Silence is golden, goes the aphorism. But consider the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany. Instead of walking away from the Olympics, which would have removed any tacit approval of Hitler, leaving him less emboldened – possibly even changing the course of history – the world was silent.
We stir up trouble by speaking out.
But I am speaking out. Because the people inside China cannot speak out, and because thousands of brothers and sisters in prison need a voice.
I served five years as a political prisoner in China, from which I was released only last year. I was tortured, both physically and psychologically, and put in solitary confinement for the first 14 months. I was charged with “espionage,” a crime of which I was innocent, and one that can mean jail for life or result in the death sentence.