2008: The Essay that Won Chengdu Activist Chen Daojun a Three Year Prison Sentence

The Chengdu writer Chen Daojun 陈道军  was sentenced to three years of imprisonment for “inciting to subvert state power”. Here in English translation is one of his essays from March 2008.

Chen Daojun praised the Tibetans for standing up against oppression while the ethnic Han “dogs and pigs” are nearly always cowed by the Chinese Communist Party. Even Han Chinese who are sympathetic to his thesis will not be happy at being called “dogs and pigs”. Not really an approach likely to sway public opinion. So why bother to arrest him?

The text translated below appeared in the April 2008 issue of the Hong Kong Chinese affairs magazine Chengming [Contending] and is available in Chinese at 陈道军:官逼民反——向英勇抗争的藏民致敬

Chen Daojun : Officials Forced the People to Rebel — A Salute to the Heroic Resistance of the Tibetan People

The stream of history flows forever onwards. In China, if officials do not oppress people to the point where they have no alternative, the people will not resist. Confucian education and violent authoritarianism has imbued in most people the servile belief that “a lazy life is better than a good death”. Therefore the despotic rule of the Chinese Communist Party has continued for nearly 60 years. Although life for most Chinese is hard, living as they do in fear. They live not with human dignity, but rather as very servile people. That these people, cowardly and docile as they are still can be forced into rebellion by officials is a testament to the brutality of officialdom.

I oppose violence. However when all legal and proper avenues are blocked, all oppressed miserable people, have the sacred right to take emergency action to express their outrage, to make their voices heard and to seek redress for their grievances. Therefore I support and praise the determined and death defying resistance of an enslaved and oppressed people who are standing up for their dignity as human beings. For this they resisted to the extent of their abilities, standing up to the bullets of the People’s Armed Police of the Communist Party and the field armies of the PLA. These forces drove their tanks to oppress the Tibetans of the TAR, Gansu, Ningxia, Sichuan and other areas who were standing up for their beliefs and their autonomy. For this the Tibetans and their monks demonstrated, tore down PRC flags and burned officials buildings.

Every since 1959 when the Chinese Communist Party began its so-called peaceful rule of Tibet , hundreds of billions of RMB have been spent on assistance to Tibet. This assistance has improved transportation and the lives of most Tibetans. One would think from a rational point of view, that this policy of sacrificing the interests of the many ethnic Han for the sake of these liberated serfs would earn the gratitude and even a desire to pay back this kindness on the part of the Tibetans.

But an autocracy runs on its own logic: for its Tibetans and Hans alike, and all the other nationalities are the slaves of the Chinese Communist Party. They all lack freedom of expression and freedom of religion. They what individuals and nationalities living under a democratic form of government have — a great deal of autonomy in their spiritual and daily lives. Therefore after violating traditional Chinese culture, Islamic culture and Mongolian culture, the despotism of the Communist Party towards Tibetan Buddhism and the Tibetan people came to an irreconcilable contradiction.

From the time of Mao Zedong onwards, with the forcing of the Dalai Lama to leave and put Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme under house and got control over Living Buddhas. Faced with protests by the Tibetan people, in 1959, Chinese Communist troops, shortly after entering Tibet lands opened fire and oppressed great numbers of Tibetans. Again, in 1989 when today’s Communist Party boss Hu Jintao was in charge of Tibetan affairs, again the policy of opening fire on peaceful Tibetan demonstrators was put into practice.

The lessons of history to those in power, and in particular to dictators, have made little impression on the Chinese Communists, who believe that “out of the barrels of guns comes political power.” That group often foolishly believes that in the might of brutality. Therefore, not even 20 years later when Hu Jintao had ascended to the imperial throne, directed the military to once again suppress the peacefully demonstrating monks and people of Tibet. Faced with tyrants, the Tibetan people have opposed them countless times. They don’t want to be, like most ethnic Hans, to be the mere pigs and dogs of the Chinese Communist Party, — the abjectly obedient subjects and underclass ruled by the Chinese Communist Party.

The gunshots of Lhasa have awoken the Chinese people from their sweets dreams about Hu Jintao. They have revealed the ugly face behind China’s “harmonious society”. The Tibetan people, the descendants of serfs, are a people generally content with their lot in life. That they nonetheless continually stand up in resistance is for the Han nationality and for the minorities of China, is an admirable example to any Chinese who would stand up for human rights and against violence.







About 高大伟 David Cowhig

After retirement translated,with wife Jessie, Liao Yiwu's 2019 "Bullets and Opium", and have been studying things 格物致知. Worked 25 years as a US State Department Foreign Service Officer including ten years at US Embassy Beijing and US Consulate General Chengdu and four years as a China Analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Before State I translated Japanese and Chinese scientific and technical books and articles into English freelance for six years. Before that I taught English at Tunghai University in Taiwan for three years. And before that I worked two summers on Norwegian farms, milking cows and feeding chickens.
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