BY DAVID WERTIME
"One hundred and thirty-four days later, I returned home. My wife said I looked thin, and a bit tired."
These appear to have been the words of Wang Gongquan, a Chinese venture capitalist turned activist, in a post this week on Sina Weibo, China's Twitter, that has since been deleted.
If so, it marks a surprising, if brief, re-engagement with social media, the same medium that helped land Wang in Communist Party cross-hairs in the first place.
The billionaire Wang has been known as an outspoken liberal voice for years, a rarity among wealthy Chinese. In 2005, Wang met and befriended rights activist Xu Zhiyong and later supported the New Citizens Movement that Xu had co-founded, which called for Chinese citizens to "bid farewell to autocracy."
Authorities arrested Wang in September 2013 - on the same charges on which Xu had been detained months earlier - and released Wang on January 22, declaring that he had confessed to joining Xu in criminal behaviour.
Xu was sentenced on January 26 to four years in prison for "gathering crowds to disturb public order," which included "public spaces on the Internet."
Baucus Senate confirmation Hearing illuminates need for U.S. to clarify stance toward human rights abuses in China
Senator Baucus (D-MT) appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday for his confirmation hearing as the next U.S. ambassador to China, following the departure of Gary Locke. Perhaps the most interesting exchange of the ninety-minute hearing was with Senator Rubio (R-FL), where Senator Rubio questioned Baucus about Obama Administration policy about U.S. embassies as literal "islands of freedom" in host countries. Baucus was unable to give an explicit answer, instead asking for time to return to the Administration to clarify U.S. policy on the matter. Rubio further elaborated on his question, insisting that the U.S. must remain firm in pushing back against China's "new model of great power relations," whereby the U.S. essentially stays out of China's "internal" affairs regarding human rights abuses. Baucus agreed with Rubio, but maintained that U.S. protestations remain strategic and carefully considered; moreover, Baucus alluded to the fact that ultimately expanded U.S. trade relations and business interactions with China would drive dialogue forward regarding human rights.
Epoch Time's article on the hearing including analysis from Steve Levine
New Tang Dynasty television interview featuring Tiananmen Project Initiative and White House petition effort
Watch the video interview below. For those who haven't signed the White House petition yet,please do so now.
Radio Free Asia interviewed Tiananmen Initiative Project coordinator Professor Steven I. Levine about his efforts to draw attention to the important 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Click the link below to read the full interview, which was published in Mandarin.
"tANK mAN" INSPIRED PLAYS WINS cRITICS' cIRCLE tHEATRE aWARD ; Fading hope for political reform in China with new freedom House Report
Freedom House's "Freedom in the World" report was released, and China's abysmal performance remains unchanged from last year. Freedom House uses a 1-7 scale, with 1 being "free" and 7 being "not free." Last year China scored 6 for civil liberties and 7 for political freedoms. The combined score, 6.5 is the same for this year, maintaining China's status as one of the most oppressive regimes in the Asia-Pacific region. Refer below to the article from Radio Free Asia:
BY RICHARD FINNEY
BY NICK CLARK, THE INDEPENDENT
The BBC reports that Gary Locke, the U.S. Ambassador to China and former U.S. Commerce Secretary has demanded that China release Xu Zhiyong, the founder of the movement from custody. Read Locke's statement below:
"I am deeply concerned that the 22 January trial of Chinese legal scholar Xu Zhiyong and the prosecution of other good-governance advocates are retribution for their public campaigns to expose official corruption and for the peaceful expression of their views," Ambassador Mr Locke said in a statement.
Tiananmen Initiative Project posts Petition on White House "We the People" platform, Urges Obama Administration to recognize the 25th anniversary of June 4, 1989
Today we released a petition on the White House We the People platform regarding the 25th commemoration of the Tiananmen Massacre and the pro-democracy student protests that culminated in June 4, 1989. We are calling for the Obama Administration to officially and publicly recognize the astounding bravery of the Tiananmen protesters and those who continue to fight for reform in China, especially in light of the New Citizens Movement crackdown. The need for democratic and rule of law reforms in China is as important as ever. The 25th anniversary of June 4 provides a perfect moment to reflect on the current and dire situation in China regarding human rights."
SIGN THE PETITION HERE: http://wh.gov/l5APG
Tiananmen Massacre Lesson Plan, key concepts, and historical research assignment for educators (originally from Australia)
Below is a comprehensive lesson plan (16 lessons over 3-4 weeks) for educators aimed at upper level high school and college students. More resources, including a historical research assignment, an overview, and key concepts can be found on the website for the course. For any instructor looking for even a one-day lesson plan, this site is a fantastic resource.
In order to "never forget June 4," we must continue to teach our children about the enduring historical importance of liu si. We will continued to post resources for educators to facilitate discussion in classrooms throughout the world.
Today the Chinese government continues its crackdown against members of the New Citizens Movement, an organization dedicated to exposing graft and corruption within the Chinese Communist Party. The Chinese government under Xi Jinping is particularly sensitive about the cause of the New Citizens Movement after recent international media coverage into the corrupt financial practices of several high-level Chinese Communist Party members, including Wen Jiabao and members of Xi Jinping's family. The Chinese government insists its conducting its own private investigation into the matter, and is attempting to trivialize the efforts of the New Citizens Movement, while simultaneously spinning it as a dangerous dissident group.
The government was slated to try Zhao Changqing, a leader of the Tiananmen student protests in 1989. However, in an attempt to delay the proceedings, Zhao Changqing has dismissed his lawyer allowing for an additional 15 days to find a replacement.
Read the full article here from World Post.
Read coverage from the BBC here.
New York Times 1993 "Gentler" China retrospective in light of Xi Jinping's New Citizens Movement Crackdown
Four years after the Tiananmen Massacre, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof penned a retrospective about the events of June 4, noting that "While thousands of 'counterrevolutionaries' remain behind bars, often subject to beatings and humiliation, on the whole the repression seems to be easing." The Chinese Communist Party seemed to be abandoning its hardline tendencies toward dissenting voices, focusing on economic growth. However, in recent days with the swift and unrelenting crackdown against China's peaceful New Citizens Movement, the CCP has proven itself freshly hostile toward dissenting voices. Today's blog post pairs Kristof's retrospective with the impending trial of New Citizens Movement activist Xu Zhiyong.
A Gentler China: A special report; 4 Years After Tiananmen, The Hard Line Is Cracking
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
BY STUART LEAVENWORTH
Tiananmen Massacre Presentation