A Poignant Letter to Chinese Leadership

November 11, 2007 12:00 am Last Updated: November 11, 2007 12:00 am

A public letter from Wang Zhaojun, Politburo Standing Committee member of Anhui Province, has drawn attention from various circles both at home and overseas. In an interview on November 7, Li Datong, former editor-in-chief of 'Freezing Point Weekly'—a “China Youth Daily” publication—said that all the issues mentioned in Mr. Wang's letter are “sharp, true and very important,” adding that it articulated what the majority of Chinese people want to say but dare not to.

Wang's letter discussed the many problems China faces today: socioeconomic, political, environmental, freedom of belief, human rights and the media. “People should say whatever they want to say. Mr. Wang Zhaojun has just done what President Hu Jintao talked about at the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) 17th National Congress, in the right to express [oneself],” said Li.

“Wang knows the Chinese populace,” said Li in regard to Wang's integrity. “He did this because of what needs to be said in Chinese society. He must in some way have heard the voice of the people.”

In the letter—addressed to Chinese leaders Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao—Wang stated that China's most urgent issue was in stopping the persecution of Falun Gong and filing a lawsuit against those responsible for its nationwide suppression. “It is unconstitutional to use the power of the state to carry out a nationwide suppression of Falun Gong; there is no legal basis for it,” said Li in agreement with Wang's point. “We also need to go through legal procedures to convict and criminally prosecute those responsible for suppressing Falun Gong.”

“How can the whole country follow the CCP in everything the CCP wants to do?! Shouldn't it be 'managing the country according to the law' like they repeatedly claim to be doing?! How can they blindly label a group of people without a legal trial? Everything has to go through legal procedures; big problems will certainly result without legal procedures,” exclaimed Li.

Li agrees with Wang's statement in the letter that, “This is clearly not an issue with just Falun Gong, but the suppression of all people across the country!” Li also stated, “By suppressing Falun Gong, it impacts the whole society. The illegal aggression upon any citizen's rights is an illegal aggression towards everyone and this is a most basic truth. For any citizen, if you ignore the illegal abuse of others, you in fact ignore the abuse of your own rights.”

“Right now there are only a few people who dare to speak out. We can not expect that everyone will dare to speak out overnight—it needs to be led and cultivated slowly,” stated Li in regard to fixing China's social problems. “It's most important that the masses make changes by themselves and not simply wait for the problem to solve itself.”

'Freezing Point'

Early last year, “Freezing Point” focused on reporting about people living at the bottom of society. It regularly criticized corruption and exposed the faults and deficiencies of the current Chinese society. It was ordered to suspend publication on January 24 because it published an article titled “Modernization and History Textbooks,” written by Zhongshan University professor Yuan Weishi. The CCP's Ministry of Publicity was angered by this article and ordered suspension of the magazine. This action drew criticism both at home and abroad. Editor-in-chief Li Datong and deputy editor Lu Yuegang appealed to reopen the publication. Li Rui, former assistant to Mao Zedong, and other former high ranking CCP officials, as well as several editors and lawyers, supported Li and Lu in their appeal to reinstate the publication. Under overwhelming demand for its return, “Freezing Point” was opened again, but only after careful reorganization of the editorial staff—Li and Lu have been removed from the office and were transferred to 'China Youth Daily's' News Research Institute.