Tuesday, February 21, 2006
IS IT JUST ANOTHER WORD, FOR NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE?
hile barriers to free speech suddenly become de rigueur amongst the politically correct set (just little barriers mind you, and only for nice purposes), courageous people are dodging the Chinese government's barriers and traps (built with help from their foreign toadies like Cisco, Nortel, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo) and staking out a little free speech room for themselves. A wonderful example of this is Li Xinde, dubbed by Gus Van Horn as A Chinese Hero (wai to Cox and Forkum for the link).
Li travels around China with an I.B.M. laptop and a digital camera, investigating cases of official wrongdoing. Then he writes about them on his Web site and skips town before the local authorities can arrest him.Li believes (despite the harsh tongue-lashing that executives and lawyers of the aforementioned corporations received in congressional hearings last week, and the open letter in which some Communist Party elders criticised the ruling clique about press freedom barriers) that it is actually lone campaigners who are doing the most to undermine these obstacles.
[Li] spreads his often outrageous, sometimes gruesome stories on some of the 49 blogs he uses to slip past censors.He reminds me of the lawyer Gao Zhisheng, whom I mentioned a few months ago. When one isn't given the freedom to do the right things, sometimes you just have to take some, and run with it.
"They shut down one, so I move to another," he told Reuters.
Yet for Chinese dissidents, the long arm of the Party doesn't necessarily stop at the border. One of Van Horn's commenters pointed out the recent attack against Peter Yuan Li in his Atlanta home. Dr. Li maintains the Epoch Times website as well as another site which encourages Communist Party members to renounce the Party. The Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party website claims to have over 8 million submitted statements from those who have withdrawn from the CCP and affiliated organisations. While the Forbes article states that there is no evidence of Chinese government involvement in the attack on Dr. Li (he required 15 stitches to his face), it notes that:
n 2004, the U.S. Congress passed Resolution 304, which recognized "the Chinese government has attempted to silence the Falun Gong movement and Chinese pro-democracy groups inside the United States." The resolution urged the U.S. Attorney General to "investigate reports that Chinese consular officials in the U.S. have committed illegal acts while attempting to intimidate or inappropriately influence Falun Gong practitioners or local elected officials."Dr. Li is also a Falun Gong practitioner. Freedom of conscience is not something to be taken lightly. There continue to be powerful opponents of this fundamental right, and not all are intolerant religious wackos. One of the biggest such opponents is set to glorify itself in two years' time, as host to the world for the next Olympic Games.