Chinese Law Prof Blog

Editor: Donald C. Clarke
George Washington University Law School

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Liang Jing commentary on Chen Guangcheng case

Here's an interesting commentary by Liang Jing (梁京) on the Chen Guangcheng case. Translation below, courtesy of David Kelly.

Liang Jing, Who are the enemies of a harmonious society?

When I read Yuan Weishi's article in Southern Weekend criticizing Sun Yat-sen's "Second Revolution" not long ago, I could not help but wonder whether Chen Guangcheng's appeal may have an outcome which will give the world a sense of relief? Friday's sentencing once again disappointed all people who uphold justice.

What message do the authorities think they are sending the world with the heinous crime they commit in persecuting Chen, a blind civil rights defender, by shameless manipulation of the judiciary? On this question, I am sure that many people would be as puzzled as me. I inferred that their persecution of Chen is chiefly out of fear that the peasants would pursue a large scale liquidation of various illegal family planning practices. Based on this, I published a critique. Later however I spoke with a PRC insider whose grasp of the situation overturned my suppositions. According to him, the State Family Planning Commission actually supports Chen's criticism of the large-scale use by local government's of illegal means of family planning. So this issue is not decisive in the authorities' determination to persecute him.

In the judgment of some rights defenders, persecuting Chen is a political response to the escalation of the Western, above all American campaigns in support popular rights defence. It would now seem that this is a most important factor, but even so, the entire persecution of Chen Guangcheng in China has exposed the extreme malice of the regime. They openly connive in such shameless acts as kidnapping of lawyers and witnesses. The information disseminated has far exceeded what is needed to express dissatisfaction with the West.

The measures used in the course of persecuting Chen amount to announcing to the world that the values they declare on various formal occasions—the rule of law, democracy and social harmony—count for nothing: as soon as anyone challenges their monopoly on power, they unhesitating to use any means to protect their power base.

Chen's persecution also tells us that the authorities' fear of losing power has reached the point where they have lost normal powers of judgment. But for these distortions induced by fear, I believe it would not be hard for the authorities to see as clearly as we do that Chen is not someone who harbors political motives. Things would not have reached this pass if they had not politicized his rights defence efforts. Chen Guangcheng and his family have been subjected to great harm, but those really paying a serious political price are none other than the country's highest authorities.

I cannot imagine how Hu Jintao can in his own conscience defend his persecution. Dare he say this is entirely a judicial process in which he cannot intervene? That it is wholly the work of local authorities, of which he was totally in the dark?

We will never be able to understand the way of thinking of people like Hu Jintao, in whose minds there are two entirely conflicting logics, so that he may, on the one hand, very sincerely advocate a harmonious society but on the other without bothering his conscience give orders for the persecution of a straightforward, good and innocent person like Chen Guangcheng.

In Hu's view, it is none other than people of unsullied conscience like Chen who turn out to be the enemies of the harmonious society. It is their efforts on behalf of justice for the people that undermines social harmony, while those officials who riding roughshod over the people, using illegal and inhuman means to coerce peasants to have abortions, become the defenders of harmonious society in their stead. This tyrannical mode of thinking is incompatible with today's world. What is discordant with the people's desires should be very clear, which makes the authorities' persecution of Chen's even more incomprehensible.

It appears that even though today's network technology allows unprecedented numbers of people see that the emperor is naked, as the mainland's top political environment remains as closed as in the Middle Ages, the emperor himself is kept in the dark.

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I feel embarrassed to have to ask this, but could you remind me (us) who Liang Jing is? (I recall he's involved in the weiquan movement, but that's about it.)

Posted by: Mike Dowdle | Dec 19, 2006 5:49:12 AM

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