Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Talk (in America!) on Tibet-China stifled & censored. By whom?

Beijing Olympics. Tibetan monk protests. Historic repression & desire for Tibet autonomy. Police crackdown.

Violence against monks. Violence against Han Chinese. Understandable anger against Chinese state violence. Understandable anger against Tibetans who commited acts of violence at Han Chinese. China continues crackdown, continues today.

Chinese Media control and suppression. Blackout in China. Censorship in China. Chinese voices of patriotic constructive criticism, of consideration of human rights, and of mediation, shouted down, silenced. Western media predominant focus on China human rights abuses, less on Tibetan violence towards Han Chinese. Latent & state-instigated Chinese nationalism--both in China and abroad.

What has happened/is happening to discourse & discussion in America? One development that must be accentuated and crucially reversed is the censorship & stifling of basic discourse, in America:

* * *

The media took note first when Duke University's Chinese international student Wang Qianyuan was harrassed on April 16th and continually mobbed with threats till this day, for attempting to mediate at a Tibetan vs. Chinese rally and for speaking for human rights. Wang's family in China is in hiding from numerous death threats by fellow Chinese.

(A neighbor in the Chinese city of Qingdao walks past graffiti saying "Kill everyone in the home" and "Kill traitors" painted outside the family home of Duke undergraduate Grace Wang. AFP/Getty Images)

Today's NYT article takes a broader assessment of this development that has taken place, of talk (in America!) on Tibet-China stifled & censored. By whom? Indeed, if we as Americans lose sight of our foundational principles to speak freely, discuss freely, to protect and defend speech & discussion from intimidation at all costs, then it is really we ourselves who have censored our own principles. It would be we ourselves who have outsourced another one of our goods to the authoritarian People's Republic of China (the MADE IN CHINA brand of "speech" & "discourse").

Monica Almeida/The New York Times
Min Zhu, center, was removed from an event with a monk at the University of Southern California after a bottle was thrown.

Chinese Students in U.S. Fight View of Their Home

"...Campuses including Cornell, the University of Washington in Seattle and the University of California, Irvine, have seen a wave of counterdemonstrations using tactics that seem jarring in the American academic context. At the University of Washington, students fought to limit the Dalai Lama’s address to nonpolitical topics. At Duke, pro-China students surrounded and drowned out a pro-Tibet vigil; a Chinese freshman who tried to mediate received death threats, and her family was forced into hiding.

And last Saturday, students from as far as Florida and Tennessee traveled to Atlanta to picket CNN after a commentator, Jack Cafferty, referred to the Chinese as “goons and thugs.” (CNN said he was referring to the government, not the people.)...

“We’ve been smothered for too long time,” said Jasmine Dong, another graduate student who attended the U.S.C. lecture.

By that, Ms. Dong did not mean that Chinese students had been repressed or censored by their own government. She meant that the Western news media had not acknowledged the strides China had made or the voices of overseas Chinese. “We are still neglected or misunderstood as either brainwashed or manipulated by the government,” she said...

Rather than blend in to the prevailing campus ethos of free debate, the more strident Chinese students seem to replicate the authoritarian framework of their homeland, photographing demonstration participants and sometimes drowning out dissent.

A Tibetan student who declined to be identified for fear of harassment said he decided not to attend a vigil for Tibet on his campus, which he also did not want identified because there are so few Tibetans there. “It’s not that I didn’t want to, I really did want to go — it’s our cause,” he said. “At the same time, I have to consider that my family’s back there, and I’m going back there in May.”

Another factor fueling the zeal of many Chinese demonstrators could be that they, too, intend to return home; the Chinese government is widely believed to be monitoring large e-mail lists.

Universities have often tried to accommodate the anger of their Chinese students. Before the Dalai Lama’s visit to the University of Washington, the campus Chinese Students and Scholars Association wrote to the university president expressing hopes that the visit would focus only on nonpolitical issues and not arouse anti-China sentiments. According to a posting on the group’s Web site, the university president, Mark A. Emmert, told them in a meeting that no political questions would be raised at the Dalai Lama’s speech. A spokesman said the university, which opened an office in Beijing last fall, had prescreened student questions before the Chinese students voiced their concerns.

Some experts say that colleges feel constrained from reining in the more extreme protests through a combination of concerns about cultural sensitivity and a desire to expand their own ties with China.

“I think there tends to be a great deal of self-censorship,” said Peter Gries, director of the Institute for U.S.-China Issues at the University of Oklahoma, “and not just among American China scholars but among the whole web of people who do business with China, including school administrators.” "

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Speaking up for political prisoners: Tibet

Below is an Amnesty International letter that, in 5 seconds, you can send to Chinese President Hu Jintao:
I am deeply concerned that Chinese authorities detained peaceful demonstrators in Tibet and used excessive force against them. Among the detainees were the following 15 Tibetan monks who were arrested on March 10, according to the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy:

Samten (m), aged 17, Lungkar Monastery, Qinghai Province
Trulku Tenpa Rigsang, (m), aged 26, Lungkar Monastery, Qinghai Province
Gelek Pel (m) aged 32 Lungkar Monastery, Qinghai Province
Lobsang (m) aged 15, Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
Lobsang Thukjey (m), aged 19 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
Tsultrim Palden (m), aged 20 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
Lobsher (m), aged 20 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
Phurden, (m), aged 22 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
Thupdon (m), aged 24 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
Lobsang Ngodup (m), aged 29 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
Lodoe (m), aged 30 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
Thupwang (m), aged 30, Darthang Monastery
Pema Garwang (m), aged 30, Darthang Monastery
Tsegyam (m), aged 22, Kashi Monastery
Soepa (m), aged 30, Mangye Monastery

On Monday, March 10, a group that included these 15 detained monks began a March from Sera Monastery towards Barkhor, Lhasa. Chinese authorities soon stopped their peaceful demonstration and arrested many protesters. The monks were detained solely for exercising their fundamental human right to freedom of expression, calling on the government to ease “patriotic re-education” campaigns which forces them to denounce the Dalai Lama and subjects them to government propaganda. There is no information of their current whereabouts or of any charges brought against them. They remain at high risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

I urge you to immediately release the 15 monks named above, as well as all others detained for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression, association and assembly. I call on you to fully account for all those detained during the demonstrations and to ensure that they are not tortured or otherwise ill-treated. Please ensure that the detainees have access to medical care and lawyers.

[Send this letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao]

Friday, March 21, 2008

5 sec. for you to help Tibet

As of this moment there are 476,476 signatures collected over the past two days. The goal is to push 1 million signatures worldwide, so please pass the word along. If you are new to this blog, in the posts below I have collected and commented upon some of the happenings in Tibet since March 10th.

Petition to Chinese President Hu Jintao:

As citizens around the world, we call on you to show restraint and respect for human rights in your response to the protests in Tibet, and to address the concerns of all Tibetans by opening meaningful dialogue with the Dalai Lama. Only dialogue and reform will bring lasting stability. China's brightest future, and its most positive relationship with the world, lies in harmonious development, dialogue and respect.

[sign the petition now]

After decades of repression, Tibetans are crying out to the world for change. China's leaders are right now making a crucial choice between escalating brutality or dialogue that could determine the future of Tibet, and China.

We can affect this historic choice -- China does care about its international reputation. But it will take an avalanche of global people power to get the government's attention. The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has called for restraint and dialogue: he needs the world's people to support him. Fill out the form below to sign the petition--and spread the word.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Finally! stuff worth mentioning amongst prolonged Obama.VS.Clinton mumbojumbo

Thank you, Barack Obama. Probably 98% of politicians would have simply reactively responded directly to the specific sensationalized media hype of the day, instead of talking forcefully and in nuance about the true and stifling larger picture. And there is probably no true and larger picture, domestically in America, that is harder nor more crucial to figure out so that we can find solutions and move forward, finally, than Race.

More often than not I find MoveOn.org's "action emails" to their members to be
so sloppy, thoughtless so as to be almost propogandastic (despite if I might agree with the ultimate opinion), and uncalled-for, so today I almost wrote off their email as another shrill cheer, this one that praised and promoted Obama's "A More Perfect Union" speech.

However, I watched the speech. And I could not stop watching--except for the parts I was concurrently typing down notes to myself of why each successive part was so successful and incredible of a speech, so after jotting I had to "rewind" the YouTube video to find the place where I had lost track of the particulars of what he was saying, amongst which the particulars were more than in abundance, and begin again watching in captivation where I had left off--all the way to the end of the 37:39. Yes, I watched through without complaint a 37+ min. political speech and I venture to say that so did millions of Americans yesterday, and here I even sincerely encourage anyone and everyone to watch it.

In watching it, original source, you are not getting the stupid and useless sound bites that spread like wildfire and is the terribly petty media that has dominated our national politics, everyday lives, and discourse my entire lifetime; instead, with convenience (YouTube: play, "rewind," "fast forward" all you want), experience the type of actual societal evolution and morph that takes place--in great writing, words, and oratory--that captures What Specifically Has Been Going On in our country--and hopefully, with its verbalization into form and contour brings the hollowed out capacity now for actions to fill in where words have just delineated, and enlightened. In essence, proactive intellect like Obama's speech is the first real step to how we as a country "get past" race/color, or better yet, "go on" with it now, differently from before, within a truer skin.

Wow, that last paragraph was pretty grandiose. Guess by transferance I'm just practicing my own oratory skills on paper. In contrast to lofty oratory, below are my sloppy notes taken during the speech, if you care:

not good for sound bites, but I think he's a pretty sharp guy with an amazing understanding of things,and doesn't hurt that he's about the best orator that's been around in politics

MoveOn dumb?
USNews article putdown so simple dumb

those 10-word recaps every 1000 seconds, popping up on CNN bottom bar, WHILE HE IS TALKING = dumb

Expounds at length, & w/ sustained precision (compared to conventional standards of a speech, esp. a national one) the
-"Black experience," the cliche; and then the real many aspects, components, and kinds, and sources of all of those
-"White experience," the cliche; and then the real many aspects, components, and kinds, and sources of all of those

-The exactness of our stale racial stalemate--the constant actors of "others" and "within us" that exploits the particulars for this and that, to continue that stalemate

-Exactness of the race Exploitation on all sides

-Calls out: Exactness of PARTS FOR UNDERSTANDING, extricate them, feel out textures, grab hold, and HOW TO MOVE AHEAD

-Extricate the problems in media, public habits of exploitation-consumption-perpetuation of sensational, meaningless, racist/sexist/blahblah-ist petty ignorant instances in isolation that create the stalemate of decades--burst open that slimy bubble, expose it to air so it can dry out and die, eventually

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

China censorship: case study of Tibet blackout & propoganda

What has happened/is happening in Tibet? What are information streams and reactions to this week's violence in the Tibet Autonomous Region under China?

My previous post elicited some of the peculiar tones of international journalism--by necessity, because of China's iron-fisted censorship--covering "what has happened"; but here I would just like to point out two jarring case studies of direct media censorship & propaganda, currently being carried out by the state of China, that can be directly observed and experienced by anyone this moment, thanks to our new-media technological era. In essence, China's censorship and propoganda reach extends to you and me, whether we are in New York, Miami, San Francisco, Nashville, or London.


1) This morning I saw this news article: "Tibet chairman: Police exercised 'great restraint'". It starts off,
Police showed great restraint and used no lethal force in dealing with the riots in Lhasa last Friday, the chairman of the Tibet autonomous regional government said yesterday.

"The riots caused heavy loss of life and property, and seriously disturbed social order," Qiangba Puncog told a news briefing in Beijing.

Qiangba Puncog

Thirteen innocent civilians were burned or stabbed to death, he said, adding that calm had returned to Lhasa.

On Friday, violence involving physical assault, destruction of property, looting and arson broke out in urban Lhasa. Rioters set fires at more than 300 locations, including 214 homes and shops, and smashed and burned 56 vehicles.

In one case, a civilian was doused with gasoline and burned to death by rioters.

Sixty-one members of the armed police were injured, including six critically. Rioters beat a police officer into a coma and cut a fist-size piece of flesh out of his buttock, he said.

Yet "public security personnel and police showed maximum restraint during law enforcement" and "throughout the process, (security forces) did not carry or use any destructive weapons. Only tear gas and water cannons were employed," Qiangba Puncog said...

Have you ever heard of the China Daily? I hadn't, and hadn't ever come across it before, but wow, at first I was confused at the paraphrase as the first sentence; then quotation; immediately followed by paraphrase, and truly so on and so forth till the end. And every single sentence and phrase from all sources vehemently condemned the rioters and praised the government. And then, in conformity, even every single one of the many links listed under "Related readings"..

Related readings:
Government chief ensures safety in Tibet
Dalai's 'rule of terror' remarks refuted
Lhasa riot out of conspiracy
Religious leader, locals chide lawless riot in Lhasa
We fired no gunshots - Tibetan government chairman
Tibet separatists doomed to fail: Party chief

I thought for a second I was reading The Onion's satire, but very dark humor. I guess the scary thing is that this China Times article appeared as the 3rd down the list this morning (sitting here in front of my laptop in an apartment in New York) when I simply Googled the Tibet issue. But anyways I looked on Wikipedia what China Times is and it's (according to Wikipedia entry, at least) a CCP State-run paper, so that explains that; though troubling that it's the widest circulating English-newspaper in China..

2) Examples like this abound, and if you have spoken with any friends or relatives who are expats working in China for the past years, you might have already been told about this surreal 1984-ish, propoganda-state aspect of regular access (or lack thereof) to information regarding any "sensitive" issues. But in any case here I would like to point all of us towards a poignant and depressingly intriguing post by a blogger in Beijing, who wrote today,
Tibet News Blackout -

My site is still blocked (I am using an industrial-strength proxy if any on you need one, way stronger than Anonymous and much faster than Tor), and I was called about it yesterday by a "real media." You can find my quote buried in this article.

I've had CNN playing in the background the past few nights, and it's downright comical how often the screen just goes dark shortly after mention of the T word. Once again I ask my friends over at the ministry of propaganda if they sincerely believe with all their heart that this kind of ham-fisted tactic makes China look better, and if they sincerely believe it achieves their goal of keeping CNN viewers ignorant of what's happening in Tibet. If something ugly happens at the Olympic Games in August, are they just going to blackout the media broadcasts? And do they think they will be admired for it?


Conclusion of my own sense on all of this, the past few days...

This blogger of the popular blog, The Peking Duck, his name is Richard Burger, and incidentally the article that he was quoted in in Business Week, also had a few quotes and statements that really ring true to me.
Since riots broke out in Tibet last week, authorities have imposed martial law and tried to control the flow of information into and out of the region. The government has banned journalists and tourists from entering Tibet. And officials have imposed strict controls over the Internet in an effort to spin what happened in Tibet and neighboring provinces to conform with Beijing's version of events...
With the censoring of Chinese blog and BBC postings that do not reflect the government's position, most of the Chinese postings left standing tend to present an overwhelming resentful attitude towards Tibetans.
And lastly, Rebecca Mackinnon, assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong's Journalism & Media Studies Center, is quoted as saying,
"There are a lot of people that think the Internet is going to bring information and democracy and pluralism in China just by existing. I think what we're seeing with this situation in Tibet is while the Chinese government's system of Internet censorship controls and propaganda is not infallible by any means, it works well enough in times of crisis like this."

Tibet According to Tibetans, Chinese, and China government

There has been a significant silence--or more accurately, state prohibition from accessing information and therefore few substantive mainstream media accounts (except for Chinese state-run media and video clips)--about what happened during, immediately after, and in the days following the Tibetan monk protests on 3/10. I think it is very chilling & telling: China's state policies of censorship, media control, and how this manipulation--in essence, propoganda--has truly affected the individual opinions and societal reactions of Chinese citizens to what was assumed to have happened in Tibet.

Now I will keep my comments to a minimal, and let some articles--most of which are eye-witness accounts "who wish to remain anonymous," or non-Tibetan Chinese understandings of and reactions to what has gone on--that I've pieced together, speak for themselves.


3/12: "Monks under siege in monasteries as protest ends in a hail of gunfire" --UK Times Online

3/14: Eyewitness: Monk 'kicked to floor' --BBC Online
Sub-headline: "With tension rising in Tibet following a series of anti-China protests, the BBC spoke to an eyewitness who saw police on Wednesday beating monks at one of three monasteries which have been sealed. He wishes to be identified only as John."

3/16: Lhasa eyewitness: 'City in cinders'--BBC Online
Sub-headline: "After days of violent street protests, a Western tourist in Lhasa, who wishes to remain anonymous, describes a tense, deserted city firmly in the hands of the Chinese military."

3/17: Chinese react to violence in Tibet--BBC Online
Sub-headline: As the deadline for Tibetan protesters to surrender to the police passes, people elsewhere in China give their reaction to the protests and violence in Tibet.


Zhang Yi Fan
Zhang Yi Fan says the Dalai Lama should have called for restraint

I stand by my government on this issue.

The Dalai Lama is the main cause of the suffering of both Tibetans and Chinese in Tibet. He could stop the protesters but he doesn't.

He gave the people who remain loyal to him the wrong ideas and asked kind-hearted people to risk their lives for his political interests.

Our government has had to send in the troops and protect our people to make society stable.

People haven't paid enough attention to the suffering of the Chinese in Tibet. They were targeted by the rioters.

We can't get enough information because the government doesn't let us know what is happening in Tibet. All the information I get is from foreign websites. Many people here don't know there is a serious situation in Tibet. It's just people like me who care about politics.

But I think the government has done the right thing in this instance. Many of their claims can be proved by the footage we have seen of destruction in Lhasa.


I think Tibet is a small problem that can be resolved. The Chinese economy and Chinese society is very stable now. The economy is growing fast.

Life for people all across China and all its regions is getting better and better.

We must remember that all over the world there are battles between people with differences. And these differences exist in China too.

I think China needs its stability and so I think it is fine for the army to go into Tibet. Every government should show its force and its ability to control troubled situations.

If things are proving difficult to control, the army is the best option.

We get a lot of criticism but the best way is to follow law and government. I think Buddhism is a very good religion and I don't think the monks should act so much against government.


The timing is very sensitive. China is due to have its Olympic Games this year.

Jinjie Chen
Jinjie Chen says people have the right to demonstrate peacefully

I think this is why those people chose this time to riot. Many are unsatisfied with the Chinese government and the country. They want to cause riots, maybe even engage in some terrorist activities before, during or after the Olympic Games.

These people know that it is a huge thing for China to have the Olympics. The world's attention is on us. It is a good opportunity for them to take advantage.

Honestly, I think these are the actions of a small number of people.

But, I have to say, it makes me angry. I think it makes most Chinese people angry. Everyone has their own problems but I do not think that such violent acts are a good option.

We must make the distinction between a peaceful demonstration and violent anti-social acts. I fully understand people who want to make their voice heard and raise their ideas. That is their right.

But I saw evidence that young Tibetans had planned to act violently. They had bought bricks and stones with them. That can't be right.

Sub-headline: "Tibetans taking part in and affected by the continuing unrest have contacted the BBC News website to describe their experiences."

3/17: Tibet anti-China protests spread --BBC Online

Little public sympathy

In Lanzhou, ordinary people appear to know little of what is going on in Gansu's Tibetan regions and beyond.

I understand the disturbance has been organized by the Dalai Lama to target the Olympics
Man in Lanzhou

In the Lanzhou Morning Post there was no mention of the trouble that had erupted just down the road in the province's Gannan Autonomous Tibetan prefecture.

The front-page headline in the Lanzhou Morning Post followed the lead of the previous night's news bulletins, reporting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's re-selection as the county's premier.

When asked about the protests, one woman told the BBC: "The price of consumer goods has gone up very rapidly so I think the demonstrations must be linked to that."

Ordinary people that wanted to comment on the protests had little sympathy with the Tibetans and their cause.

"I think they are causing a disturbance without reason. I understand it has been organised by the Dalai Lama to target the Olympics," said one man.

Friday, March 7, 2008

You, me, & the Chinese: China's gross attacks on human rights

There are good people in China. Very good people, within China, despite the substantial number of activists currently exiled in the U.S., restricted from returning home because of their past valiant works as Chinese journalists, writers, artists, and activists, for democracy and human rights.
"I met Hu Jia in the autumn of 2001 doing AIDS volunteer work. We fell in love and married on January 2nd 2006. A week after our wedding party, Hu Jia was put under house arrest by the State Security Police (SSP), and after a month he disappeared while under house arrest... He came back from SSP custody, as thin as a lath, became seriously ill and was hospitalized for early stage cirrhosis. I was so afraid he might disappear again that I guarded my lover, and assisted him with his work in AIDS and defending human rights." ~written by Zeng Jinyan, at the introduction to the documentary, Prisoner in Freedom City

In regards to those good people still living within China: the following articles exemplify how the "good" (in terms of talent to club down human rights) government in China has taken action towards those good people--patriots, who, despite the very real fear of Big Brother, continue to speak up for and about freedom and human rights for their sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, and friends together living in China...

...the Chinese government ruthlessly shuts them up, propogates their authoritarianism by "making them disappear":

(I) How nice, how thoughtful of the Chinese government to note and observe our "holiday season" this past December '07.
"The authorities have detained a prominent Chinese human rights advocate on suspicion of subversion, escalating a crackdown on dissent during the West’s holiday season." ~NYTimes, "China Detains Dissent, Citing Subversion," 12/30/07
What a gift! Merry Xmas! xoxo

(II) That "prominent Chinese human rights advocate" mentioned above is Hu Jia. This picture to your right is him with "his wife, Zeng Jinyan, and their daughter, Qianci, in November, before his arrest."

Aww. :) That's a real nice picture. Right? Well
"Mr. Hu was dragged away on charges of subverting state power while Ms. Zeng was bathing their newborn daughter, Qianci." ~NYTimes, "Dissident's Arrest Hints at Olympic Crackdown," 1/30/08
The article goes on to describe, heartwarmingly: "Telephone and Internet connections to the apartment were severed. Mother and daughter are now under house arrest. Qianci, barely 2 months old, is probably the youngest political prisoner in China." Sucks to live in China, and to want to speak up for and about freedom. Or to be born in China, under house arrest because your parents want to speak up for or about freedom. I think that is a beautiful picture, I truly do. <---Was I being sarcastic? No, I was just talking about that family photo 2 inches above, and 2 inches to the right...

So what exactly was Hu Jia doing, to deserve and account for so much Chinese state attention, monitoring, and supervision, before his door was metaphorically (and possibly literally) knocked down by "state security agents"?
He disseminated information about human rights cases, peasant protests and other politically touchy topics even though he often lived under de facto house arrest.
WOW! WHAT-A-RADICAL-UNPATRIOTIC-SUBVERSIVE-SHITHEAD-ANARCHIST, that pesky Hu Jia. Hmm... So... What I'm doing precisely right now, typing the words you're reading, "disseminating information about human rights cases," if I were instead simply located on China's soil, and was a Chinese national, I'd abruptly become the latest political prisoner? So that's how the newest generation of energetic citizen-idols seeks fame, over there in China! And yes: even unprofessional, wanna-be, non-journalist bloggers (like me) are and have been thrown in China's pleasant jails.

(III) Let's proceed on this pleasant journey. So today, on NYTimes I see the headline, "Chinese Rights Activist Reported Missing," and I think, No! Hu Jia can't be missing. Hu Jia was taken by the Chinese authorities and is sitting--he must be--safely behind bars; there must have just been some mixup. I mean, how could he be "reported missing"? Must have filed the papers wrong, those wacky Chinese bureaucrats, just like in the U.S. lol! C'mon, even his wife appears safe and sound in that enjoyable YouTube documentary posted above.

But then I find out the "Chinese rights activist" who today is "reported missing" is not Hu Jia, but Hu Jia's friend, Mr. Teng Biao.
"The lawyer, Teng Biao, 34, a part-time college professor, disappeared on Thursday evening after calling to say he would be home in 20 minutes, said his wife, Wang Ling. Shortly afterward, she said, she heard shouting in the parking lot below the family apartment and later found her husband’s empty car. Witnesses told her that two men had dragged someone out of the car and taken him away, she said." NYTimes, 3/8/08
Why are the Chinese Security Officials so fond of practices like making Hu Jia "disappear while under house arrest," and now making Mr. Teng disappear, with the residual impressions of two men "dragging" "someone" "out of the car" "away"?

Don't they know this PR is not magical like David Blaine, but instead is slightly-disturbingly jarring, with a tiny splash of subtle terror lingering under the tongue? I mean, that can't be their purpose, right?, haven't they even glanced at any of the introductory textbooks on good marketing and PR. With all their booming economy, you'd think they would have by now. Maybe the Chinese Communist Party is just better at mathematics, something like
  • overt suppression + subtle terror once in a while - human rights = running our "stable, stable, stable dammit!," country = keeping our power
Well, enough of this tangent. Let us see what was Mr. Teng's sin--I mean, virtue--that he be graced with this benevolent state action of disappearing?:
  • Already mentioned above, he is a lawyer; a part-time professor. aka A terrible man.
  • Made "commentary on China’s record on human rights." Like, duhhhh. Obviously, he wasn't an overly bright or insightful man, either.
  • Called "for the release of his friend and fellow rights campaigner, Hu Jia." This Mr.-Teng-guy disgusts me.
  • "Mr. Teng was also in a group of lawyers, many living in Beijing, who represent dissidents and accept politically delicate cases."
Okay, on this last point (and here, I am serious) he is certifiably insane. I mean, sheesh: Who the hell, as a lawyer, would represent dissidents and "accept politically delicate cases"--in a paranoically authoritarian state society, as documented from recent months all the way back to Tiananmen Square "crackdown"--when the rest of China without even trying is getting fat and bourgeois and nouveau riche, as are investors all over the world??? Well, I guess emulation of institutional logic, in progressive Western societies like Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy (I mean, c'mon, globalization, right?), might have sufficiently brought consensus towards China's policy of "neutralization of the certifiably insane." So people like Mr. Teng they just disappear. Let's have the Olympics! :) :)

:) :)

Oh, look at the cute cuddly official Beijing 2008 Olympics mascots, on the official Beijing 2008 Olympics website! The mascots bring "a message of friendship and peace -- and good wishes from China -- to children all over the world." Awwww, and amongst the mascots there's a cute little panda as one of them! I bet Hu Jia's little newborn daughter, Qianci under house arrest, would love that one (just look at her in the picture, don't you think so? :)). And so would all the little baby boys and baby girls currently being born in Taiwan, where China's military arsenal of active ballistic missiles currently pointed at the small island-country now number 1,200+, and growing--how e xciting! Post-Olympic celebratory fireworks.


Now what is there that one can do? Become an international relations expert; explain to the CCP that human rights need be centerpiece in a better world, in a better country; how about enacting a boycott or embargo on the Chinese economy? Let's take note of the second-to-last sentence in the article recounting Mr. Teng's disappearance yesterday evening amid "shouting in the parking lot" and "two men dragging someone out of the car and taking him away," conveniently also taking away his vocalist tendencies:
This week was notable for the opening of the National People’s Congress, the annual meeting of the Communist Party-controlled legislature. Typically, the police keep close watch on dissidents to guard against any embarrassing incidents during important political gatherings.
So, China--that is, the Chinese government--has a fear, no, a terrible phobia about embarrassment. Important point being that their fear is not debilitating, though: fear of embarrassment does not debilitate them. In fact, it drives the Chinese Communist Party to crack down on the truly good Chinese people, even more.

Ethics (and for that matter, morals, human rights) is far from the factor that drives, and would drive the Chinese Communist Party to change a hair on their body. Instead, the answer against
the CCP's fear-based suppression is the object, itself, of the CCP's fears: embarrassment.

* * *

This is a simple yet crucial call to everyone!: Embarrass the hell out of China's suppression all that you can--especially those whom, like all of us, are free and far away from within the confines of China's vigilante-state borders (excuse me if you are currently reading this in China somehow, despite China's censored internet)--Read about all of China's human rights abuses! Sign and spread all the petitions I've listed below (tell me if you know of any others, I'll add them)! Pass on this blog post to friends, then that'll go to friends of friends, and then to friends of friends of friends!*

(*Remember back when email was new and chain letters were actually cool to send & receive?
**Let's bring that idea back, 2.0,
***for the purposes of bringing up China's oppression,
****and for the ends of bringing down China's suppression!!!)
  1. Reporters Without Borders petition to the Chinese Ambassador, demanding the release of Hu Jia. "Hujia&Jinyan's Spirit" website's letter that you can copy/paste and email to China's Olympics organizers and China's government--addresses are listed on the page.

  2. Amnesty International petition: "China currently has the largest recorded number of imprisoned journalists and cyber-dissidents in the world." "Shi Tao, a Chinese journalist, used his Yahoo! email account to send a message to a U.S.-based pro-democracy website. Seven months later, he was arrested and charged with the vaguely-worded crime of 'illegally providing state secrets to foreign entities'. Urge your Representative to intervene on his behalf and help repair a broken system of neglect of human rights."

  3. PEN, human rights organization and the oldest international literary organization: urges China "to facilitate the immediate and unconditional release of all writers and journalists currently imprisoned and end the practice of detaining, harassing, and censoring writers and journalists in China; abide by China’s pledge that 'there will be no restrictions on media reporting and movement of journalists up to and including the Olympic Games'; and end internet censorship and reform laws t hat are used to imprison writers and journalists and suppress the free exchange of information and ideas on the internet." Add your signature!

  4. At www.humanityatstake.com, listed under Appendix B down the page is a petition I wrote in 2004 "Supporting Democratic Taiwan Against China's Missile Deployment." At the time I wrote that, there were 496 ballistic missiles that China had pointed at Taiwan. 496 already felt like way too many then. That number has grown every year, the growth accelerating and now there are over 1,200 missiles pointed at the peaceful, democratic island country that many of my relatives (and many of your Taiwanese friends' relatives) now live. Add your name to the petition! (I hope to write an updated--sadly, updated with almost 3X as many missiles now--petition soon)

  5. Human Rights Watch's helpful resources and insights about how anyone can take action and "promote human rights in China."
Do not discount the power of embarrassment (via education, via these petitions, or a simple reading, talking about, and passing around of information like all of the stuff in this blog post) to tangibly change China, Change China!, little by little. Just look at the fact that, regarding Sudan's genocide throughout all the years of China's economic partnership and weapons-sale profiting, China has finally, despite a bailout PR campaign defending it's Sudan policy, in little evanescant glimmers, taken some action by "expressing" its grave concern about Sudan's mass killing. This glimmer came only after Spielberg backed out of being an artistic director to the Beijing Olympics, citing "China’s economic, military and diplomatic ties to the government of Sudan," and other groups' smear campaigns of the "Genocide Olympics."

Like Hu Jia's and Mr. Teng's joint open letter--The Real China and the Olympics”--that might be the main effort that led to both their imprisonments, you can similarly do a part to Call out China, Embarrass China, Change China.

The 3 people featured in the montage below would really appreciate it. (courtesy of "Hujia&Jinyan's Spirit" website banner)