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Panel of experts meet in Philadelphia to discuss Communist Party in China
From Nov. 19 through Dec. 12, 2004, the Chinese language edition of the Epoch Times published nine commentaries detailing the brutal rise and methods of the Chinese Communist Party, which have included genocide, mass-torture, brainwashing, the destruction of traditional values and many other types of oppression. The Nine Commentaries do not advocate any form of government, but merely expose the facts of the CCP.
During the discussion, seven panelists pooled their knowledge, and members of the audience shared what they had endured while living under a totalitarian government.
In his opening comments, moderator Frank Xie, professor of Marketing at Drexel University, said that approximately 1,000 people have posted statements renouncing all their affiliations with the Chinese Communist Party on a Web site administered by the Chinese language Epoch Times (www.9ping.com). [The number has exceeded 1,500 and continues to rise.] According to panelist Sen Nieh, an engineering professor at Catholic University of America, approximately one-half the postings are from within the Mainland, and the other half are from throughout the world. Xie is chairman of the board of the Greater New York division of the Epoch Times and Nieh is president of the D.C. division.
Panelist Baiqiao Tang, executive director of the New York City-based “Chinese Citizen Forum,” said that garnering a thousand declarations in just a few weeks was very significant. Tang had been a student activist during the pro-democracy movement that was quashed by the massacre of non-violent students at Tiananmen Square. Prior to the massacre, there was an effort to obtain declarations renouncing the Communist Party, and far fewer declarations were made. Xie later commented that the number was approximately 200.
Panelists spoke about the significance of the “Nine Commentaries,” and that it could be used as a catalyst or platform for change within the Chinese people of the world. While talking to a reporter, Xie said, “We have the Nine Commentaries in electronic-book format, and also in pdf file format. People have been emailing the book into China.”
Yuxian Wi, pro-democracy activist and Chairman of the Chinese Liberal Democratic Party, referred to the commentaries as “no doubt a historically meaningful event,” and that “it had finally arrived.” Wi had previously tried to publish a series of similar articles, but the editors of Chinese language publications he sent his works to rejected the articles, indicating that his statements “were too strong.” Wi indicated the rejections were due to the far reach of the CCP.
Professor Chu-Cheng Ming, who teachers political science at National Taiwan University, called the panel discussion itself a historical event. Ming, a visiting Fulbright Scholar at George Washington University, described waves of persecution committed by CCP, killing millions, which enveloped China after the Party took control of the country. He also described how the deceased Chairman Mao’s economic edicts during the “Great Leap Forward” (1958-1961) led to famines that killed three and a half million Chinese citizens. Panelists noted that much of the Chinese people do not know about the crimes of the CCP because of CCP controls all media outlets within China
Each panel member gave historical details, but the most revealing facts emerged from within the personal stories of the panel members and audience. The 19th Century poet Ralph Waldo Emerson stated, “There is no history: There is only Biography.” The event at the National Constitution Center illustrated his point.
Audience member Galen Chen shared how he had endured 18 months of torture in the Beijing Tuanhe Forced Labor Camp. Chen was sent there merely because he practices Falun Gong, which was described as an ancient spiritual path based on the principles of “Truth, Compassion and Forbearance.” After a Chinese government survey showed that Falun Gong had spread from several hundred people to as many as 100 million in just seven years, Jiang Zemin, then president and Chinese Communist Party head, launched a brutal crackdown on Falun Gong.
Chen said that while he was imprisoned in the camp, two Falun Gong practitioners he knew were killed there. However, he also knew 10 practitioners who were driven into insanity by the torture. “It takes all good things away from the Chinese people and leaves only violence. No one has been spared by this,” said Chen, referring to the CCP.
Another attendee was Tian Jin Huang, a sixty-three-year-old retiree who came to the U.S. in 2001. He said he had been “deeply poisoned” and “deceived” by the CCP. He described how when he was a small boy, he and other boys from his remote village were rounded up and forced to participate in the torture and persecution of landowners. They were also mobilized to tear down neighboring Buddhist temples. Huang described a lifetime of indoctrination and brainwashing while living in China that he freed himself from.
Also telling his story was panelist Jingduan Yang, M.D., a psychiatrist and Chairman of the Board of the Greater Philadelphia Asian Culture Center. Yang described the enormous pressure young people face while living under the communist regime. As a boy, he witnessed his father, who had been labeled “counter-revolutionary,” humiliated and beaten. Innocently, young Yang dreamed that his father would no longer be considered an enemy. He described how those growing up in China are usually blocked from higher education and prosperity if they dare express dissatisfaction with the Party.
Yang’s older sister, Jingfang Yang, has been imprisoned in China since October 2002 for practicing Falun Gong. Dr. Yang said that his sister had been shackled to a bench for 34 consecutive days and beaten many times.
Many others shared, and what emerged was an overview of a totalitarian state, at least as brutal and oppressive as the Nazi regime that took control of Germany in the 1930s. They described an assault on cultural and moral values that has lasted more than five decades. Some of the panelists and audience members predicted that the CCP would crumble soon and that the facts illuminated in the commentaries would be part of the process. Panelists indicated they have hard work ahead, combating decades of indoctrination.
For instance, Panelist Zhendong He, a pro-democracy advocate and musician, detailed Jiang Zemin’s propaganda within China that crackdowns are necessary to insure the peace and stability needed to conduct business with Westerners.
Panelist Hengqing Li had been a student activist in the pro-democracy movement. He said that after coming to the United States, he was surprised to find out how Chinese citizens studying here reacted so personally to any criticism of the CCP. He described how the CCP has so closely intertwined its own identity with the identity of the nation and the Chinese people that if one criticizes the CCP, many Chinese citizens assume that you are anti-China.
A reporter asked how, when writing about CCP human rights violations, to overcome the “anti-China” reaction that Li had expounded upon. Professor Ming said, “Just Keep reporting on it.”
Despite the challenge, many who spoke at the meeting were looking forward to a better future for China. They said they believed the Nine Commentaries would continue spreading, exposing the past and present crimes of the CCP.
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