Advocating human rights in China

Many people are deceived by the lies, which have not stopped.

I commend the Daily for publishing the Nov. 30 editorial “Threat of the peaceful in China.” The abuse of Falun Gong practitioners in China is something not to be ignored. I was appalled to read Lin Wang’s strongly worded “Falun Dafa and ignorance” published Friday. Although he states he is not a member of the Communist party, everything he said about Falun Gong was repeating party lines. As an alumnus and a person who grew up in China, sharing many of the same experiences as Wang, I can see Wang was a victim of the lies and slanders against Falun Gong.

Wang is not an isolated individual to fall prey to the Chinese Communist Party. Recently, when nearly 100 tons of the cancer-causing chemical benzene was dumped into a river near Harbin, a major industrial capital of northeastern China of 3.8 million people, the government, again, lied to the people. It took them a week to acknowledge the benzene leak, but by then many small villages’ water source had been contaminated. When the 50-mile stretch of pollution came near, the city of Harbin shut of its water supply for five days, but still keeping secret, initially citing reasons for the shutoff as “water main maintenance.”

Two years ago, the Chinese government’s lies about SARS cost many innocent lives in China and abroad. Even today, China still refuses to acknowledge, let alone apologize for, the Tiananmen Square massacre. Throughout its history, the Chinese Communist Party has killed approximately 80 million people through various political movements and man-caused disasters, more than the two World Wars combined. The movements and killings reveal the true nature of brutality and carelessness with human lives.

I was 11 years old and living in Beijing when the Tiananmen Square massacre occurred. Imagine my shock when I realized that nothing reported on TV was true. I could hear machine-gun shots when the TV anchors stressed that the turmoil was “rioters and students burning army tanks and fisting soldiers.” The contrast opened my eyes. I hope more Chinese people can read your editorial “Threat of the peaceful in China” and become vigilant to words and actions by the Chinese government. I also hope that, having the largest Chinese student population in the country, the University can be a leader in advocating for human rights in China.

Yang Zhang is a Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs alumna. Please send comments to [email protected]