Tag: China

Hong Kong Free Press: A new, non-profit, independent English language news source for Hong Kong

Do you believe Hong Kong needs a new English language news source? Launching in June, Hong Kong Free Press is an independent news outlet seeking to unite critical voices at a vital time in the city’s constitutional development.

Through our links with Chinese media partners, HKFP strives to bridge the language barrier and raise local and global understanding of Hong Kong issues in the post-Occupy era. Our launch is well-timed, coming amid rising concerns over the decline of press freedom in the territory.


A much-needed voice:

With a fast, visual, multimedia design, HKFP will launch with a focus on local breaking news, showcasing translated and viral content while providing a direct platform to expert progressive voices, citizen contributors and advocacy groups.

As a not-for-profit business, HKFP will become more sustainable over time with multiple revenue streams. As we grow, we aim to offer more comment and analysis, investigative journalism, regional coverage and explainers.

Why now?

Reporters Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the International Federation of JournalistsHong Kong Journalists Association and Pen America have all reported on the recent decline of press freedom in Hong Kong. With attacks on journalists, advertisers withdrawing from media critical of the establishment along with the existential pressures facing the wider industry, it is ever more vital that the territory has an independent platform for critical voices to be heard.

In addition to highlighting the lack of plurality in the local media landscape, the Umbrella Movement protests exposed a gap between the Chinese and English media. Some stories, themes and angles featured in the Chinese media were missed or ignored by the English press – other stories took days to be reported on.


Purpose of crowdfunding and how will the funds be used:

We are seeking to raise HK$150,000 to

  • Complete our website and populate it with content ready for launch.
  • Create a mobile news app for iPhone and Android.
  • Sustain two frontline reporters for two months to oversee our launch period.

Every HK$50,000 over our target will help sustain us for one extra month.


Execution Plan 
May-June : Crowdfunding
Late June : Official launch of Hong Kong Free Press


Background of project owner

Tom Grundy is the founder and co-director of Hong Kong Free Press. His team consists of:


Hong Kongers have chosen political stability in the past 17 years. That is changing rapidly


In two days, Americans will unite and celebrate July 4th, full of pride, with parades. Across the ocean, Hong Kongers commemorated July 1st – the city’s Establishment Day since the 1997 handover – in an entirely different fashion: divided, and for many, filled with anger and shame.

On one end, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying stared onto the flags of China and Hong Kong, as the Chinese national anthem is played in the background, and will sure enjoy an extravagant firework display across the Victoria Harbour later that evening.

For Leung, his bureaucrats, and (no doubt) many patriots, July 1st is of as great significance as the Independence Day to Americans. But for all that, Leung has distanced himself further away from people across the aisle, who took the streets of the city under an uncanny storm to show their discontent towards, amongst all things, China’s vision for the city’s political future.

A resolute march

Tens of thousands of citizens went on a protest to support the pro-democracy call to make the next Chief Executive election in 2017 to meet international standards for democracy. The protest, in the form of a march through Hong Kong’s Central district, is an annual event to voice citizens’ mixed demands of democracy, universal suffrage, rights of racial and sexual minorities as well as to show resentment towards the administration in Hong Kong and it’s puppet masters in China.

The number of participants is expected to match or exceed the benchmark set in 2003 when a crowd of 500,000 marched in light of a proposed anti-subversion law, Article 23, combined with the fact that the government handled SARS poorly. Prior to that, 1.5 million gathered sympathising the victims of 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in China during its immediate aftermath.

Turnout this year is proliferated by a recent white paper from China which said that Hong Kong’s autonomy under ‘one country, two systems’ is restricted and comes solely from the authorisation of the leadership in Beijing. This document exacerbated the effects of the city official’s misplaced economic priorities (which are, themselves, shortcoming) and repeated, bureaucratic call for ‘stability’ coupled by words (but not action) of ‘trying hard to forge consensus’.

Change is desperate

Many citizens also feel misrepresented by the parliament of Hong Kong which, because nearly half its seats are only open to a small number of voters belonging to an assigned professional or special interest group, is largely occupied by pro-Beijing legislator. Though even the most outspoken patriot amongst these legislators silent this night and refused to defend Leung’s unhurried political reform on television amidst strong opposition voice.

Leung’s legitimacy is no better than the parliament’s because he was elected by a 1200-small council which makes up for a pitiful 0.017% of Hong Kong’s population. This council is also largely occupied by special interest groups and thus, unlike the rest of Hong Kong, has a strong Beijing-bias; in the most recent 2012 vote Leung received a mere 689 votes because of infighting within the pro-Beijing representatives combined with infidelity reports of his opponent, not because there was genuine competition.

Protesters are numbed by the state’s failure to deliver change which had momentum back in 2012 but fell quickly on its feet due to officials’ successful delaying tactics. Many feel that the government is unable to deliver and consequently their altitude has been radicalised despite the fact that Hong Kong is by tradition a socially conservative city and intolerant towards change, particularly among its large elder population.

Young student groups are among those which are radicalised. Scholarism, led by 17-year-old Joshua Wong, has emerged in 2011 when the group opposed a proposed scheme of ‘Moral and National Education’ which aimed to elevate patriotism amongst youngsters but in its textbooks included bias and often fictitious language that favoured the Communist Party of China.

An uncertain future

This frightened the public and brought politically inexperienced students to the front stage of opposition through speeches and silent protests. Three years has passed that even but when Beijing insisted that the next Chief Executive to be ‘patriotic’ recently, fear of a Communist crackdown reignited. Only this time it is met with an increasingly aggressive crowd.

Growing in number and strength, strong believers of democracy such as professor Benny Tai sponsored a plan of civil disobedience as their last resort if they fail to achieve their goals. Some 10,000 citizens are organising sit-in protest in Central which will cripple Hong Kong’s financial district. The student group Scholarism has planned for a trial run of such occupy movement after today’s protest and they fully expect to be arrested.

It will be a shame if government’s neglect is met with violence and violence is met with arrests in order for progress to be made. The first of its kind, Hong Kong’s ‘one country, two systems’ promised 50 years of autonomy and is designed to make the city flourish economically as well as socially and politically, and act as a shining example for Taiwan – which China wants to overpower under a similar system but has gotten nowhere – and to the world.

America will mark their 238th anniversary of independence on Friday; Hong Kong’s political system is only 17 years old. Yet the city is already exceedingly divided and politicised, and a gloomy future seems set for the three decades ahead.

Hong Kong SAR is Not a Democracy!

Could anybody out there give me a quick introduction to the Hong Kong government and its political landscape? I’ve always had the impression it had a democracy and there are like dozens of political parties in the city.

Hong Kong is a semi-autonomous city that is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) within China under the Basic Law (HK’s mini-constitution).   In essence, Hong Kong SAR is semi-democratic since it does not have universal suffrage, a basic tenet of a democracy.

The Chief Executive, currently CY Leung, is the head of the government in Hong Kong SAR and is answerable directly to Beijing.

According to the Basic Law, the Chief Executive (CE) must be a Chinese citizen who is a permanent resident of the HKSAR with no right of abode in any foreign country. The person must be at least 40 years old, and has ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of no less than 20 years

The Chief Executive is elected by 1200 members drawn from functional constituencies and government officials.  There are no direct elections for the CE post as explained below:

However, because so many of the functional constituency parties are instructed by Beijing for whom to vote, the outcome was already known regardless of televised debates and campaigning.

Hong Kong also has a unicameral legislature popularly called the LegCo, or Legislative Council. The LegCo consists of 70 elected members with a fixed 4-year term. Lawmakers in the LegCo, are either elected by direct elections for the 35 seats representing geographical constituencies (districts) or by functional constituencies representing  professional or special interest groups (numbering around 230000) for the other 35 seats in the 70-seat LegCo.

The major functions of the LegCo are to enact, amend or repeal laws, check and approve budgets, approve taxation and public expenditure, and review the work of the government. Due to the design of the Legislative Council, the majority of elected officials tend to be from pro-Beijing political parties or groupings, which often work together for corporate-government interests.

Currently, two groups are fighting for influence in the Hong Kong SAR government:

Pro-Beijing coalition: political parties united by the political ideology of being closer to Beijing government, but differ on other issues.  Since the handover, the Pro-Beijing camp have never lost being the majority in the LegCo, thanks to support from functional constituents and collaboration among the Pro-Beijing parties.  Notable parties include the DAB (Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong), Liberal Party, and FTU (Federation of Trade Unions).

Pan-Democrats: political parties united by calls for democratic reform, universal suffrage and human rights.  Pan-Democrats are often labelled an “opposition camp” by various groups and media aligned with the mainland Chinese government, since the Pan-Democrats goal run counter to values promoted by the Chinese Communist Party.  Recently, 27 democratic legislators formed the Alliance for True Democracy, a formal coalition to show solidarity for genuine democracy. Notable parties include the Democratic Party, Civic Party, and People Power.

8 Reasons Why the Northeast New Territories (NENT) Development Plan is Wrong for Hong Kong

Question: What’s the deal with the Northeast New Territories (#NENT) Development Plan? I heard that some companies (or few people) are going to get a lot of money from the land? And something was passed a few days ago in 立法㑹 under questionable circumstances? What happened?

Answer:   The North East New Territories (NENT) Development Project would allow Mainland Chinese to enter Hong Kong without a visa, which effectively removes the border between Hong Kong SAR and China.

However, this is against the Basic Law (HK’s mini-constitution), which stresses “one country, two systems”, where Hong Kong enjoys autonomy despite being part of China.

June 27th, 2014 – Members of the Legislative Council’s Finance Committee voted 29-2 to move forward with the NENT Development Project, despite irregularities with rushed voting procedures.


8 Reasons Why the Northeast New Territories (NENT) Development Plan is Wrong for Hong Kong

1. Doesn’t resolve Hong Kong’s Housing Issues

North-East New Territories Development Plan (NENT Plan) involves 614 hectares of land. Of this, 400 hectares of the plan requires the government to buy from landowners.

Residential development accounts for 96 hectares of the project, which is estimated to provide 60700 residential units: 40% public housing and 60% private housing.

Majority of private housing part for project is “low density luxury housing” (54 hectares), and only 36 hectares of the entire project is used for pubic housing – just 6% of the project!


2. Destroys Traditional Communities

Despite preserving some traditional villages, over 10,000 people are still affected by the plan.  Homes inhabited by over 3 generations of families will be destroyed in the name of development.

NENT Plan also destroys quality of life for inhabitants in the affected area. Landowning villagers are being forced to leave, but unable to afford replacement homes despite government compensation.

Most of all, all inhabitants will lose their homes and traditions, under the NENT Plan.


3. Many Elderly Will Be Made Homeless

HK SAR government’s latest NENT Plan is to demolish the existing elderly home in Shek Tsai Leng in 2 phrases and replace it with a public estate for the elderly in 2023.

It sounds great on paper, but not all the elderly would qualify to live in the replacement estate, which means there will be those made homeless by the development plan.

Even if they qualify to move into the replacement estate, the first phrase of demolition will badly affect the environment and quality of life for elderly who are living in the area.


4. Major Conflicts of Interest

The Town Planning Board (TPB) has not approved the NENT Development Plan but HK SAR Government bypassed it to apply for public funding, which is against procedure.

Also, details and size of land acquisitions has not been finalised for proper review.   The Financial Committee of the Legislative Council (LegCo) that approved the plan is composed of legislators with direct conflicts of interests.

Legislators with such conflicts of interest include Ng Leung-sing (Chairman of the Committee who is tied to Sun Hung Kai), James Tien Pei-chun (New World Development), Lau Wong-fat and Abraham Razack.


5. Destroys Local Farming and Agriculture

The NENT Plan will destroy 25% of active farmlands in Hong Kong SAR and what remains of locally produced vegetables and livestock along with harming the environment. The HK SAR Government has no plans for real sustainable development in Hong Kong’s rural areas.

NENT Plan will turn remaining farmlands into “to-be-developed” land, which allows developers to continue accumulating land for development into private luxury housing, shopping centres, and other commercial development catering to Mainland Chinese.


6. Doesn’t Create Jobs

The NENT Plan claims that it will “..maximise the increasingly frequent economic interactions” similar to ZAPE in Macau and the Shenzhen SEZ as in the past.  Plan also claims the NENT development will provide around 37700 new job opportunities, including research and development, retail and community services.

However, other relevant necessary services including education are not specified.  There is also concern whether citizens who move into the NENT development area will have the necessary skills and qualifications needed to fulfill the demand in these industries or not.


7. Ignores Public Concerns

Villagers affected by NENT Plan and activists supporting the villagers have exhausted all methods to urge the government to withdraw the plan.

They have spoken to  relevant government officials, protested outside the Lands Department, collected 50,000 signatures opposing the Plan, and some elderly affected by the plan have knelt at the LegCo begging them to withdraw the Plan.

However, the government and those in power refused to change their minds.


8. An Expensive White Elephant

The HK SAR Government plans to spend USD15.5 billion to build a “new Northeast New Territories”. Around USD5.3 billion will be spent on infrastructure, and USD3.9 billion is used for land compensation.

About 95% of land qualified for  government compensation is owned by major developers and indigenous villagers.

Instead of destroying local agriculture and livelihood of people living in the area, the government could have used the money on projects that are more acceptable to Hongkongers.



This NENT Plan highlights the collusion between government and big business, and the pro-Beijing camp’s domination of the LegCo.

Chief Executive CY Leung has gone on record saying he wanted the NENT as a special area where Mainland Chinese can enter visa-free.  This would erase the border between China and HK.

The NENT development area also matches the land holdings of major property developers, suggesting collusion between government and big business.

The Plan fails to resolve ongoing housing and job creation issues in Hong Kong. It would also result in loss of locally farmed crops that contribute to a sustainable Hong Kong.

This USD15.5 billion White Elephant project is also a potential waste of taxpayers’ money.

Are you comfortable to bear this cost?  

What is Going On In Hong Kong Right Now?

Question: I’ve read political forums and debates on CNN and I just can’t understand what the debates and discussions in Hong Kong, China are about. Can you please explain to me the political issues that Hong Kong is now tackling and current events?


Hong Kong was formally a British colony. On July 1st, 1997, Hong Kong entered a 50 year transition period (it will end in 2047) to Chinese rule. The Hong Kong people do not like the Chinese government (except those involved in government or business) and are terrified of becoming part of China. The idea of the transition period is that Hong Kong will still have its own government and not be fully integrated into China right away. This kind of gradual change would diffuse the anger and outrage of the Hong Kong people over time.

In the meantime, China is socially, politically, culturally, linguistically, economically and physically enveloping Hong Kong. Currently, huge numbers of mainland tourists who spend money very well are critical for Hong Kong’s economy. In the mind of these tourists, Hong Kong is a part of China. As a result, they do not change their culture, try to speak Cantonese or even English when they visit. They spit, shit in the streets, and are offensive to the local people. But because they spend so much money, locals have to speak there language. As a result, Cantonese is on the decline even in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is part of the pearl delta region. The mainland is currently rapidly developing that entire pearl delta region to create a mega city that is roughly the size of Denmark. Hong Kong will inevitably be swallowed by this city.

In a nutshell, the outrage in Hong Kong now is their response to being gradually consumed by the mainland in almost every aspect of life. This is a misunderstanding of the 50 year transition period. Locals want it to be a 50 year extension of autonomous rule, but really it is the period of gradual takeover by the mainland.

Also, as the New Territories (the northern part of Hong Kong which borders Mainland China) are developed, the Hong Kong government (which is really just a puppet of the mainland) is planning to bring in many mainlanders as permanent residents of Hong Kong. As Hong Kongers become more and more diluted, they lose their voice. That voice is already so weak because they don’t even have suffrage and can’t vote for their political leader (who already needs to be approved by the central government anyway).

The loudest Hong Kong people, especially youngsters, want to select their own leader in the 2017 election, but Beijing wants to keep some control of Hong Kong by limiting whom Hong Kong voters can vote for.

As part of an “Occupy Central” campaign, a non-binding referendum is staged to get public endorsement for the demand of nomination by the public, as opposed to just a small group of Beijing loyalists representatives called the “nominating committee,” which is stipulated in the Basic Law (some sort of mini constitution for Hong Kong). The result of the referendum doesn’t matter that much really. It represents over 750,000 voters’ wish to have a say in who can be voted in the 2017 election.

What’s next is that, before the end of the year, Hong Kong government will have to release to the public a proposed method of selecting Hong Kong’s Chief Executive in 2017. Occupy Central threatens to blockade traffic in Central, the business district, if the proposal doesn’t fit their demand of a “universal suffrage in accordance with international standards.” Hong Kong government and Beijing officials have deplored the disruptive protest, which its organizers call “civil disobedience”. More political chaos will ensue. It might agitate Hong Kong activists and make them do more radical things, such as storming government or legislative buildings.

Another key thing to realize about the environment now is that June-July is a very sensitive time for Hong Kongers politically. The anniversary of Tienanmen Square, even though it did not take place in Hong Kong, is very important to Hong Kongers. July 1st is the anniversary of the beginning of the transition period.

Hong Kong: Economic Freedom No More

Ever since Maragaret Thatcher handed Hong Kong back to China in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, Hong Kong has been going downhill.

 Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Hong Kong, alternatively known by its initials H.K., is a city-state and is a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea.

After 1997, it seemed like the handover wasn’t such a bad idea to the eyes of many.  A good number of Hong Kongers who emigrated to Canada, Australia, the UK and even America moved back to Hong Kong to take advantage of the emerging Chinese market and the improvements in the city since they left.

Even John Stossel used the post-97 Hong Kong as an example of the wonders of “Economic Freedom” in his now-infamous “Is America Number One?” special. The late Milton Friedman claimed that he was wrong about Hong Kong going into decline in his revised introduction to his popular “Freedom and Capitalism” book.  If only Milton Friedman knew what happened to Hong Kong since his passing.

Hong Kong at this time is slipping from being an international city in Asia to becoming just another Tier 2 mainland Chinese city.  The economic freedom that is frequently cited by right-wing economists, libertarians, and traditional liberals is becoming obsolete. In 2013, the start-up HKTV was denied a television broadcast licence on the grounds that the company was not a division of a major corporation.

On the other hand, cable operators with friends in government were able to easily security television licences bringing the number of free-to-air networks to being run by now 4 corporations.  Later attempts by HKTV to air as an online service were also blocked by the Hong Kong government.  I am not sure if this is economic freedom but it sounds like a form of corporatism or socialism for the wealthy to me.

The reality is economic freedom is no longer real in Hong Kong unless you’re the head of a major HK corporation or in bed with the government.  Any attempts to dream big or become massive will only be crushed by the establishment due to their need to preserve their own status quo.  As far as they’re concerned, people can still continue to exist as small or medium-sized business owners but never at a corporate level.

China’s Paid Trolls: Meet the 50-Cent Party (Includes Hong Kong SAR)

China’s Paid Trolls: Meet the 50-Cent Party

The Chinese government hires people to distort or deflect conversations on the web. Ai Weiwei persuades an “online commentator” to tell all.

By Ai Weiwei [1] Published 17 October 2012

The Chinese government hires people to distort or deflect conversations on the web. Ai Weiwei persuades an “online commentator” to tell all.

New Statesman
(PHOTO: Marcus Bleasdale VII)

In February 2011, Ai Weiwei tweeted that he would like to conduct an interview with an “online commentator”. Commentators are hired by the Chinese government or the Communist Party of China to post comments favourable towards party policies and to shape public opinion on internet message boards and forums. The commentators are known as the 50-Cent Party, as they are said to be paid 50 cents for every post that steers a discussion away from anti-party content or that advances the Communist Party line.

Below is the transcript of Ai’s interview with an online commentator. As requested, an iPad was given as compensation for the interview. To protect the interviewee, relevant personal information has been concealed in this script.

Question: What’s your name, age, city of residence and online username?

Answer: I cannot make my name public. I’m 26. I have too many usernames. If I want to use one, I just register it. I won’t mention them here.

What do you call the work you do now?

It doesn’t matter what you call it: online commentator, public opinion guide, or even “the 50-Cent Party” that everyone’s heard of.

What is your level of education and work experience? How did you begin the work of guiding public opinion?

I graduated from university and studied media. I once worked for a TV channel, then in online media. I’ve always been in the news media industry, for four or five years now.Over a year ago, a friend asked me if I wanted to be an online commentator, to earn some extra money. I said I’d give it a try. Later, I discovered it was very easy.

When and from where will you receive directives for work?

Almost every morning at 9am I receive an email from my superiors – the internet publicity office of the local government – telling me about the news we’re to comment on for the day. Sometimes it specifies the website to comment on, but most of the time it’s not limited to certain websites: you just find relevant news and comment on it.

Can you describe your work in detail?

The process has three steps – receive task, search for topic, post comments to guide public opinion. Receiving a task mainly involves ensuring you open your email box every day. Usually after an event has happened, or even before the news has come out, we’ll receive an email telling us what the event is, then instructions on which direction to guide the netizens’ thoughts, to blur their focus, or to fan their enthusiasm for certain ideas. After we’ve found the relevant articles or news on a website, according to the overall direction given by our superiors we start to write articles, post or reply to comments. This requires a lot of skill. You can’t write in a very official manner, you must conceal your identity, write articles in many dif­ferent styles, sometimes even have a dialogue with yourself, argue, debate. In sum, you want to create illusions to attract the attention and comments of netizens.

In a forum, there are three roles for you to play: the leader, the follower, the onlooker or unsuspecting member of the public. The leader is the relatively authoritative speaker, who usually appears after a controversy and speaks with powerful evidence. The public usually finds such users very convincing. There are two opposing groups of followers. The role they play is to continuously debate, argue, or even swear on the forum. This will attract attention from observers. At the end of the argument, the leader appears, brings out some powerful evidence, makes public opinion align with him and the objective is achieved. The third type is the onlookers, the netizens. They are our true target “clients”. We influence the third group mainly through role-playing between the other two kinds of identity. You could say we’re like directors, influencing the audience through our own writing, directing and acting. Sometimes I feel like I have a split personality.

Regarding the three roles that you play, is that a common tactic? Or are there other ways?

There are too many ways. It’s kind of psychological. Netizens nowadays are more thoughtful than before. We have many ways. You can make a bad thing sound even worse, make an elaborate account, and make people think it’s nonsense when they see it. In fact, it’s like two negatives make a positive. When it’s reached a certain degree of mediocrity, they’ll think it might not be all that bad.

What is the guiding principle of your work?

The principle is to understand the guiding thought of superiors, the direction of public opinion desired, then to start your own work.

Can you reveal the content of a “task” email?

For example, “Don’t spread rumours, don’t believe in rumours”, or “Influence public understanding of X event”, “Promote the correct direction of public opinion on XXXX”, “Explain and clarify XX event; avoid the appearance of untrue or illegal remarks”, “For the detrimental social effect created by the recent XX event, focus on guiding the thoughts of netizens in the correct direction of XXXX”.

What are the categories of information that you usually receive?

They are mainly local events. They cover over 60 to 70 per cent of local instructions – for example, people who are filing complaints or petitioning.

For countrywide events, such as the Jasmine Revolution [the pro-democracy protests that took place across the country in 2011], do you get involved?

For popular online events like the Jasmine Revolution, we have never received a related task. I also thought it was quite strange. Perhaps we aren’t senior enough.

Can you tell us the content of the commentary you usually write?

The netizens are used to seeing unskilled comments that simply say the government is great or so and so is a traitor. They know what is behind it at a glance. The principle I observe is: don’t directly praise the government or criticise negative news. Moreover, the tone of speech, identity and stance of speech must look as if it’s an unsuspecting member of public; only then can it resonate with netizens. To sum up, you want to guide netizens obliquely and let them change their focus without realising it.

Can you go off the topic?

Of course you can go off the topic. When transferring the attention of netizens and

blurring the public focus, going off the topic is very effective. For example, during the census, everyone will be talking about its truthfulness or necessity; then I’ll post jokes that appeared in the census. Or, in other instances, I would publish adverts to take up space on political news reports.

Can you tell us a specific, typical process of “guiding public opinion”?

For example, each time the oil price is about to go up, we’ll receive a notification to “stabilise the emotions of netizens and divert public attention”. The next day, when news of the rise comes out, netizens will definitely be condemning the state, CNPC and Sinopec. At this point, I register an ID and post a comment: “Rise, rise however you want, I don’t care. Best if it rises to 50 yuan per litre: it serves you right if you’re too poor to drive. Only those with money should be allowed to drive on the roads . . .”

This sounds like I’m inviting attacks but the aim is to anger netizens and divert the anger and attention on oil prices to me. I would then change my identity several times and start to condemn myself. This will attract more attention. After many people have seen it, they start to attack me directly. Slowly, the content of the whole page has also changed from oil price to what I’ve said. It is very effective.

What’s your area of work? Which websites do you comment on? Which netizens do you target?

There’s no limit on which websites I visit. I mainly deal with local websites, or work on Tencent. There are too many commentators on Sohu, Sina, etc. As far as I know, these websites have dedicated internal departments for commenting.

Can you tell which online comments are by online commentators?

Because I do this, I can tell at a glance that about 10 to 20 per cent out of the tens of thousands of comments posted on a forum are made by online commentators.

Will you debate with other people online? What sorts of conflicts do you have? How do you control and disperse emotion?

Most of the time we’re debating with ourselves. I usually never debate with netizens and I’ll never say I’ve been angered by a netizen or an event. You could say that usually when I’m working, I stay rational.

When the government says, “Don’t believe in rumours, don’t spread rumours,” it achieves the opposite effect. For example, when Sars and the melamine in milk case broke out, people tended to choose not to trust the government when faced with the choices of “Don’t trust rumours” and “Don’t trust the government”.

I think this country and government have got into a rather embarrassing situation. No matter what happens – for example, if a person commits a crime, or there’s a traffic accident – as long as it’s a bad event and it’s publicised online, there will be people who condemn the government. I think this is very strange.

This is inevitable, because the government encompasses all. When all honour is attributed to you, all mistakes are also attributed to you. Apart from targeted events, are individuals targeted? Would there be this kind of directive?

There should be. I think for the Dalai Lama, there must be guidance throughout the country. All people in China hate the Dalai Lama and Falun Gong somewhat. According to my understanding, the government has truly gone a bit over the top. Before I got involved in this circle, I didn’t know anything. So I believe that wherever public opinion has been controlled relatively well, there will always have been commentators involved.

How do your superiors inspect and assess your work?

The superiors will arrange dedicated auditors who do random checks according to the links we provide. Auditors usually don’t assess, because they always make work requirements very clear. We just have to do as they say and there won’t be any mistakes.

How is your compensation decided?

It’s calculated on a monthly basis, according to quantity and quality. It’s basically calculated at 50 yuan per 100 comments. When there’s an unexpected event, the compensation might be higher. If you work together to guide public opinion on a hot topic and several dozen people are posting, the compensation for those days counts for more. Basically, the compensation is very low. I work part-time. On average, the monthly pay is about 500-600 yuan. There are people who work full-time on this. It’s possible they could earn thousands of yuan a month.

Do you like your work?

I wouldn’t say I like it or hate it. It’s just a bit more to do each day. A bit more pocket money each month, that’s all.

What’s the biggest difficulty in the work?

Perhaps it’s that you have to guess the psychology of netizens. You have to learn a lot of writing skills. You have to know how to imitate another person’s writing style. You need to understand how to gain the trust of the public and influence their thoughts.

Why can’t you reveal your identity? Why do you think it’s sensitive?

Do you want me to lose my job? Whatever form or name we use to post on any forums or blogs is absolutely confidential. We can’t reveal our identity, and I definitely wouldn’t reveal that I’m a professional online commentator.

If we do, what would be the purpose of our existence? Exposure would affect not just me, it would create an even greater negative effect on our “superiors”.

What do you mean by “superiors”?

Our superior leaders – above that should be the propaganda department.

Is your identity known to your family? Your friends?

No. I haven’t revealed it to my family or friends. If people knew I was doing this, it might have a negative effect on my reputation.

You say: “If I reveal inside information, without exaggeration this could lead to fatality.” Do you think that the consequence would be so serious?

With my identity, I’m involved in the media and also the internet. If I really reveal my identity or let something slip, it could have an incalculable effect on me.

If you say you want to quit, will there be resistance? Are there any strings attached?

Not at all. This industry is already very transparent. For me, it’s just a part-time job. It’s like any other job. It’s not as dark as you think.

How many hours do you go online each day and on which sites? Do you rest at the weekend?

I go online for six to eight hours nearly every day. I’m mainly active on our local BBS and some large mainstream internet media and microblogs. I don’t work over weekends, but I’ll sign in to my email account and see if there’s any important instruction.

In daily life, will you still be thinking about your online work?

Now and then. For example, when I see a piece of news, I’ll think about which direction the superiors will request it to be guided in and how I would go about it. It’s a bit of an occupational hazard.

Do you watch CCTV News and read the People’s Daily?

I usually follow all the news, particularly the local news. But I generally don’t watch CCTV News, because it’s too much about harmony.

Do you go on Twitter? Who do you follow?

Yes. I follow a few interesting people, including Ai Weiwei. But I don’t speak on Twitter, just read and learn.

How big a role do you think this industry plays in guiding public opinion in China?

Truthfully speaking, I think the role is quite big. The majority of netizens in China are actually very stupid. Sometimes, if you don’t guide them, they really will believe in rumours.

Because their information is limited to begin with. So, with limited information, it’s very difficult for them to express a political view.

I think they can be incited very easily. I can control them very easily. Depending on how I want them to be, I use a little bit of thought and that’s enough. It’s very easy. So I think the effect should be quite significant.

Do you think the government has the right to guide public opinion?

Personally, I think absolutely not. But in China, the government absolutely must interfere and guide public opinion. The majority of Chinese netizens are incited too easily, don’t think for themselves and are deceived and incited too easily by false news.

Do you have to believe in the viewpoints you express? Are you concerned about politics and the future?

I don’t have to believe in them. Sometimes you know well that what you say is false or untrue. But you still have to say it, because it’s your job. I’m not too concerned about Chinese politics. There’s nothing to be concerned about in Chinese politics.

Charter 08 – 零八宪章

English Version:

I. Foreword

A hundred years have passed since the writing of China’s first constitution. 2008 also marks the sixtieth anniversary of the promulgation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the thirtieth anniversary of the appearance of Democracy Wall in Beijing, and the tenth of China’s signing of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We are approaching the twentieth anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre of pro-democracy student protesters. The Chinese people, who have endured human rights disasters and uncountable struggles across these same years, now include many who see clearly that freedom, equality, and human rights are universal values of humankind and that democracy and constitutional government are the fundamental framework for protecting these values.

By departing from these values, the Chinese government’s approach to “modernization” has proven disastrous. It has stripped people of their rights, destroyed their dignity, and corrupted normal human intercourse. So we ask: Where is China headed in the twenty-first century? Will it continue with “modernization” under authoritarian rule, or will it embrace universal human values, join the mainstream of civilized nations, and build a democratic system? There can be no avoiding these questions.

The shock of the Western impact upon China in the nineteenth century laid bare a decadent authoritarian system and marked the beginning of what is often called “the greatest changes in thousands of years” for China. A “self-strengthening movement” followed, but this aimed simply at appropriating the technology to build gunboats and other Western material objects. China’s humiliating naval defeat at the hands of Japan in 1895 only confirmed the obsolescence of China’s system of government. The first attempts at modern political change came with the ill-fated summer of reforms in 1898, but these were cruelly crushed by ultraconservatives at China’s imperial court. With the revolution of 1911, which inaugurated Asia’s first republic, the authoritarian imperial system that had lasted for centuries was finally supposed to have been laid to rest. But social conflict inside our country and external pressures were to prevent it; China fell into a patchwork of warlord fiefdoms and the new republic became a fleeting dream.

The failure of both “self-strengthening” and political renovation caused many of our forebears to reflect deeply on whether a “cultural illness” was afflicting our country. This mood gave rise, during the May Fourth Movement of the late 1910s, to the championing of “science and democracy.” Yet that effort, too, foundered as warlord chaos persisted and the Japanese invasion [beginning in Manchuria in 1931] brought national crisis.

Victory over Japan in 1945 offered one more chance for China to move toward modern government, but the Communist defeat of the Nationalists in the civil war thrust the nation into the abyss of totalitarianism. The “new China” that emerged in 1949 proclaimed that “the people are sovereign” but in fact set up a system in which “the Party is all-powerful.” The Communist Party of China seized control of all organs of the state and all political, economic, and social resources, and, using these, has produced a long trail of human rights disasters, including, among many others, the Anti-Rightist Campaign (1957), the Great Leap Forward (1958–1960), the Cultural Revolution (1966–1969), the June Fourth (Tiananmen Square) Massacre (1989), and the current repression of all unauthorized religions and the suppression of the weiquan rights movement [a movement that aims to defend citizens’ rights promulgated in the Chinese Constitution and to fight for human rights recognized by international conventions that the Chinese government has signed]. During all this, the Chinese people have paid a gargantuan price. Tens of millions have lost their lives, and several generations have seen their freedom, their happiness, and their human dignity cruelly trampled.

During the last two decades of the twentieth century the government policy of “Reform and Opening” gave the Chinese people relief from the pervasive poverty and totalitarianism of the Mao Zedong era and brought substantial increases in the wealth and living standards of many Chinese as well as a partial restoration of economic freedom and economic rights. Civil society began to grow, and popular calls for more rights and more political freedom have grown apace. As the ruling elite itself moved toward private ownership and the market economy, it began to shift from an outright rejection of “rights” to a partial acknowledgment of them.

In 1998 the Chinese government signed two important international human rights conventions; in 2004 it amended its constitution to include the phrase “respect and protect human rights”; and this year, 2008, it has promised to promote a “national human rights action plan.” Unfortunately most of this political progress has extended no further than the paper on which it is written. The political reality, which is plain for anyone to see, is that China has many laws but no rule of law; it has a constitution but no constitutional government. The ruling elite continues to cling to its authoritarian power and fights off any move toward political change.

The stultifying results are endemic official corruption, an undermining of the rule of law, weak human rights, decay in public ethics, crony capitalism, growing inequality between the wealthy and the poor, pillage of the natural environment as well as of the human and historical environments, and the exacerbation of a long list of social conflicts, especially, in recent times, a sharpening animosity between officials and ordinary people.

As these conflicts and crises grow ever more intense, and as the ruling elite continues with impunity to crush and to strip away the rights of citizens to freedom, to property, and to the pursuit of happiness, we see the powerless in our society—the vulnerable groups, the people who have been suppressed and monitored, who have suffered cruelty and even torture, and who have had no adequate avenues for their protests, no courts to hear their pleas—becoming more militant and raising the possibility of a violent conflict of disastrous proportions. The decline of the current system has reached the point where change is no longer optional.

II. Our Fundamental Principles

This is a historic moment for China, and our future hangs in the balance. In reviewing the political modernization process of the past hundred years or more, we reiterate and endorse basic universal values as follows:

Freedom. Freedom is at the core of universal human values. Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, freedom in where to live, and the freedoms to strike, to demonstrate, and to protest, among others, are the forms that freedom takes. Without freedom, China will always remain far from civilized ideals.

Human rights. Human rights are not bestowed by a state. Every person is born with inherent rights to dignity and freedom. The government exists for the protection of the human rights of its citizens. The exercise of state power must be authorized by the people. The succession of political disasters in China’s recent history is a direct consequence of the ruling regime’s disregard for human rights.

Equality. The integrity, dignity, and freedom of every person—regardless of social station, occupation, sex, economic condition, ethnicity, skin color, religion, or political belief—are the same as those of any other. Principles of equality before the law and equality of social, economic, cultural, civil, and political rights must be upheld.

Republicanism. Republicanism, which holds that power should be balanced among different branches of government and competing interests should be served, resembles the traditional Chinese political ideal of “fairness in all under heaven.” It allows different interest groups and social assemblies, and people with a variety of cultures and beliefs, to exercise democratic self-government and to deliberate in order to reach peaceful resolution of public questions on a basis of equal access to government and free and fair competition.

Democracy. The most fundamental principles of democracy are that the people are sovereign and the people select their government. Democracy has these characteristics: (1) Political power begins with the people and the legitimacy of a regime derives from the people. (2) Political power is exercised through choices that the people make. (3) The holders of major official posts in government at all levels are determined through periodic competitive elections. (4) While honoring the will of the majority, the fundamental dignity, freedom, and human rights of minorities are protected. In short, democracy is a modern means for achieving government truly “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Constitutional rule. Constitutional rule is rule through a legal system and legal regulations to implement principles that are spelled out in a constitution. It means protecting the freedom and the rights of citizens, limiting and defining the scope of legitimate government power, and providing the administrative apparatus necessary to serve these ends.

III. What We Advocate

Authoritarianism is in general decline throughout the world; in China, too, the era of emperors and overlords is on the way out. The time is arriving everywhere for citizens to be masters of states. For China the path that leads out of our current predicament is to divest ourselves of the authoritarian notion of reliance on an “enlightened overlord” or an “honest official” and to turn instead toward a system of liberties, democracy, and the rule of law, and toward fostering the consciousness of modern citizens who see rights as fundamental and participation as a duty. Accordingly, and in a spirit of this duty as responsible and constructive citizens, we offer the following recommendations on national governance, citizens’ rights, and social development:

1. A New Constitution. We should recast our present constitution, rescinding its provisions that contradict the principle that sovereignty resides with the people and turning it into a document that genuinely guarantees human rights, authorizes the exercise of public power, and serves as the legal underpinning of China’s democratization. The constitution must be the highest law in the land, beyond violation by any individual, group, or political party.

2. Separation of powers. We should construct a modern government in which the separation of legislative, judicial, and executive power is guaranteed. We need an Administrative Law that defines the scope of government responsibility and prevents abuse of administrative power. Government should be responsible to taxpayers. Division of power between provincial governments and the central government should adhere to the principle that central powers are only those specifically granted by the constitution and all other powers belong to the local governments.

3. Legislative democracy. Members of legislative bodies at all levels should be chosen by direct election, and legislative democracy should observe just and impartial principles.

4. An Independent Judiciary. The rule of law must be above the interests of any particular political party and judges must be independent. We need to establish a constitutional supreme court and institute procedures for constitutional review. As soon as possible, we should abolish all of the Committees on Political and Legal Affairs that now allow Communist Party officials at every level to decide politically-sensitive cases in advance and out of court. We should strictly forbid the use of public offices for private purposes.

5. Public Control of Public Servants. The military should be made answerable to the national government, not to a political party, and should be made more professional. Military personnel should swear allegiance to the constitution and remain nonpartisan. Political party organizations shall be prohibited in the military. All public officials including police should serve as nonpartisans, and the current practice of favoring one political party in the hiring of public servants must end.

6. Guarantee of Human Rights. There shall be strict guarantees of human rights and respect for human dignity. There should be a Human Rights Committee, responsible to the highest legislative body, that will prevent the government from abusing public power in violation of human rights. A democratic and constitutional China especially must guarantee the personal freedom of citizens. No one shall suffer illegal arrest, detention, arraignment, interrogation, or punishment. The system of “Reeducation through Labor” must be abolished.

7. Election of Public Officials. There shall be a comprehensive system of democratic elections based on “one person, one vote.” The direct election of administrative heads at the levels of county, city, province, and nation should be systematically implemented. The rights to hold periodic free elections and to participate in them as a citizen are inalienable.

8. Rural–Urban Equality. The two-tier household registry system must be abolished. This system favors urban residents and harms rural residents. We should establish instead a system that gives every citizen the same constitutional rights and the same freedom to choose where to live.

9. Freedom to Form Groups. The right of citizens to form groups must be guaranteed. The current system for registering nongovernmental groups, which requires a group to be “approved,” should be replaced by a system in which a group simply registers itself. The formation of political parties should be governed by the constitution and the laws, which means that we must abolish the special privilege of one party to monopolize power and must guarantee principles of free and fair competition among political parties.

10. Freedom to Assemble. The constitution provides that peaceful assembly, demonstration, protest, and freedom of expression are fundamental rights of a citizen. The ruling party and the government must not be permitted to subject these to illegal interference or unconstitutional obstruction.

11. Freedom of Expression. We should make freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and academic freedom universal, thereby guaranteeing that citizens can be informed and can exercise their right of political supervision. These freedoms should be upheld by a Press Law that abolishes political restrictions on the press. The provision in the current Criminal Law that refers to “the crime of incitement to subvert state power” must be abolished. We should end the practice of viewing words as crimes.

12. Freedom of Religion. We must guarantee freedom of religion and belief and institute a separation of religion and state. There must be no governmental interference in peaceful religious activities. We should abolish any laws, regulations, or local rules that limit or suppress the religious freedom of citizens. We should abolish the current system that requires religious groups (and their places of worship) to get official approval in advance and substitute for it a system in which registry is optional and, for those who choose to register, automatic.

13. Civic Education. In our schools we should abolish political curriculums and examinations that are designed to indoctrinate students in state ideology and to instill support for the rule of one party. We should replace them with civic education that advances universal values and citizens’ rights, fosters civic consciousness, and promotes civic virtues that serve society.

14. Protection of Private Property. We should establish and protect the right to private property and promote an economic system of free and fair markets. We should do away with government monopolies in commerce and industry and guarantee the freedom to start new enterprises. We should establish a Committee on State-Owned Property, reporting to the national legislature, that will monitor the transfer of state-owned enterprises to private ownership in a fair, competitive, and orderly manner. We should institute a land reform that promotes private ownership of land, guarantees the right to buy and sell land, and allows the true value of private property to be adequately reflected in the market.

15. Financial and Tax Reform. We should establish a democratically regulated and accountable system of public finance that ensures the protection of taxpayer rights and that operates through legal procedures. We need a system by which public revenues that belong to a certain level of government—central, provincial, county or local—are controlled at that level. We need major tax reform that will abolish any unfair taxes, simplify the tax system, and spread the tax burden fairly. Government officials should not be able to raise taxes, or institute new ones, without public deliberation and the approval of a democratic assembly. We should reform the ownership system in order to encourage competition among a wider variety of market participants.

16. Social Security. We should establish a fair and adequate social security system that covers all citizens and ensures basic access to education, health care, retirement security, and employment.

17. Protection of the Environment. We need to protect the natural environment and to promote development in a way that is sustainable and responsible to our descendents and to the rest of humanity. This means insisting that the state and its officials at all levels not only do what they must do to achieve these goals, but also accept the supervision and participation of non-governmental organizations.

18. A Federated Republic. A democratic China should seek to act as a responsible major power contributing toward peace and development in the Asian Pacific region by approaching others in a spirit of equality and fairness. In Hong Kong and Macao, we should support the freedoms that already exist. With respect to Taiwan, we should declare our commitment to the principles of freedom and democracy and then, negotiating as equals, and ready to compromise, seek a formula for peaceful unification. We should approach disputes in the national-minority areas of China with an open mind, seeking ways to find a workable framework within which all ethnic and religious groups can flourish. We should aim ultimately at a federation of democratic communities of China.

19. Truth in Reconciliation. We should restore the reputations of all people, including their family members, who suffered political stigma in the political campaigns of the past or who have been labeled as criminals because of their thought, speech, or faith. The state should pay reparations to these people. All political prisoners and prisoners of conscience must be released. There should be a Truth Investigation Commission charged with finding the facts about past injustices and atrocities, determining responsibility for them, upholding justice, and, on these bases, seeking social reconciliation.

China, as a major nation of the world, as one of five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, and as a member of the UN Council on Human Rights, should be contributing to peace for humankind and progress toward human rights. Unfortunately, we stand today as the only country among the major nations that remains mired in authoritarian politics. Our political system continues to produce human rights disasters and social crises, thereby not only constricting China’s own development but also limiting the progress of all of human civilization. This must change, truly it must. The democratization of Chinese politics can be put off no longer.

Accordingly, we dare to put civic spirit into practice by announcing Charter 08. We hope that our fellow citizens who feel a similar sense of crisis, responsibility, and mission, whether they are inside the government or not, and regardless of their social status, will set aside small differences to embrace the broad goals of this citizens’ movement. Together we can work for major changes in Chinese society and for the rapid establishment of a free, democratic, and constitutional country. We can bring to reality the goals and ideals that our people have incessantly been seeking for more than a hundred years, and can bring a brilliant new chapter to Chinese civilization.


Chinese (中文) Version:




当然具体情况还要具体分析, 说到《和平宪章》,由于特定的艰难条件,它的历史作用主要是打破六四镇压的血腥恐怖,为中国民主运动的再掀高潮铺路,同时作为中国大陆本土的第一个民运纲领性文献为之指明了方向,就它本身的作用而论,并没有起到形成共识、凝聚力量、开创良性互动局面的作用。

第一, 前者非常简约,并且主要是就事论事,没有对历史和理论做多少说明,相反,后者相对全面的回顾了近代历史,并且对普世价值的核心概念作了逐条解说。
第二, 前者重点放在和平转型上,后者重点放在对转型结果的诉求上。
第三, 前者注重的是民主转型的启动操作,后者注重的是宪政民主的建构本身。










《和平宪章》人士中,文凭程度最高的是李海,他是北京大学哲学系研究生,其他人基本上没有高等文凭。与此同时,《和平宪章》人士个个都有非比寻常的社会政治活动实践经验:89民运中,李海是北京大学学生自治会对外联络部部长,刘念春是民主墙时代的民办刊物、朦胧派诗歌的摇篮《今天》的编辑,陈旅是民主墙时代的《人权同盟》的主要成员,沙裕光是民主墙时代的民办刊物《中华四五》的编辑,何德普是民主墙时代民办刊物《北京青年》的编辑,杨周是民主墙时代上海最活跃也最早被判刑的民主斗士,周国强也是民主墙时代的《今天》的编辑,并且是89民运中北京“工自联” 的法律顾问,钱玉民则是北京“工自联”的秘书长!所有这些人都有着很长的民主人权活动的实践经历,也几乎都为民主人权事业坐过牢受过迫害。

《零八宪章》由于在社会上获得了广泛传播的机会,故上到知识界文化界艺术界,下到访民群众和普罗大众都有大量人员签名。但是,如果我掌握的情况不错的话,那么它的起草人则都是具有高等教育背景的知识分子。不仅刘晓波是博士,夏先生是北京大学教授,张先生是宪政学者,其他参与起草和发起的人也都具有很高的学历背景,从事的也都是知识性工作,由于他们所居地位相对较高,在民主人权活动第一线的公开斗争经验较少,缺乏开展民主人权活动的实践经历 ,因此对宪章的草写缺乏操作性考量,没有想一想自己提出来的东西当局有无理论上的可接受性,没有考虑以目前的力量对比自己拿出的宪章能否让当局狗咬刺猬无处下口。


应该说,把人权原则作为第一条要求提出来,在这种情况下就已经涵盖了民主世界的一切现代政治的理论精华,与此同时,当局即使一时不会认可,也没有理由高调反对,更不宜以此治罪,至于此后的各条各款,则都有强烈的针对性,都是国人普遍关心的重大问题,也都必然会在人权和正义基础上获得解决。我们把这些条款提出来,只要能在社会上 流布开来,就不难获得有利害关系的广大民众的热烈拥护和积极参与。





“18、联邦共和:以平等、公正的态度参与维持地区和平与发展,塑造一个负责任的大国形象。维护香港、澳门的自由制度。在自由民主的前提下,通过平等谈判与 合作互动的方式寻求海峡两岸和解方案。以大智慧探索各民族共同繁荣的可能途径和制度设计,在民主宪政的架构下建立中华联邦共和国。”







第一, 从当前说,中共已经掌握了控制国家的超级能力,它的庞大国家机器通过两种手段足以镇压一切和任何暴力反抗的图谋。首先,它的国情监控系统足以查明任何十几个几十个人以上的暴力反抗图谋,所以,规模小了根本不足以撼动中共统治,一切稍有规模的武装反抗中共统治的企图则都不可能不在早期准备中被当局侦破,其次,中国早已不是民众可以“斩木为兵揭竿为旗”既能足以和当局的长矛大刀抗衡并取得胜利的时代,国家暴力足以轻而易举的镇压一切民众的暴力反抗,并且将其真正从肉体上“消灭在萌芽状况”。从这种情况来看,一切暴力革命、武装反抗推翻中共统治的做法都是自寻死路愚不可及。

第二, 中国已经不是二十世纪上半叶的中国,那时中国刚开始进入工业革命时代,大批失地农民成了中共煽动暴力夺取政权的最好愚弄对象,赤贫农民也还和几千年王朝循环时期的农民一样,反正没饭吃,狠下一条心,要么死了拉倒,要么打进京城坐江山。今日中国的社会大众包括农民接受了中共利用大众尤其是农民打江山,打下江山加倍欺压大众和农民的教训,也因为市场经济发展使大多数人有了一点财产,就都希望守着自己的财产过日子,通过自己的劳动一点点的改善生活,不会再受革命家的蛊惑去为成功之将当万具枯骨,还因为这个时代已经成了人人都可以娱乐至死的时代,再穷的人也可以守着个电视机影碟机看个不停,也没有多少人有衣食之虞,故已经没有几个人会铤而走险。总之,凡是在中国大陆的人都清楚,今日中国并不存在能够发动起来进行暴力革命的社会大众

第三, 当然,今天确实有不少聪明人在煽动暴力革命,却绝不担心自己性命难保,因为他们都在国外煽动国内的人这么做,或者在国内躲在无人得知的地方匿名在互联网之类的地方煽动别人这么做,他们惯于让别人去冒风险, 让别人去丧命,他们自己是绝不会在中国大陆本土公开从事他们所号召的暴力革命的。前段时间闹得沸沸扬扬的“革命”鼓噪中,我就亲历了这样一件事:国外某个激进团体派人在网上动员我发动人们这么做的同时,他人在海外尚且还怕我看见了真面目,视屏对话中居然还要把自己藏起来!这么做的人还不聪明至极么?让国内的人去送死,他们是绝对安全的,但这么做的结果能达到他们的“伟大革命目标”?所以,对这些煽动暴力革命的人我要说,如果你在国外,请你回来搞,如果你在国内,请你公开搞,如果你煽动别人,请你亲自搞!几十年来我坚持民主人权活动的同时坚持“和平、理性、非暴力”,并且一直首当其冲身体力行,希望那些煽动搞暴力革命的人也如我知行合一,当尖兵滚地雷始终冲在最前面。

第四, 况且历史的教训早已告诉我们,暴力夺权者必然暴力掌权,绝不会给国家社会带来民主自由,相反,历史的经验充分证明,自由是一波一波的国民运动争得的,民主是在选举制度的实施中一步步发展成熟的,绝不是暴力革命革出来的,暴力革命在最好的情况下也只是赶走了独裁者,从而为建立民主自由的社会开辟道路,更多的则是被野心家利用,是社会在流血漂杵之后还是无法迅速建立民主制度。

第五, 从我们中国的国家、社会、大众的根本利益来说,也只有和平转型是唯一选择。和平转型对国家、社会、大众的利益损害最小,这是就客观效果说;人民不会起来暴力革命,只会起来和平表达意愿,这是从原因上说。对当局而言,暴力革命意味着他们的毁灭,因此只会不计代价的镇压,和平转型以承认他们的许多既得利益为前提,在一定条件下,也就是在民众压力够大,反对派组织够强,同时做法也够温和理性的情况下,当局是完全可以接受的。关于这一点,就涉及到“转型正义”。正义是让一切人随时随地得其所应得,转型正义就是在转型过程中随时随地确保统治者方面的人身财产权利不受侵犯,对其过去在特定历史条件下的罪恶,可以清查,但要赦免——这就是“第一次宽恕”。也就是说,为了和平转型,必须对统治者进行“赎买”,用确保他们的部分特权,同等保障他们的全部人权,来逐步交换他们所掌握的统治权。

第六, 反对和平转型原则的人第一条理由是中共当局犯下了那么多反人类罪,至今还在无恶不作,因此中国没有任何和平转型的希望。在我看来,说中共比德国法西斯还坏证据充分,说中国不能和平转型则毫无道理。中共最残酷的罪行是毛泽东仿效苏联犯下的,邓小平“复辟资本主义”以后一代代又犯了不少反人类罪,但是,毕竟一代比一代要理性一点,总体上说做的孽少一点,再加上他们已经从暴力夺权意识形态至上的军事强人换成了锦衣玉食的天潢贵胄和谨小慎微的技术官僚,其现实利益已经向金钱至上利益至上转化,意识形态是不能谈判不能分割的,所以以前的确无法指望其接受普世价值,现在的基本情况已经完全不同,金钱至上意味着利益至上,而利益是可以切割的。这样,就像台湾的民主转型和对“228”事件的认罪只能发生在蒋氏父子死后一样,到有重大血债的死得差不多了以后,新的统治者在全民压力下被迫和平转型是必然的,因为那时候他们确保既得利益的办法将不再是把持保不住的绝对权力,在能确保其生命财产安全的前提下,当然是顺应历史潮流。










1 白人男子的私有财产权
2 言论自由权
3 信仰自由权



比方说,在没有进行过基层选举、没有自由政党, 或者基层选举还没有坚实的基础、自由政党还没有充分运作的情况下,能够搞好全国领导人和国会的选举吗?




(十几年来,大陆上的经济体制发生了巨大变化,对此我们深表赞赏 。然而,正如当代世界历定事实已充分表明的,市场经济的迅猛发展必然要求实行多元化的民主政治。鉴于当前世界结束冷战,走向新秩序,鉴于所有中国人都关注中国未来的和平发展,我们特提出本宪章。)






















刘念春 邮编:100027
杨周 邮编:200002 电话:3732605
秦永敏 邮编:430080



China Bans the Burqa

BEIJING (AP) — China’s Interior Ministry announced yesterday that it would ban the burqa from being worn in public. The new law, which will be imposed next month, would forcefully put an end to the wearing of modesty-protecting garments for women in public. The new regulations also stipulate fines for wearing certain types of culturally-related clothing.

State-controlled media stated that the ban was necessary in order to maintain security. The Chinese regime is known for keeping widespread surveillance on ordinary civilians, especially ethnic minorities, to prevent possible anti-government activity. Last month an ethnic Tibetan, who was caught stealing on a convenience store’s camera was ordered to pay a fine, even though a number of dissidents criticized the video footage as “unfair evidence”.

The new law is expected to target ethnic minorities, such as the Uyghurs as well as the growing number of African immigrants, both of which already experience widespread discrimination in the racist Chinese society. While many ethnic minorities experience also prejudice if they wear ethnic clothing, but the new law is expected to add to already-existing prejudices.

“The burqa is like a security shield for me,” said one African woman who recently joined her husband and two children in Guangzhou. “In a hostile society, it gives me the confidence I need. People always stare at me when I go by because I am African. The burqa at least helps me emotionally,” she said. Another Ngubago Okulenagu, who has become an advocate for African immigrants working in China called the ban “simply unfair,” and pointed out the failure of the Chinese government’s ability to accommodate new members of society.

Several dissidents and activist rights groups have criticized China’s new law, which has been described as discriminatory. Reporters Without Borders, Amnesty International, and the International Woman’s Rights Group have all condemned the restrictions. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, responding to the new crackdown also said, “Abridging people’s right to wear cultural symbols violates fundamental human rights,” and urged the Chinese government to reconsider.

Barack Obama nukes the Japanese “Obama”

So there you have it. Yukio Hatoyama, once dubbed the “Japanese Obama” by supporters and the press, has resigned due to the collapse of  his coalition over his failure to remove American bases off of Okinawa.  The irony  is Obama was the one who sealed his Japanese counterpart’s fate by playing hardball at Hatoyama’s repeated attempts to move American forces to bases in mainland Japan.

I often joked that it was Hatoyama’s tacky choice of fashion, and his nutty wife as the cause for his downfall, but I was just joking.  Despite being in power for barely 8 months, Hatoyama proved that the opposition can again break the hard conservative, nationalist Liberal Democratic Party’s stranglehold on government and give people a sense of empowerment in their country’s fate.  Moreover, he was able to cultivate ties with his regional neighbours that brought about improved trade and badly needed diplomatic influence.


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(photo credit: Office of the Prime Minister, Government of Japan)

Japan Prime Minister and Democratic Party of Japan leader Yukio Hatoyama, whose amazing electoral victory last year unseating the long dominant Liberal Democratic Party, has announced that he is stepping down from his position for failing to deliver on a key campaign promise to the Japanese people about moving the US Marine Futenma Air Station off of Okinawa.

I will be arriving in Tokyo tomorrow (on Thursday) and will be in Naha, Okinawa this next Monday.

Hatoyama could not withstand the pressure from Obama — who gave Hatoyama the kind of icy treatment that the White House has also been trying to give Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The problem is Hatoyama wilted, and Netanyahu seems to be thriving.

I recently wrote a piece on the odd dynamic between President Obama and two different Prime Ministers — Netanyahu and Hatoyama — for the Kyodo News Service. It has already run in Japanese, but I post the entire English language version here:

While Israel is given free rein by Obama to shoot up unarmed activists who were bringing in-kind aid to a ravaged part of Palestine in Gaza, the Japanese Prime Minister is told to pick up Obama’s poop when he needed to move bases to protect his coalition government and regain support from his electorate.  I really don’t know what Obama is doing by burning bridges with his Japanese Obama while allowing a right-wing Zionist to do as he pleases with pro-Palestine activists.

Of Presidents & Prime Ministers in the Age of Obama
by Steve Clemons

Jan ken pon. Scissors cut paper. Paper covers Rock. Rock smashes scissors. There is an interesting drama playing out between several world leaders today that reminds of this game.

President Barack Obama seems to be smashing the political fortunes of Japan Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama. On the other hand, Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been rebuffing and constraining Obama. Obama and China’s Hu Jintao seem to be stalemated, playing jan ken pon over and over and over again.

Steve Clemons of the New America Foundation is right.  Obama is pissing on his Japanese lackey when he won’t play ball while giving Israel a free pass for all the wrong reasons (some people say it’s due to Liberal Christian American guilt for allowing the Holocaust to happen and for turning away countless Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi-ravaged Europe).

He is also right about Obama and Hu struggle in a locked battle over global influence; America relies on Chinese funds to support its debt-fueled recovery while China depends on American assets to develop its world influence.  To be frank, America’s obscene debt and notable human rights violations has made it very difficult for Obama to even criticise China for their gross corruption, economic inequality and human rights violations.  This is especially the case given America’s War of Terror in Iraq,  the existence of Guantanamo Bay detention centres, and inability to stop an oil spill from killing the Gulf of Mexico.

“Defining challenges” for leaders and nations are those that represent the highest stakes wins and potential losses. The United States, for example, invested enormous blood and treasure in triggering change in Iraq and the broader Middle East and thus the Middle East today is a self-chosen defining challenge for the country. For Barack Obama, there were other defining challenges that he promised to stand by – including closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, “stopping” climate change, ending the war in Iraq, achieving Israel-Palestine peace and delivering the opportunity of universal health care coverage to American citizens.

So far, Obama has done nothing to stop the problems noted above and the best he has done is maintain the status quo and making too many concessions for nominal party unity.


1. Guantanamo Bay detention centres are here to stay.  Sure, prisoners might be allowed a fair trial but not really.  America bitches about China having prison camps that arbitrarily arrest people without due process, yet it is not too different in Guantanamo Bay and possibly worse since many of those prisoners are there as a result of racial or religious profiling. FAIL

2. Climate change is not going to be stopped.  Obama basically caved in at the Copenhagen Summit per China’s concerns and nothing is done.  His administration has done nothing to fight off fringe claims that Climate Change is a conspiracy or fabricated because of some faulty data and emails from academics in a third-rate university.  FAIL

3. Ending the War in Iraq.  The War of Terror is still a go despite Obama’s claims of gradual troop reductions.  For all intents and purposes, Iraq is a failed state and American troops are the only thing keeping the country from 1) breaking up, 2) becoming a pro-Iran client state, and 3) becoming an haven for terrorists.  The current Iraqi government is simply going to play along with Obama’s agenda until all American troops leave their country. After that they will do as they see fit even if it goes completely against the American-imposed reforms or undoes all progress that was somehow achieved in the American War of Terror. NOT FAIL

4. Israel inspires with its handling of the Gaza peace activists. Obama unconditionally supports Israel and their version of the crisis despite criticism from the rest of the world. Way to go Obama for rewarding bad behaviour and acting as an objective, honest broker in the Israel-Palestine peace process.  No wonder Brazil is making inroads with Israel and the rest of the Middle East while America is viewed as a biased bully.  FAIL

5. Health Care reforms have changed nothing.  The only major change is that the IRS can now fine American taxpayers who refuse to buy any form of health insurance.  I know for a fact nothing has changed for me. My insurance companies still make lame excuses to not cover certain treatments and they will go about making it difficult for insurers and doctors to get their claims processed.  What about the Public Option? Well guys, the Public Option is pretty much dead like Gary Coleman, Dennis Hopper and the Gulf of Mexico. FAIL

Obama’s equation for moving Middle East peace forward was just too quaint and simple. Even though Israel is completely dependent on American security guarantees and aid and is genuinely a client state of the United States, the pugnacious prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, flamboyantly rebuffed Obama’s call to stop settlements. Obama, with some twisting and modification of his position, has essentially forfeited the match to Netanyahu.

During the early part of the John F. Kennedy administration, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev beat Kennedy in similar challenges and began to doubt Kennedy’s resolve and strategic temperament – leading to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Today, Netanyahu has become the Khrushchev of the Obama administration – and one wonders if a crisis lies ahead in which Obama will have to reassert his primacy lest the world think that Israel runs the United States and the Obama presidency.

Yep, basically the writer suggests Obama is weak leader, which I agree. It’s hard to believe that the world’s sole superpower is being pushed around by a non-oil producing Middle Eastern client state.  Obama is a weak leader as seen by his inability to keep Congress from dicking around with healthcare and finance reforms, by his reluctance to get involved with the oil spill crisis that BP created, and by his unwavering support of Israel’s handling of the unfolding Gaza crisis.

But while the Israeli Prime Minister is beating Obama, Obama is clearly smashing the legacy and political position of Japan Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.

Hatoyama is conceding on a key campaign promise to move Futenma Marine Air Station off of the heavily US-base covered island of Okinawa. Now, some minor functions of Futenma will be transferred off island, but the bulk of the facility will simply be moved to another section of Okinawa.

Barack Obama put huge pressure on Hatoyama, asking him “Can I trust you?” He has maintained an icy posture towards Hatoyama, hardly communicating with him or agreeing to meetings – making the Prime Minister “lose face.” Contrasting this with the invitation to former Prime Minister Taro Aso to be the first official head of government to visit the White House and Secetary of State Hillary Clinton’s decision to make Tokyo her first foreign destination, one can see that while America seems unable to muster pressure to achieve a “win” with Israel, it is more than able to do so with the leader of a rich nation of 128 million people.

Hatoyama may survive this rebuke of the United States and this policy reversal that has made him appear weak and indecisive before Japan’s citizens, but Obama has been unfair in this standoff with Japan’s prime minister.

Basically a weak leader will simply bully an even weaker leader to appear strong. In this case, Barry H. Obama decided to pick on the Japanese Obama in a sad attempt to prove American strength in East Asia.  While he managed to strong-arm Hatoyama into allowing America to maintain its base in Okinawa, he also managed to lose long-term support from a like-minded world leader and progressive.  Looking at the bigger picture, Obama may have undone potential reform that the DPJ was trying to carry out after working tirelessly to break the LDP’ and the bureaucracy’s dominance in government. Well it looks like Obama’s treatment of Hatoyama is a boon for the old boys network, business leaders, and corrupt officials in Japan.

Obama himself promised to close Guantanamo Bay within one year of his presidency. This was a major commitment, and the administration failed to achieve it. But the US is not a parliamentary democracy where executive leadership can rise and fall over a single issue at any time. Presidents get a time period to stack up their wins and their losses so that when re-election comes around, they are measured on a combination of issues. But Hatoyama’s government could fall over just this issue – and Obama did little to help the new Prime Minister stack up some wins with the US and the international system before crushing him on Futenma.

Japan, despite all of its considerable strengths and what could have been exciting, visionary new leadership from Hatoyama and his Democratic Party colleagues, is still a vassal of the United States – whereas the United States appears more and more a vassal of Israel’s interest – and on China, we’ll just have to wait and see how history tilts.

Obama is really a weak leader and operates under a broken government with too many loopholes that have undermined the “checks and balances” in the American government.  Not only is he a weak leader of a broken government, he has also managed to destroy a progressive government for the sake of stacking up minor victories for his own administration.  In any event, I agree that Japan will only move towards a new era of progress if it is able to end its client state relationship with America.