Pu Zhiqiang: Where Officials Serve the Devil

Civil rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang has an op-ed in the Age (taken from an interview with the paper’s John Garnaut) about the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded Friday to his friend Liu Xiaobo:

When people ask me about the significance of Liu Xiaobo winning the Nobel peace prize I say, damn, that means I won’t have a chance for 20 years. But, actually, I can’t hide my pleasure.

My hope is that Liu’s prestige and resources will help provide a platform for truth and compromise when the Communist Party leviathan is bursting. If we say we didn’t have a trademark in the past, then now we have a flag.

Liu is my personal friend and he is not a perfect person. But he has always been the first to criticise his own shortcomings and for the duration of his imprisonment, no matter for how long, he will not make the mistake of democracy activist Wei Jingsheng and others, who have accepted exile.

Liu’s prestige and the shock of the Nobel peace prize to China will accumulate as time goes by. His perseverance and endeavour are important for our society becoming a civilised one. He will cherish the honour of his Nobel peace prize and the wings that it will give him. He will accept divergent thought and opinion with an open mind.

We are not aiming for a Communist Party day of reckoning, but for compromise that can push the nation forward. It’s OK for the party to not take this responsibility, but we should do it for them.

Also, the Telegraph has posted excerpts of a speech Liu Xiaobo wrote two years ago but which was only very briefly released publicly:

The power of Mr Liu’s pen, and the elegance and clarity of his writing, has grated against the nerve endings of the Chinese government, which has still not lost its taste for leaden propaganda.

“I do not feel shame because of the chorus of party mouthpieces singing praise and glory continuously. When the role of the government becomes to sing its infinite praises or to brag about its greatness, the main melody has long become a joke for the folk songs of the people and can only sound the falling dusk of a dictatorship,” Mr Liu said.

Mr Liu’s career has been marked by his unsparing, if occasionally outspoken, honesty, and he also attacked the indifference within Chinese society, the “cynicism” of its intellectuals, and the cowardice of those Chinese who have fled outside the country. “When those who remained silent for years in terror raise their voices to a high pitch when they leave the country, it is only the act of a clown after his safety has been guaranteed”.

However, the speech also reveals Mr Liu’s inner turmoil, and a “profound sadness” and a deep “shame” about his own writing, which he compared to “wild grass” growing on China’s waste land.

“The decadence conveyed in Eliot’s Waste Land is like an elegy of our modern civilisation,” he said.

December 9, 2010 7:56 PM
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Categories: Human Rights, Politics