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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Where Does the Crime "Subversion of State Power" Come From?

January 24, 2010

by Woeser
www.highpeakspureearth.com
January 12, 2010

High Peaks Pure Earth has translated a blogpost
by Woeser that was originally written for Radio
Free Asia on January 12, 2010 and posted on her blog on January 20, 2010.

This article mentions Dhondup Wangchen and Liu
Xiaobo. Dhondup Wangchen was sentenced to 6 years
imprisonment on December 28, 2009 for making the
documentary film "Leaving Fear Behind". The
sentence was reported by international media,
including Reuters, and attracted the attention of
international human rights groups, including Amnesty International.

Liu Xiaobo's sentencing to 11 years imprisonment
on December 25, 2009 for his role in drafting
Charter 08 provoked international outcry.

Beijing -- Recently there was once again some bad
news that Dhondup Wangchen was sentenced to 6
years in prison. Four days before the end of
2009, a sentence was handed out to him in secret
in Xining. Neither he nor his relatives, no-one
received the relevant procedures which must be
carried out by the legal departments in China.
The 35-year-old Amdo farmer, son to elderly
parents, husband to a thin and vexed wife and
father to four young children, had been detained
since the end of March 2008 for making a 25
minute documentary and suffered such a heavy
punishment, on average 3 months imprisonment for
every minute. Moreover, if counting the sentence
from the date he was tried, then the calculation
would be as follows: 4 months for every minute!

Dhondup Wangchen was charged with "subversion of
state power." A foreign journalist asked me on
the phone, what do I think about this accusation?
And in front of my eyes appeared a scene out of
Dhondup Wangchen's film that I can never forget,
a scene that makes me shed tears every time when
I watch it again: an old monk sitting in a dark
corner, choking with sobs, saying: "For the Dalai
Lama to come back is my greatest wish and dream
but it doesn't look like this will be
realised...Dalai Lama, Dalai Lama, I pray to you
... Whenever I hear his name, then I am filled
with faith, devotion and deep deep sadness. The
situation is hopeless. I feel exhausted. It's as
though I were walking alone, with no destination, endlessly."

Also in front of my eyes appeared a recollection
by British Tibetan Dechen Pemba who met him on
completion of filming: "Within minutes of our
meeting, I was struck by his determination and
drive to accomplish something that he felt was
important--to depict the injustice of life as a
Tibetan under Chinese rule. As one of his
interviewees so eloquently said, “We Tibetans
living in the PRC are like stars on a sunny day, we can’t be seen.”

I told the journalist that Dhondup Wangchen did
not have any professional training and used a
simple video camera to record the true underlying
feelings of so many Tibetans to reflect the
oppression and discrimination they are subjected
to in their living conditions, and to voice their
real wishes. The purpose was so that the outside
world would understand what is in the hearts of
Tibetans, if this is "subversion of state power,"
then the regime is too inhumane, too weak.
Therefore Dhondup Wangchen's imprisonment, from
another perspective, has also confirmed the
authenticity of the documentary film, and one can
fully understand why people outside Tibet say
that the lives of the Tibetan people have been
ravaged. On my blog, there are Chinese people
leaving comments saying that "the Chinese
Communists ... ... such a heavy sentence for this
amateur photographer shows the Chinese Communist
Party being too intolerant, and they are making
themselves a laughing stock," Essentially though,
this is not at all a question of being magnanimous or not.

Former Czech President Vaclav Havel, one of the
signatories of that year's "Charter 77",
addressed President Hu Jintao in an open letter a
week ago protesting the illegal imprisonment of
Chinese independent intellectual, Liu Xiaobo, to
11 years. In the letter, he asked the following
questions where "the court in Beijing shamefully
sentenced" Liu Xiaobo accusing him of "inciting
subversion of state power": "There is nothing
subversive to state security when intellectuals,
artists, writers and academics exercise their
core vocation: to think, re-think, ask questions,
criticize, act creatively, and try to initiate
open dialogue. ... There is nothing subversive to
state security or damaging to future prosperity
when citizens act guided by their own will and
according to their best knowledge and conscience,
when they associate among themselves to discuss
and express peacefully their concerns and visions
about the future development of their society. On
the contrary, a country's material and spiritual
future is undermined when its citizens are not
allowed to act, associate, think and speak freely."

In fact, we are living in a country where the
spiritual has already been undermined, when
someone like Dhondup Wangchen who has been the
conscience of mankind is consigned to a dark
prison, I am afraid the future of this country
will sink into hatred and brutality.
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