Monday, February 15, 2010

The Power of Love

In a tribute to Valentine's Day and the start of Chinese New Year with the Year of the Tiger, the following is an abridged statement by Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo, co-author of the Charter 08 campaign for constitutional reform. He made the statement at his trial on December 23, 2009. The result of his appeal against an 11-year jail sentence for subversion was upheld.
The statement was from the Guardian and translated by Professor David Kelly of the China Research Centre, University of Technology, Sydney. The original Chinese version follows. 
June 1989 was the major turning point in my 50 years on life's road. Before that, I was a member of the first group of students to take the newly restored college entrance examinations following the Cultural Revolution; my career was a smooth ride, from undergraduate to grad student and through to PhD. After graduation I stayed on as a lecturer at Beijing Normal University.

On the podium, I was a popular teacher, well received by students. I was also a public intellectual: in the 1980s I published articles and books that created an impact. I was frequently invited to speak in different places, and invited to go abroad to Europe and the US as a visiting scholar. What I required of myself was to live with honesty, responsibility and dignity both as a person and in my writing.

Subsequently, because I had returned from the US to take part in the 1989 movement, I was imprisoned for "counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement to crime", losing the platform I loved; I was never again allowed to publish or speak in public in China. Simply for expressing divergent political views and taking part in a peaceful and democratic movement, a teacher lost his podium, a writer lost the right to publish, and a public intellectual lost the chance to speak publicly. This was a sad thing, both for myself as an individual, and, after three decades of reform and opening, for China.

Thinking about it, my most dramatic experiences after 4 June 1989 have all been linked with the courts; the two opportunities I had to speak in public have been provided by trials held in the people's intermediate court in Beijing, one in January 1991 and one now. Although the charges on each occasion were different, they were in essence the same, both crimes of expression.

Twenty years on, the innocent souls of 4 June are yet to rest in peace, and I, who had been drawn into the path of dissidence by the passions of 4 June, after leaving the Qincheng prison in 1991 lost the right to speak openly in my own country, and could only do so through overseas media, and hence was monitored for many years; placed under surveillance (May 1995 – January 1996); educated through labour (October 1996 – October 1999), and now once again am thrust into the dock by enemies in the regime.

But I still want to tell the regime that deprives me of my freedom, I stand by the belief I expressed 20 years ago in my hunger strike declaration – I have no enemies, and no hatred. None of the police who monitored, arrested and interrogated me, the prosecutors who prosecuted me, or the judges who sentence me, are my enemies. While I'm unable to accept your surveillance, arrest, prosecution or sentencing, I respect your professions and personalities. This includes the prosecution at present: I was aware of your respect and sincerity in your interrogation of me on 3 December.

For hatred is corrosive of a person's wisdom and conscience; the mentality of enmity can poison a nation's spirit, instigate brutal life and death struggles, destroy a society's tolerance and humanity, and block a nation's progress to freedom and democracy. I hope therefore to be able to transcend my personal vicissitudes in understanding the development of the state and changes in society, to counter the hostility of the regime with the best of intentions, and defuse hate with love.

I firmly believe that China's political progress will never stop, and I'm full of optimistic expectations of freedom coming to China in the future, because no force can block the human desire for freedom. China will eventually become a country of the rule of law in which human rights are supreme. I'm also looking forward to such progress being reflected in the trial of this case, and look forward to the full court's just verdict – one that can stand the test of history.

Ask me what has been my most fortunate experience of the past two decades, and I'd say it was gaining the selfless love of my wife, Liu Xia. She cannot be present in the courtroom today, but I still want to tell you, my sweetheart, that I'm confident that your love for me will be as always. Over the years, in my non-free life, our love has contained bitterness imposed by the external environment, but is boundless in afterthought. I am sentenced to a visible prison while you are waiting in an invisible one.

Your love is sunlight that transcends prison walls and bars, stroking every inch of my skin, warming my every cell, letting me maintain my inner calm, magnanimous and bright, so that every minute in prison is full of meaning. But my love for you is full of guilt and regret, sometimes heavy enough to hobble my steps. I am a hard stone in the wilderness, putting up with the pummeling of raging storms, and too cold for anyone to dare touch. But my love is hard, sharp, and can penetrate any obstacles. Even if I am crushed into powder, I will embrace you with the ashes.

Given your love, my sweetheart, I would face my forthcoming trial calmly, with no regrets about my choice and looking forward to tomorrow optimistically. I look forward to my country being a land of free expression, where all citizens' speeches are treated the same; where different values, ideas, beliefs, political views ... both compete with each other and coexist peacefully; where, majority and minority opinions will be given equal guarantees, in particular, political views different from those in power will be fully respected and protected; where all political views will be spread in the sunlight for the people to choose; [where] all citizens will be able to express their political views without fear, and will never be politically persecuted for voicing dissent.

I hope to be the last victim of China's endless literary inquisition, and that after this no one else will ever be jailed for their speech.

Freedom of expression is the basis of human rights, the source of humanity and the mother of truth. To block freedom of speech is to trample on human rights, to strangle humanity and to suppress the truth.

I do not feel guilty for following my constitutional right to freedom of expression, for fulfilling my social responsibility as a Chinese citizen. Even if accused of it, I would have no complaints.


    众所周知,是改革开放带来了国家的发展和社会的变化。在我看来,改革开放始于放弃毛时代的“以阶级斗争为纲”的执政方针。转而致力于经济发展和社会和谐。放弃“斗争哲学”的过程也是逐步淡化敌人意识、消除仇恨心理的过程,是一个挤掉浸入人性之中的“狼奶”的过程。正是这一进程,为改革开放提供了一个宽松的国内外环境,为恢复人与人之间的互爱,为不同利益不同价值的和平共处提供了柔软的人性土壤,从而为国人的创造力之迸发和爱心之恢复提供了符合人性的激励。可以说,对外放弃“反帝反修”,对内放弃“阶级斗争”,是中国的改革开放得以持续至今的基本前提。经济走向市场,文化趋于多元,秩序逐渐法治,皆受益于“ 敌人意识”的淡化。即使在进步最为缓慢的政治领域,敌人意识的淡化也让政权对社会的多元化有了日益扩大的包容性,对不同政见者的迫害之力度也大幅度下降,对八九运动的定性也由“动暴乱”改为“政治风波”。敌人意识的淡化让政权逐步接受了人权的普世性,1998年,中国政府向世界做出签署联合国的两大国际人权公约的承诺,标志着中国对普世人权标准的承认;2004年,全国人大修宪首次把“国家尊重和保障人权”写进了宪法,标志着人权已经成为中国法治的根本原则之一。与此同时,现政权又提出“以人为本”、“创建和谐社会”,标志着中共执政理念的进步。
    尽管我坚持认为自己无罪,对我的指控是违宪的,但在我失去自由的一年多时间里,先后经历了两个关押地点、四位预审警官、三位检察官、二位法官,他们的办案,没有不尊重,没有超时,没有逼供。他们的态度平和、理性,且时时流露出善意。6月23日,我被从监视居住处转到北京市公安局第一看守所,简称“北看 ”。在北看的半年时间里,我看到了监管上的进步。

1 comment:

gg said...

history will decide- this is a true MAN. a selfless love of his own country, a true patriot.