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·The State of Human Rights Lawyers in China
·权益组织:电视认罪—一场中国官方导演的大戏
·温良学者 正义卫士(一)
·Has Xi Jinping Changed China? Not Really
·訪滕彪律師談中共政權對於全世界民主自由人權發展的負面影響
·中共绑架中国
·美国务院发布人权报告 点名批评中国等八国
·滕彪,温良学者 正义卫士(二)——发出不同的声音
·鸿茅药酒:中共制度之毒
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·温良学者 正义卫士(五)——黑暗中的闪电
·美两党议员推法案 要求调查中共渗透/NTD
·Video【Teng Biao: From 1989 to 1984】
·第二届藏港台圆桌会 中国律师表态支持自决权
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·Exiled in the U.S., a Lawyer Warns of ‘China’s Long Arm’
·端传媒滕彪专访:一个曾经的依法维权者,怎么看今日中国?
·VOA:川金会上 人权问题真的被忽略了吗?
·“中国的长臂”:滕彪审视西方机构对华自我审查
·中国长臂迫使西方机构公司自我审查/RFA
·美退出人权理事会 滕彪呼吁应将人权与经贸利益挂钩
·“中国政治转变的可能前景”研讨会纪要
·滕彪:川普退出人权理事会是为人权?西藏、新疆民族自决
· The Second China human rights lawyers day
·第二届“中国人权律师节”将于7月8日在纽约举行
·【video】A message from a Chinese human rights lawyer
·【RFA中国热评】美中贸易战、 “七五”、“709案”
·回顾709案:中国迫害律师的第三波高潮
·中国人权律师节力赞人权律师的意义
·高智晟、王全璋获颁首届中国人权律师奖
·Chinese rights lawyers and international support
·高智晟王全璋纽约获人权律师奖 亲友代领
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·China’s global challenge to democratic freedom
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·China Builds More Prisons in Xinjiang/RFA
· China’s global challenge to democratic freedom
·Global Information and Democracy Commission
·MEMBERS OF THE INFORMATION AND DEMOCRACY COMMISSION
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Tiananmen at 25: China's next revolution may already be underway


   
   Chinese seeking political reform know that it must come from within.
   Chris Horton
   May 10, 2014 02:29

   
   
   Chinese police confront anti-Japanese demonstrators irate about the disputed Diaoyu Islands, in September 2012 in Shenzhen. But 25 years after Tiananmen, will protesters ever rise up en masse against the Communist Party?
   
   HONG KONG — On June 4, a quarter century will have passed since the defining moment of post-Mao China, when the People’s Liberation Army's bloody crackdown destroyed a peaceful citizens’ movement demanding political change in Beijing.
   
   A perennial question as the anniversary approaches is whether the Chinese people will ever again attempt to force their one-party government to change.
   
   But just as the tensions that culminated in blood 25 years ago had actually been building up for years, the Communist Party of China appears to be dealing with another widespread buildup of dissatisfied citizens.
   
   This time around, things are much different. China is more open to the world than ever. Its internet, despite heavy censorship, is still a valuable platform for sharing ideas.
   
   And a growing number of citizens are willing to go to prison for their beliefs.
   
   
   “The central government’s attitude is ‘grab the big, release the small’”
   
   GlobalPost spoke with three vocal critics of China’s political status quo: a Tiananmen survivor, a lawyer, and a writer. Despite diverse backgrounds, they agree that the party will not reform itself of its own free will, nor will outside pressure force it to do so.
   
   Change is necessary, they say, and must come from the Chinese people.
   
   The Communist Party’s standard defense for its actions in 1989 — when (at least) hundreds of civilian demonstrators and some soldiers died — is that the protesters wanted to plunge the country into chaos. By crushing the movement, the party preserved stability, paving the way for great improvement in the Chinese people’s lives. Indeed, in the ensuing quarter century China rose from poverty to become the world’s second-biggest economy.
   
   Rose Tang, a former Tiananmen student activist who is now a Brooklyn-based writer and artist, agrees that things have gotten better in her homeland — with one important caveat.
   
   
   
   
   
   
   “China has improved tremendously,” said Tang. “But only for the government and some others, most notably the 0.1 percent. Some people are actually worse off, including peasants, laid-off workers, the urban poor and senior citizens. Overall, the air, water, soil, food and healthcare have all worsened. China is on the way to becoming a living hell.”
   
   Tang said the Chinese people are plagued by a “slave mentality” that prevents challenging authority. But this is changing, she noted, especially through the growing numbers of people attempting to change the country via the courts or the internet, neither of which were options in 1989.
   
   “The brainwashed mentality remains strong, such as the loyalty to the nation, considering Tibet and Xinjiang as historical parts of China, and the false confidence that China is a superpower,” she said. “But awareness of the power of the individual in China has definitely risen.”
   
   New movement brewing
   
   The New Citizens’ Movement is one of many manifestations of this growing sense of individual power. Spearheaded by rights lawyers, journalists and other intellectuals, the grassroots group does not propose overthrowing the Communist Party. Rather, it advocates that everyone — including the party — act within the confines of China’s constitution and laws.
   
   Hardly the rhetoric of revolution, but Beijing obviously feels threatened and is doing all it can to quash the movement, a decision which could backfire.
   
   The Chinese government often accuses proponents of “gathering a crowd to disturb public order,” a crime which carries a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment. Non-hierarchical and without formal membership, the movement’s nebulous nature — anyone that agrees with its reasonable aims could be a "member" — likely adds to government fears.
   
   On April 18 in Beijing, four movement activists were handed prison sentences ranging from two to three-and-a-half years. Their crime: demanding that party officials disclose their financial assets. Days earlier, lawyer and movement initiator Xu Zhiyong, sentenced to four years in prison in January, was denied an appeal. Xu had organized demonstrations pushing for financial transparency among officials, as well as equal education for China’s tens of millions of rural students.
   
   Other participants in the New Citizens’ Movement are also in detention awaiting trial, but some are now outside of China. Teng Biao, a visiting scholar at Chinese University of Hong Kong and a lawyer who has worked with Xu and others on high-profile civil rights cases since 2003, continues to advocate civil and political rights for all Chinese.
   
   Teng notes that there is a “large gap” between political systems envisioned by the Chinese government and Chinese civil rights advocates. He says his main objective is to establish a constitutional democracy that respects civil and political rights.
   
   “Constitutional democracy has a few basic requirements, such as separation of powers, an independent judiciary and universal suffrage,” Teng said, adding that democracy and rule of law, rather than rule of man, are also primary goals.
   
   Maintaining an iron grip on power
   
   China’s government targets anyone outside party control whose ideas could go viral, according to movement proponent Chen Min. Better known in China by his pen name, Xiao Shu, he was previously chief opinion columnist at the progressive Guangzhou-based newspaper Southern Weekend and is now a visiting scholar at Columbia University.
   
   “The central government’s attitude is ‘grab the big, release the small,’” he said. “Small or fringe elements are not usually bothered with, nor are they able to be. But because anything receiving the sympathy and support of mainstream society is capable of merging with society and possibly growing in strength, regardless of whether it is mild or militant, legal or illegal, if it cannot be usurped and maintains its independence, it must be roundly smashed.”
   
   The US and others still criticize China’s human rights record, but after years of rapidly growing economic and trade ties, the West’s approach to issues such as China’s intense censorship regime or crackdowns on Tibetans and Uighurs has little effect on decision-making in Beijing.
   
   “China is economically very powerful now, it can ignore international pressure on human rights and minorities,” Teng said, adding that China’s cooperation on terrorism and North Korea also make the West fearful of offending Beijing.
   
   Tang says that by prioritizing economic relations with China over human rights, many countries weakened their own diplomatic leverage.
   
   “The US and Western governments' approach to China since ’89 has weakened. Now they allow themselves to be bullied by China, fearing they'll lose their trading partner, investment base, supplier or market.”
   
   “Most of those who ordered the troops to clear Tiananmen have died, but the regime remains the same, and in a way, has become more thuggish because of the lack of outside pressure,” she adds. “I doubt there'll be another Tiananmen massacre with tanks and troops slaughtering people, but I do worry that things could turn violent because too many people have been suppressed for too long.”
   
   When asked whether he thought peaceful political change in China was possible, Xiao said it didn’t matter.
   
   “Even if it’s impossible, we must try hard,” he said. “We must explore every possible method to effect peaceful change.”
   
   http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/china/140506/tiananmen-at-25-chinas-next-revolution-already-here

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