Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

A troubled exile for Wei Jingsheng [Taipei Times, 2003] #RisingChina #Exiles

Thank you to the heads up from HH for the blast from the past.

Exile or not, the thing is, once you’re out of China you lose your voice and effectiveness within China.

If need be, you can also be systemically wiped out in collective memory.

For instance, none of my Chinese students had seen this photo before they came for a class on investigating the myth of photographic truth.

tiananmen-square-1024x686

Will Chen Guangcheng carve out a different fate from Wei Jingsheng?

For more, see NYU and China Aid Fight Over Cheng Guangcheng And The “Human Rights” Turf (Hidden Harmonies, June 2013)

– – –

A troubled exile for Wei Jingsheng
By Dong Cheng Yu 董成瑜 /
Source – Taipei Times Wed, Jan 22, 2003 – Page 8 published online

Five years ago, 17 years of imprisonment for political dissent finally came to an end for Wei Jingsheng (魏京生), one of the leaders of the Chinese democracy movement, and he was able to go to the democratic paradise that is the US.

The US expected an influential Chinese democratic thinker. But Wei is not highly educated, speaks no English and tends to be uncompromising — and unrealistic. He has had problems with the US government, with money and with life in general, and the Americans have lost patience with him.

Wei is still wielding the same sword with which he used to fight the Chinese dictatorship, but on the streets of the US, a land completely foreign to him. He has looked around and concluded that the enemy is no longer just the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and this has caused him to lose direction.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Cheng Guangcheng, China Dream, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Culture, Democracy, Education, Exile, Government & Policy, Great Firewall, Human Rights, Ideology, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S.

A love-hate relationship [BBC]

BBC’s Damian Grammaticas mulls over the emerging two sides of China ‘when it comes to interacting with foreigners here, inside its borders’ – as hostility and admiration coexist.

– – –

A love-hate relationship
by Damian Grammaticas
Source – BBC, published May 23, 2012

As China’s economic, political and military influence rises, one important question is – what sort of power China will be? How will it interact with foreigners and foreign nations?

Will it be benign – as China’s own officials say when they talk of China’s “peaceful rise” – or will it be an assertive, nationalistic, even xenophobic power?

In recent days, we’ve seen two very different Chinas on show when it comes to interacting with foreigners here, inside its borders. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: BBC, Beijing Consensus, Bo Xilai, Censorship, Charm Offensive, Cheng Guangcheng, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Education, Government & Policy, Human Rights, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Peaceful Development, People, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Uncategorized

To leave China or not? [Straits Times]

Singapore perspective on Chinese dissidents and their diasporic circumstance: The Straits Times offers an opinion on the ‘out of China’s sight, out of Chinese minds’ predicament for Chinese on the wrong side of the party.

– – –

To leave China or not?
That’s the dilemma that Chinese dissidents face
by Peh Shing Huei
Source – Straits Times, published May 7, 2012

SOME FAMOUS DISSIDENTS ABROAD: (from top left) Fang Lizhi, Wei Jingsheng, Rebiya Kadeer, Wang Dan, Wu’er Kaixi, Liao Yiwu, Wan Yanhai and Yu Jie. — PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

BEIJING: Most dissidents in China have to face a simple but potentially life-changing question at some point in their lives: Should I stay or should I go?

The answer, unfortunately, is not as straightforward.

As the Chen Guangcheng incident has shown, deciding whether to leave China and go into exile is an extremely tough call. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Cheng Guangcheng, Chinese Model, Corruption, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Government & Policy, Human Rights, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, People, Politics, Social, Soft Power, Straits Times, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

US to arrange for Chen to pursue overseas studies [Global Times]

As the fourth round of the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue concludes, the Chen Guangcheng Sino-US ping-pong match seems to beheading to an amicable end. It has been reported Chen will be allowed to leave China and pursue ‘studies’ in the US in a move that could be face-saving for both sides.

– – –

US to arrange for Chen to pursue overseas studies
By Huang Jingjing
Source – Global Times, published May 5, 2012

Chen Guangcheng may apply to study abroad through legal means like other Chinese citizens, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press release on Friday.

“If he hopes to study abroad, as a Chinese citizen, he can apply according to laws with relevant departments and through the same channels as other Chinese citizens,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin replied when asked to make a comment on reports that Chen wished to study abroad.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday that she saw “progress” in resolving the Chen Guangcheng incident, and was “encouraged” by Beijing’s statement. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Cheng Guangcheng, Chinese Model, Democracy, Education, global times, Government & Policy, Human Rights, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Peaceful Development, People, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, U.S.

Chen Guangcheng: The great escape [The Economist]

Wow.

Chen Guangcheng accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke (R) at a hospital in Beijing Photo: REUTERS

The narratives of fallen princeling and blind activist converge to change the complexion of the Chinese meta narrative. Or so it seems. Recent media glare has been nothing short of intense.

Trending like wildfire in both traditional and new media, Bo Xilai and now Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚) are certainly making headlines in a landscape where Chinese soft power and its national image seems to be taking a global hit.

Has the CCP’s grip on power and control of information facing an unprecedented challenge since 1989? Perhaps things have gotten out of hand in an unsteady transition to a new generation of leadership, encumbered by legacies on one hand, and suspicion on the other.

Is the party finally showing a vulnerability not seen in decades? China’s Great Firewall of censorship is now on overdrive as all manner of search terms have been banned – to the extent of Chen’s surname, which is one of the most common of Chinese surnames.

A previously successful message illuminated by the headlights of economic growth now sees new challenges. This in some ways was to be expected. As China opened up and learnt the ways of connectivity with networked societies, it had to learn to cross the river of old paradigms of building great walls one stone at a time.

Whatever way it goes, this is an interesting twist to China’s policy of non-intervention as it pushes its definition of  domestic out of traditional boundaries to signal transnational reactions to whatever it sees as a domestic affair – translating to its people and territory as it demanded the US to return Chen, seen here as an act of petulance over dissent. The nationalistic Global Times postures the Chinese position clear in ‘Chen and embassy should not delude themselves‘.

In a nutshell –
One blind dissident once characterized for bringing international attention to forced late-term abortions reveals the Chinese sleight of non-intervention.

The Party has never taken kindly to those who criticize its methods (Ai Weiwei took up the spotlight last year) and there are no indicators of that changing.Chen, who really punctured the utility of its one-child policy in the international press pissed them off leading to his house arrest. When he escapes, they get even more pissed off – behaving without the nuances of its peaceful co-existence paradigm and it really showed.

What is also emerging as a pattern, is that Chen, like Wang Lijun (in the Bo Xilai case), both sought refuge in American embassies in times of adversity. As it is, Chen is now back in Chinese hands after high-level talks despite wanting to go to the US. And, all this is concurrent with the fourth round of the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing.

To follow the story…

Two very different characters rewriting China’s script (CNN, May 2, 2012)

China urges US to stop misleading the public after harboring Chen Guangcheng (China Daily/Xinhua, May 2, 2012)

China denounces US as dissident Chen leaves embassy (AsiaOne/Reuters, May 2, 2012)

Chen Guangcheng left US embassy ‘after family threats’ (BBC, May 2, 2012)

Chen Guangcheng: America shows a naivity that beggars belief (Telegraph, May 2, 2012)

Activist Chen Guangcheng is in a new bid to leave China, baulking at high-level deal (The Australian, May 3, 2012)

– – –

Chen Guangcheng: The great escape
by J.M.
Source – Economist, published May 2, 2012

THE STORY of how Chen Guangcheng, a 40-year-old blind villager, escaped through the prison-like security cordon surrounding his home and ended up hundreds of miles away in Beijing under American diplomatic protection will long be recounted as one of the most dramatic episodes in America’s dealings with China over human rights. After six days at the American Embassy, Mr Chen left “of his own accord”, the two governments said, to receive medical treatment in a Beijing hospital. Mr Chen, it was reported, would stay in China and be allowed to attend university. A subsequent report from Associated Press stated that Mr Chen left the embassy after threats were made against his wife. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Censorship, Charm Offensive, Cheng Guangcheng, Chinese Model, Democracy, Economist, Government & Policy, Great Firewall, Human Rights, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Peaceful Development, People, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S.

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