Archive for ‘obituary’

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Li Peng obituary: firm measures, brimming with feelings

Main Link: Central Committee’s, NPC Standing Committee’s, State Council’s and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference’s Li Peng obituary

Xinhua — Beijing, July 23. The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress, the State Council of the People’s Republic of China and the Standing Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference declare in deep sorrow that the outstanding member of the Chinese Communist Party, the time-tested, loyal warrior of Communism, distinguished proletarian revolutionary, politician, splendid leader of the party and the state, member of the Communist Party of China’s 12th Central Committee’s Politburo, Party Secretariat Secretary, Member of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Central Committee Politburo, former Chief State Councillor, and head of the 9th National People’s Congress Head of Committee, Comrade Li Peng, has died in Beijing on July 22, 2019, after medical treatment had been unsuccessful. He was aged 91.

新华社北京7月23日电 中国共产党中央委员会、中华人民共和国全国人民代表大会常务委员会、中华人民共和国国务院、中国人民政治协商会议全国委员会沉痛宣告:中国共产党的优秀党员,久经考验的忠诚的共产主义战士,杰出的无产阶级革命家、政治家,党和国家的卓越领导人,中国共产党第十二届中央政治局委员、中央书记处书记,第十三届、十四届、十五届中央政治局常委,国务院原总理,第九届全国人民代表大会常务委员会委员长李鹏同志,因病医治无效,于2019年7月22日23时11分在北京逝世,享年91岁。

Comrade Li Peng was born in Chengdu, Sichuan, in October 1928. He was born into a revolutionary family, with his father heroically dying a martyr while [Li Peng] was a child. In his early years, he was influenced by his family, took up revolutionary ideology on his own initiative, and threw himself into the revolutionary cause. in March 1941, he came to Yan’an to take part in revolutionary work, receiving revolutionary theoretical, scientific and cultural education, and joined the CCP in November 1945. During the war of liberation, he followed the party organization’s call and rushed to the frontline, serving as a technician at Jinchao Electric Company, at the Harbin Oil and Grease Factory, and party branch secretary. In September 1948, he went to the Soviet Union, to study there in accordance with the party’s arrangements. After his return to China in 1955, he asked for a job at the grassroots on his own initiative, serving as deputy director and chief engineer at Fengman Power Plant, as chief engineer at the Northeast electric power administration, as the dispatch office’s bureau chief, and as Fuxin Electric Power Plant director. From 1966 to 1979, he was successively appointed acting secretary of Beijing Power Bureau’s party committee, director of the revolutionary committee, director and party secretary of Beijing Electric Power Administration. He was attacked during the “Cultural Revolution” period, but he adhered to the principles of the party spirit, of seeking truth in the facts, and to struggle. From April 1979, he was deputy minister for energy and both party leadership group member and the North China Power administration’s party secretary. Then he became minister for energy and party secretary, deputy minister for water resources and electric power and deputy party secretary, and creatively implemented the party strategy of “electric power first”, issued the appropriate development of electric power, ahead of his time, and promoted our country’s remarkable progress in power station construction, power-grid management and other fields. He was an outstanding leader in our country’s electric power industry, and an important pioneer of nuclear power.

李鹏同志1928年10月生,四川成都人。他出身革命家庭,幼年时父亲英勇就义,少年时期受家庭影响,主动接受革命思想,立志投身革命事业。1941年3月,他到延安参加革命工作,接受革命理论和科学文化知识教育,1945年11月加入中国共产党。解放战争时期,他响应党组织号召奔赴前线,历任晋察冀电业公司技术员,哈尔滨油脂厂协理、党支部书记。1948年9月,根据党组织安排到苏联留学。1955年回国后,他主动要求到基层工作,历任丰满发电厂副厂长、总工程师,东北电业管理局副总工程师、调度局局长,阜新发电厂厂长。1966年至1979年,历任北京供电局党委代理书记、革委会主任,北京电业管理局局长、党组书记。“文化大革命”期间,受到冲击,但他坚持党性原则,实事求是,进行斗争。1979年4月起,历任电力工业部副部长、党组成员兼华北电业管理局党组书记,电力工业部部长、党组书记,水利电力部副部长、党组副书记,他创造性地贯彻党中央“电力要先行”战略,提出电力适度超前发展,推动我国在电站建设和电力生产、电网管理等方面取得长足进步,是我国电力工业的杰出领导人、核电事业的重要开创者。

In June 1983, Comrade Li Peng became deputy chief state councillor, in September 1985 he became a member of the politburo at the 12th Central Committee’s fifth plenary session, and Party Secretariat Secretary. He was in charge of energy, transportation, key transportation building projects, took part in the development of the 7th Five-Year Plan guidelines, promoted the establishment of integrated communications and transportation system and fundamental construction organizational reform. In November 1987, Comrade Li Peng was chosen as member of the politburo and the politburo’s standing committee at the first plenary session of the 13th Central Committee, and during the same month, at the 23rd meeting of the National People’s Congress session, he was made acting Chief State Councillor. In April 1988, at the first session of the 7th National People’s Congress, he was made Chief State Councillor. He firmly implemented, managed, reorganized and deepened the guidelines of reform, explored new means and methods of macro-managing the national economy, and promoted our national economy’s breakaway from its predicaments and its entry into a new period of development. In the political disturbances of spring and summer 1989, with the firm support of the old proletarian revolutionary generation with Deng Xiaoping as their representative, Comrade Li Peng took a clear-cut stand, and together with the majority of the comrades at the politburo, he took firm measures to curb the unrest, to suppress counter-revolutionary rebellion, thus playing an important role in this fateful struggle concerning the party’s and the country’s future prospects.

1983年6月,李鹏同志任国务院副总理,1985年9月在中共十二届五中全会上增选为中央政治局委员、中央书记处书记。他分管能源、交通、重点建设项目等工作,参与研究“七五”计划能源交通方面的发展方针,推动建立综合统一的交通运输体系和基本建设体制改革,加快重大技术装备研制步伐。1987年11月,李鹏同志在中共十三届一中全会上当选为中央政治局委员、常委,同月在六届全国人大常委会第二十三次会议上被任命为国务院代总理。1988年4月,在七届全国人大一次会议上被任命为国务院总理。他坚决贯彻治理整顿和深化改革的方针,探索对国民经济进行宏观调控的新手段和新方法,推动我国经济摆脱困境、进入新的发展时期。1989年春夏之交的政治风波中,在以邓小平同志为代表的老一辈无产阶级革命家坚决支持下,李鹏同志旗帜鲜明,和中央政治局大多数同志一道,采取果断措施制止动乱,平息反革命暴乱,稳定了国内局势,在这场关系党和国家前途命运的重大斗争中发挥了重要作用。

[…]

[…] Comrade Li Peng brimmed with deep feelings for the masses, especially for the impoverished masses, and attached great importance to helping the poor, and was absolutely concerned about the situation of staff laid off in state enterprises.

[…..] 李鹏同志对人民群众特别是困难群众饱含深情,高度重视扶贫工作,十分关心国有企业下岗职工的冷暖。

In March, Li Peng didn’t serve as the National People’s Congress Standing Committee Chairman for another term. After retiring from the leadership position, he firmly endorsed and supported the party’s central committee with Hu Jintao as its secretary general, he firmly endorsed and supported the party’s central committee with Xi Jinping as the core, caring about the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics and firmly supporting the building of the party style, clean politics, and anti-corruption struggle.

2003年3月,李鹏同志不再担任全国人大常委会委员长职务。从领导岗位上退下来以后,他坚决拥护和支持以胡锦涛同志为总书记的党中央,坚决拥护和支持以习近平同志为核心的党中央,关心中国特色社会主义伟大事业,坚定支持党风廉政建设和反腐败斗争。

Comrade Li Peng’s life was a revolutionary life, the life of a warrior, a life of glory, of whole-hearted and single-minded service to the people, and a life of striving for the cause of communism. His death is a major loss for the party and the state. We want to learn from his revolutionary spirit, his sublime moral character and his fine style of work, and still more closely unite around the Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, never forgetting where we started from, hold on to the mission, to capture the victory of moderate prosperity, the victory of the new era’s socialism with Chinese characteristics, and to bring about the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

李鹏同志的一生,是革命的一生、战斗的一生、光辉的一生,是全心全意为人民服务、为共产主义事业光辉的一生的一生。他的逝世,是党和国家的重大损失。我们要学习他的革命精神、崇高品德和优良作风,更加紧密地团结在以习近平同志为核心的党中央周围,不忘初心、牢记使命,为决胜全面建成小康社会、夺取新时代中国特色社会主义伟大胜利、实现中华民族伟大复兴的中国梦而努力奋斗。

Eternal glory to Comrade Li Peng!

李鹏同志永垂不朽!

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Related


Detective Li
, June 30, 2010

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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Heilongjiang Daily: Li Min, 1924 – 2018

The following is a translation of an article from Heilongjiang Daily (黑龙江日报). Links within blockquotes added during translation.

There are (or were) at least two prominent women named Li Min. Second from left is deceased Li Min; second from right is Mao Zedong’s daughter Li Min. Photo: Kremlin.ru, President Medvedev’s 2010 visit to China, CC BY 4.0

Main Link: Farewell Ceremony for late Comrade Li Min’s Remains held in Harbin

This papers news of July 29 (Guo Minghua and Sun Jiawei reporting) — Quiet funeral music filled the air, grief knew no limits, and people from all walks of life were in incomparable sorrow, saying their last farewell to Comrade Li Min who was lying peacefully among fresh flowers and incense cedar. The farewell ceremony for Li Min, former vice chairperson of the China People’s Political Consultative Conference’s Heilongjiang Provincial Committee, and warrior of the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army, was held at Harbin Tianheyuan Funeral Parlor. Nearly one-thousand cadres and members of the masses had rushed there to deeply mourn this outstanding member of the Chinese Communist Party, this time-tested, loyal warrior of Communism.

本报29日讯(记者郭铭华孙佳薇)哀乐低回、哀思无限,各界人士怀着无比沉痛的心情,向安卧在鲜花翠柏中的李敏同志作最后告别。29日上午,中国人民政治协商会议黑龙江省委员会原副主席、东北抗联老战士李敏同志遗体告别仪式在哈尔滨天河园殡仪馆举行,近千名干部、群众赶来,深切悼念这位中国共产党优秀党员、久经考验的忠诚的共产主义战士。

Comrade Li Min died in Harbin, on July 21, at 03:39 hours, from illness, aged 951).

李敏同志因病于7月21日3时39分在哈尔滨逝世,享年95岁。

Provincial leaders Zhang Qingwei, Wang Wentao, Huang Jiansheng, Chen Haibo, Wang Changsong, Li Haitao, Gan Rongkun, Wang Aiwen, Zhang Yupu, Wang Zhaoli, Jia Yumei and Du Heping attended the farewell ceremony.

省领导张庆伟、王文涛、黄建盛、陈海波、王常松、李海涛、甘荣坤、王爱文、张雨浦、王兆力、贾玉梅、杜和平出席告别仪式。

Du Yuxin, Song Fatang, Zhang Zuoji and others also attended the farewell ceremony.

杜宇新、宋法棠、张左己等也出席了告别仪式。

At 08:30 hours, the farewell ceremony began. Tianheyuan Funeral Parlor had been decorated in a dignified and solemn manner, with Comrade Li Min’s portrait at the center. Li Min’s body was covered with the CCP’s flag, and with the sound of the funeral music, everyone stood solemnly, with people tearfully observing a moment of silence.

8时30分,遗体告别仪式开始。天河园殡仪馆观天厅布置得庄严肃穆,正中悬挂着李敏同志的遗像。李敏同志的遗体上覆盖着中国共产党党旗,在哀乐声中,全场肃立,人们含泪默哀,深情缅怀李敏同志的光辉业绩和崇高风范。

Comrade Li Min was born in Heilongjiang Province, Tangyuan County, Wutonghe Village, on November 5, 1924. In 1936, she joined the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army, and she joined the CCP in January 1939. She was sent to the USSR for studies in 1940, and after instruction travels within the Anti-Japanese United Army, she became a political instructor at the communications operations, and deputy party branch secretary in 1942, and received the military merit medal. In August 1945, after entering the Northeast with the Soviet Red Army, she took part in Suihua Prefecture‘s government building, army building, women masses, and other work. From November 1982 to 1993 she served as vice chairperson of the China People’s Political Consultative Conference’s Heilongjiang Provincial Committee.

李敏同志1924年11月5日出生于黑龙江省汤原县梧桐河村,1936年参加东北抗日联军,1939年1月加入中国共产党。1940年被派往苏联学习,1942年抗联部队编为教导旅后,在通讯营任政治教员、党支部副书记等职,被授予战斗功勋奖章。1945年8月随苏联红军进入东北后,参加绥化建政、建军、妇女群众等工作。1982年11月至1993年任黑龙江省政协副主席。

As a Northeastern Anti-Japanese United Army veteran, Li Min vigorously propagandized the Northeastern Anti-Japanese United Army history, promoted the Northeastern Anti-Japanese United Army spirit, propagandized and promoted the spirit of patriotism. She received the Order of Stalin medal, the Soviet War of National Defense Victory order, the remembrance medals of the 60th and 70th anniversaries of the Chinese People’s Victory in the Anti-Japanese War, as well as the Red Army Long March Victory’s 80th Anniversary commemorative medal – more than thirty medals in total. Comrade Li Min put forward that fourteen, instead of eight years of the Chinese People’s Glorious Anti-Japanese War should be included in China’s nation-wide primary and middle school textbooks, a proposal which was adopted2). Comrade Li Min whole life was a revolutionary life, a glorious life, and a huge life.

作为东北抗联老战士,李敏同志大力宣传东北抗联历史,弘扬东北抗联精神,宣传弘扬爱国主义精神,她生前曾荣获斯大林勋章、苏联卫国战争胜利勋章,中国人民抗日战争胜利60周年、70周年纪念章,以及红军长征胜利80周年纪念章等三十余枚奖章。李敏同志提出了关于将中国人民抗日战争光辉历史由八年改为十四年并纳入全国中小学教科书的建议被采纳。李敏同志的一生是革命的一生,光荣的一生,也是伟大的一生。

Leaders and comrades of the Provincial People’s Congress standing committee, the Provincial government, the Provincial Political Consultative Conference’s and military region, garrisoned troops, military police, from Harbin, and other provincial-level comrades, lifetime friends of Li Min, relatives and others also took part in the farewell ceremony.

省人大常委会、省政府、省政协和省军区、驻军、武警及哈尔滨市领导同志,其他副省级老同志,李敏同志生前友好、亲属等也参加了告别仪式。

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Notes

1) Depending on how you count birthdays. As Li Min was born in November 1924, she was 93 years old when she died.

2) [Update, Aug 10] The textbook revision ascribed to Li Min was reported by the Guardian in January 2017, but without a mention of any particular activism leading to this step. Chinese media reported in 2010 that in a local or regional northeastern event, a “Longjiang Internet Media Conference”, Li Min had advocated a revision of this kind, arguing that Chairman Mao fully recognized the Northeastern Anti-Japanese United Army’s role and achievements in the entire Anti-Japanese War, and [he also] pointed out that the war of resistance against Japan began in 1931.

However, no mention of Li was made in a Xinhua report in January 2017.

The revision, Xinhua wrote, had been made after serious expert studies, organized by the ministry of education. In fact, in recent years, historians and educationalists have made active efforts to guide the young generations to a more real, more comprehensive understanding of the War of Resistance. The revision also crushed some foreign forces’ distortions of the organic links between the eight and the fourteen years of war of resistance, and removed the arbitrary blotting of the Chinese Communist Party’s role as the Chinese nation’s tower of strength.

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Related

李敏 (黑龙江省政协副主席),Wikipedia, acc 20180808

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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Oldřich Číp, ? – 2018

Oldrich Cip, a longtime advocate of shortwave radio, died on July 27.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Obituary: Yu Guanzhong, 1928 – 2017

Taiwanese poet and university teacher Yu Guangzhong (余光中) has died in Kaohsiung  on Thursday. According to Radio Taiwan International (RTI), quoting  a statement by aohsiung Medical University hospital,  Yu had been hospitalized late in November, after a stroke. His condition deteriorated due to heart failure and lung condition pneumonia, according to the statement.

Wikipedia has entries about Yu, in Chinese and in English.  He was born in Nanjing, in 1928.

One of his poems, as published by Singtao Ribao‘s Canadian edition, on Thursday (Wednesday Vancouver local time):

小时候,乡愁是一枚小小的邮票,我在这头,母亲在那头。
During childhood, homesickness was a small postage stamp, with me here and my mother there.

长大后,乡愁是一张窄窄的船票,我在这头,新娘在那头。
After growing up, homesickness was a worn sea passage ticket, with me here and my bride there.

后来啊,乡愁是一方矮矮的坟墓,我在外头,母亲在里头。
Later on, homesickness was a small grave, with me outside and my mother inside.

而现在,乡愁是一湾浅浅的海峡,我在这头,大陆在那头。
But now, homesickness is a strait of shallow waters, with me here and the mainland there.

A book published in 2008 offers  an interpretation.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Liu Xiaobo, 1955 – 2017

It won’t be long before Liu Xiaobo‘s first post-mortem biography will be published. But it won’t have the last word. There will be further biographies, and each of them will be contested. That’s because of the man himself, and because of his country. He was a man with a conscience, and his country has been a totalitarian dictatorship for nearly seven decades – if you count the KMT’s martial law in, it’s been a dictatorship for much longer than that.

Liu Xiaobo’s political lifespan lasted for three or four decades. That doesn’t count as long in China. The Communist Party’s propaganda works tirelessly to create and sustain the “People’s Republic’s” population’s imagination of a civilizational history of five or more millenia. And at the same time, the party needs to sustain the notion that the most recent seven decades had been the best in China’s history. Not only the past fourty, after the leadership’s decision to “reform and to open up”, but the past seven decades, including Maoism. CCP propaganda’s aim is to build an image of its rule where the pre- and post-1978 decades are one political unit, without substantial contradictions within.

In all likelihood, Liu Xiaobo had foreseen that trend. Many Chinese dissidents, no matter if opponents of China’s cultural restauration, or opponents of the KMT’s military dictatorship on Taiwan, saw a Chinese complacency at work, considering itself the center of the universe.

Cultural criticism is rarely a rewarding trade, but in China, it can be lethal, as shown in Liu Xiaobo’s case.

Liu’s last camp and prison term, which began in 2009 and ended with his relase on medical parole, with cancer in its final stage, had been based on the accusation that he had “incited subversion of state power”. But the Beijing First Intermediate People’s Court’s verdict – passed on Christmas day of 2009, probably to keep the level of international attention as low as possible –  only reflected the CCP’s fear of Liu, not the likely divide between the dissident and his people. A likely divide only, because in a totalitarian dictatorship, these things are more uncertain than in an open society. Hu Jia, himself a dissident who spent more than three years in prison from 2007 to 2011, noted during Liu’s dying days that only about one out of a hundred Beijingers knew who Liu Xiaobo was. Michael Bristow, the BBC’s China correspondent  in 2011, made a similar observation back then.

The 1980s mostly came across as a period of economic optimism, but accompanied by phenomena that were viewed negatively – particularly corruption, which was one of the factors that propelled the June-4 movement at its beginning.

Liu’s answer to what was frequently seen as China’s ailments was “westernization”. Stays in Western countries seem to have intensified his idea, just as Deng Xiaoping is said to have had his own cultural shock when visiting Singapore, in 1978.

But there lies a difference between the great statesman, and the great dissident. Singapore, a highly developed city state led by a family clan, is a model not only for authoritarian Chinese nationals – Taiwanese law-and-order-minded people tend to prefer Singapore as a holiday destination, rather than “messy” Hong Kong.

Liu Xiaobo’s model of development was Hong Kong of the 1980s. It was also the crown colony that provided the intellectual in his early thirties with some public resonance. In one of the interviews, given by Liu to a magazine named Kaifang at the time, Liu made statements that astonished the interviewer:

Q. Under what circumstances can China carry out a genuine historical transformation?
A. Three hundred years of colonialism.  Hong Kong became like this after one hundred years of colonialism.  China is so much larger, so obviously it will take three hundred years of colonialism.  I am still doubtful whether three hundred years of colonialism will be enough to turn China into Hong Kong today.

Q. This is 100% “treason.”
A. I will cite one sentence from Marx’s Manifesto of the Communist Party: “Workers do not have motherlands.  You cannot take away what they don’t have.”  I care about neither patriotism nor treason.  If you say that I betray my country, I will go along!  I admit that I am an impious son who dug up his ancestors’ graves and I am proud of it.

Both the “insults” and Liu’s expressly stated pessimism probably made for a divide between him and many Chinese (as far as they got to know his story). Or, as Roland Soong, a blogger from Hong Kong, noted next to his translation of the 1988 interview, as of 2010, “I suggest that unless Charter 08 (or any other message) can connect with many people in other social strata, it will remain a mental exercise among ‘public intellectuals.'”

And nothing works in the modern middle kingdom, unless it comes with a festive up-with-people sound. (In that sense, China is globalizing indeed.)

When Soong translated the interview quoted from above, and added his assessment of the Charter 08, the global financial crisis had been wreaking havoc on Western economies for about two years, and at least one of the Charter’s demands had fallen from the tree since: #14 called for

Protection of Private Property. We should establish and protect the right to private property and promote an economic system of free and fair markets. We should do away with government monopolies in commerce and industry and guarantee the freedom to start new enterprises. We should establish a Committee on State-Owned Property, reporting to the national legislature, that will monitor the transfer of state-owned enterprises to private ownership in a fair, competitive, and orderly manner. We should institute a land reform that promotes private ownership of land, guarantees the right to buy and sell land, and allows the true value of private property to be adequately reflected in the market.

There wasn’t necessarily a conflict on this matter, between the party leadership and the authors of the Charter – time will show how the CCP is going to handle the remaining state sector of the economy. But among everyday Chinese people, this demand would hardly strike a chord. Besides, who can imagine a transfer of state-owned enterprises to private ownership “in a fair, competitive, and orderly manner”?

In the Charter’s preface, the authors wrote:

The Chinese people, who have endured human rights disasters and uncountable struggles across these same years, now include many who see clearly that freedom, equality, and human rights are universal values of humankind and that democracy and constitutional government are the fundamental framework for protecting these values.

It was a cautious description of the status quo: Liu and his co-authors understood that only a critical minority would side with them. And indeed, there was more to endure in the pipeline. The educational dictatorship China is now entering encourages anticipatory obedience rather than awareness, and it is likely to succeed. When you keep beating people up long enough – and provide them with a hopeful perspective for the future -, there is little that can help people of conscience to counter the propaganda.

This may be the main difference between Liu and his enemies (and many of his admirers, too): in the eyes of many, only hard power – no matter if you refer to it as “the people’s power” or as the “authorities” -, creates reality. If the realities are good, you don’t need to get involved. If they are evil, you can’t get involved. And when realities come in many shades of grey, you either needn’t or can’t get involved. The power of the powerless is no reality in these peoples’ world – unless they begin to tilt, so that re-orientation appears advisable.

That’s a stabilizing factor, so long as realities remain what they appear to be.  But appearances can be deceiving, often until the very last hour. Who of the Egyptians who ditched their longtime president in 2011, in colossal demonstrations, had known weeks before that he wanted to get rid of him? A mood had capsized. It wasn’t about awareness.

A manipulated and intimidated public tends to be unpredictable, and that can turn factors around that were originally meant to add to “stability”.

China’s leaders feared Liu Xiaobo. They feared him to the extent that they wouldn’t let him leave the country, as long as he could still speak a word. But in all likelihood, they fear China’s widespread, politically tinged, religious sects even more, which have a tradition at least as long as Chinese scholarship. Falun Gong is only one of its latest manifestations.

By suppressing public intellectuals not only before 1978, but after that, too, they provided space for nervous moodiness. The Communists themselves want to “guide” (i. e. control) public awareness, without leaving anything to chance.

But chance is inevitable. Totalitarian routine may be able to cope for some time, but is likely to fail in the long run, with disastrous consequences.

In that light, the CCP missed opportunities to reform and modernize the country. But then, the party’s totalitarian skeleton made sure that they could only see the risks, and no opportunities, in an opening society.

What remains from Charter 08 – for now – is the courage shown by its authors nine years ago, and by the citizens who affirmed it with their signatures.

Each of them paid a price, to varying degrees, and often, their families and loved ones did so, too: like Liu Xia, who had hoped that her husband would not get involved in drafting the Charter, but who would never dissociate herself from him.

Nobody is obligated to show the same degree of courage, unless solidarity or conscience prescribe it. In most cases, making such demands on oneself would be excessive. But those who hate the Lius for their courage – and for lacking this courage themselves – should understand that their hatred is wrong. One may keep still as a citizen – but there is an inevitable human duty to understand the difference between right and wrong. By denying our tolerance toward despotism and by repressing awareness of our own acquiescence, we deny ourselves even the small steps into the right direction, that could be taken without much trouble, or economic hardship.

May Liu Xiaobo never be forgotten – and may Liu Xia find comfort and recovery.

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Updates/Related

再生:致刘晓波, Woeser, July 13, 2017
Rebirth, Woeser/Boyden, July 16, 2017
Wiedergeburt, Woeser/Forster, July 27, 2017
The abuse hasn’t stopped, Wu Gan, July 25, 2017

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Obituary: Chu Ke-liang, 1946 – 2017

A comedian’s life doesn’t have to be fun – Taiwan’s entertainer Hsieh Hsin-ta (謝新達), better known as Chu Ke-liang (豬哥亮), had seen tough times before successfully returning to the stage in his later years. According to a Taipei Times article in 2009, he had ruined his finances in the 1990s, incurring debts by gambling heavily. Hiding from his creditors, and a family feud, defined that decade.

This video is from the Chu Ke-liang’s Karaoke Show (or Cabaret Show) which was popular in the 1980s. The maître du show appears towards the end of the 6th minute.

The View from Taiwan quotes from a “Facebook” post:

On one end he was the affirmation of the KMT colonialist stereotype of Taiwanese as vulgar, low class, silly, impish and absurd. He was the validation of Waisheng class supremacy, not unlike the way African Americans have been depicted as caricatures to reinforce White supremacy in classic American film–the minstrel. Zhu Ge-liang was the caricature of Taiwaneseness to satisfy the desires of a Waisheng elite.

On the other end, Zhu was loved by Taiwanese audiences for creating Taiwanese space in media at a time when the Waisheng aesthetic was still (and is still) the predominant image. He was, in a way, a rejection of that Waisheng aesthetic.

[…]

Chu was born in Kaohsiung in 1946. He died after a long battle against cancer, aged 70. Reportedly, he may eventually be buried in Keelung.

Monday, November 28, 2016

A few Thoughts about Castro

Fidel Castro, in the course of about half a century, became an icon for people who would have liked to challenge America’s leading global role. And he was hated by many Americans. When I asked an otherwise friendly American friend (by letter, back then) in the early 1990s why the embargo was still in place, I got a long and angry answer, as if I had I had trespassed. And when I made some not-too-critical, but not really reverent remarks about Castro the other day, I got an angry answer, too. What you get in a conversation about Castro really depends on your interlocutor (and, of course, on your diplomatic skills).

What is frequently ignored however, is the Cuban people. It is true that fear, intimidation and human rights violations has helped to keep the Cuban Communist Party in power. so have state and party propaganda. Decades of getting the same stories told over and over and over again, in school, the media, and  arguably by Grandpa at home, won’t fail to leave  traces on most human harddisks.

Few political leaders of the 20th and – so far – 21st century trigger as strong emotions as Fidel Castro does. Castro is idolized, and demonized. And more frequently than not, peoples’ reactions to his memory depend on where they belong, or who they side with: America, China, or Russia, for example.

It would take biographic research to judge Castro and his rule. It would require reading one or two biographies, at least. The information that daily mass media offer won’t provide insights into how Cuba has endured, or profitted from, Castro rule since early 1959.

But you wouldn’t run into too many people without clear-cut opinions about Castro.

That’s why countries and civilizations can be surprising to outsiders (and even to insiders). Things happen, and they may appear to be unlogical or bizarre. But they happen for reasons – good or bad -, and the driving forces behind them aren’t necessarily idiocy.

To understand Castro’s rise to power, and the reasons as to why the Cuban Communist Party has been able to cement its dictatorship to this days, we would need to walk the Cuban streets of the 1940s and 1950s, not those of the 2010s.

Research – scientific or journalistic – needs to take us there.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Obituary: Ryu Mi-yong, 1921 – 2016

Ryu Mi-yong, chairwoman of the North Korean “Chondoist Chongu Party”, died of lung cancer on Wednesday, November 23, aged 95, according to North Korean newsagency KCNA (no permalink).

Thanks to the profound trust and love of the great leaders she could make a dramatic U turn in her life and enjoyed a worthwhile life after permanently settling in the DPRK together with her husband Choe Tok Sin,

writes KCNA, referring to the couple’s defection from South to North Korea in 1986. Reportedly, they had moved to the United States, or fled there, ten years prior to their defection. Her husband, late Choe Duck-shin (or Choe Deok-sin, or Choi Duk Shin), had been the Park regime’s foreign minister from 1961 to 1963. From 1963 to 1967, he served as South Korea’s Ambassador to West Germany.

And if KCNA portrays her correctly, like many converts, Ryu Mi-yong was tougher than the rest:

She revered Marshal Kim Jong Un as God of the nation and the sun of salvation of the world and the people and worked heart and soul to bring earlier a new day of unity of all Koreans and country’s reunification till the last moments of her life.

直到生命的最后一刻,敬仰金正恩元帅为民族的上天、救世济民的太阳,为早日迎来全民族的团结和统一的未来献出了一切。

The “party” she chaired apparently draws on a Korean religious movement called Cheondoism.

According to Yonhap Newsagency, South Korea’s reunification ministry, on November 19 granted Ryu’s second son a travel permit to the North, for humanitarian reasons, given that his mother had been terminally ill.

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Updates/Related

“Chondoism, translated into reality”, Pyongyang Times, Sept 29, 2016

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