Expatriate Chinese democracy activists in San Francisco have been stimulated by the recent democracy uprising in North Africa and the Middle East, and they wonder: is China ready for her own color revolution?
In mid-February they called together a panel, calling it the “National Affairs Salon,” and sat down to hash it out. Among the participants were student leaders and survivors of the June 4, 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. They were at ground zero demonstrating against government corruption when the Chinese regime called on the army to open fire on them. Many have spent time in prison and later left China or were expelled.
They have been waiting for another opportunity, trusting that, someday, the Chinese people would gain their constitutional rights and democracy.
That moment may be here now, they said—or at least, closer than it has been since 1989. The successful ousting of Tunisia’s and Egypt’s former dictators, and the wide spread of demonstrations in the Middle East and Northern Africa, suggest that there may be another window of opportunity for democracy spreading to more countries, including China, they said.
Participants at the forum agreed that the Chinese regime is extremely fearful that the Jasmine revolution will also happen in China, and that there are fuses everywhere in China ready to explode. So why has there not been any activity in China so far?
The consensus among the overseas activists is that the Chinese democracy movement lacks focus and organization.
Fang Zheng, who lost both his legs when a Liberation Army tank ran him over, said: “All the [social] issues in China haven’t led to an explosion. The fuses are everywhere, but are being diverted or disintegrated.”
Feng Congde, a former student leader of the Tiananmen Square democratic movement told New Tang Dynasty (NTD) TV : “During the 22 years since the Tiananmen Square massacre, the Chinese democratic movement has lingered on [a platform of] reform and rights protection, and didn’t call for a revolution in a straightforward manner as Egyptians have done.
“This lack of direction will never reach anywhere,” Feng added.
Feng gave the Qian Yunhui incident—the village chief allegedly murdered by local officials for defending villagers’ land from being seized—as an example to illustrate his point.
“If people, instead of protesting to protect their rights, demanded a change of government, Qian’s case could have been the fuse for an explosion,” Feng said.
Lan Shu, a China commentator, pointed out that the Egyptian revolution is a movement without leadership, but with a clear goal to oust the government.
Lan said the Chinese democracy movement has long been troubled by the assumption that the conditions for democracy are immature in China, and China would be in turmoil without the Chinese Communist Party.
“If the Egyptians had asked, ‘what will happen to the country if the Mubarak government falls; no one will take care of us; won’t the country be in turmoil?’ then, Mubarak would still be in power,” Lan said.
Lan reminded Chinese people to ask for their rights granted them by the constitution, such as freedom of speech, assembly, press, and religion.
“Do you deserve all these? If so, then go and ask for them, no matter what the results might be,” Lan said.
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