What Are Our Victories in the Hunger Strike Campaign?
BEIJING – Today is the 15th day since Ouyang Xiaorong was kidnapped by the Chinese government. In addition, two more of my fellow citizens who came to appeal to the Beijing government died today. When I heard the news of their deaths, the bowl of food I was eating dropped from my hands.
The days of their lives were marked by countless bitter hardships and injustices produced by this communist system. Even the process of safeguarding the public interest has become an unbearable disaster. At the last, it was this system that “ended” their suffering in this world – by ending their lives.
Every year before and during the National People's Congress and the Political Consultative Conference, disaster strikes a lot of ordinary Chinese people, especially the great number of appellants who come to Beijing to seek for justice in front of the representatives. They are illegally detained, jailed and beaten. Yesterday, a few appellants from Heilongjiang Province rushed in front of an oncoming train to escape the vicious police chasing them. Two were injured and two are dead.
The representatives walk on the red carpet leading to the conference hall with happy smiling faces. Under every step lies the tears and blood of more and more citizens each year. This year is even worse.
I hereby offer my families' condolences in comfort to the families of the two unnamed dead.
The representatives engaged in the two conferences should show some sign of humanity – a moment of silence for the dead citizens, even if it is only a few seconds.
Ever since Feb 15, my eyes have been blindfolded by the regime. But my ears can hear things sometimes.
I hear that there is discussion about the relay hunger strike I am leading to defend human rights and protest against the brutal regime. Accordingly it is really heated discussion. There are also rumors about some friends indulging in the pleasures that this discussion brings, and some of them are in state of high excitement. I did not participate in this discussion, but I would like to express my opinions about some of the rhetoric and questions I heard about.
There are personal attacks on Mrs. Ding Zilin. This is unacceptable no matter who or what their motive for it was. A person should not be punished for speech and thought. Speech and thought are not threatening; on the contrary, people who view speech and thoughts as threats – they are the real threats.
Nobody can eliminate Mrs. Dings' devotion and pain in defending basic human rights, basic self-esteem and in safeguarding the values of our human civilization. I am totally in line with Mrs. Ding in search of a China of freedom, democracy, and rule by law.
Hold onto your choices and do not hold any expectation that people who didn't participate will understand or support us. Otherwise, you will fall into despair or waste energy on arguing. This would change the initial intention to persist in pursuing our goals.
Global Relay Hunger Strike Movement Has Already Achieved Great Victories
One major arguments is that the government cannot respond appropriately, because the do not know the clear goal of the relay hunger strike for human rights. Another says if the government never responds, it will be hard for the strikers to gracefully end the strike.
People with this perspective only see the government's response as the condition that determines the value of the hunger strike movement. This is totally different from our intention.
What will be our victory? Facing a political system without internal investigation of its moral and ethical aspects, if we base the actual results of our movement to safeguard human rights on the government's rational response, then this will most likely not bring the results we wanted. Then, it will make it hard to end the movement and there will not be any victory for us.
This relay hunger strike movement has already achieved great victories:
- 1. A lot of Chinese have participated – this is our victory.
- 2. A lot of Chinese representing a wide range of social-economic levels have participated – this is our victory.
- 3. In a very short period of time, people from more than 20 provinces have participated in the hunger strike – their participation is our victory.
- 4. We are exposing the brutal dictatorship, raising people's consciousness and awakening their willingness to participate – the existence of such a movement shows we are winning.
- 5. We have provided a process for the rest of the civilized world to look at China and to think about China's political and human rights status – this is our victory.
- 6. We have provided an opportunity for anyone to participate in this movement without leaving home – this is our victory.
- 7. We can control the scale of this movement, we can adjust or stop this movement whenever we want – this is our victory.
- 8. Within a very short period of time the democratic movement activists, the human rights movement activists, the appellants, the laid-off workers, the peasants that lost their land and every circle of the society have joined in the same movement – This is our victory.
- 9. We have exposed the viciousness and the brutality of the dictators who have irrationally displayed their thug-like tactics in a short time – this is our victory!
Some people criticize this hunger strike and think this behavior goads the government into doing evil. That is because they lack common sense, because the nature of this system dictates that it will do evil forever. How can one hold the peaceful demonstrators responsible for what the evildoer chooses to do? Does the fact a man's flesh is delicious to a wolf, make that man responsible for the wolf eating him?
Today, a crowd of secret police and mafia gangsters are still surrounding my office. Appellants from all over the country are still being kidnapped, arrested and interrogated without exception. Several visitors were arrested and interrogated. When I went to meet the reporters from The Times this afternoon, the army of secret agents following me made quite a scene!
Written on March 2, 2006, at my Beijing office besieged by the special agents and thuggish gangs.