Friday, July 14, 2017

What can we learn from Liu Xiao Bo (劉曉波)?

A hero is down.  But he is going to live long in our hearts.  His fame and influence after his death may yet exceed that which he enjoyed while he was alive.  Whether he does or not is up to us - those who are yet living.  

His death brought me back to 2009, when he was sentenced to 11 years in prison.  I remember those posters on campus protesting his sentence, and the vigils outside the Legislative Council.  At the time, I did not expect him to die in prison, and in such a sudden manner.  

What can we learn from him then?  Certainly it is not just that the struggle for freedom and justice is arduous and hazardous; that one may have to pay for it with one’s life; that the road to freedom is long - very very long.  

We learn that one man may lose his life, yet be able to unite many in the fight against evil.   Liu Xiao Bo has made friends of a very large number of very different people, with very different views.   We are impressed by his decades-long fight for a more open and democratic China, by his demanding that the communist regime comply with Article 35 of the Chinese constitution, which says citizens should enjoy “freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration”; by his reasonableness; by his returning from the USA to support the students in the June 4 Movement; by his insistence on using peaceful means to fight for freedom; by boldly promoting Charter 08; by insisting that he has no enemies; by renouncing hatred because hatred can rot away a person’s intelligence and conscience; by showing us how one man can fight against a repressive regime.  

Liu Xiao Bo, we salute you.   We shall remember you and the lessons you have taught us.  To honour you, we shall never give up.  


Anonymous said...

Yes. Liu Xiaobao is numbered among the greatests of the greats in his commitment to democracy and constitutional rights. He refused to be intimidated and silenced under a repressive regime. A gentle yet fearless human.

YTSL said...

Thanks for writing this and the perspective. I am afraid that the "lesson" too many people will take from Liu Xiaobo's fate is that it's too hard to go up against the Communist Chinese government. For my part though, its heartless treatment of him makes me all the more convinced that the regime must be opposed, including -- and maybe especially -- in Hong Kong.

StephenC said...

I agree with you completely. The inhumane nature of the party is starkly exposed through the persecution of one man by its suffocating power.