Mao, Pol Pot and Social Engineers

PapaPaul febboy at IX.NETCOM.COM
Mon Nov 17 00:26:36 MST 1997

Well, one man's han-jian  (traitor) is  another man's hero.
And Wei JingSheng is one of my heroes.   He has sacrificed
health and years in prison for his love of China and his love
of freedom.  May he live a long, happy life.  And I further
hope that Wang Dan and the others follow him to freedom.

Regards, PapaPaul


BEIJING (Nov. 16) - Human rights groups in the United States and Hong Kong
on Sunday welcomed the release of China's best known dissident Wei
Jingsheng on medical parole but urged Beijing to free all jailed political

''It is very welcoming because Wei is a very ill man and urgently needs
medical treatment but it is only a drop in the ocean,'' Robin Munro of
Human Rights Watch Asia said by telephone from Hong Kong.

''What we need to see now is a structural legal change that will lead to
the freeing of other dissidents in China,'' he said, adding there were
still many political and Tibetan activists in Chinese jails.

Wei, 47, widely regarded as the father of China's modern democracy
movement, was on his way to the United States on Sunday after being
released on medical grounds from a 14-year jail term, the dissident's
brother told Reuters.

The New York-based Human Rights in China urged U.S. President Clinton to
make the unconditional release of a group of 27 Chinese and Tibetan
dissidents a condition of his visiting China next year.

Clinton lectured Chinese President Jiang Zemin on human rights when the
latter visited the United States last month.

The 27 dissidents were either jailed for subversion or sent to labour camps
without trial. They included Wang Dan, a student leader of the 1989
pro-democracy demonstrations crushed by the army in Beijing with heavy loss
of life.

Asked to comment, Wang's mother, Wang Lingyun said:
''Permission to seek medical attention abroad is better than no permission
at all, but this is not an improvement on human rights.''

Mike Jendrzejczyk, Washington director of Human Rights Watch/Asia, echoed
the view that Wei's release should not be seen as the harbinger of major
change in China.

''As much as we welcome Wei's release, it would be a mistake to assume this
alone represents any change in China's human rights policy and we must
maintain pressure on them to release many more,'' he said.

Munro of Human Rights Watch Asia said Wei's release was to thank the United
States for its treatment of Jiang during his recent visit.

''This is China's way of saying 'thank you' to the Clinton administration
for giving President Jiang a full ceremonial state visit to Washington,''
he said.

Sinologist Geremie Barme said Wei's release would throw the exiled Chinese
dissident movement into disarray.

''Wei Jingsheng in jail was not only a boon to Jiang Zemin and the
Communist Party but he was a boon to the dissident movement overseas,''
Barme said from San Francisco.

''Wei Jingsheng in jail -- silent, untouchable. Wei Jingsheng free in
America is a loose cannon -- dangerous and unreliable,'' he said.

''Wei will consider exiled Chinese dissidents phonies,'' said Barme. ''He
has the street cred. None of them do.''

Cracks in China's dissident movement had already been visible at home.

Activist Ren Wanding, who has spent 11 years in jail for his own
considerable role in pushing for democratic change in China, said Wei was
no longer eligible for the Nobel Peace Prize now that he has been released.

''Foreign countries feel that the longer the prison term the more heroic
one is and the longer the prison term the more reason to win the Nobel
Peace Prize,'' Ren said.

''Now that Wei Jingsheng has come out, one important reason for him to win
the Peace Prize has disappeared,'' Ren said.

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