An Open Letter to Ms. Herta Mueller,
the 2009 Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature,
by a Group of Chinese Democracy Advocates
We are a group of people who have devoted ourselves to the cause of democracy in China for several decades. Some of us even spent over 10 yearsof their youth in a Communist prison. We have always had reservations about Liu Xiaobo. Based on our observations of over 20 years, we believe that he represents a cooperative approach that tries to work with the Chinese Communist regime. Our judgment is once again backed by the fact that, after a year of being detained by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and when others were protesting against his illegal arrest based on his speech, he issued the court statement “I have no enemies — My final statement” . In the statement, he praised the Communist prison as a “humane” and “tender” place, and said that “the CCP has made progress in its governing philosophy”, and that “human rights have become one of the fundamental principles of Chinese law.” This naturally begs the question, if the Chinese Communist Party has really made such progress as declared by Liu, why did it arrest him and sentence him to 11 years in prison just for his speech?
Liu Xiaobo’s prison sentence demonstrates that the CCP government is a die-hard evil regime that cannot even tolerate a cooperative and advising criticizer like Liu Xiaobo. His prison sentence also demonstrates that being cooperative by giving advice while praising CCP’s human rights record leads to nowhere . That is why both domestic and overseas Chinese democracy advocates reacted strongly to Liu’s statement as soon as it was released. Some of us wrote an open letter to the Nobel Peace Prize committee upon learning that he was nominated as a candidate, expressing in no uncertain terms that we did not support awarding Liu the prize and citing the same reasons as we expressed above. This letter was emailed to all the nominators of Liu Xiaobo, including Ms. Mueller, the 2009 laureate of the Nobel Prize in literature.
Disappointingly, the Nobel Committee still decided to award the Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo. Even more disappointingly, Liu’s statement “I have no enemies——My final statement” was recited at the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony. At such an international conference with peace and human rights as its theme, this statement not only praised the CCP’s deploring human rights record, but also specifically named the prison wardens and the CCP judicial officers with high praises. Back in 1975, Andrei Sakharov used most of his speech at his Peace Prize ceremony to expose the appalling human rights record of the Soviet Union, naming in particular dozens of political prisoners and calling for their release. The words by Liu Xiaobo at the ceremony, in contrast, were totally inappropriate and unacceptable to us.
Our criticisms of Liu Xiaobo are all based on facts and out of conscience, which is perfectly normal in a free society. What is abnormal is Ms. Mueller’s article published in the Frankfurter on March 26. She is certainly entitled to voice her support for Liu Xiaobo . However, she used abusive language against those who criticized Liu, saying that “slandering, denunciation and shameless assassination of Xiaobo were the nature of those emails. Perhaps the Chinese intelligence has infiltrated the exiles, or perhaps these exiles have gone mad out of fear and frustration. They play exile revolution on paper far from their homeland, shamelessly rampaging with vicious words, while others in China had to make mistakes because they were taking action, and they could act only according to the situation."
Because of frequent sabotage from CCP intelligence against the overseas Chinese democracy movement, some believed that the article was a fake, saying that “such a cheap attack cannot be from a Westerner, and it does not sound like someone with class.” Upon hearing confirmation that the article was indeed written by Ms. Mueller, we have to say that it is impossible for us to view her way of thinking and manner of writing as fit for an author, because this assertion and attack of her style was just like that of the propaganda during the era of Nicolae Ceausescu in Romania.
Many of the Chinese democracy advocates have criticized Liu Xiaobo in the past. Among the most severe criticizers are Wang Ruowang and Liu Binyan, both well known dissident writers, who published long articles criticizing in detail Liu’s fundamental mistakes. Also among the criticizers is Wei Jingsheng, the prominent Chinese democracy movement leader, who was imprisoned by the CCP for nearly 20 years. Ms. Mueller labeled these criticisms as “mad out of fear”, “schizophrenic”, “playing exile revolution on paper” and “shamelessly rampaging with vicious words”. These words by Mueller carry apparent personal attitudes and are prejudiced insults.