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Liu Xiaobo

18 février 2010

Liu Xiaobo: "I have no enemies: my final statement"

Here’s a statement from Liu Xiaobo dated Dec. 23, 2009; translation
courtesy of Prof. David Kelly of the China Research Centre, University
of Technology Sydney.
It may not be an original observation, but I think it’s worth noting
that in China, at any rate, the values and beliefs for which people are
willing to jeopardize their careers or go peacefully to jail are not, as
those people express them, hedged about with qualifying adjectives such
as "socialist" or "with Chinese characteristics". It is not, in
general, the prisoners who talk about the need to respect Chinese
cultural values; it is their jailers (who also claim the right to define
them). The prisoners almost invariably speak in the language of
universal values. Contrary to what is sometimes said by their critics,
this does not mean that they claim that certain values are in fact
held universally. Very obviously they are not. It means simply that
they believe such values should be realized universally, and this is
what inspires them. 

I have no enemies: my final statement

June 1989 was the major turning point in my 50 years on life’s road.
 Before that, I was a member of the first group of students after
restoration of the college entrance examination after the Cultural
Revolution (1977); my career was a smooth ride, from undergraduate to
grad student and through to PhD. After graduation I stayed on as a
lecturer at Beijing Normal University. On the podium, I was a popular
teacher, well received by students. I was also a public intellectual: in
the 1980s I published articles and books that created an impact. I was
frequently invited to speak in different places, and invited to go
abroad to Europe and the US as a visiting scholar. What I required of
myself was: to live with honesty, responsibility and dignity both as a
person and in my writing.. Subsequently, because I had returned from the
US to take part in the 1989 movement, I was imprisoned for
“counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement to crime”, losing the
platform I loved; I was never again allowed publish or speak in public
in China. Simply for expressing divergent political views and taking
part in a peaceful and democratic movement, a teacher lost his podium, a
writer lost the right to publish, and a public intellectual lost the
chance to speak publicly. This was a sad thing, both for myself as an
individual, and, after three decades of reform and opening, for China.

Thinking about it, my most dramatic experiences after June Fourth
have all been linked with the courts; the two opportunities I had to
speak in public have been provided by trials held in the People’s
Intermediate Court in Beijing, one in January 1991 and one now. Although
the charges on each occasion were different, they were in essence the
same, both being crimes of expression.

Twenty years on, the innocent souls of June Fourth are yet to rest in
peace, and I, who had been drawn into the path of dissidence by the
passions of June Fourth, after leaving the Qincheng Prison in 1991 lost
the right to speak openly in my own country, and could only do so
through overseas media, and hence was monitored for many years; placed
under surveillance (May 1995 – January 1996); educated through labour
(October 1996 – October 1999s), and now once again am thrust into the
dock by enemies in the regime. But I still want to tell the regime that
deprives me of my freedom, I stand by the belief I expressed twenty
years ago in my “June Second hunger strike declaration"— I have no
enemies, and no hatred. None of the police who monitored, arrested and
interrogated me, the prosecutors who prosecuted me, or the judges who
sentence me, are my enemies. While I’m unable to accept your
surveillance, arrest, prosecution or sentencing, I respect your
professions and personalities. This includes Zhang Rongge and Pan
Xueqing who act for the prosecution at present: I was aware of your
respect and sincerity in your interrogation of me on 3 December.

For hatred is corrosive of a person’s wisdom and conscience; the
mentality of enmity can poison a nation’s spirit, instigate brutal life
and death struggles, destroy a society’s tolerance and humanity, and
block a nation’s progress to freedom and democracy. I hope therefore to
be able to transcend my personal vicissitudes in understanding the
development of the state and changes in society, to counter the
hostility of the regime with the best of intentions, and defuse hate
with love.

As we all know, reform and opening brought about development of the
state and change in society. In my view, it began with abandoning
“taking class struggle as the key link,” which had been the ruling
principle of the Mao era. We committed ourselves instead to economic
development and social harmony. The process of abandoning the
“philosophy of struggle” was one of gradually diluting the mentality of
enmity, eliminating the psychology of hatred, and pressing out the
“wolf’s milk” in which our humanity had been steeped. It was this
process that provided a relaxed environment for reform and opening at
home and abroad, for the restoration of mutual love between people, and
soft humane soil for the peaceful coexistence of different values and
different interests. It provided the explosion of popular creativity and
the rehabilitation of warm heartedness with incentives consistent with
human nature. Externally abandoning “anti-imperialism and
anti-revisionism”, and internally abandoning “class struggle” may be
called the basic premise of the continuance of China’s reform and
opening to this day. The market orientation of the economy; the cultural
trend toward diversity; and the gradual change of order to the rule of
law, all benefited from the dilution of this mentality. Even in the
political field, where progress is slowest, dilution of the mentality of
enmity also made political power ever more tolerant of diversity in
society, the intensity persecution of dissidents has declined
substantially, and characterization of the 1989 movement has changed
from an “instigated rebellion” to a “political upheaval.”

The dilution of the mentality of enmity made the political powers
gradually accept the universality of human rights. In 1998, the Chinese
government promised the world it would sign the two international human
rights conventions of the UN, marking China’s recognition of universal
human rights standards; in 2004, the National People’s Congress for the
first time inscribed into the constitution that “the state respects and
safeguards human rights”, signalling that human rights had become one of
the fundamental principles of the rule of law. In the meantime, the
present regime also proposed “putting people first” and “creating a
harmonious society”, which signalled progress in the Party’s concept of
rule.

This macro-level progress was discernible as well in my own
experiences since being arrested.

While I insist on my innocence, and hold the accusations against me
to be unconstitutional, in the year and more since I lost my freedom,
I’ve experienced two places of detention, four pre-trial police
officers, three prosecutors and two judges. In their handling of the
case, there has been no lack of respect, no time overruns and no forced
confessions. Their calm and rational attitude has over and again
demonstrated goodwill. I was transferred on 23 June from the residential
surveillance to Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau Detention
Center No. 1, known as “Beikan.” I saw progress in surveillance in the
six months I spent there.

I spent time in the old Beikan (Banbuqiao) in 1996, and compared with
the Beikan of a decade ago, there has been great improvement in the
hardware of facilities and software of management.

In particular, Beikan’s innovative humane management applies more
flexible management of what the discipliners say and do, on the basis of
respecting the rights and dignity of detainees. This management,
embodied in the journals Warm Broadcast and Repentance, music played
before meals and when waking up and going to sleep, gave detainees
feelings of dignity and warmth, stimulating their consciousness of
keeping order in their cells and countering the warders’ sense of
themselves as lords of the jail. It not only provides detainees with a
humanized living environment, but greatly improves the environment and
mindset for their litigation. I had close contact with Liu Zhen, in
charge of my cell. People feel warmed by his respect and care for
detainees, reflected in the management of every detail, and permeating
his every word and deed. Getting to know the sincere, honest,
responsible, good-hearted Liu, really was a piece of good luck for me in
Beikan.

Political beliefs are based on such convictions and personal
experiences; I firmly believe that China’s political progress will never
stop, and I’m full of optimistic expectations of freedom coming to
China in the future, because no force can block the human desire for
freedom. China will eventually become a country of the rule of law in
which human rights are supreme. I’m also looking forward to such
progress being reflected in the trial of this case, and look forward to
the full court’s just verdict ——one that can stand the test of history.

Ask me what has been my most fortunate experience of the past two
decades, and I’d say it was gaining the selfless love of my wife, Liu
Xia. She cannot be present in the courtroom today, but I still want to
tell you, my sweetheart, that I’m confident that your love for me will
be as always. Over the years, in my non-free life, our love has
contained bitterness imposed by the external environment, but is
boundless in afterthought. I am sentenced to a visible prison while you
are waiting in an invisible one. Your love is sunlight that transcends
prison walls and bars, stroking every inch of my skin, warming my every
cell, letting me maintain my inner calm, magnanimous and bright, so that
every minute in prison is full of meaning. But my love for you is full
of guilt and regret, sometimes heavy enough hobble my steps. I am a hard
stone in the wilderness, putting up with the pummeling of raging
storms, and too cold for anyone to dare touch. But my love is hard,
sharp, and can penetrate any obstacles. Even if I am crushed into
powder, I will embrace you with the ashes.

Given your love, my sweetheart, I would face my forthcoming trial
calmly, with no regrets about my choice and looking forward to tomorrow
optimistically. I look forward to my country being a land of free
expression, where all citizens’ speeches are treated the same; where,
different values, ideas, beliefs, political views… both compete with
each other and coexist peacefully; where, majority and minority opinions
will be given equal guarantees, in particular, political views
different from those in power will be fully respected and protected;
where, all political views will be spread in the sunlight for the people
to choose; all citizens will be able to express their political views
without fear, and will never be politically persecuted for voicing
dissent; I hope to be the last victim of China’s endless literary
inquisition, and that after this no one else will ever be jailed for
their speech.

Freedom of expression is the basis of human rights, the source of
humanity and the mother of truth. To block freedom of speech is to
trample on human rights, to strangle humanity and to suppress the truth.

I do not feel guilty for following my constitutional right to freedom
of expression, for fulfilling my social responsibility as a Chinese
citizen. Even if accused of it, I would have no complaints. Thank you!

Liu Xiaobo (December 23, 2009)

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