A thought provoking quote from Gu Yuan
In a banner week for CSN, Gu Yuan wins
"quote of the week"
By John Kusumi
The scene of the Chinese pro-democracy
movement is a polity all of its own. The scene has its players, its
organizations, and differing wings, or factions, of the movement. At any given
time, a full range of issues and a full blast of news moves through this
community; because, everywhere that freedom is at stake and Beijing is the
villain, this cause has a role -- something to say or do.
It is therefore hard to prioritize, and
to say what is the most important issue, statement, or event of the week. U.S.
audiences never see political pundits or commentators wrestling to encompass the
news of this movement, because U.S. pundits are focused on the polity and the
players of Washington. In the old days, they might have had on to their shows Li
Lu, or Wuer Kaixi. More recently, American TV anchors have been too busy saying
that globalization is inevitable -- their headlong lunge into stateless
economics has caused those for "freedom and democracy," with a taste
for economic pressure (restrained or conditional trade) to no longer have
People who love freedom, with this
inclination, have been written off as know-nothing protectionist, isolationist
nit wits. American TV anchors now have that to say, and nothing for the Chinese
Well, dear reader, never you mind the
foregoing. While Americans suffer the odd effects of distorted news, someplace
else "off camera," the Chinese democracy movement and the polity I
described above continue to run, full blast. I can report that they are doing
well, becoming ever more focused and on task.
The past week has been one with truly
huge and impactful events that may surprise because, per the discussion
above, the events are kept from view, out of the news by the "radical
mainstream" that now distorts the American polity. I can already hear Bill
O'Reilly objecting, "that's a loony conspiracy theory," but before one
comes out with a conclusion like that, first see what you missed this week.
On Saturday in Taiwan (Feb. 28), over one
million people came out for a special event that was to oppose China's
stationing of missiles opposite Taiwan. (That may be another censored story. Did
you know that China has stationed 500 missiles to threaten Taiwan?) The one
million people came out and formed a 300-mile human chain, on Taiwan's west
coast facing China. This was a massive demonstration of pro-Taiwan sentiment,
also anti-China sentiment. A million man march went down, much like the massive
'Hands Across America' event of the 1980s. Yes, it happened, but again, it was
invisible -- I'd wager -- on your American news shows.
Another event that was played down was a
vote and victory in the U.S. House of Representatives, on a measure that is very
important to the Chinese democracy movement. The bill on Wednesday passed by 402
- 2. The bill was an urging to censure China for its human rights abuses, at the
upcoming session of the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva, Switzerland. Human
rights? Those are politically incorrect -- to network TV executives. So, even
with 402 Congressmen agreeing with the Chinese democracy movement, this matter
was played down on your news shows.
Thursday had the news of a leading
Tiananmen Square dissident winning his freedom from China -- Wang Youcai has
been in prison since the 1998 founding of the China Democracy Party, and he has
now been released to join the other brave Tiananmen Square dissidents in exile.
So, the Chinese democracy movement gained one more leader among those who are
able to work in the United States.
This article began by stressing that it
is hard to choose the quote of the week, with so much happening. I give
runner-up status to a quote I considered from Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ). He
explained why he is getting in China's face by saying -- "We trade, they torture. We trade, they abuse. We trade, they incarcerate, they
arrest and they mistreat." It's an excellent quote from Congressman Smith,
and we need more of that kind of explanation, among other explanation, of why
the Chinese democracy movement differs with China trade.
But, through all of this crowded
environment -- a week of strong rhetoric in support of Chinese democracy -- I
have selected a quote from Gu Yuan to be the quote of the week. He said,
"Instead of the 'Three
Represents' theory, the 'Three Most Unrepresented' should be improved in terms
of human rights in China -- the most unrepresented of people's basic human
rights, the most unrepresented of advanced culture, and the most unrepresented
of advanced production forces. What is most widely represented in China is the
government's ability to cover up and evade things. People are jailed for
opposition to war, people must gain permission before having a child, the organs
of executed prisoners are harvested and sold for profit, rural residents are
confined to live in one area for their entire lives, houses disappear without a
trace overnight, and people are sentenced without proper legal procedures."
It may be helpful to know that in Chinese
politics, Jiang Zemin, China's resident dictator, has tried to write into the
constitution his "three represents" theory, saying that the Communist
Party now represents three more things than before. It is chiefly an assertion
of self-flattery, and clearly, Gu Yuan is taking exception to the self-flattery
of, by, and for Communists.
His second sentence rings familiar --
"What is most widely represented in China is the government's ability to
cover up and evade things." Some wags would suggest, just substitute
'America' for 'China' in that line. Do America's politicians seem to be gifted
at covering up and evading things? Or, in America, is it not the government per
se, but rather the news media that has been hard about the task of covering up
and evading things, perhaps with the Chinese democracy movement as a prime
I am given to thinking that the latter is
true -- in America, our culprit is less the policymakers themselves, and more so
the professional distorters. It is anchors, pundits, and commentators who dodge
the largest questions, while taking smaller "canned" issues and making
them the object of spin in a liberal-versus-conservative spectrum.
While such distorters may be offensive
and objectionable, they are mostly harmless. At the end of day, they have evaded large
questions, but so what? They are filler to distract us, and as harmless as
commercials. They reflect sadly upon what passes for politics in America. But,
Mr. Gu Yuan, in his quote of the week, reminds one that the pundits are
harmless. Mr. Gu's quote suggests of jailers, aborters, executioners, organ
sellers, cruel officials, bulldozer drivers who remove houses at the behest of
the corrupt, and a deeply compromised judiciary that is the shame of China's
Properly appreciated, Mr. Gu's quote can
bring one back down to earth, knowing that China's challenges are larger than
America's. However bad they are, America's pundits are not driving bulldozers or
forcing abortions. What's covered up in China is worse than what's covered up in
America. And, for uncovering
this information, I thank Gu Yuan for his gem of a quote, that seems to cast the
Chinese democracy movement into perspective, against the backdrop of context as
he has written for us.
This!: the Kusumi book is now available: here.
Learn stories of the former 18-year-old for U.S. President, including the 1989
launch of the China Support Network. Part autobiography, part activist manual, Activate
This!, has clues to the future of CSN and the politics of Practical
Idealism. "Can America have a better future? --Well, can America Activate
This!?" muses Kusumi.