Friday, August 20, 2010

Peace Activist of the Week- Liu Xiaobo

I know that August is half over but this month and the month of September are dedicated to peace activists in Asia.

Liu Xiaobo (b. 1955) is a Chinese peace activist and intellectual (he has a Phd). Liu (which is his family name, Xiaobo is his given name) has been arrested numerous times for his activities. He took part in Tienanmen Square Protests in 1989. He has also signed the Charter 08. Liu was arrested in 2008 and sentenced in 2009 to 11 years of prison and 2 years of deprivation of political rights for "subversion of state power." In other words, they arrested him and imprisoned him because he wants China to become a democracy. They said that he slandered and created rumors against the country. During his trial, no outside observers were allowed in. World wide there has been an outcry for his release. Even the UN commission on human rights is seriously concerned about China's deterioration of political rights.

Quote from Liu: "China's political reform [...] should be gradual, peaceful, orderly and controllable and should be interactive, from above to below and from below to above. This way causes the least cost and leads to the most effective result. I know the basic principles of political change, that orderly and controllable social change is better than one which is chaotic and out of control. The order of a bad government is better than the chaos of anarchy. So I oppose systems of government that are dictatorships or monopolies. This is not 'inciting subversion of state power'. Opposition is not equivalent to subversion. from: Guilty of 'crime of speaking', February 9, 2010 source: wikipedia

What is Charter 08:
It's a manifesto originally created and signed by 303 Chinese intellectual and human right's activists to promote democratization of China. Since it's release it has been signed by 8,100 people inside and outside China.

Here are the basic demands:
1. Amending the Constitution.
2. Separation of powers.
3. Legislative democracy.
4. An independent judiciary.
5. Public control of public servants.
6. Guarantee of human rights.
7. Election of public officials.
8. Rural–urban equality.
9. Freedom of association.
10. Freedom of assembly.
11. Freedom of expression.
12. Freedom of religion.
13. Civic education.
14. Protection of private property.
15. Financial and tax reform.
16. Social security.
17. Protection of the environment.
18. A federated republic.
19. Truth in reconciliation.

And now I think you're seeing why America's continued dealings with China could be bad or good depending on how it goes. If we continue to trade goods with them then we have dialogue and can help create the democracy that Charter 08 demands. On the other hand, if we continue to buy goods from China, we end up continuing to give money to a Communist nation that arrests it's own people for dissidence. So you see the dilemma. You can't turn on blinders anymore. Make a choice. Make a decision. Where do you stand?

You all know that I've decided to work within the frame work. Not buy Chinese products and let manufacturers and public know where I stand. I have seen a number of sites on the internet to help you buy US made goods, but I haven't seen one that wants democracy in China. Perhaps there is some organization out there. I will keep looking and let you know.

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