04/19/2013, 00.00
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The case of Anne Zhang "is the storm that awakens the people's conscience"

by Wei Jingsheng
The Communist regime arrested a ten-year-old girl and banished her from school, "guilty" of having a dissident father. His case shocked the Chinese web world, which began a campaign of unprecedented solidarity. This is a clear sign that people's conscience has not died. Here is the analysis of the great Chinese dissident.

Washington (AsiaNews) - Many friends do not know who Anne Zhang is.  As the youngest political victim in China, she is already a celebrity on the Chinese Internet.  Only because of the Internet blockade by the Communist regime, as well as the self-censorship by most of the Chinese media in Hong Kong, Taiwan and overseas, most people in China do not know it. 

It started with Anne's father, Zhang Lin.  More than one decade ago, Mr. Zhang worked for one year in my office in New York.  Later on, he engaged in pro-democracy work with Dr. Wang Bingzhang.  During a clandestine action returning to China, Mr. Zhang was arrested due to a traitor, yet was slandered as being arrested due to prostitution through some Communist agents within the democracy ranks.  Thus, Mr. Zhang was excluded from the list for international rescue and suffered the torment in prison.  After his release, Zhang Lin still would not change his mind and he continues his pro-democracy activities.  He became a thorn to the Chinese Communist Party. 

Little Anne was born into such a family of a determined democracy fighter.  She is only ten years old, and has not had enough time to receive the revolutionary teachings of her fathers.  She is only an elementary school student not knowing too much.  However, the Communist regime does not treat her as a little pupil.  In order to threaten Mr. Zhang Lin and to control his activities, out of expectation the Chinese Communist regime holds little Anne as hostage.  It kicked her out of her school and detained her.  Then it illegally held both father and daughter for one day and sent them back to their original home.  This little girl became the youngest political prisoner, even several years younger than Chinese President Xi Jinping was when he received criticism like a young political prisoner during the political campaigns of the Cultural Revolution. 

Many people say, "The Cultural Revolution had ended," in a tone as if the relentless persecution by the Communist Party has ended.  The persecution against those old "rightists" who have been tamed may have ended.  Maybe one could even cheer that intellectuals could stand tall and live well above the average people.  But has the persecution in China really ended?  Is it not true that many dissidents and rights-defenders who fight for average Chinese's human rights are still receiving relentless persecution?  Is it not true that many religious people and Qi Gong groups are still receiving relentless persecution just because they adhere to their own faith?  Even a ten-year-old girl is persecuted altogether.  Can it be said that the Cultural Revolution has ended? 

That Cultural Revolution led by Mao Zedong is indeed over.  The Communist regime was also forced to reform the Stalinist planned economy.  But the Marxist one-party dictatorship did not change, and the origin of evil did not change.  It still remains in the Chinese constitution, and has been executed as the essential principle of the autocratic politics of the Communist Party.  Evil crimes still continue; the only difference is that slaves' basic necessities of life have improved some.  Well, even with better food and better clothing, slaves are still slaves without the rights of humanity. 

For the rights of human beings, Mr. Zhang Lin is struggling.  For the rights of human beings, millions of Internet users in China have joined the struggle.  Unwilling to be exploited, indignant people are standing in the forefront of the struggle.  Mr. Liu Weiguo, a human rights lawyer from Shandong, began an indefinite hunger strike for Anne's rights to study.  The volunteers in Anhui Province organized a candlelight vigil and hunger strike relay.  They have received the solidarity and support of netizens across China. 

It is worth mentioning that not only U.S. citizens are willing to take care of the schooling and living expenses of little Anne, but also the human rights and democracy leaders in Taiwan have expressed their willingness to arrange for Anne to go to Taiwan for her schooling.  These offers make a stark contrast to the ruthless brutality of the Communist authorities.  They also make a stark contrast to the cowardice in the school where Anne studies -- they did not dare to accept Anne to continue her schooling.  By the way, I want to point out that under the circumstance that the KMT authorities in Taiwan are actively moving closer to the Communist regime, these human rights leaders in Taiwan who came out to help Anne also bear no small risk.  They are not as some people have said, simply staging up a free show. 

From the storm caused by this Anne Zhang event, it clearly reflects the awakening of the Chinese people.  Even as recently as last year, Chinese were discussing the reason that nobody cared when an old person fell on the roadside.  People resent moral degeneration in China.  This itself illustrates that the conscience of the people has not died out.  Now, tens of thousands of netizens who never met Anne speaking up for her and put their words into action.  It is not just that the conscience has not died out, but the conscience is awakening. 

Over these years, there were a lot of pessimistic friends saying to me: "Mr. Wei, do not bother, there is no hope in China.  Its resources are completed depleted; its environment is destroyed; and most importantly is people's morals have degenerated.  Even if China were to become democratic, it cannot be saved.  What hope is there?"  But I was always recalcitrant.  I do not believe that the Chinese nation has become so depraved to the bottom.  I am always full of confidence. 

The Little Anne Event proved that there is a base for my confidence.  The people's conscience cannot be completely destroyed.  It will awaken rapidly when the conditions are suitable.  The harsh environment can only force the seeds of conscience into a dormant state, but it cannot stifle the vitality of conscience.  This vitality that cannot be stifled is exactly the source of hope for us the Chinese, and the source of strength for humanity to triumph over evil.  These hundreds of thousands of netizens banding together against the common enemy, and the figures of the warriors standing in the forefront, are the evidence of this hope. 

Who says that there is no hope for China?  The corrupt officials and their offspring who fled to the western paradise believe that there's no hope.  But I do not believe it.  The righteous people who will speak out against injustice do not believe it.  The Internet provides broader range and more timely information to the ordinary people who are helping each other.  This is a people's war that the dictators who hired hundreds of thousands of Internet police cannot prevent.  Just like the old saying: this is a vast ocean; one who follows the current shall prosper, while those who push against it shall perish.  This irreversible trend is the hope for China.  That is our common hope. 

However, hope alone is not enough.  Action is also needed.  When more people awaken, when more people take action for this wonderful hope, hope is about to be realized.  The road from hope to its realization is not far.  The measurement of that distance is the actions we take.  With a firm confidence and active action, hope will no longer to be a dream, but a soon realized reality.

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