Posts tagged ‘human rights’

Saturday, May 11, 2019

EU Reports on Hong Kong, Macau: Pointing Fingers, Drawing Feet

Main LinkForeign Ministry: Opposing the EU’s Publication of a so-called Report concerning Hong Kong and Macau (外交部:反对欧盟发表所谓涉港澳报告)

Xinhua Beijing, May 9 (Ma Zhuoyan reporting)  In the light of the European Union’s publication of a so-called report concerning Hong Kong and Macau, the foreign ministry said on May 9 that China expresses strong dissatisfaction1), and resolutely opposes this, demanding the EU side to stop this wrong approach.

新华社北京5月9日电(记者 马卓言)针对欧盟近日发布所谓涉港澳报告,外交部发言人耿爽9日说,中方对此表示强烈不满和坚决反对,要求欧方停止这一错误做法。

The EU reportedly published the “2018 Annual Report on Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the “2018 Annual Report on Macau Special Administrative Region”, commenting on Hong Kong and Macau affairs.

据报道,欧盟8日发表了《2018年香港特区年度报告》和《2018年澳门特区年度报告》,对港澳事务进行评论。

Geng Shuang said at May 9th regular press conference that since the return of Hong Kong and Macau, “one country, two systems” has been successfully implemented, Hong Kong and Macau have maintained prosperity and stability, Hong Kong and Macau residents enjoy unprecedented democratic rights and freedom of speech, information, association etc. in accordance with the law, and this is an undeniable fact.

耿爽在9日例行记者会上说,港澳回归以来,“一国两制”成功落实,港澳保持繁荣稳定,港澳居民依法享有前所未有的民主权利和言论、新闻、结社等各项自由,这一事实不容否认。

Geng Shuang said, the EU report was waving around and making indiscreet remarks2) with its report on so-called human rights, unscrupulously putting blame on “one country, two systems” in Hong Kong and Macau, absolutely denying the facts. This is interference with China’s internal affairs and the special administrative regions’ affairs, to which China expresses strong dissatisfaction1) and resolute opposition. “We have repeatedly expounded and opposed our position concerning the EU’s so-called Hong Kong and Macau reports, and demand that the EU stop this wrong approach.

耿爽说,欧盟的报告以所谓人权、自由等为幌子对港澳事务妄加评论、指手画脚,对“一国两制”在港澳的落实横加指责,完全是罔顾事实,是对中国内政和特区事务的粗暴干涉,中方对此表示强烈不满和坚决反对。“我们已多次阐明反对欧盟方面发表所谓涉港澳报告的立场,我们要求欧方停止这一错误做法。”

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Footnotes

1) May also be translated as “intense resentment”
2) literally: pointing fingers and drawing feet

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Related

Hong Kong SAR Annual Report 2018, May 8, 2019
Macau SAR Annual Report 2018, May 8, 2019

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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Taiwan’s Representative to Czech Republic: Relations not affected

The following is a translation of a CNA (Central News Agency) article from Taiwan, with some details of an interview Taiwan’s semi-offical ambassador Wang Chung-I (汪忠一, officially his country’s diplomatic “representative”), gave to a Czech newspaper on Tuesday. Links within blockquotes added during translation.

Main Link (CNA): Dispute around Taiwan’s Representative having to leave his seat won’t affect relations between the two Countries (被迫離席風波 駐捷克代表:不影響兩國關係)

Central News Agency CNA reporter Lin Yuli, Berlin, April 10 – Taiwan’s Representative to the Czech Republic, Wang Chung-I, who took part in a conference hosted by the Czech ministry of trade and industry, and was removed under Chinese pressure. Czech media published interviews with him, and Wang Chung-I believes that this diplomatic dispute will not lead to bad effects on the two countries’ relationship.

(中央社記者林育立柏林10日專電)駐捷克代表汪忠一上月參加捷克貿易工業部主辦的會議,因中國施壓被迫離席。捷克媒體刊登他的專訪,汪忠一相信這起外交風波不至於影響兩國的關係。

The case of the Taiwanese representative having been forced to leave the venue had led to great controversy in Czech political circles. Forty senators across party lines have sent a joint letter to Prime Minister Andrej Babis in recent days, demanding that trade and industry minister Marta Novakova should assume political responsibility, and the House of Deputies‘ foreign  affairs committee also met to discuss this diplomatic dispute.

台灣代表被迫離場事件,最近在捷克政壇引起軒然大波。40名跨黨派的參議員日前聯名致函總理巴比什(Andrej Babis)要求貿易工業部長諾娃科娃(Marta Novakova)負起政治責任,眾議院外交委員會也開會討論這起外交風波。

Major Czech paper “Economic Daily” (Hospodarske Noviny) published an entire page of an interview with Wang Chung-I on April 9. Wang Chung-I said that after the incident, the representative office [i. e. Taiwan’s semi-official embassy in Prague] received support from all walks of life in Czechia, also e-mails of encouragement from members of the general public, which made him feel pleasantly surprised.

捷克大報「經濟日報」(Hospodarske Noviny)9日用一整版的篇幅刊出汪忠一的專訪。汪忠一表示,事件發生後,代表處收到捷克各界的聲援,還有民眾寫電子郵件來鼓勵,讓他感到驚喜。

He pointed out that during the past 19 years, Taiwan had always received invitations from the trade and industry ministry, and had always sent someone to take part in the conferences. He knew that the trade and industry ministry was under great Chinese pressure, and had therefore issued no protest to the ministry, and rather held talks with Czech diplomats to make mutually sure that this incident woudl not affect bilateral relations.

他指出,過去19年台灣每年都收到貿工部的邀請,也都派人出席這場會議。他知道貿工部受到中國的強大壓力,因此事後沒有向貿工部抗議,但與捷克外交官員進行了會談,互相保證這件事不至於影響雙邊關係。

Wang Chung-I emphasized that in the past, similar incidents had occured in Czechia, and usually it was the Chinese ambassador opposing the Taiwanese representative being in the place. If the organizing unit maintained its right to invite whom it wanted to invite, the Chinese ambassador would leave his seat, this was his first time to have to leave the place because of Chinese pressure.

汪忠一強調,捷克過去也曾發生過類似的事件,一般而言是中國大使反對台灣代表在場。如果主辦單位堅持有權決定想邀請的人,中國大使會離席,這是他第一次因中國施壓而被迫離場。

In the interview, Wang Chung-I also quoted former Czech president Vaclav Havel, a man with friendly feelings towards Taiwan, as describing in a book why Czech and Taiwanese people had similar lines of thought.

汪忠一在這篇專訪中,還引述了對台灣友好的捷克前總統哈維爾(Vaclav Havel)的話,他在一本書中曾描述捷克人和台灣人為何有相同的思維方式。

Wang Chung-I pointed out that both Czechia and Taiwan were rather small countries, both with experience in resisting powerful neighboring countries, and common values of respect for human rights, freedom and democracy.

汪忠一指出,捷克與台灣都是比較小的國家,一樣有與超強鄰國對抗的經驗,而且共享尊重人權和自由民主的價值觀。

Czechia is a major tourist destination in Europe, with its capital Prague attracting particularly many Taiwanese tourists. Prague’s mayor Zdenek Hrib mentioned in a meeting with Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen late last month that he hoped to establish direct flights with Taipei.

捷克是歐洲的觀光重鎮,尤其首都布拉格吸引許多台灣觀光客,布拉格市長賀吉普(Zdenek Hrib)上月底訪問台灣會見蔡英文總統時才提到,希望與台北建立直航。

Wang Chung-I said that last year’s number of Taiwanese tourists visiting Czechia reached up to 190,000, an annual rise by ten percent, and for tourism and commercial exchange between the two countries, he hoped that a direct flight connection between Prague and Taipei would soon materialize. (Editor’s name) Number

汪忠一表示,去年台灣旅客造訪捷克的人數高達19萬,年成長率10%,為了兩國的觀光和商務往來,他也期盼布拉格與台北的直航能早日實現。(編輯:高照芬)1080411

Friday, April 5, 2019

Prague Castle*) incident: “The Minister should have known what to do”

*) Correction, April 11, 2019: not at the Castle, but at the trade ministry in Prague.

Update, April 11, 2019: Reportedly, trade minister Marta Nováková will be replaced, along with transport minister Dan Ťok, in a cabinet reshuffle.

Britain’s Daily Mail quotes a “series of missteps”, the way she dealt with the Chinese ambassador’s “request” to remove Taiwan’s representative from a meeting at the trade ministry among them, but mainly her comments on Czech mobile data prices.

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The top levels of Czech politics may be confused, but civil society stands up to blackmail. While it is true that the world’s leading democracies are falling over themselves to do business with China, the Czech Republic’s tradition is different from that of the London School of Economics.

Beijing doesn’t appear to advertise its ambassador’s implementation of its one-belt-one-road project in Prague, but Zdeněk Hřib, Prague’s mayor and one of the critics of Beijing’s most recent attempt to sideline Taiwan, isn’t an unknown in China anyway. A blogger named Warfare Bureau stationed with Taiwan Special Task Force member no. 666, publishing on a Guanchazhe platform, shows rightful indignation about Hřib’s current visit to Taiwan:

Actually, this mayor of the Czech Republic capital who has just taken office has often before raised his unfriendly voice against China. Early this year, he voiced doubt about the “one-China clause” in the sister city agreement between Prague and Beijing, asserting that he “could not see the need to retain it,” and demanding renegotiation.

其实,这位才上任不久的捷克首都新市长曾经多次发表对华不友好的声音,今年初贺瑞卜在受访时就公然对与北京缔结姐妹城市关系时协定中的“一中条款”表示质疑,他声称,“实在看不出保留的必要性”,要求重新协商。

According to the blog, Hřib said in an interview with Czech media that if the Prague city council demanded to repeal the article from the agreement, he would negotiate with Beijing, and if negotiations failed, Prague would have to withdraw from the agreement.*)

Even worse, the guy, reacting to Beijing’s plans to send a Panda to Prague, had said in 2016, in an interview with Taiwan’s Liberty Times (自由時報), that “human rights are much more important than Panda’s”. (What a shameless lie.)

It might be worth mentioning that Hřib is a member of the Czech Pirate party. A lot of politicians talk about “values”, but some actually have the nerve to practice them.

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Related

Rising Aggression, Jan 28, 2017

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Notes / Updates

*) Prague’s city council decided on January 21 that the article about the “one-China policy” should either be removed, or the partnership with Beijing be terminated, according to Radio Prague‘s German service on that day.

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Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Two Meetings, and how Red History re-educated Yang Liwei

The following is a translated excerpt from “People’s Daily” online, published there on March 9, during the “two meetings”, i. e. the “National People’s Congress” and the “Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference” sessions earlier this month.

The term “re-education” has never left the Chinese language – there has always been “re-education” in the PRC, even though the use of the term may have peaked during Maoism.

Main Link (original title): Actively Participating in the Management of State Affairs, Fostering the Propagation of Popular Science

Links within blockquotes added during translation.

Host: Hello everyone, this is People’s Daily online’s video interview. Today, we have run into Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference’s committee member and space-flight hero Yang Liwei. Hello, Yang laoshi. First of all, a question that everyone is particularly interested in, how has your past year of duty been?

大家好,这里是人民网视频访谈。今天我们遇到了全国政协委员、航天英雄杨利伟,杨老师您好。首先大家特别关注,在去年一年,您的履职情况是怎样的呢?

Yang Liwei: First of all, by being able to enter the big family of the Political Consultative Conference I have learned and seen many things, because following my participation in last year’s two meetings, especially when attending the meeting, I took the path of a committee member, and by doing so, we from the manned space flight can do good propaganda, and at the same time make the space flight third generation’s selection situation known. As it happens, we have just completed the pre-selection of third-generation astronauts, under everyone’s attention. From here, a completely new work can be touched upon. Following this kind of getting in touch, I like and love this big family more and more, the CPPCC is really good, with people from different trades coming across each other and conducting exchanges which helps you to understand a lot. Especially last year I have participated in many CPPCC activities, going out and conducting investigation and research left a really deep impression on me.

首先能够去加入政协这个大家庭,去年一年对我来讲学到了很多东西,也看到了很多东西,因为随着参加去年的两会,特别是参加会议的时候,我走了委员通道,用这种方式对我们载人航天也进行了一个很好的宣传,同时也介绍了一下第三批航天员的选拔情况,恰恰我们现在第三批航天员的初选已经结束了,大家很关注。从这开始之后,一个全新的工作,就是让自己去接触。随着这种接触,越来越喜欢这个大家庭和爱上这个大家庭,政协真的是很好,不同界别的人交叉在一起进行交流,会让你了解很多。特别是在去年,又参加了很多政协的活动,出去进行了调研,给我留下印象非常的深刻。

Host: To which kind of impression can you think back now, for example, that was very deep?

主持人:比如什么样的印象让您现在回想起来很深刻?

Yang Liwei: We studied and researched the old revolutionary area of Jiangxi, conducting research themed “protection and use of red resources”. Apart from that, after getting to the old revoltionary areas, we looked at the area’s development, and at the same time received a very good re-education of the Red Army of that time, leaving a really very deep impression on us. Before, it could all be seen on the media, but this time’s personal experience, to see these things, spells reeducation to me.

我们调研到了江西老区,进行“红色资源的保护与利用”的主题调研,除了调研红色资源的保护和利用,到了革命老区之后,看到了老区的发展,同时也进一步接受了那个时候红军的一个很好的再教育,给我留下的印象真的非常深刻。以前都是在媒体上看到的,这一次身临其境的去看,看到了一些东西,对我来讲,也是进行再一次教育。

No kidding – it’s a real astronaut

In this process, because we were in touch with the old revolutionary area’s common people, between the lines and idioms they used, besides from red genes and revolutionary continued tradition, as astronauts, I also met many children there. They were very interested in space flight. In this process, after recognizing us, they were really happy, and also, very small children all knowing made me feel gratified. Actually, when you think deeply about what forty years of reform and opening have brought to this country, because of all kinds of development of differing degrees, allows us to even better make contact with the common people, and the common people understanding us better. So, by doing some study and research, I got to know from my own experience how to maintain and how to increase efficiency of this method, how to improve our participation in the management of state affairs, and how to implement it better. Practical study and research is the best way. So, last year, especially by this process, many members still have some interaction, especially with an online app opened by the CPPCC for members. By using modern technology, on this platform, you will understand many members’ proposals and advice quite well, and the information is very helpful at our work. So, this year, apart from my job, I should say that what influenced me most has been this work.

在这个过程当中,因为接触了红区的老百姓,在他们字里行间,除了红色基因、红色传承以外,作为航天员来讲,对我来讲,因为碰到很多孩子,在那个地方。对航天又非常的感兴趣。在这个过程当中,认出来我们之后非常高兴,而且很小的孩子都知道,让我非常的欣慰,实际上深层次去想,国家经过40年的改革开放,给国家带来的是什么,因为各种各样的不同程度的发展,让我们能去更好地接触到老百姓,和老百姓更好地了解我们。所以,通过一些调研,也让我深刻体会到了,怎么样去保持增效这种方式,提高我们参政议政的能力,怎么样把它更好地落到实处。实际的调研是最好的一个方式。所以,通过去年这一年,特别是因为在这个过程当中,很多委员还有一些互动,特别是我们现在政协又开通了委员的网上APP,用现代的技术手段,你在这个平台上会了解很多不同委员的一些建言献策也好,信息也好,对我的工作有很大的帮助。所以,这一年对我来讲,除了本职工作以外,应该说对我影响最大的还是这项工作。

[…]

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Related

Xinjiang Re-education Camps, Wikipedia
Uighur’s Today, Han’s Tomorrow, Aug 19, 2018
How Yellow was my Hometown, Febr 14, 2015
Open the Skies for the Young, May 5, 2013
National Tourism and Leisure, Febr 18, 2013
A Role in School Curricula, Sep 1, 2009

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Sunday, August 19, 2018

A VoA Chinese article on the situation of Uyghurs and Muslim minorities

The following is a translation of a Voice of America (VoA) Chinese service’s online article, published on July 27 this year. Links within blockquotes added during translation.

The article refers to a Congressional-Executive Commission on China hearing, conducted on July 26.

World Uyghur Congress’ president Rebiya Kadeer was present at the hearing, and apparently made her remarks to VoA – quoted in the article – on the hearing’s sidelines.

Rebiya Kadeer: Uighurs Today is the Han Chinese peoples’ Tomorrow

Washington — “This is one of the most terrifying things currently happening,” Florida Senator Marco Rubio said. “What is happening under this regime’s jurisdiction looks like a science-fiction novel!”

“ 这是当今世界上发生的最令人毛骨悚然的事情之一, ”美国佛罗里达州联邦参议员鲁比奥(Marco Rubio)说,“这个政权治下发生的事情像是科幻小说!”

What he was referring to is the human rights crisis Xinjiang is currently facing.

他指的是新疆当下面临的人权危机。

As chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Rubio convened a hearing at Senate Office Building1) on Thursday (July 26), to closely follow the situation of Uighur and other Muslim racial minorities’ situation in Xinjiang. This was the US Congress’ first public hearing about this issue.

作为美国国会及行政当局中国委员会主席,星期四(7月26日),鲁比奥在参议院大楼召集了一场听证会,关注维吾尔人和新疆其他穆斯林少数族裔的境遇。这是美国国会首次就这一问题举行公开听证。

Many witnesses attending the hearing said that an all-pervasive security system, DNA gathering, large-scale arbitrary detention, cruelty, extreme restrictions on religion and culture … the Chinese government was working hard to turn Xinjiang into the world’s most highly technogical “policing area”.

出席听证会的多名证人说,无孔不入的监控系统、DNA采集、大规模任意拘押、酷刑、对宗教和文化的极端限制……中国政府正在努力将新疆变为全世界最高科技的“警察地区”。”。

Ambassador Kelley E. Currie, representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, said that from April 2017 on, said that the degree of repression by the Chinese authorities, under the leadership of Xi Jinping, was “shocking”, and even hard to compare with the peak time of the “Cultural Revolution”.

美国驻联合国经济和社会理事会代表凯利·克里(Kelley E. Currie)大使说,从2017年4月起,以习近平为首的中国当局对维吾尔人的镇压程度“令人震惊”,即使是在“文化大革命”顶峰时期也难以比及。

“There are bans on ‘unsusual’ beards, and bans on women wearing combinations of glasses and veils in public squares. Muslims refusing to wear shorts, to smoke, to drink alcohol or to eat pork are regarded as criminals. Even refusing to watch official television station’s programs are proofs of crime,” she said.2)

“禁止男子留‘不正常的’胡须,禁止女性在公众场合戴面纱。拒绝穿短裤,拒绝抽烟、喝酒、吃猪肉的穆斯林都被当作犯罪,就连拒绝看官方电视台的节目也是罪证,”她说。

Gulchehra Hoja is a reporter3) at the Uighur team of Radio Free Asia’s headquarters in Washington D.C.. In February this year, she learned that nearly twenty of her own relatives in Xinjiang had been arrested by the Chinese public security department on that day. Before that, her younger brother had been arrested by police, and locked into a re-education camp.

古丽恰克热·霍迦是总部设在华盛顿的自由亚洲电台维语组的记者。今年2月,她得知自己新疆的近20名亲属在同一天被中国公安部门逮捕。此前,她的弟弟已被警方抓走,关进再教育营。

“Testifying here today, and bringing this up still makes me feel sad. My parents remain trapped, and more than twenty of my relatives remain unaccounted for. It can be said with near-certainty that they have been locked into the Chinese government’s so-called ‘re-education camps’,” she said in tears.

“今天我在这里作证 ,说起这些依然让我感到悲伤,我的父母目前仍然被困, 我的20多名亲属仍然下落不明。几乎可以肯定他们被关进了中国政府所谓的‘再教育营’, ”她含着泪说。

Relatives of her five Uighur colleagues have also been arrested and sentenced in China, and this is only a microcosm of the tragedies going on in countless Muslim households in Xinjiang. According to a number of sources, the number of Uighurs imprisoned in the authorities’ “education and transformation” camps is currently at more than one million.

她的另外五名维吾尔同事也都有家人在中国被拘捕、判刑,而这只是无数新疆穆斯林家庭悲剧的缩影。各方消息来源说,目前被关在中国当局以“教育转化”为名建设的营地中的维吾尔人有100多万。

Well-known Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer told VoA that among her family people, more than thirty people had been arrested. She said that the actual number of Uighurs under arrest could be as high as 2 million, and that many children in the region had been sent to orphanages.

知名维吾尔活动人士热比娅告诉美国之音,她自己的家人中有30多人被抓走。她说,被拘禁的维吾尔人的真实数字可能高达200万,当地还有很多儿童被送进孤儿院。

“What is happening in East Turkestan brings to mind the crimes of nazi Germany against Jews during the second world war,” she said. “US Congress should put forward a resolution to close these concentration camps. US officials should earnestly raise the issue of the Uighurs with Chinese officials.”

“发生在东突厥斯坦的事让人联想到第二次大战期间纳粹德国对犹太人的罪行,” 热比娅说,“美国国会应该提出决议案,关闭这些集中营。美国官员应该严肃地和中国官员提出维吾尔人的问题。”

Kadeer also said that not only Americans, but Chinese people too, should stand up. She hoped to send this kind of message to the Han Chinese through the Voice of America: “Our today (is) their tomorrow.”

热比娅还说,不仅是美国,中国人也应该站起身来。她希望通过美国之音向汉人传达这样一个信息:“我们的今天,(就是)他们的明天。”

Rubio said that it was also disturbing that there were companies that intentionally or unintentionally became helpers in the Chinese authorities’ violations of human rights and privacy. He mentioned Hikvision and Dahua technology company as suppliers of monitoring equipment to the authorities in Xinjiang, and also criticized an American company from Massachusetts for supplying DNA gathering tools to Xinjiang.

鲁比奥议员说,在新疆镇压运动中同样令人不安的是,一些企业有意或无意地成为中国当局侵犯人权和隐私的帮凶。他点名中国的海康威视和大华科技公司为新疆当局提供监控设备, 同时批评美国麻萨诸塞州的一家公司为新疆提供DNA采集工具。

He said that some multi-national companies that didn’t like certain positions held by the US government refused to do business with the government, but lobbied in Washington every day, hoping to enter China’s vast markets, turning a blind eye to China’s governing Communist Party’s human rights violations.4)

他说,一些跨国公司因为不喜欢美国政府的某些立场,拒绝和政府做生意,却每天在华盛顿游说,希望进入中国的广阔市场,对中国执政的共产党侵犯人权的行为视若无睹。

“This is really appalling, and absolutely hypocritical,” he said.

“这实在令人气愤,太虚伪了,” 鲁比奥说。

Also testifying at the hearing were US department of commerce officials, scholars, and journalists. With several lawmakers, from the dimensions of US-Sino relations, they explored the political options of dealing with the issue, including raising world peoples’ attention to the fate of the Uighurs, restricting American companies’ relevant business with China, punishing Xinjiang central government officials based on the Magnitsky act, etc..

在听证会上作证的还有美国商务部官员、学者以及新闻工作者。他们和多名议员一道从美中关系的维度探讨处理该问题的政治选项,包括继续引起世人对维吾尔人命运的关注,限制相关美国公司与中国的生意往来,通过《全球马格尼茨基人权问责法》惩治新疆主政官员等。

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Notes

1) this probably refers to the 124 Dirksen Senate Office Building

2) from Currie’s written statement (as of July 25, i. e. one day before the hearing):

The scope of this campaign is truly breathtaking: authorities now prohibit “abnormal” beards and the wearing of veils in public, and classify refusal to watch state television, refusal to wear shorts, abstention from alcohol and tobacco, refusal to eat pork, fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, or practicing traditional funeral rituals, as potential signs that individuals harbor extreme religious views.

3) from Gulchehra Hoja’s testimony:

As I testify before you here today, it grieves me to no end to say that my parents remain under threat, and more than two dozen of my relatives in China are missing – almost certainly held in re-education camps run by authorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

4) starting here – or, if it takes too long to load, “a partial and rough transcript”
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Related

“Mistakenly deported”, CBC Radio, Aug 8, 2018

Updates/Related

Research and Study Class, Aug 19, 2018
Turkey, Anadolu Opinion, Oct 31, 2017

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Monday, June 4, 2018

Remember June 4, 1989

Updates


Above: Candellight Vigil, Victoria Park, June 4, 2018, posted on Youtube by Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China.

According to the BBC‘s Mandarin service, more than 110,000 people took part in the vigil. From Taiwan, the BBC quotes former ROC president Ma Ying-jeou as saying that without a rehabilitation of the June-4 movement, there could be no discussions about unification (六四不平反,统一不能谈。).

I have been concerned about the rehabilitation of June 4 for 29 years, not only because the blood and pain of the victims and their families, but also because June 4 deeply influences cross-strait relations.

29年来,我一直关心六四的平反,不只因为受难者与家属的锥心泣血,也因为六四对两岸关系影响至深。

On “Facebook”, Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen wrote a post in simplified Chinese characters as widely used in the PRC. According to the Taipei Times, she said that Taiwan and China could better understand each other and more easily cooperate if China were democratized.

Related Posts →

Saturday, May 19, 2018

East-West Relations: “Not the Partner” (1)

The Economist‘s title story on March 3 this year was about “how the West got China wrong”. In some more detail, the same edition explored as to how China is “not the partner you were looking for”.

As a public, we seem to have a tendency to categorically idealize and devalue relationships – even between nations and civilizations. This is how Max Frisch, a late Swiss author and playwright, put cooling love affairs into an exemplary gloomy dialog:

“You are not,” says the disappointed he or she, “who I thought you were.” (“Du bist nicht”, sagt der Enttäuschte oder die Enttäuschte, „wofür ich Dich gehalten habe.”)

Now, I’m not thinking of West-East relations as a love affair, and Max Frisch was describing the feelings of individuals. But the quote applies all the same (even if Frisch would certainly disapprove of putting it into this East-West context). Propaganda shapes “collective identities”, and according to Jacques Ellul, it offers man “a remedy for a basically intolerable situation” – the impossibility of grasping “the world’s economic and political problems”.

Both Western and Chinese narratives about a disappointing relationship are beginning to take shape. Both are top-down propaganda – people at the grassroots, this blogger included, can only draw information from mainstream and alternative media, blogs (which frequently turn newspaper steaks into hamburger meat without changing the substance), and individual contacts. That’s no great competition for propaganda – rather, it’s part of it. I don’t claim to be able to escape from it, either. I’m experimenting. I’m still blogging because it’s fun.

During this summer, I might try to depict “how the West got China wrong”, and “how China” (or uncertain shares of  Chinese public opinion, anyway) “got the West wrong”. It may also be interesting to speculate about how we will continue to get each other wrong, or which of the mainstream narratives, if either of them, will prevail – or how they may have to take realities into account in order to prevail.

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Related

The Primacy of Politics, June 13, 2010

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Saturday, May 5, 2018

Trier: the Statue stands and divides, but Marx isn’t the Problem

This is a sad day in Trier, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. The city where Karl Marx was born in 1818 has accepted a Marx statue as a gift from the Chinese state. As news magazine Der Spiegel wrote in March 2017, 42 members of the city parliament supported the idea of taking the statue, seven opposed it, and four abstained. The statue is scheduled to be unveiled this morning.

The BBC quotes Trier’s mayor Wolfram Leibe as saying that “[w]e have accepted it as a gesture of friendship and this statue should encourage people to deal with Karl Marx,” and that “[m]aybe some judgements and prejudices will be revised.”

Katrin Werner, representing the Left Party, argued in 2017 that “Trier should rise to the occasion and “stand by one of its best-known children.”

But this is missing the point. A “present from the PRC” is a present from the regime. A Green deputy put it best, a year ago: “by accepting a gift, you honor the one who makes the present,” he reportedly said. By refusing to take it, Trier could make a case for human rights.

In an interview unrelated to the Trier statue, but about Marx, Gregor Gysi, former head of Germany’s Left Party from 1989 to 1993, and currently president of the Party of the European Left, when asked why Marx’ ideas deserve attention, given that regimes around the world had justified dictatorship and human rights violation with his ideology, suggested that state socialism had abused Marx. What should be striven for was a freedom-based socialism “that picks up the things capitalism does well, that leaves out what capitalism can’t do well, but only with the support of a popular majority”, plus separation of powers.

But while acknowledging that state socialism was a failure, he also pointed out that all (three) attempts to date to establish genuine democratic socialism – the Paris Commune, the Prague Spring, and in Chile – had been struck down by the military.

When it comes to the Greek Chinese gift, even mainstream German media can see some good in Marx: according to Friedrich Engels, he once said that “all I know is that I’m not a Marxist”. After Marx’ death, Engels ascribed this to Marx, in a critical letter to Paul Lafarge, an opponent to reformism.

Leftists may tend to idealizing democratic socialism – as far as I can see, Salvador Allende, one of the democratic socialists cited by Gysi, did not really have a mandate of a majority for “radical” policies.

But many who take gifts from China – even professorships and statues – aren’t terribly interested in Marx anyway – they are interested in Marxists (provided that those are wealthy and generous). In Lower Saxony, the same cabinet that oversaw the delayed award of citizenship to a British-Italian applicant in 2009 (it became a protracted affair, because she was a member of the left party), sounded happy tunes about China’s financing of one-and-a-half professorships at Göttingen University, in 2010.

Marx? God forbid. But money doesn’t stink. And avoiding offense to the CCP spells business for Trier. The feelings of Chinese tourists must not be hurt.

Marx isn’t the problem. But there are still a few problems in his country – his native land, which once forced him into exile.

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