Wikileaks’ China/Google bombshell

Update: Do not miss James Fallows’ new post on the significance of the Google-China-Wikileaks revelations. Google, he concludes, comes out of this looking pretty good, its complaints of government-orchestrated harassment appearing to be confirmed.

The Wikileaks controversy isn’t going away, and the latest memos to fall under media scrutiny reveal that the US government had plenty of evidence about China’s obsession with Google, whose search engine was making them look bad. This obsession led to some very dirty tricks.

As China ratcheted up the pressure on Google to censor its Internet searches last year, the American Embassy sent a secret cable to Washington detailing why top Chinese leaders had become so obsessed with the Internet search company: they were Googling themselves.

The May 18, 2009, cable, titled “Google China Paying Price for Resisting Censorship,” quoted a well-placed source as saying that Li Changchun, a member of China’s top ruling body, the Politburo Standing Committee, and the country’s senior propaganda official, was taken aback to discover that he could conduct Chinese-language searches on Google’s main international Web site. When Mr. Li typed his name into the search engine at google.com, he found “results critical of him.”

That cable from American diplomats was one of many made public by WikiLeaks that portray China’s leadership as nearly obsessed with the threat posed by the Internet to their grip on power — and, the reverse, by the opportunities it offered them, through hacking, to obtain secrets stored in computers of its rivals, especially the United States.

Extensive Chinese hacking operations, including one leveled at Google, are a central theme in the cables. The hacking operations began earlier and were aimed at a wider array of American government and military data than generally known, including attacks on computers of American diplomats preparing positions on a climate change treaty.

One cable, dated early this year, quoted a Chinese person with family connections to the elite as saying that Mr. Li himself directed an attack on Google’s servers in the United States, though that claim has been called into question. In an interview with The New York Times, the person cited in the cable said that Mr. Li personally led a campaign against Google’s operations in China but that to his knowledge had no role in the hacking attack.

…Precisely how these hacking attacks are coordinated is not clear. Many appear to rely on Chinese freelancers and an irregular army of “patriotic hackers” who operate with the support of civilian or military authorities, but not directly under their day-to-day control, the cables and interviews suggest.

But the cables also appear to contain some suppositions by Chinese and Americans passed along by diplomats. For example, the cable dated earlier this year referring to the hacking attack on Google said: “A well-placed contact claims that the Chinese government coordinated the recent intrusions of Google systems. According to our contact, the closely held operations were directed at the Politburo Standing Committee level.”

…[T]he cables provide a patchwork of detail about cyberattacks that State Department and embassy officials believe originated in China with either the assistance or knowledge of the Chinese military.

Sorry for the long clip; be sure to read the entire article. It leaves no doubt about China’s top-down encouragement of and direct involvement in major hacking initiatives and cyber-terrorism.

Again, this should show the Chinese that the US is not determined to make China look bad. The government had this information and kept it secret. Wikileaks is an equal-opportunity whistle-blower and is leaking bombshells like this about the State Department’s dealings with everybody (Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Israel, etc.), and China is just one of many. The interesting thing is how quiet the diplomats were about what they knew and what they heard second-hand. If the US was out to demolish China’s reputation we’d have heard more about this long ago.

It raises the question of why the US went so far out of its way to keep the Chinese government’s involvement in the attacks a secret. It belies the arguments from the naysayers and idiots that Google fabricated or exaggerated the charges of cyber-terrorism because it needed an excuse to exit from China without looking defeated.

______________

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: 36 Comments

I suspect much of the weakness lies in the infrastructure -
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703374304575622884122938068.html
WSJ thinks the US is still in control of critical elements…

December 5, 2010 @ 3:11 am | Comment

To be honest, I don’t know this qualifies as a bombshell. There’s been tons of coverage of China’s hacking activities. A good journalist should have sources as good or better than a US Embassy official in Beijing. These China revelations are second and third hand accounts of what’s going on, and it seems that many people would have reasons to mislead US embassy officials. When Wikileaks does a dump of Chinese govt documents things will get more interesting on this front. Wonder if Assange and co. have any moles in the Chinese govt?

As far as why the US didn’t reveal info on these attacks… well, the US probably does a lot of hacking of Chinese computer systems as well, and didn’t want to start a he-said, she-said public spat over this. So many fronts in US-China relations, you gotta pick your battles.

December 5, 2010 @ 3:23 am | Comment

As with nearly all the Wikileaks documents, none of the information was entirely unknown, and a lot of it was available if you knew where to look. The bombshell to me are the reports of Li’s reaction to googling his name, and confirmation from well-placed people that the CCP was directly involved in orchestrating the attacks. That charge has been out there ever since the google story broke, but this adds a new level of credibility. For what it’s worth, the NYT found it significant enough to make it their lead story on the front page.

As far as why the US didn’t reveal info on these attacks… well, the US probably does a lot of hacking of Chinese computer systems as well, and didn’t want to start a he-said, she-said public spat over this

Pure speculation and I don’t buy it- China has never charged the US with cyber-terrorism, and if they thought they could they’d do it in a heartbeat. Obviously we all spy on one another. What China did with Google, however, is in a much different category. Cyber-terrorism vs. cyber-espionage. And I want proof, even a shred, that the US has done similar things to, say, Baidu.

December 5, 2010 @ 3:30 am | Comment

I found this hard to believe. If Li wants to suppress information about him, why didn’t he and CCP hack Yahoo China or Bing? Why is CCP showing favoritism to Yahoo China or Bing and targeting Google?

I feel NYT is lying and overly exaggerate this situation.

December 5, 2010 @ 4:46 am | Comment

Pure speculation and I don’t buy it- China has never charged the US with cyber-terrorism, and if they thought they could they’d do it in a heartbeat. Obviously we all spy on one another. What China did with Google, however, is in a much different category. Cyber-terrorism vs. cyber-espionage. And I want proof, even a shred, that the US has done similar things to, say, Baidu.

…..
That is exactly what Luke was saying. You missed his point entirely. For the same reason, the Chinese government would refrain from announcing that the US is engaged in cyber attacks on China cuz of, you know, glass houses.

December 5, 2010 @ 4:54 am | Comment

And I agree with Luke that these revelations are not “evidence” evidence.

I don’t doubt, nor would anyone, really, that the Chinese government engages in cyber attacks, but the cables are narratives told by American diplomats, not concrete evidence. You need to make this distinction.

To repeat, yes, with or without the cables, everybody thinks China is doing it, but the cables are not evidence that can stand cross-examinations in a court.

December 5, 2010 @ 5:05 am | Comment

I didn’t miss any point. I don’t believe the US is in a glass house. China WOULD have raised hell if it had proof the US was applying cyber-terrorism against Chinese companies, the way they raise hell over anything they perceive to be an affront to China, like the Nobel Prize or a Japanese shrine or the perennial charge of media bias against China. The US is not engaged in any comparable form of cyber-terrorism that I know of; we aren’t psychotic about Google or Baidu articles to the point that we’d launch cyber-terrorism against them. Anyway, if you want to argue that the US is engaged in comparable forms of cyber-terrorism, tell us what’s behind this belief. Thanks. I’m not saying the US government doesn’t do some awful things. But I’ve never heard charges about them going after search engines and hacking into emails to get information on dissidents.

December 5, 2010 @ 6:46 am | Comment

I feel NYT is lying and overly exaggerate this situation.

How can they be lying? This is straight out of the Wikileaks dump, not from investigative reporting by the Times. The Times is just reporting on what the Wikileak cables say.

why didn’t he and CCP hack Yahoo China or Bing? Why is CCP showing favoritism to Yahoo China or Bing and targeting Google?

Did you read the article? it says why they targeted google – because of its vast popularity for search compared with bing and yahoo.

December 5, 2010 @ 7:03 am | Comment

If the US was out to demolish China’s reputation we’d have heard more about this long ago.

True. China is doing a perfectly adequate job damaging its own international reputation on a variety of fronts post Games. It definitely does not need a co-facilitator.

The offending google search for what its worth: “Evil Li Changchun”.

December 5, 2010 @ 7:49 am | Comment

What I find weird is how did NYT turned “XXXXXXXXXX” to “Google China Paying Price for Resisting Censorship,” and how did they found it was Li Changchun which wikileaks which blocks the name for confidentiality reasons.

NYT is lying and overselling this story as a “done-deal” fact which is still under assumptions and speculations.

This comment by a US diplomat’s nuanced remark was omitted:

“While we can neither confirm nor deny the provocative language and views attributed to XXXXXXXXXXXX, the claims of government-forced retribution by the major SOE telecoms companies are cause for serious concern. The potential for continuing escalation by the Chinese, assuming Google sticks to its guns — and the likelihood of loud U.S. Congressional and public outcry if it caves — suggest a high-level USG response may be in order. While we cannot verify XXXXXXXXXXXX’s claims of commercial retaliation, such a move seems quite possible.”

December 5, 2010 @ 8:04 am | Comment

Jason, I had suspected you were a troll, and now I know. The NYT is not lying. Maybe they got something wrong, maybe they’re reporting something you don’t want to hear, maybe they left oput a quote you like (there’s a lot of material there), maybe….whatever. But to say they’re lying is absurd. What’s in it for them to lie about this? Between you and your friend keisat I think it’s time for me to strengthen my comment modification policy.

December 5, 2010 @ 8:08 am | Comment

Richard,

Calling me a troll by you for not agreeing with me is an ad hominem attack. Why go this low?

More revelations:

The “Chinese” contact did not know whether senior leaders directed the attack.-

NYT never specifically differentiates of the “contact” that called NYT vs “the contact” in the cables.

December 5, 2010 @ 8:46 am | Comment

I never call someone a troll for disagreeing with me. It’s the assertion, “The NYT is lying” that makes me say it. Maybe they weren’t clear about something, maybe they confused you, maybe whatever – but to state as a fact that they are “lying” is fenqing talk. Go back to the article. It’s quite balanced and makes it very clear there are divergent accounts.

But the person cited in the cable gave a divergent account. He detailed a campaign to press Google coordinated by the Propaganda Department’s director, Liu Yunshan. Mr. Li and Mr. Zhou issued approvals in several instances, he said, but he had no direct knowledge linking them to the hacking attack aimed at securing commercial secrets or dissidents’ e-mail accounts — considered the purview of security officials.

Your contributions to the recent post on North Korea is what made me think you were trolling, by the way. If I’m wrong, apologies. But I’m pretty sure I’m right.

A lie is a malicious, intentional, devious act. The fenqing always say the US newspapers are lying about China, a sure red flag. As a former reporter myself, I know that these “lies” are usually misunderstandings (either on the part of the reporter or the reader), innocent mistakes or poor editing – headlines get written by copy editors who maybe don’t know much about China, or due to space constraints important grafs get cut out. But your charge of lying is unfounded and is, as I said, a typical fenqing red flag.

December 5, 2010 @ 8:56 am | Comment

What do you suggest the US do Richard? Have Hillary hold a press conference saying “A mid-level operative in the US embassy Beijing says an anonymous source told him that the CCP is trying to hack into Google servers.” Just seems a little weak to start an international row over.

Certainly these cables are somewhat interesting, but we know that the CCP is “obsessed with the threat posed by the Internet” (maybe that’s why they’ve constructed that great firewall thingy) and there’s been a lot of loosely sourced material that China is involved in hacking so… again, more of a yawn than a bombshell to me.

Wikileaks docs on US policy in Afghanistan, Iraq etc. are a lot more telling than cables with chatter and speculation by career diplomats on the inner workings of foreign governments.

December 5, 2010 @ 9:40 am | Comment

What do you suggest the US do Richard? Have Hillary hold a press conference saying “A mid-level operative in the US embassy Beijing says an anonymous source told him that the CCP is trying to hack into Google servers.”

No, they would do what they always do when they want the public to know something – they leak it strategically.

These cables on China are the most interesting of the whole batch, for me, and it’s good to see the media jumping on the Google bombshell.

December 5, 2010 @ 9:43 am | Comment

Did people actually argue that Google fabricated or exaggerated their charges of cyber-terrorism? I still believe Google never fully disclosed just how damaging the attacks were.

As for the idea that Google just wanted an excuse for withdrawal with face, I agree that made no sense. But I think it is worth considering how Google might have reacted differently had they been the leader in the market, in which case a withdrawal may have been much more expensive, not just for their P&L but also for their shareholders, and perhaps much less likely.

December 5, 2010 @ 9:58 am | Comment

Actually Hillary already publicly condemned China for cyber attacks in January 2010 http://bit.ly/8JaWyO http://bit.ly/6lPpPG

And there have been dozens of stories, going back to the early to mid 00′s, with US govt officials on and off the record saying the CCP and PLA are behind cyber attacks http://bit.ly/6PF3mo

So it’s just another reminder of what’s going on, rather than any revelation.

December 5, 2010 @ 10:05 am | Comment

Did people actually argue that Google fabricated or exaggerated their charges of cyber-terrorism? I still believe Google never fully disclosed just how damaging the attacks were.

Ask Shaun Rein.

December 5, 2010 @ 10:07 am | Comment

Yeah, Hillary denounced cyber-terrorism – but in a neutral, State Department way, very veiled. She said nothing about how Li googled his name and popped a gasket, and not a word, not one, about the CCP leaders being directly involved in encouraging and/or directing cyber attacks. Not one single word. Not one.

December 5, 2010 @ 10:09 am | Comment

I am not sure you should take as fact the Li Changchun assertions. It may very have happened, and frankly I would not be at all surprised.

But what is in these cables does not in any way constitute proof. Perhaps there is other intelligence that is more definitive, or perhaps Hilary Clinton was being a responsible, mature diplomat and decided not to make such an incendiary, personal charge, either publicly or through a strategic leak, on the basis of hearsay transmitted through a diplomatic cable.

There were plenty of other damaging leaks, including to the New York Times, without making one that would have added another element of personal animus with a top leader into an already tense relationship, especially since it is not clear what more the US or Google would have gained from such a leak.

December 5, 2010 @ 10:25 am | Comment

How can NYT come to the conclusion of Li Changchun and Zhou Yongkang even when NYT contradicts itself in the article that NYT’s own contact did not know whether senior leaders directed the attack?

That to me is not credible and certainly rushing in judgment therefore that is a lie.

The biggest lie is that the hyping of this story as a “bombshell,” “something new,” etc/

December 5, 2010 @ 10:25 am | Comment

The biggest lie is that the hyping of this story as a “bombshell,” “something new,”

The NY Times never said these stories were new or a bombshell. I did. (Actually, I don’t think I even said it was new.) Call me a liar if it makes you feel better. I have my opinion, you have yours. Thanks for commenting.

Actually Hillary already publicly condemned China for cyber attacks in January 2010

Luke, did you even listen to the links you posted of Hillary Clinton? She never condemns China, except in a general statement about any nations that carry out cyber-attacks! Show me a single quote from Clinton citing China for cyber-terrorism. The most she says is, “China and the US have different views on this subject.” She never once “condemned China.” I love arguing with fenqing. No substance, all hot air.

You can prove me wrong. Give me a quote of Hillary Clinton condemning China for cyber-terrorism. Not some veiled diplomatic hint, but a condemnation of China, specifically. Just one. Just one.

Here’s her ringing condemnation from your link:

“We look to the Chinese authorities to conduct a thorough investigation of the cyber intrusions that led Google to make this announcement,” Clinton said. “We need to create a world in which access to networks and information brings people closer.”

Oh yes! That is one hell of a condemnation of China.

December 5, 2010 @ 10:31 am | Comment

Top Chinese officials led Google hacking: WikiLeaks: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20101204/wr_nm/us_wikileaks_china_google;_ylt=AlcJ7R5uPwj0WbDCfXJ3aosBxg8F;_ylu=X3oDMTMwNGJ2bWE5BGFzc2V0A25tLzIwMTAxMjA0L3VzX3dpa2lsZWFrc19jaGluYV9nb29nbGUEcG9zAzI0BHNlYwN5bl9wYWdpbmF0ZV9zdW1tYXJ5X2xpc3QEc2xrA3RvcGNoaW5lc2VvZg–

Chinese Officials Behind Google Hacking:

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/12/04/chinese-officials-google-hacking/

Chinese leaders ordered Google hack, U.S. cable quotes source as saying:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/04/AR2010120403323.html

Contradiction from the “suspected” contact: “But the person did not know whether senior leaders directed the attack.”

December 5, 2010 @ 11:12 am | Comment

So what’s your point in linking to articles about Wikileaks and Google/China? You’re just proving my own point that this is a media bombshell. And you cite a quote from one person who says he wasn’t sure whether senior leaders directed the attack – so what? Others said they did, but we can’t – and may never – know for sure. But that doesn’t negate the huge newsworthiness of this story: “The cables provide a patchwork of detail about cyberattacks that State Department and embassy officials believe originated in China with either the assistance or knowledge of the Chinese military.” Period, full stop.

December 5, 2010 @ 11:36 am | Comment

wikileaks should scream, “My father is Li Gang!” and run off into the sunset

December 5, 2010 @ 11:54 am | Comment

The Chinese media, which usually gets a red rocket about any Wikileak related to Afghanistan or Iraq, has been less enthusiastic about this leak.

December 5, 2010 @ 1:32 pm | Comment

It seems, to certain FQ commentators, that accusing the NYT of “lying” is no different than accusing the NYT of “bias”. When the NYT publishes something that they don’t like to hear, it’s a sign of “bias”. Similarly, or alternatively, when the NYT publishes something they don’t like, it’s a sign of “lying”. Basically, it’s an exercise in synonyms.

The NYT seems to simply be reporting what’s in the cables themselves. If people are hot to trot to make accusations of “lying”, they’d be better off directing them at the sources upon whom the diplomats relied in generating those cables which were subsequently leaked. In that sense, some similarities to Iraq and WMDs.

December 5, 2010 @ 3:43 pm | Comment

This was generally accepted as what happened, the Govt backed the Baidu hack. Welcome to ‘International business’ with Chinese characteristics.

December 5, 2010 @ 9:34 pm | Comment

@SKC

Except you miss the part where NYT got a called from the allegedly “Chinese contact” from the cables itself

Carne Ross debates NYT senior editor Keller on reading NYT and reading wikileaks regarding cables are different things: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvMn4q4FNHg&feature=player_embedded

When NYT copied China Digital Times, a blog which accuses 2 schools of what the google hacking originates, did they recants or apologizes Lanxiang Vocational School for a screwup mistranslation from CDT.

December 6, 2010 @ 6:38 am | Comment

More about why this was indeed a bombshell:

The explosive allegation that the attack on Google came from near the top of the Communist party has never been made public until now. The politician allegedly collaborated with a second member of the politburo in an attempt to force Google to drop a link from its Chinese-language search engine to its uncensored google.com version.

A cable from the Beijing embassy marked as secret records that attempts to break into the accounts of dissidents who used Google’s Gmail system had been co-ordinated “with the oversight of” the two politburo members.

The cyber assault was described to the Americans by a high-level Chinese source as “100% political in nature” and having “nothing to do with removing Google… as a competitor to Chinese search engines”.

Last December Google said that it was hit by a “highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure”. Part of it was aimed at the Gmail accounts of “Chinese human rights activists” – although in a statement released in January, Google said that there was no evidence the hackers were successful. Shortly after the attack, Google chose to abandon China. It relocated to Hong Kong, where it was able to run an uncensored version of its website in English and Chinese, ending an awkward attempt to reconcile partial adherence to Chinese requirements with western democratic values.

While Google and the US suspected leading Chinese politicians were behind the hacking, neither the company nor the US government said so at the time. Diplomats even discussed whether China’s most powerful man, Hu Jintao, the president, or his prime minister, Wen Jiabao, were “aware of these actions”. The secret note sent back to Washington concedes that “it is unclear” whether advance knowledge of the attack went right to the top.

So while me can’t know whether the directive came from the very top, it looks like it came from pretty damned close to the very top.

December 6, 2010 @ 6:55 am | Comment

To Jason,
if NYT “allegedly” had direct interaction with the “Chinese contact”, and you accuse them of “lying”, do you have proof of the absence of such an interaction? I have no idea how you would prove that something DIDN’T happen, but if you have such proof, then I’m all ears. Failing that, you may choose to disbelieve what NYT has to say on the basis of your preconceived notions about NYT, and that is your right. But your not believing the NYT is much different than the NYT being guilty of “lying”.

Besides, this isn’t about whether you believe NYT. This isn’t about whether you believe in the authenticity of those cables. This is about whether you believe the individuals who provided the information that made it into those cables. Now, the part of the leaks pertaining to China/Google doesn’t make the CCP look great, and in fact makes some lofty members of the Politburo look like petty little schoolchildren. Maybe that’s the part that gets your goat. But you’re directing your vitriol at the wrong place. You should either question the legitimacy of these US diplomatic sources, or you should question how petulant 8 year olds make it to the top rungs of the Politburo. Maybe you should do both.

December 6, 2010 @ 9:17 am | Comment

It’s a legitimate question whether this contact is the same contact as in the wikileaks.

December 6, 2010 @ 10:17 am | Comment

Agreed. It is a legitimate question. But a question, no matter how legitimate, does not constitute adequate basis for an accusation of “lying”. Now, the answer to that question might form such basis, but if you had that answer, I imagine we would have heard about it already.

December 6, 2010 @ 12:06 pm | Comment

Looks like someone else with ties to the CHinese government has mowed down pedestrians while DUI. This time, it’s not the pampered offspring of a government official, but the government official himself. However, rather than involving a police chief, this one Gu Qingyang is apparently a post-office chief, which is decidedly less sexy.

December 7, 2010 @ 2:02 pm | Comment

btw, WikiLeaks is being written as “wei-ji jyeh-mi” in Mandarin now and Assange is written as AH SAN JER….san being MOUNTAIN…..for some odd reason foreign people do not get the respewct of having their first names written in Chinese, they are just called by their LAST NAME, so there is no Julian…he is JUST “Assange”….a bir wierd, since Wesetern paeprs do call Hu Jintao by hus full name on first referece and then just Hu….so why does Chinese treat foreigners so poorly?

and this just in:

Sub-rationalists in China cannot frace reality of Liu Xiaobo winning the Nobel Peace Prize for 2010…..

oped by Biko Lang in TaiBei, Sin City

It would have been nice if Taiwan could have sent a small bipartisan
delegation of politicians and academics from both the DPP and the KMT
to attend the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo this week. With China
putting its head in the sand once again and refusing to
face reality, the world is left wondering: just what makes Beijing tick?

As some of the WikiLeaks cables have confirmed what many old China
hands always knew, many of Chinese Communist Party’s leaders
act in a “sub-rational” manner when confronted with thorny issues like
Taiwan’s sovereignty or Liu Xiabo’s Nobel Peace Prize.

In a move that rattled Beijing sub-rationalists again, the
U.S. House of Representatives stood up for the values of freedom and
democracy last
week with a bipartisan resolution honoring imprisoned Chinese activist
Liu, Nobel laureate.

Earlier in the year, in February, a group of American lawmakers
nominated Liu and two other Chinese activists for Nobel Peace Prize
consideration, noting in a public letter that “few governments have
the courage to brave the Chinese government’s displeasure and honor
them.”

The Nobel committee did honor Liu, and what an honor it is!

While China’s new Nobel laureate remains behinds bars and cannot
attend the Nobel ceremony in Oslo this
weekend, with his wife under house arrest and forbidden to fly to
Norway to accept
the prestigious award for him, a large part of the world will be
celebrating his
award. Not present in Oslo, Liu was nevertheless there as a potent symbol.
Invisible outside his prison cell, he was very visible in the halls of freedom.

Freedom is borderless, and someday it will come to China, too, That’s
exactly what the rulers in Beijing are afraid of.

The announcement earlier in the fall that Liu had bagged a Nobel this
year sparked
ominous warnings from China that countries who recognized his
achievement would have to “take responsibility for the consequences.”
Apparently,
this was a stern warning from Uncle Hu to the U.S,, France, Germany, Britain,
Australia, Japan and, yes, Taiwan.

But the U.S. House resolution pressed forward and lauded Liu
for his human-rights activism, honoring him for his “promotion of
democratic reform in China, and the courage
with which he has bore repeated imprisonment by the government of
China.”

Former U.S. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was to attend the Oslo shindig
on behalf of her nation,
had previously written to Hu Jintao in May 2009 asking for the release
of “prisoners of conscience” including Liu Xiaobo.

Pelosi has always had heart. In 1991, a much-younger but always-idealistic Nancy
Pelosi had secretly unfurled a banner in Tiananmen
Square dedicated “To those who died for democracy [in 1989] in China.”

Liu, it seems, is a hero everywhere but in China.

The U.S. effort to honor Liu and call out China attracted
support from both sides of the political aisle in Washington, with
both Democrats and Republicans getting behind the bill.

One supporter of the bill said that the bipartisan support reflected the
fact that “there’s been a
growing understanding among members on both sides of the aisle that
this dictatorship is a growing threat to local stability but also to
the world. We can’t give the Chinese dictatorship a pass any longer on
human-rights abuse,”

So wouldn’t it be nice if Taiwan could have sent a bipartisan
delegation of both DPP and KMT leaders to Oslo to honor Liu? Maybe
next time.

It would have been nice if Taiwan could have sent a small bipartisan
delegation of politicians and academics from both the DPP and the KMT
to attend the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo this week. With China
putting its head in the sand once again and refusing to
face reality, the world is left wondering: just what makes Beijing tick?

As some of the WikiLeaks cables have confirmed what many old China
hands always knew, many of Chinese Communist Party’s leaders
act in a “sub-rational” manner when confronted with thorny issues like
Taiwan’s sovereignty or Liu Xiabo’s Nobel Peace Prize.

In a move that rattled Beijing sub-rationalists again, the
U.S. House of Representatives stood up for the values of freedom and
democracy last
week with a bipartisan resolution honoring imprisoned Chinese activist
Liu, Nobel laureate.

Earlier in the year, in February, a group of American lawmakers
nominated Liu and two other Chinese activists for Nobel Peace Prize
consideration, noting in a public letter that “few governments have
the courage to brave the Chinese government’s displeasure and honor
them.”

The Nobel committee did honor Liu, and what an honor it is!

While China’s new Nobel laureate remains behinds bars and cannot
attend the Nobel ceremony in Oslo this
weekend, with his wife under house arrest and forbidden to fly to
Norway to accept
the prestigious award for him, a large part of the world will be
celebrating his
award. Not present in Oslo, Liu was nevertheless there as a potent symbol.
Invisible outside his prison cell, he was very visible in the halls of freedom.

Freedom is borderless, and someday it will come to China, too, That’s
exactly what the rulers in Beijing are afraid of.

The announcement earlier in the fall that Liu had bagged a Nobel this
year sparked
ominous warnings from China that countries who recognized his
achievement would have to “take responsibility for the consequences.”
Apparently,
this was a stern warning from Uncle Hu to the U.S,, France, Germany, Britain,
Australia, Japan and, yes, Taiwan.

But the U.S. House resolution pressed forward and lauded Liu
for his human-rights activism, honoring him for his “promotion of
democratic reform in China, and the courage
with which he has bore repeated imprisonment by the government of
China.”

Former U.S. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was to attend the Oslo shindig
on behalf of her nation,
had previously written to Hu Jintao in May 2009 asking for the release
of “prisoners of conscience” including Liu Xiaobo.

Pelosi has always had heart. In 1991, a much-younger but always-idealistic Nancy
Pelosi had secretly unfurled a banner in Tiananmen
Square dedicated “To those who died for democracy [in 1989] in China.”

Liu, it seems, is a hero everywhere but in China.

The U.S. effort to honor Liu and call out China attracted
support from both sides of the political aisle in Washington, with
both Democrats and Republicans getting behind the bill.

One supporter of the bill said that the bipartisan support reflected the
fact that “there’s been a
growing understanding among members on both sides of the aisle that
this dictatorship is a growing threat to local stability but also to
the world. We can’t give the Chinese dictatorship a pass any longer on
human-rights abuse,”

So wouldn’t it be nice if Taiwan could have sent a bipartisan
delegation of both DPP and KMT leaders to Oslo to honor Liu? Maybe next time. As if.

December 8, 2010 @ 7:48 pm | Comment

tw, WikiLeaks is being written as “wei-ji jyeh-mi” in Mandarin now and Assange is written as AH SAN JER….san being MOUNTAIN…..for some odd reason foreign people do not get the respewct of having their first names written in Chinese, they are just called by their LAST NAME, so there is no Julian…he is JUST “Assange”….
——–

The Global Times was calling him “zhu li an” in their first article or two; I find giving us only first names is much more demeaning.

They also reported that, according to the AFP, he was holed up in SUDAN. Now THAT is pathetic.

December 9, 2010 @ 7:07 pm | Comment

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