Thursday, 7 June 2012


Chinese activist Li Wangyang, a native of Hunan who had been in jail for more than two decades for his role in the pro-democracy movement in 1989, was found dead in hospital yesterday. Officials said he might have hanged himself. His family, however, refused to accept the official claim. They questioned why he was on his feet if he hanged himself. They also insisted that Li had always been strong despite his suffering and poor health throughout the years. Li was reportedly blind and deaf as a result of torture and maltreatment in prison.

Personality seems a bit arbitrary, especially when it comes to providing evidence for a criminal case. But the fact that Li was standing by the window is by all means intriguing and suspicious. That his family was barred from bidding Li farewell and his body was taken away despite his family's protest only fuelled the suspicions.

If what Li's family said is true and there is little distortion to their story, this is by all means horrendous. What is the point of killing a dissident, also a human life? To mute opposition? To show how committed they are to upholding the paramount principle of maintaining harmony? Why do the Chinese authorities, central and local alike, still believe they can put everything under control with repressive measures like this? Isn't there a flicker within their conscience in any split of second that reminds them of all those stories in history about the brutal revenge upon merciless dictators? We Chinese are one of the first peoples to start writing history and I take great pride in this fantastic heritage. But why so many people out there fail to learn from past mistakes? Human nature is extremely difficult to change, I agree, yet it can and should be restrained, if controlled, by reason and empathy. Otherwise what is the difference between humanity and animal instincts that drive us to kill and feed on the prey?

I have always tried to keep my head cool when it comes to discussions about the Chinese communist regime because I'm too familiar with all those biases, hostilities, prejudices and propositions. But the preliminary evidence in this case, or at least how the story is told, has already spoken for itself, too loud to be neglected. I am expecting someone to tell me everything is just a joke, or a well-planned conspiracy of the family to take advantage of the situation by blaming the authorities for Li's death. But any sensible person would not do this to his family. Or are you going to tell me anything can happen in the lawless and ruthless China?


  1. Samson2:08 am

    Human history is always a record of brutality. Do not expect that to change in our time. In the People ’s Republic the justification for all actions goes like that:- The republic is a paradise for the people. People enjoy the happy life there. Those who disagree and think differently are not the people. They are the enemies of the people. They are non-human. They do not deserve all the rights entitled to the people. They must be dealt with by being locked up, sent to exile or eliminated from earth. See the root logic for all events in China?

    Ontario, Canada

  2. The same logic applies to US hegemony. Those who stand in the way of US interests are ruthlessly wiped out.
    I'm not expecting anything to change in our time. I'm just pondering how much longer we can cling to our humanistic heritage that was meant to combat the dark side of humanity in the first place.

  3. Anonymous4:26 am

    Paying lip service to democracy is fashionable because it seems there are so many lapses, both large and small. Assessed individually they are frequently tales of greed gone bad; assessed globally, they reveal a pattern of abuse that undermines the social compact political parties have with their voters.

    Certainly, there are fine examples of political leaders who have taken the lessons of the last century of national mischief and malfeasance to heart, and they have instituted a more conscientious ethos within their institutions. Sun Yat San, is a great example of a leader who thought more about ethics, social responsibility and protecting the people than he did about his medical profession. Still, there are too many reluctant party chiefs waiting for the public and the media to grow weary of “ethics” so they can return to the pro-Beijing era where the rules were played fast and loose.

    Political parties not only have a responsibility to keep this issue front and center—and to weigh these cases in the LegCo—but also to lay the foundation for a more ethical political culture. By instilling a deep reservoir of knowledge about values and national responsibility in people, political parties can develop a corps of ethical leaders who will build and command a more principled government culture in the future.

    It has not always been this way in HK. For the last 23 years Tung and Tsang’s mission have been teaching HK people how to serve the bottom line first and foremost. Sadly, there were times they taught HK people that rice was more important than living with dignity and the freedom of speech.

    Such an approach has been with us for more than half a century. As far back as 1966, activist Lam Bun dismissed the notion that revolutionists had a responsibility to society. “Few trends could so thoroughly undermine the very foundations of our free society as the acceptance by government officials of a political responsibility other than to make as much money for their family and close friends as possible.” More than anyone else, Szeto Wah issued in the era of post colonial democracy that defined the 1980s and early 1990s.

    Yet Anson Chan has speculated about civil rights since the beginning of the Tung dynasty, debating the notion that the UK has political obligations and responsibilities, including, but not limited to, obeying the law, avoiding harm and doing the right thing. Despite these conversations, there was little momentum to carry them forward into the greater HK community as an operating principle - one that had the same weight as HK value. As a society in a small corner of China, we were faithful to profit before all else.

    The laundry list of scandals over the last decade, beginning with Tung and followed by sordid and illegal schemes in the cyber port of Li, poll scores, Leman Brother’s investment and minibonds, tells a brutal story of deceit and avarice, and it points out our failure in governance to comprehend the profound connection between developing ethical political leaders in LegCo and operating ethical parties on the street.

    On the heels of the Lu Cheung On scandal, HKU was among the first HK poll programs to see the link, and it quickly required HK people to understand the black power behind government controlled media.

    The idea of demonstrating and making protest in the street generated further thinking in the new generation. These are all programs worthy of praise, but politicians in Hong Kong must align their program to emphasize real responsibility in the LegCo. Ethics in government must not be a fad that disappears around the next corner of economic resurgence. The lesson of the last decade is that when ethics fails to temper economic passions we all suffer, from the individual to the city to the country. When rubber stampers do not dare to question a point, piliibusters will follow.

  4. Anonymous4:27 am

    Which Example to Follow?

    Some had questioned why Sun Yat San had married a number of wives. The cultural background for Sun Yat San in the old days were history. When you were born in a rich family or you gained some money through land leasing or trading, it was generally acceptable to have more than one wife. This was also true in other civilizations as polygamy was the general practice in the animal kingdom for breeding the strongest male for survival.

    People were not concerned about Sun's private life. People remembered him as the founder of the new China because he studied medicine in HK, got the best academic result but instead of pratising medical profession to heal a small number of people, he selected a much more difficult path to save all the people of China.
    Some years later, who could still remember those property tycoons such as Li, Ho, Lau.....and their girl friends?

    People could only recall that on 10 June 2012, Li Cheuk Yan criticised the political party in Beijing for the cruel treatment against a democratic fighter who kept on voicing out his protest against corruption, suffering inhumane torture and eventually being reported as a man hanging himself with his feet standing on ground. His body was incinerated when the public demanded for autopsy. His immediate family members were made inaccessible. His quest for reviewing the 4th of June massacre were echoed by more than 25,000 people on the street.

    This city is dying because many filthy ugly men like Li, Ho, Lau and others sponsored rubber stampers in LegCo to make this city a paradise to monopolise property development.

    This city is dying because many believe that they should keep silent about wrong acts on the other side of the control line.

    This city is dying when household wives do not want to do their own laundry, cooking, raising kids, sweeping the floor, ironing, cleaning toilet bowls and other household work and prefer to watch meaningless drama telling how Run Run Shaw managed his wives and girl friends.

    The lessons for everyone are:
    1. If you want to loose your sight, hearing and mobility, keep on asking government officials to declare their assets. You could be locked up in jail for 23 years and eventually wrapped with a piece of bed sheet around your neck and left suffocated on your feet. The one who kill you may be a man called 趙魯湘.

    2. If you want to follow Donald Tsang's example, you better follow the party line, attend all events in full obedience, be it snake meals, moon cake gatherings, vegetarian meals and chop your rubber stamp as signalled to you.

    3. Make no protest against your Pilipino maid if it is more important to keep your maid from Philippine than some islands in the South China city


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