millions of Chinese people to a better life?

If China suddenly liberalizes there is every chance she could do a ‘yugoslavia’ or end up like what Somalia is today. Imagine the human suffering associated with such an awful scenario.

Does Richard believe there are any circumstances at all under which people can be held accountable for what they say, in the interests of the well-being and safety and security of the majority? (in fact he has already said there is – but I would like him to be a little more explicit).

October 15, 2010 @ 3:11 pm | Comment

@Zhu Mao

If China suddenly liberalizes there is every chance she could do a ‘yugoslavia’ or end up like what Somalia is today.

When Deng first liberalized the Chinese economy, didn’t the conservatives like Chen Yun spread the same doom and gloom?

October 15, 2010 @ 3:16 pm | Comment

Having read many quotes of Liu’s, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that he is a man who holds the majority of his own countrymen in contempt, and likes to suck up to white people. In truth. A running dog. I have seen many of his kind. Especially in Hong Kong and Shanghai. He is little different from those Chinese women who flaunt their Western boyfriends in front of other Chinese, as if this is something that makes them sophisticated and hip. Liu Xiaobo, similarly has Western friends (all male), and thinks it is ‘cool’ to sit ruminating with them China’s future direction. These same Westerners who plundered the Chinese nation and forced China into massive levels of drug addiction.

Richard and Liu both believe the Chinese are backward, and need to be more ‘westernized.’ Yes. You mean like the paradisical Phillipines, South Africa, and India – countries who all have ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’, at least in the Western understanding of these terms?

October 15, 2010 @ 3:19 pm | Comment

@Zhu Mao
Well, surely China can justify imprisoning those who threaten social stability and the progress and well-being of 1.3 billion Chinese people, and are to boot indisputably slavish to the West,

The difference is, Germany and Austria have independent judiciary and one can even appeal to the European of Human Rights. People can use judicial review against their governments.

In China, the Party is the executive, legislative and judicial centre of power. It is above the law. There is no such thing as judicial review.

October 15, 2010 @ 3:20 pm | Comment

When Deng first liberalized the Chinese economy, didn’t the conservatives like Chen Yun spread the same doom and gloom?

But there was not as much to lose at that time. It was either go forward or stagnate (although Mao did improve life expectancy and literacy to levels not even reached in India today).

Now it is putting at risk continued progress in poverty reduction (which of course enhances human rights in a huge way), for the sake of a tiny tiny tiny minority of so called ‘intellectuals.’ If nothing else, Liu Xiaobo is very very selfish.

October 15, 2010 @ 3:23 pm | Comment

So sp123: I assume you agree with me that there are circumstances in which people should be held accountable for their utterances when it threatens the well-being of the majority? As long as they get a fair trial?

October 15, 2010 @ 3:26 pm | Comment

@Zhu Mao
Now it is putting at risk continued progress in poverty reduction (which of course enhances human rights in a huge way),

Guess you have never been to China to see the REALLY huge gap between the haves and have-nots. China’s growth may have reduced absolute poverty but it has also exacerbated relative poverty.

for the sake of a tiny tiny tiny minority of so called ‘intellectuals.’

Put it another way, a small group of princelings are holding enormous power in the Party. Isn’t delaying political reforms for the sake of a “tiny tiny minority” of princelings and their political privileges?

October 15, 2010 @ 3:27 pm | Comment

Well, surely China can justify imprisoning those who threaten social stability and the progress and well-being of 1.3 billion Chinese people

Ah, and these are frequently people who challenge the one-party state’s monopoly on power? Funny that, isn’t it. When was the last time a Chinese ultra-nationalist screaming blue murder and inciting anti-foreign activities was jailed…….

October 15, 2010 @ 3:28 pm | Comment

@Zhu Mao

As long as they get a fair trial?
==============================

How does a defendant get a fair trial when the plaintiff ( the government aka the CCP) is the judge (the Party controls the judiciary)? Simply imbecile.

October 15, 2010 @ 3:29 pm | Comment

Richard and Liu both believe the Chinese are backward, and need to be more ‘westernized.

Actually they give Chinese people credit to be able to cope with change.

It’s the Chinese middle and upper classes who believe Chinese are backward because they can’t be “trusted” with more freedoms. They always say things like “China isn’t ready” or “democracy won’t work in China”. Why? Because the peasants aren’t “civilised” enough or “educated” enough in their minds.

Of course they say that because they don’t want to lose their comfy position through multi-party elections, higher, fairer taxes to fund social welfare, etc.

October 15, 2010 @ 3:31 pm | Comment

“China’s growth may have reduced absolute poverty but it has also exacerbated relative poverty.”

China has its problems in this regard, but unless every single province could have started development at exactly the same time, these disparities are inevitable. Of course they are not good, but the West went through the same sort of thing about a century ago.

In any case China in this regard, is no worse than those ‘democratic’ developing countries like India, South Africa, the Phillipines, Kenya, Bangladesh etc….

Democracy and free speech is not going to make inequality go away. In the US the top 1% hold 35% of that nations wealth, and the top 20% over 80% of the wealth.

October 15, 2010 @ 3:36 pm | Comment

It’s the Chinese middle and upper classes who believe Chinese are backward because they can’t be “trusted” with more freedoms.

Its like this. If you are on a ship in a storm, do you trust the captain to navigate out of the storm. Or do you ask for a show of hands among the passengers over which is the best course to take?

If one is in the army, do the privates get to question the decisions of their generals?

It is the Chinese middle and upper classes are the ones who are doing all this Charter 08 stuff, and bitching and moaning like women. Not the peasants – who are mainly interested in improving their lives in a real practical sense.

If China followed the Indian example the poor people would suffer a lot more, and their numbers would swell. In India, almost 400 million people go hungry every day. There are five times more early childhood deaths in ‘democratic’ India than there are in China.

In terms of longevity, literacy, child mortality, child nutrition, poverty reduction, ‘totalitarian’ China is streets ahead of ‘democratic’ India.

Your choice is not between a place like China or Switzerland.

Your choice is either like China now, or like India now.

October 15, 2010 @ 3:43 pm | Comment

@Zhu Mao
but unless every single province could have started development at exactly the same time, these disparities are inevitable.

It is the oppressive household registration hukou that is making matters worse. Migrant workers from inland provinces could not get essential social services in the coastal cities without a local hukou.

In any case China in this regard, is no worse than those ‘democratic’ developing countries like India, South Africa, the Phillipines, Kenya, Bangladesh etc

I am surprise that you didn’t mention the more positive examples like Botswana, Cape Verde, or even Brazil (poverty reduced significantly under outgoing President Lula). Or why not undemocratic failures like Zimbabwe, North Korea, Burma etc?

Stop cherrypicking examples. It’s a cheap ploy.

October 15, 2010 @ 3:43 pm | Comment

@Zhu Mao
totalitarian’ China is streets ahead of ‘democratic’ India.

How do you account that “democratic” Botswana or Brazil is streets ahead of totalitarian North Korea or Burma?

October 15, 2010 @ 3:46 pm | Comment

@Zhu Mao
bitching and moaning like women.

Thanks for telling us you have a very deep seated gender bias and that adds to your “credibility”. Hahaha.

October 15, 2010 @ 3:48 pm | Comment

If one is in the army, do the privates get to question the decisions of their generals?

Who decided that the CCP/rich Chinese is/are the general(s) and the peasants are the privates? Oh wait, the CCP/rich Chinese did. Convenient…….

It is the Chinese middle and upper classes are the ones who are doing all this Charter 08 stuff

I think you’re confusing class with education. The rich Chinese are almost to a man/woman arguing for the status quo. But it’s almost always the case that better educated people have to argue for or initiate change, because the masses don’t know how to get organised.

Your choice is either like China now, or like India now.

The usual bankrupt argument wheeled out to defend the status quo. There is no such choice, it’s a complete invention. China can avoid India’s mistakes and still bring in political reform.

Your fearmongering is old hat. ;)

October 15, 2010 @ 3:52 pm | Comment

. . . . and the massive attempt to change the subject goes on. Be sure that should a Chinese Lech Wałęsa emerge organising peaceful, grass-roots, working-class oriented protest, reasons will suddenly be discovered as to why they shouldn’t be listened to either. Of course, John Chen (who is, apparently, not John Chen, or is he?) has at least been kind enough to show us his real motive –

“Having read many quotes of Liu’s, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that he is a man who holds the majority of his own countrymen in contempt, and likes to suck up to white people. In truth. A running dog. I have seen many of his kind. Especially in Hong Kong and Shanghai. He is little different from those Chinese women who flaunt their Western boyfriends in front of other Chinese, as if this is something that makes them sophisticated and hip. Liu Xiaobo, similarly has Western friends (all male), and thinks it is ‘cool’ to sit ruminating with them China’s future direction. These same Westerners who plundered the Chinese nation and forced China into massive levels of drug addiction.”

John Chen (or not John Chen) is motivated by exactly the same mix of racism, historical grievances, and bizarre desire to dominate women that one finds so often found in lonely individuals on the internet and so rarely in real life. Here, the fenqing stands naked before us.

@fancieryu – I do not want this post to get spammed, but here is Guo Quan’s party’s website:

http://www.zgxmd.org/

And here is his open letter to Hu Jintao:

http://www.zgxmd.org/article.php/20

October 15, 2010 @ 4:00 pm | Comment

But there was not as much to lose at that time. It was either go forward or stagnate (although Mao did improve life expectancy and literacy to levels not even reached in India today).

HAHAH. You made that statement based on hindsight. For the conservatives, they were afraid of going back to the times of big landlords and foreign domination of the economy and this means undoing all the blood and sweat of the Communist revolution which defined their whole life and career. To them, there is ALOT to lose.

As expected, you chose not to mention the countless lives lost during Mao’s reign of terror.

October 15, 2010 @ 4:01 pm | Comment

“Stop cherrypicking examples. It’s a cheap ploy.”

I’m not. You are. The China vs India example is highly relevant. These two nations achieved independence at about the same time, both have similar population size. India actually has slightly more arable land per capita than China. Both countries at independence had similar feudal land ownership systems.

India is the best country with which to draw comparisons with China.

Overall China since liberation has done far more to improve the well-being of her people than ‘democratic’ India. Yet the West attacks China but not India. Why is this?

“China can avoid India’s mistakes and still bring in political reform.”

But is it simply worth the risk at this stage. Most Chinese are happy with the status quo – in fact the most optimistic on earth (pew research poll). Come on, tell the truth. How many Chinese do you know who really give a shit about the stuff Liu Xiaobo is going on about, or have even thought about it? I’d say less than 1% of the population. Most Chinese just want to get ahead materially for now. What is the cost-benefit ratio right now of suddenly changing things?

October 15, 2010 @ 4:03 pm | Comment

Holy crap!

Somebody called in the big guns.

October 15, 2010 @ 4:04 pm | Comment

“Having read many quotes of Liu’s, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that he is a man who holds the majority of his own countrymen in contempt, and likes to suck up to white people. In truth. A running dog. I have seen many of his kind. Especially in Hong Kong and Shanghai. He is little different from those Chinese women who flaunt their Western boyfriends in front of other Chinese, as if this is something that makes them sophisticated and hip. Liu Xiaobo, similarly has Western friends (all male), and thinks it is ‘cool’ to sit ruminating with them China’s future direction. These same Westerners who plundered the Chinese nation and forced China into massive levels of drug addiction.”

If Liu is such a “running dog” of the west, why didn’t he move there when he had the chance? A Chinese academic of his standing could have had posts at any number of US or European (not to mention Taiwanese) universities; they love hiring dissidents. This doesn’t wash.

As for these people who hold their countrymen in contempt… that’s the usual argument of people who live outside of every country’s leading city. I’m from a small town in the American Midwest, and this sentiment- “Those urban/democratic party/liberal elites! They all just wish they were Europeans!” is endemic.

And completely, utterly, false. New Yorkers, San Franciscans, Angelinos, Washingtonians, Bostonites and Seattleites are every inch as American as they are. They might have a different vision for the country- but it ain’t a European one. And the Shanghainese (no comment on Hong Kongers, never been there and don’t know very many) are the same.

The people of Shanghai, in general, are very polite to me and welcoming. But they’re every inch as patriotic as you are, Zhu Mao. I’m still an outsider among them, and they never let me forget it.

And blaming “westerners” in general for what British elites did- 150 years ago!- is silly. I’m a Norwegian-American. My family have been poor farmers- “peasants”- as long as we can remember- until the past two generations, when we took advantage of the prosperity America offered us, went to college and became middle-class professionals instead. Don’t blame me for your century of humiliation. Neither me or my country, or my ancestors country, are to blame for that.

Me? I’m just fine with the CCP running the show here. But it’s time that they put up or shut up. Enforce their constitution. Let the courts hold them accountable. You want to run a one-party “deliberative dictatorship”? Fine. I’d love to see it. I like technocracy, in theory, and I believe it’s possible in practice as well. But China’s got a ways to go. You’ve been moving in the right direction.

Hold your government accountable. The “chaos” of multiparty democracy vs. corrupt tyrrany… these aren’t the only options. Nor do I believe that the people leading your country are bad to the core. I’ve seen too much that proves the contrary. But I’ve also seen a lot that shows that the “China Model” sure has a way to go.

There’s an author I like, David Brin, who has a saying… Criticism is the Only Known Antidote to Error. Don’t shy away from it. Embrace it. As Robert Lawrence Kuhn put it, you can’t be a friend to China unless you’re willing to be a critic. To do nothing but lavish praise on China-when it isn’t deserved and there is work yet to be done- doesn’t help anyone.

October 15, 2010 @ 4:30 pm | Comment

@Richard – Re: The freedom of foreigners to pay for campaign advertising in the United States, my friend Matt Steinglass wrote this excellent piece on the Supreme Court’s ruling on this matter:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2010/10/buying_election

October 15, 2010 @ 4:47 pm | Comment

“Or why not undemocratic failures like Zimbabwe, North Korea, Burma etc? Stop cherrypicking examples. It’s a cheap ploy.

Not cherry picking at all. India is obviously the country which is most comparable to China – given similar population sizes, years since independence, large proportion of population which is rural, and similar feudal system of land ownership at independence. Many experts make the India-China comparison because it is so apt. The famed Indian economist Amartya Sen said:

“compared with China’s rapid increase in life expectancy in the Mao era, the capitalist experiment in India could be said to have caused 4 million excess deaths a year since India’s independence…India seems to manage to fill its cupboard with more skeletons every eight years than China put there in its years of shame, 1958-61”

Now this four million excess deaths per year has continued right up to the present day. That is India’s ‘democratic’ system has relative to China’s system killed about 240 million people since independence.

“The usual bankrupt argument wheeled out to defend the status quo. There is no such choice, it’s a complete invention. China can avoid India’s mistakes and still bring in political reform.”

When things are going very well, the cost-benefit ratio of change needs to be considered very carefully. What’s the point of political reform now? Will it make the Chinese people richer, better off? Will it increase GDP,longevity, and reduce infant mortality?

I really do not see a so called sham ‘democratic’ system the West wants to force down China’s throat doing any better at all these things than what China is doing right now.

October 15, 2010 @ 4:55 pm | Comment

‘Totalitarian’ China’s human rights are far better than ‘democratic’ Indias. That is if people going hungry is considered a human rights issue, which most people here have never even thought about. Time better spent protesting over Liu Xiaobo, playing the hero, the real kind, caring, compassionate liberal white dude and get closer to those pretty Chinese girls eh? It’s all so transparent.

Here is what the experts say about how China is improving real human rights:

“China is also praised for cutting the number of hungry by 58 million in 10 years through strong state support for smallholder farmers.

But the report criticises economically liberal India where, it says, 30 million people have been added to the ranks of the hungry since the mid-1990s and 46% of children are underweight.It says hunger exists in India not because there is insufficient food, but because people cannot access it, and that the exploitation of natural resources has led to ‘horrific displacements’ of people, pushing many into poverty. When people are already on the brink of starvation this is simply unacceptable”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8309979.stm

October 15, 2010 @ 5:07 pm | Comment

Richard and Liu both believe the Chinese are backward, and need to be more ‘westernized.’

Sorry everyone, Zhu Mao is out. At every turn he’s trying to stir up shit and derail the thread. Using a poison pen he’s turning the conversation into a food fight, and he knows it. I won’t interact with someone who states categorically that I believe the Chinese are backward. His line about “bitching and moaning like women” didn’t do much to endear him to me either.

FOARP, that is an excellent article. The US has really dug itself into a whole on the campaign spending issue. We can thank our polarized Supreme Court. Jackasses (the ones on the right).

Thanks for your great comment, Nicholas.

October 15, 2010 @ 11:13 pm | Comment

A few more comments of mine mostly related to Nicholas’s.

I do not believe that Liu Xiaobo can secure a permanent faculty position in the West, at least not before the Nobel. He may be invited to spend a semester or two as a visiting scholar, but becoming a tenured professor requires serious academic work and a good command of English language, of which Liu has none. Living in China and getting paid by NED is his best option.

Very few exiled Chinese dissidents have a successful career. Fang Lizhi is a professor at University of Arizona. But he is in physics, not social sciences. Chai Lin and Li Lu are doing well. This is about it.

Some big name professors in China can make $130 K (Nobel prize money divided by 11 years of imprisonment) a year. Yao Chi-Chih of Tsinghua University is an example. I know a few others. Of course I do not mean that Liu is in the same league.

Liu’s “300 year colonization” was not unusual, when spoken in the eighties. Back then it was quite popular to criticize every aspect of Chinese culture. You can find this sentiment in the popular TV program The River Eulogy. Even Hu Yaobang said that Chinese people should stop using chopsticks and switch to knifes and forks for supposed better hygiene.

October 16, 2010 @ 12:16 am | Comment

Yet another letter has appeared – this one explicity in support of Liu Xiaobo and political reform. The letter has been signed by a hundred or so Chinese intellectuals and activists. The following link is to an article published in The Australian (a link to an English version of the letter can be found on the left-hand side of the page):

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/activists-reformers-issue-challenge-to-china-in-open-letter-supporting-liu-xiabo/story-e6frg6n6-1225939117484

Here’s a link to the Chinese version of the letter:

http://www.chinesepen.org/Article/yzzjwyh/201010/Article_20101014234326.shtml

October 16, 2010 @ 12:30 am | Comment

Living in China and getting paid by NED is his best option.

Have we proven that Liu’s main source of income is NED? Stating this as a matter of fact seems irresponsible. How do we Know Liu is living off the bounty NED is providing him?

Very few exiled Chinese dissidents have a successful career.

Many dissidents who fled China after the TSM went on to become doctors, investment bankers, academics, etc. Granted they were students then and young enough to become proficient in English. But to make it sound like most China exiles are paupers is misleading.

October 16, 2010 @ 12:31 am | Comment

I have lost quite a lot of sleep in the past few days, concerned about this international aid to anti-China forces. I keep waking up in the middle of the night concerned about these international imperialists’ funding. I have done some research, and here is what I have found!
There is an organization that has received aid from numerous international governments, totaling $2.5 billion a year! This is far more than Liu Xiaobo or PEN ever received.
Sources of aid include such anti-China forces as the US, the UK, Germany, and Japan. I encourage all 5-mao-friends to get on top of this investigation immediately!
Let me give you a hint: this organization is the CCP, AKA the Chinese government.
I am really starting to wonder whether their intentions are so selfless….

October 16, 2010 @ 12:41 am | Comment

Thanks for the laugh, Kevin.

This reminds me of the time the right went berserk over Paul Krugman’s having once accepted a grant from Enron. For months, they referred to him, falsely, as “former Enron advisor…” As if he were on Enron’s payroll and affiliated with them. Is anyone who receives a National Endowment for the Arts endowment a paid government agent?

Serve the People, who is usually one of our smarter commenters, surprised me with the line I cited him for earlier, implying Liu is actually living off of NED money.

The whole NED issue reminds me of Pam Geller’s Ground Zero Mosque bullshit. Find the slenderest, most tenuous connection and then blow it up to make it look like there’s a huge crisis. Send out some underlings like Charles Liu to infect the minds of the susceptible, make shit up and, keep repeating the BS as if it’s gospel, embellish it along the way, and voila, there’s an Internet shit storm. Getting a grant from PEN or NED doesn’t make one their pawn or agent. China receiving overseas help for its problems, like a flood or an earthquake, doesn’t make it a tool of the donors. I can go on and on, but the fenqing have worked this one hard. I congratulate them on their ability to make this meme stick, despite it’s being pure nonsense.Karl Rove would be proud.

October 16, 2010 @ 3:23 am | Comment

First I congratulate Richard for revitalizing this blog.

I do not agree with his position that money is money, all funding agencies are the same, and getting funding from one agency is the same as getting funding from any other agency.

Many people apply for grants from National Science Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, or NASA, but they stop at Army Research Office, or Naval Research Office. For moral and ethical reasons they do not want their work to be associated with the US military. A similar issue exists regarding ROTC programs. Some universities, to support gay-rights, reject them and hence decline to take their money.

I put NED in the same category that NRO and ARO are in.

By the way I just saw in another thread that Richard asked me to define what it means to be an “agent” of CIA. Let me state categorically that I call the Dalai Lama a CIA agent, not Liu Xiaobo. The Dalai was the head of an armed insurgency based in Mustang, Nepal. The insurgency was funded and equipped entirely by CIA. Many insurgents were trained in a CIA camp in Colorado. The goal of this insurgency was to overthrow the Chinese government. They launched raids into China and killed many innocent people. CIA provided air support for these raids. One of the Dalai’s brothers was a chief contact man between the agency and the rebels in Mustang. Former CIA employees have written books about this story. You can find films that show the Dalai reviewing his troops in Mustang. By all definitions, the Dalai was a CIA man.

If you want to be pedantic, you can call the Dalai a CIA asset, and reserve the term “agent”
for people on CIA’s regular payroll, like Valerie Plame.

October 16, 2010 @ 5:40 am | Comment

Serve, I think you’re ignoring my earlier point that we did the same for Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden and many, many others (and we should be ashamed for having done so). We gave Saddam chemical weapons, guns, bombs and millions of dollars to fight a war in which many thousands of people died. Did this make Saddam Hussein an “asset” of the CIA or Defense Department. No, he did nothing for the US aside from taking their money and guns. Same with bin Laden. But having given these freaks aid some 20, 30 or 50 years ago does not mean they are American agents or assets or anything else. They took what we offered them, and then said Fuck You to America.

Liu is in another sphere of course- all he did was get some grant money, for heaven’s sake.

October 16, 2010 @ 8:26 am | Comment

The real thing worth noting is how essentially uncontroversial Charter 08 really was. Beyond the bloviating one sees on a lot of the discussion websites, if there really had been something even plausible as ‘anti-China’ (say, the suggestion of allowing greater Taiwanese or Tibetan independence) then it would have been mentioned in Liu’s trial. Instead, none of the content of Charter 08 was mentioned.

In fact, if you look at the 19 points of the charter you can see that with the possible exception of only one of them (truth in reconciliation) each and every one of them has at one time or another been promised by the CCP. Some of them you have to go back to pre-1949 times to find, but they were promised, the CCP did promise multi-party elections, a federal state, a national army, free speech, an independent judiciary etc. etc., it’s just that calling on them to go through with these promises is apparently a crime in China now.

@Serve – Congratulations for saying that you believe that the NED (an NGO) is, in your opinion, equal to two sub-branches of the United States military. Such idiocy is rare and must have taken lots of practice.

Meanwhile, as a Brit, I must say I am dismayed at the total lack of conspiracy theories centred on the Secret Intelligence Service in China. I mean, I am used to hearing my country denounced as the “little Satan” by Iranian clerics, and endlessly implicated in fake spy scandals in Russia. Hell, both the Bulgarians and the Russians feared our secret services enough to carry out assassinations of dissidents resident on our soil (Markov and Litvinenko, respectively). When the whole rotten structure of communist collapsed in Europe, every eastern-block official sought to defect to the British SIS before any other country’s intelligence services – so why don’t we get any respect from the Chinese? Where are the Chinese conspiracy theories about our famed intelligence services?

We are the country that produced spies like Ian Fleming and Dame Stella Rimington, which broke the ENIGMA code, which convinced Hitler that we would invade Greece when we had no such plan, that knew of Operation Barbarossa months before it took place, that has been accused of black operations with relation to Pearl Harbour, that turned high-level Soviet officials like Penkovsky, overthrew Mossadeq, and which worked out what the CIA could not – that there were no WMDs in Iraq. Why don’t the Chinese pay us at least the common decency of coming up with a conspiracy theory about our involvement in Chinese affairs? I feel insulted!

October 16, 2010 @ 10:23 am | Comment

@FOARP
So you don’t know your great empire has disintegrated and your country is now small fry in the wordl’s affair? Why should China and Chinese be concerned with you?

October 16, 2010 @ 10:43 am | Comment

@Godless – Really? You know, I had never thought of that. You know,it’s a good thing that there wasn’t even a hint of irony in the above comment that I wrote, otherwise by taking it so seriously you’d actually be making yourself look pretty stupid.

October 16, 2010 @ 4:04 pm | Comment

Few things are funnier than watching Bellybutton-of-the-World people and Splendid Island people talk past each other’s ears with a complete mutual lack of comprehension.

October 16, 2010 @ 4:40 pm | Comment

Its like this. If you are on a ship in a storm, do you trust the captain to navigate out of the storm. Or do you ask for a show of hands among the passengers over which is the best course to take?

Yes, if the captain is drunk on something, such as power. Like all of CCP rule, for example. BTW, I seem to recall the CCP came to power through a “show of hands of the passengers” during the “storm” of war with Japan. Hypocrisy, thy name is fengqing.

If one is in the army, do the privates get to question the decisions of their generals?

Yes. All modern armies permit soldiers to question orders that involve violations of human rights. Like all of CCP rule, for example.

Fantastic posts, Richard and FOARP and Kevinwiththelongmoniker.

Michael

October 16, 2010 @ 11:42 pm | Comment

FOARP, that’s hilarious. Sometimes irony goes over the heads of people who have tunnel-vision. Michael, good to see you again, and thanks for the infusion of fact-based insight. “We were only following orders” is sometimes not the best way to go, as history proves.

October 17, 2010 @ 12:40 am | Comment

Its like this. If you are on a ship in a storm, do you trust the captain to navigate out of the storm.

Interesting. The Chinese entrusted their “ship” to the Great Helmsman and all the Great Helmsman did was to steer their “ship” head on with two tsunamis: The Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.

October 17, 2010 @ 12:52 am | Comment

Richard: Hussein, bin Laden, Noriega, etc, were all CIA assets, before they turned against the US. Compared to the Dalai, these people had their own supporters, power base and resources and were less dependent on CIA. The Dalai on the other hand only had the CIA support, apart from India letting him stay, when he fled Tibet, so he had to take every order from the agency and did whatever he was told. Anyway I have no problem to put Hussein, bin Latede, Noreiga and the Dalai in the same sentence.

October 17, 2010 @ 2:06 am | Comment

I have no problem to put Hussein, bin Latede, Noreiga and the Dalai in the same sentence

Why am I not surprised to read that?

Portraying the Dalai Lama, with no evidence, as being right now some sort of agent or sset of the CIA is a cornerstone of fenqing thinking. Did the CIA help the DL some 60 years ago? From what I’ve read, they did. Is he a CIA asset today? From what I’ve read, there is no evidence to support that claim, and it’s usually thrown out there to derail threads, just like the NED nonsense. I don’t think you’re trying to derail the thread, but I do think you’re way to eager to embrace this portrait of the DL (who, for the record, I do not unconditionally support – not at all – and who, as I’ve said repeatedly, has been glorified and romanticized by a gullible public) with no evidence. Anyway, I think we all know where the other stands on this (non)issue, and any argument is futile because it can’t be proved or disproved definitively.

October 17, 2010 @ 2:25 am | Comment

@serve
Some people forget history.

Lenin could return to Russia with the help of the German empire, armoured train included. Stalin received help from British and American that make him possible to concentrate in weapons production. Mao himself received help from the oss, precursor of the cia
And you serve will pact with the devil himself if your country was being raped before your eyes, like in Nanking

October 17, 2010 @ 5:42 am | Comment

An example of the type of journalism china could do without:

http://therealtonymurray.blogspot.com/

October 17, 2010 @ 10:10 am | Comment

Some guys who have just posted comments here now will go back and tell their boss: “We’ve pulled them to pieces!” So don’t take them and their arguments seriously.

October 17, 2010 @ 12:40 pm | Comment

“Democrazy” — It seems Richard has no much intrest in practicing demcracy even he is preaching it. Whoever takes a more pro-China stance than he is, a “Fengqing” “5 mao” title would be in order. For me, some words like “sinister” “detestable” was thrown out.

This is exactly why Mingyun are dispised — they believes democracy only applies to themselves, not anybody that has a different opinion.

I have been a good reader for this blog for many years even though I rarely post. I used to believe Richard is a reasonble guy that practice what he believe. It’s a disappointment to see the way he dismiss others point of view and I probably will not come back any more.

October 17, 2010 @ 1:31 pm | Comment

Whoever takes a more pro-China stance than he is

Is it pro-China or just pro-CCP? Then again, the emperors always think that they owned the country so criticizing them means criticizing the country. But in the end, we all know that that’s just the emperor’s new clothes. ROFL.

October 17, 2010 @ 2:20 pm | Comment

I have been a good reader for this blog for many years even though I rarely post. I used to believe Richard is a reasonble guy that practice what he believe. It’s a disappointment to see the way he dismiss others point of view and I probably will not come back any more.

If anyone needs an example of what a concern troll is, you just got a perfect example here =)

October 17, 2010 @ 2:23 pm | Comment

Although fengqing and 5-mao may be derogatory, there is a better name for those people – naocan (NC), literally brain dead, a buzzword popular on Chinese websites for quite some time.

October 17, 2010 @ 3:29 pm | Comment

fancy, what can I say – I’m a terrible person. But you’re totally wrong. Serve the People and I disagree on lots of things but I never call him a 50-center. Because he’s not. He’s not here to derail or takeover threads. I use the term only for a distinct type of commenter. If you don’t like it, no one forces you to read my posts.

October 18, 2010 @ 12:06 am | Comment

To Sp #149:
one really can’t emphasize your point enough. “pro-CCP”, “pro-China”, and “pro-Chinese people” are not interchangeable concepts. One can certainly be a proponent of the latter 2 things while being patently repulsed by the first one. Similarly, those who espouse the first concept should not confuse that with the others, their vocal protestations notwithstanding.

October 18, 2010 @ 6:00 am | Comment

Amen to that, SP and SK.

October 18, 2010 @ 6:29 am | Comment

@SK and Richard
It is as if some screaming supporter of Bush is claiming that their views are “Pro-American” when it is actually Pro-Dubya.

October 18, 2010 @ 12:13 pm | Comment

@ Nicholas M. 27. Benedict Anderson. Good one. The digital age simply supercharges the literate community identity process.

Suggested to pug_ster on numerous occasions that he might dip into this text, as it helps explain why the Tibetans are not so keen on their Han overlords, now that they have acquired a modicum of education, but it was a waste of keyboard activity.The reward. Just another dreary tape loop on CIA meddling in the 1950s.

October 18, 2010 @ 2:09 pm | Comment

freedom of speech = good
liu xiao bo = a very brave man china would be worse off not having
liu xiao bo receiving the nobel prize = really not the best decision. if as so many called out that the nobel comittee wanted to help freedom of speech and civil rights spread in china it should have given it to a person who has achieved more in the gaining of rights in china. people who maybe don’t shout out so loud, but get things in motion and maybe even done. all the chinese dissidents supported by western countries are failures in what they wanted to achieve. they might have tried but the sole outcome is theirs banging their heads against the (ccp = chinese censor party) wall. thats why for me an overseas chinese, all this seems to be more just accusing and pointing the finger as really helping. instead of encouraging a politician within the chinese political system who tries to bring needed amendments, all this action will only generate more dissidents. i dont mean that the ccp is right in saying liu or other dissidents are breaking the law, but with this heads on tactic you will get an equally stupid and unnecessary response.
all these actions to me seem not aimed at building a brighter future for the chinese people but at instant satisfaction of local masses (might it be to distract from internal problems within their own countries) and having a nice little scapegoat for all the problems…
so people can point at you and say you dude dont have rights in china…. but chinese people deserve rights that the bad government doesnt give them. but you person who now stands before me are bad. ??? its so weird that most chinese people just get the hibiiiijiiibiiis. saying two totally different things in one statement. in some case this childish accusing only prolongs the troubles in china. i just hope beijing at sometime just shuts out this nonsense chatter and keeps on going its way with even bigger steps.
but in any case western cases will highjack the final outcome in chinese liberalisation and label it as theirs…. guess thats called “practizing moralistic behaviour”

October 19, 2010 @ 7:44 am | Comment

SK Cheung
one really can’t emphasize your point enough. “pro-CCP”, “pro-China”, and “pro-Chinese people” are not interchangeable concepts.

They often are, because a total collapse of the current government would benefit no one but the West, and not the huggable, pot-smoking progressives, either.

November 3, 2010 @ 6:40 am | Comment

Here we go again. Making the CCP scarce “would benefit no one but the West”. Well, if Chinese people truly felt that they had nothing to gain from replacing the CCP, then I imagine they wouldn’t bother, even if given the choice and the opportunity. But the point is to give them said choice and opportunity. After all, they would know better than me. And if you don’t live in China, then they’d know better than you as well.

November 3, 2010 @ 7:23 am | Comment

as it helps explain why the Tibetans are not so keen on their Han overlords

Thank you for representing the voice of every single Tibetan man, woman, and child. I don’t think they could have done it themselves. Sometimes these colored people need a strong, guiding hand. Just not a Chinese one of course.

November 3, 2010 @ 7:24 am | Comment

SK Cheung
Well, if Chinese people truly felt that they had nothing to gain from replacing the CCP, then I imagine they wouldn’t bother, even if given the choice and the opportunity. But the point is to give them said choice and opportunity.

You’re dreaming. Just for fun, how do you envision such a sequence of events taking place? That is the CCP voluntarily stepping down or issuing such a plebiscite?

Here are some historical precedents of fully autonomous authoritarian powers willingly handing over their power to the public, in case you need some help:

November 3, 2010 @ 7:27 am | Comment

Sorry, the list:

There you have it.

November 3, 2010 @ 7:27 am | Comment

Well wait a sec.
In 160, you object to somebody speaking on behalf of Tibetans. I’m with you there. I too think Tibetans should speak for themselves.

But in 161, you seem less keen on Chinese speaking on behalf of themselves. How do you reconcile the diametrically opposite logic issued in a span of 3 minutes?

I agree with your list. Your list adequately captures the litany of problems with authoritarian governments. They don’t represent their people. There’s no mechanism for their peaceful removal. Their main goal is to benefit themselves, and if their people benefit from time to time, so be it. This list, unlike yours, could go on for some time. Besides, it’s not for me to “envision” how to replace the CCP. Hopefully, someone within China will come up with that solution, if there is a perceived need.

November 3, 2010 @ 7:43 am | Comment

Someone called me 5 mao as long as I make the comments that they think is pro China. In fact I don’t receive any money from anyone. I wonder where this “5 mao” comes from if any. Can someone provide me with the evident of any true 5 mao out there?

February 13, 2011 @ 7:59 am | Comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.