The burden of history has weighed heavily on the Chinese people, and those who claim to speak for them carry a special responsibility. As Chinese immigrants rise to prominence in Western countries, they—and the non-Chinese citizens of those societies—may ask, what should guide them in the conduct of their public life?
In New York City, the campaign of John Liu for mayor poses this issue starkly.
Recently, the Chinese media in New York that are friendly with the mainland Chinese regime have been supporting Liu. They are running complete and detailed coverage of his campaign, while also running reports belittling the current speaker of the City Council, Christine Quinn, a leading competitor for the Democratic Party nomination.
The New York based, Chinese-language newspaper Qiao Bao published an article in January 2012 that helps explain what is going on with the Chinese-language press in New York.
The article “American Chinese Participating in Politics Must Get Rid of the ‘Not Related to Me’ Attitude” stated: “In politics, if one person achieves success, the influence that this will have on one’s ethnic group cannot be ignored. For a person, participating in political activities is a high risk investment with uncertain profit, but for an entire ethnic group, it’s an investment with controllable risk and very high profit.”
“We hope one day to see the emergence of an excellent representative [in the U.S. political arena] from those with a mainland China background,” Qiao Bao wrote.
This article was later republished by the Chinese Communist Party’s official China News Service and is actually a declaration of the Chinese Communist Party’s long-range foreign policy.
The CCP has long known that the political culture in Western countries is completely different from that of a dictatorship.
Relying only on bribes, external support, and corruption to develop a Western politician in Western countries is very dangerous and difficult. Most Western politicians know that if they got involved with the CCP and the media exposed this relationship, that would be political suicide.
At the same time, developing a politician with ties to the Chinese mainland offers the Party a bonus. The CCP can claim to the Chinese people in and out of China that by promoting a politician loyal to it, the CCP is promoting the Chinese ethnic group. The Party attaches to itself the patriotism of the Chinese people.
For the CCP, promoting a Chinese political figure in the United States is “an investment with controllable risk and very high profit.”
It’s not hard to understand why John Liu, whose short political career has already been tarnished by scandal, still has so much money and the support of the pro-Chinese-regime media.
One can see what guides John Liu and some other Chinese Americans who have entered U.S. politics by three characteristics they share.
First, they keep very close ties to the CCP and its related organizations, including the Chinese Consulate, local Chinese associations, business associations, and pro-Chinese-regime media. These people will definitely show up to welcome a high-level Party figure visiting the United States.
Second, they do not praise or promote the mainstream values of the United States, including democracy, freedom, and human rights. They also do not criticize the CCP’s authoritarian rule.
Third, they do not support, communicate with, or talk about persecuted groups such as Falun Gong practitioners. They do not support Tibetans, Uyghurs, or other mainland Chinese activists, and they do not accept interviews from independent Chinese media based in the United States such as NTD Television, Kan Zhong Guo (secretchina.com), The Epoch Times, and Sound of Hope Radio Network.
The World’s People
Once last year I met the blind human rights activist Chen Guangcheng in the studios of NTD Television. In an appeal to the world’s leaders, he gave a different idea for the standard politicians should follow: “Promote the things that will benefit the world’s people, and eliminate the evil that will harm the world.”
Chen did not speak from a narrow ethnic perspective, but if one applies his standard, one finds the prospects for benefit and harm for the world’s people center on five issues involving China.
The most important political issue today is how to dissolve the CCP—the biggest dictatorship in the world—in a safe and fast way.
The biggest economic problem today is the threat the CCP’s economic manipulation poses to the global economic order.
The greatest security issue today involves how the CCP utilizes nationalism to release domestic political pressure at the risk of international conflict, while continuously expanding its military in a secretive manner.
The greatest social crisis in the world is the steady decline of morality in China due to the years of communist rule.
The greatest tragedy in the world today is the CCP’s cruel persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, Tibetans, Uyghurs, Inner Mongolians, and dissidents.
Falun Gong practitioners are the only group that has survived and even thrived after long-term oppression by the CCP, defending their rights and honor continuously and bravely. As they have resisted persecution, Falun Gong practitioners have helped bring each of the five issues above into focus for the world.
In the past decade, software developed by Falun Gong practitioners has helped countless Chinese people break through the Internet blockade and obtain information without censorship. Falun Gong practitioners have used news outlets in multiple languages to provide uncensored, first-hand news of China and expose the criminal nature of the CCP.
The quit-the-CCP movement initiated by Falun Gong practitioners is dissolving the Party in a peaceful way, and Falun Gong practitioners are helping revive the traditional culture demolished by the CCP, providing an alternative to the Party’s distorted ways.
The impact Falun Gong practitioners are having on China is so large that no politician, whether Chinese or Western, can talk sensibly today about China issues without reference to Falun Gong.
A Chinese-American politician has a special authority to speak about China and participates in the freedoms available in the United States. When a Chinese-American politician speaks out supporting Falun Gong practitioners, he or she is speaking out for a healthy future for China and for the best interests of his or her constituents in the United States.
If a Chinese-American politician has some kind of gray relationship with the CCP and its interest groups, then the CCP will establish a political bottom line. That politician will not be allowed to contact, support, or show sympathy for Falun Gong practitioners.
The attitude Chinese-American politicians show toward Falun Gong is a touchstone that lets the Chinese community and all of society see clearly that person’s relationship with the CCP and the purpose of his or her political life.
In the past, John Liu has lined up obediently with the Chinese Consulate in opposing the rights of Falun Gong practitioners here in New York City. While one can see clearly where John Liu’s loyalties have lain, one hopes he may grow wiser and find a new path forward.
Whether Liu does or not, Western publics are coming to understand better Falun Gong and China. As they do, they will hold Liu and others accountable for the choices they make.
Wang Beiji, formerly known as Zeng Hong, is from Chongqing, China. In 2005, he began working for the rights of property owners in China and also started publishing articles in media outside China, promoting democracy and calling for the redress of the Tiananmen Square democracy movement. In 2011, he moved to the United States and currently lives in New York.