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Doomsday Fever

[Editor’s Note: Cheng Guangcheng is the renowned blind Chinese human rights activist who is self-taught in the law. He is best known for his class-action lawsuit against the authorities for excessive enforcement of the one-child policy. After over four years in prison, he was kept under house arrest and closely monitored. His daring escape from the police, after which he fled to the U.S. Embassy, gained him international attention. After intense negotiations with the Chinese government, Chen, his wife, and their two children, came to the U.S.. He has been publishing ever since and recently wrote a blog on Radio Free Asia, commenting on the Chinese Communist Party’s recent massive arrests and defaming of human rights lawyers in China. The following is the translation of his article.] [1]

June 27, 2015

The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) mouthpieces have been busy smearing rights lawyers, rights advocates, and petitioners. Its guiding principle is identical to what drove the smear campaign against Falun Gong in 1999, only it is not as overwhelming and not as powerful today.

In these smear articles, the hired pens, which want to play the role of the Nazi’s Schutzstaffel [the elite military of the Nazi Party, also known as the SS] in defending the CCP, present “public security” officers as the “people’s police,” while labeling human rights, its widespread appeal, and the public response as “hype.” The CCP also mixes up organization with organized crime so as to fool the public. Of course, the CCP is most fearful of people organizing themselves to resist its brutal rule. Any dictator would harbor the same fear.

The CCP knows very well its usurped power has no justification or legitimacy in modern society. Only lies and violence can sustain such a regime. It is not able to do things openly, based on facts and convince people with reasoning. It feels that as long as people, out of fear, dare not care about other people’s business, and dare not confront its rule in an organized form, its autocratic regime can then be sustained.

To put it simply, the most significant advantage of socialism is that the CCP can be organized and can mobilize itself to crush single-handed dissidents. I think this is the fundamental source and basis of its so-called three confidences in its theory, road, and system. [2]

Is organization the same as organized crime? Apparently it is not. Article 22 of UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [3] states:

“1. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

2. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those which are prescribed by law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. …”

Based on international laws and norms, any government that restricts its citizens’ freedom and their rights of free association is itself committing a crime. The CCP regime signed the UN’s International Covenant in 1998. It has refused to put it into practice. Even worse, it has been constantly violating international law, conducting arbitrary abductions, arrests, and torture, and has been infringing on its citizen’s basic human rights.

Days after the newly issued National Security Law (which should be called the CCP Security Law) took effect on July 1, the CCP rushed to launch a nationwide campaign to round up rights lawyers, rights advocates, and petitioners. After the arrest of two rights lawyers, Wang Yu and Zhou Shifeng, other lawyers were subsequently taken into police custody, including Li Heping, Xie Yang, Sui Muqing, and Wang Quanzhang. The total number of rights lawyers, rights advocates, and petitioners arrested has risen to nearly 300. They have been denied the right to meet with their lawyers. Even lawyers who demanded meetings with them received threats that they too would face arrest, as well as their families.

Attorney Wang Yu’s 16-year-old son was threatened and placed under house arrest. He cannot go to school as planned. To coerce Wu Kan (with an Internet username Butcher), the authorities have even arrested his father. The CCP lackeys have threatened all lawyers, who they subpoenaed, so they would not pay any attention to the cases of attorneys Wang Yu and Zhou Shifeng, not make any comments online, and delete any comments already made.

I can’t help but ask: If the CCP regime had done things correctly, would it be afraid of people making comments about it? It is not hard to tell that this campaign was long planned and well coordinated at the highest levels of the CCP leadership.

Even so, a torrent of information that sheds light on the CCP’s abuse of power has shown people to have become far more strong willed than in the past. The effect of threats and intimidation has dwindled and is not comparable to their role in the past.

For the past decade or so, the awakening of the Chinese people has exceeded the sum total of several decades prior to that. We have entered the stage of advocating group rights rather than merely personal rights and of upholding human rights rather than merely defending property rights. Friends across social circles and across geographical areas offer each other help in promoting public interest and shouldering responsibilities. They support each other, gather to bear witness to persecution [to raise public awareness through witnessing and through the dissemination of messages via social media platforms, thereby raising the economic and political costs of suppression], and show no fear in the face of hardship and danger. Their mobility and influence are increasing rapidly. This interactive advocacy of rights marks the growing development and maturation of a civil society.

Such citizen actions have made it far more difficult for the CCP to carry out its schemes of “decapitating strikes,” “intercepting petitioners,” and using “black jails (outside of the legal system).” The economic cost and political cost have also become prohibitively high. The CCP has become extremely worried. In fact, this is the natural result of the corruption that has become fully rotten to the core of the CCP regime. It marks the all-around resistance that has spread to multiple domains of Chinese society. As the old saying goes, “Water can carry a ship and it can also topple it.” [Translator’s note: water symbolizes the people and the ship the regime.]

It is apparent to all that the CCP cannot solve its pressing problems by simply arresting human rights lawyers and rights advocates. As long as slavery and suppression are not stopped, resistance and fighting will not stop either. In this modern time, persecution can only serve to speed up people’s seeing the true nature of the CCP rule of dictatorship and to help train a larger contingent of citizens who will defend their rights. History will bear witness to this point. This reminds me of a saying, “Why not let the storm be more violent,” whose implied message has become even clearer to me through recent events. As a matter of fact, ever since the CCP started building its massive violent system to maintain the stability of its rule, it has demonstrated that its conflict with the Chinese people cannot be reconciled. A regime which treats its own people as the enemy is doomed. No matter what deathbed fight the CCP may put up, it is daydreaming to [think that it can] reverse the vigorous historical tide of democracy.

[1] RFA July 27, 2015
[2] The Three Confidences
[3] International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 19 December 1966