许志永法庭陈词:最后为了自由·公义·爱 For Freedom, Justice and Love — My Closing Statement to the Court by Xu Zhiyong

许志永2014年1月22日在庭审被法官打断的最后陈词:“把公民的权利当真,那些写在《世界人权宣言》和中国宪法里的选举权、言论自由、信仰自由等神圣的权利不能永远是一张白条;把公民的责任当真,中国是我们每个人的中国,良心正义的底线在我们每个人的脚下,需要我们每个人去坚守……”

为了自由·公义·爱-我的法庭陈词
作者:许志永
新公民运动授权发表

你们指控我在推动教育平权,随迁子女就地高考和呼吁官员财产公示的行动中扰乱公共秩序,表面看这是一个公民言论自由与公共场所秩序的边界问题,实际上,这是你们是否把公民的宪法权利当真的问题。而更深层次的问题是,你们心中深深的恐惧。恐惧公开审理,公民自由旁听,恐惧我的名字出现在互联网上,恐惧一个正在到来的自由社会。你们试图打压新公民运动,阻碍中国和平改良的民主宪政之路。虽然你们在庭审中没有提及新公民运动,但是,案件材料中大量涉及,我想,没有必要回避这个问题,敞开来谈,对中国社会进步是有意义的。

新公民运动倡导每个中国人堂堂正正做公民,把公民的身份当真,我们是公民,是国家的主人,不是臣民,顺民,草民,暴民;把公民的权利当真,那些写在《世界人权宣言》和中国宪法里的选举权、言论自由、信仰自由等神圣的权利不能永远是一张白条;把公民的责任当真,中国是我们每个人的中国,良心正义的底线在我们每个人的脚下,需要我们每个人去坚守;新公民运动倡导自由、公义、爱的新公民精神。个人自由,无拘无束真实快乐的自我是国家和社会的永恒目的;公义是个人自由的边界,是此世间的公平正义,是恒久的道义良心;爱,是友善,是宽容,是同情,是奉献,是人世间最美好的情感,是幸福的源泉。

自由,公义,爱是我们的核心价值,我们的行动指南。新公民运动倡导每个公民从自身做起,从身边做起,从小事做起,从改变具体的公共政策和制度做起,理性建设性推动国家民主法治进程,追求民主法治公平正义的中国人在共同的公民身份下团结起来,在自由民主的规则之上形成公民的共同体,成长为公民社会健康理性的力量。公民群体有共同的公民身份,共同的民主宪政理念,共同的自由,公义,爱的信仰。但公民群体不是专制意义上的组织,没有领导,没有层级,没有命令与服从,没有纪律与惩罚,而是完全基于自愿的自由公民的联合。各地公民群体在推动具体的制度变革行动中自发的自主成长。公民群体作为公权力的监督者,政治改革的推动者,民主法治的建设者,在推动社会进步的行动中健康成长。推动教育平权,随迁子女就地高考和呼吁官员财产公示就是在这一理念下的公民行动。

推动教育平权,实现随迁子女就地高考是我们2009年底开始的一项为期三年的行动。在那之前,我们陆续接到一些家长的求助,注意到这样一个严重的社会问题,中国两亿多新移民在城市工作,生活,作为纳税人却不能平等地享有市民待遇,而其中尤为严重的问题是,他们的孩子不能在他们身边学习和参加高考,不得不被送到数千里之外的户籍地读书,由此制造了中国数千万的留守儿童。很多人关心留守儿童的命运,却未曾想过,对他们最好的帮助是打破户籍隔离的高墙,让他们回到父母身边。

我们的行动分为三个阶段,第一阶段,2010年初到当年6月,到北京市教委和海淀教委请愿,协商推动了北京中学升初中不分户籍的平等入学。第二阶段,2010年7月到2012年8月,到教育部请愿,推动教育部出台随迁子女就地高考政策。第三阶段,2012年9月至年底,敦促北京市教委落实教育部的新政策,我们通过征集签名,扩大家长志愿者团队,每月最后一个周四到教育部门请愿,提交建议,召集专家研讨随迁子女就地高考可行性方案,给数以千计的人大代表写信、打电话和见面,恳请他们在两会期间提出议案。2011年两会期间,教育部长接受采访时说随迁子女就地高考方案正在制定中,2012年两会期间,教育部长在媒体面前公开承诺,随迁子女就地高考政策将在上半年内出台,并要求各地在年底前出台具体实施办法。

2012年6月28日,和以往一样,是家长志愿者的例行请愿日,和以往一样他们没有得到教育部门的任何答复,大家在现场约定,如果教育部不能按承诺在月底前出台新政策,他们在下周四还来,这就是7.5请愿的由来。2012年8月,教育部终于公布了随迁子女就地高考政策,并要求各地在年底前出台具体实施方案。到2012年年底,全国共29个省市陆续出台了随迁子女就地高考方案,但是北京却成了例外。一位家长苦笑着说,我们奋斗了三年,解放了全中国,却唯独剩下了自己。

我知道这背后是眼泪,他们的孩子即将远离父母,到陌生的地方去读书,也许命运会从此改变。作为理想主义者,我们推动全国大部分地区实现了随迁子女就地高考,但是,作为这个新政策的主要推动者,北京的非京籍家长却没有给他们的孩子们争取到公平的机会。我觉得很对不起大家,而这时很多人已经开始心灰意冷,我不得不去地铁口发放卡片,号召大家2.28请假一天,到北京市教委门口请愿,作最后努力,这就是2.28请愿的由来。7.5和2.228请愿,我们去的是教育部门,是公民到国家机关表达诉求,我们去的不是法律意义上的公共场所。刑法对公共场所界定得很清楚,是除国家机关、社会单位、公共道路之外的公共空间,所以我们的行为不构成扰乱公共场所秩序。

三年来,我们的行为一直温和理性,7.5的时候,确实有个别家长情绪激动,那是因为教育部没有兑现自己的公开承诺,也没有给予任何的解释。但是即使这样,他们的所谓激动也就是喊几句口号,他们要求与教育部长对话,也是合理的,因为他们拿着十万人的签名,背后是两亿新移民的权利,然而他们却遭到了什么呢?看看现场的照片吧,那个网名叫跳舞的家长,被警方拎着头发抬走。难道就没有别的办法把她带走吗?她做了什么过激的行为吗?三年来她有任何的过激行为吗?没有,从来没有!每当我想起这一幕就痛心不已,三年来我们的目标如此单纯,我们的行为如此温和,却遭到如此恶毒的对待。有警察拿着事先拟定好的名单,恶意地殴打他们。但是即使如此,我还是一再告诫他们,要理性,要理性,一定要理性。我们不能和他们一样,这个社会需要新的希望,我们不能和他们一样。

教育平权,随迁子女就地高考,符合新公民运动的理念,从具体的公共政策和制度改变做起,为迁徙自由,为公义,为爱。1958年中国确立了户籍隔离制度,从此城乡分隔为两个世界。1961年,中国确立了收容遣送制度,从此,一个农村人,如果想自主到城市寻找工作和新生活的希望,他随时会被抓捕遣返。2012年一年时间,北京抓捕遣返22万人次。

2003年,收容遣送制度废除了,但新移民融入城市的道路依然漫长。2006年,我们在北京调研时发现,针对非户籍常住居民的歧视政策多达19种,而其中最不人道的,就是孩子不能在父母身边上学。我们为了推动随迁子女就地高考,整整努力了三年。三年间,我见证了教育公平志愿者们严寒酷暑中在地铁口、在路旁、在商场,征集签名支持,直到有联系方式的签名支持者超过十万人。我见证了几百位家长在教育部信访室的后院集体朗诵《教育平权宣言》,我见证了数百位家长和孩子到青龙湖公园植树,那是2012年清明节,大家的帽子上有统一的标识―在北京,爱北京。我见证了凤凰卫视一虎一席谈录制现场,一位小女孩失声痛哭,因为她不想离开在北京工作的爸爸妈妈,到陌生的户籍地读书。我见证了地安门外的一个胡同里,国子监中学初三的学生章旭东,这个班级前十名的学生,因为没有北京户籍,被迫到初中毕业后不得不到张家口一人完全陌生的县中学读书,一年后因为语言、环境、教材不适应等原因失学了。这个爱说爱笑的孩子从此变得沉默寡言。他的父母在北京工作了近三十年,而他们却永远是外地人,是这个城市的贱民。

想到千千万万被万恶的户籍隔离制度永远改变命运的孩子,想到一代又一代被万恶的户籍隔离制度伤害的中国人,想到那些无以计数的死在收容遣送路上的中国人,为消除中国特色的身份隔离制度,为中国数千万留守儿童争取在父母身边上学的权利,今天我站在被告席上,何止是无怨无悔,我是多么的骄傲啊。

呼吁官员财产公示,是我们推动国家反腐败制度建设的努力。全世界超过137个国家和地区建立了官员财产公示制度,为什么中国就不能?“人民公仆”到底害怕什么呢?不要太贪婪,不义的财富带给自己的不只是奢华的生活,同时还是深深的恐惧不安,以及来自民众的愤怒与仇视。我们用征集签名上网,发放宣传品,以及上街打条幅等方式呼吁官员财产公示,同时也是践行宪法规定的公民言论自由权,我们的行为没有侵害任何他人的正当权利,没有任何的社会危害性,即便西单演讲个别言词有激烈之处,但是,作为针对公共政策的言论表达,也没有超出宪法和法律规定的言论自由界限。

公民在公共场所以打条幅、演讲等方式公开表达政治观点,在现代文明社会,完全属于正常的社会现象。执法机关可以在现场监督和防范,但不应该滥用权利,不当干预。事实上,我们在清华西门,中关村广场等地打条幅,在没有警察在场的情况下,也没有出现任何的秩序混乱,没有妨碍其他任何人的权利,大家打完条幅就离开了。这符合我们一贯“快闪”的理念,我们没有用如今多人聚集的方式进行公共表达,采取少数人快闪方式表达,就是考虑到了中国国情,考虑到了中国社会的承受能力。我们当然希望宪法中规定的那些神圣权力都变成现实,但是,改革需要稳定,社会进步需要渐进地进行,作为负责任的公民,我们要采取点滴方式践行宪法规定的权利,推动国家民主法治进程。

十年来,为自由,为公义,为爱,为我们一直以来的梦想,我们一贯用和平改良的方式来推动国家和社会的进步,我们通过介入公共事件来改变具体的制度和公共政策。2003年,孙志刚以他生命的代价废除了收容遣送制度,在此过程中,作为法律人,我们尽了自己的努力,以公民的名义对收容遣送制度提出违宪审查的建议。最近十年我们继续努力,争取新移民融入所在城市获得平等的权利,一直到2012年推动随迁子女实现就地高考政策的出台。我们为遭受极端不公的受害者提供法律援助,这其中有三聚氰胺奶粉受害者,动车事故受害者等等。

2008年,三鹿事件暴发后,我们组建律师团,根据媒体报导,计算受害者数量。根据法律提出公正的赔偿方案,联合受害者共同推动了政府主导的赔偿方案的出台。但政府赔偿方案远不能弥补很多孩子受到的伤害,比如,一个孩子的手术费用花了将近十万,而赔偿只有三万元。接下来我们继续为委托我们的四百多个孩子寻求公正,起诉到最高法院,起诉到一百多个地方法院,起诉到香港法院。2009年7月,当我被以公盟偷税的名义投入监所,社会各界为公盟捐款缴纳罚款的时刻,我们的志愿者在南方,正在把其中一笔一百万元送到受害的结石宝宝家中。我永远为那个时刻感到骄傲,我们不会因为自己身陷困境就放弃对弱者的承诺。

很多个冬天,我们给贫穷的露宿街头的上访者送去棉衣、棉被、馒头,以尽量避免他们在这个繁华的都市里悄无声息地冻死、饿死。上访中国特色的维权,这是一个关系社会,关系背后是特权、腐败、不公正,只有少数性格倔强的人才敢站出来捍卫自己的权利和尊严,但就是这少数人,聚焦到国家的首都就是成千上万。他们在北京被驱逐,被非法拘禁,被殴打。我们核实过的,非法拘禁他们的黑监狱,北京就有四十多处。我们去现场围观,拿着法律条文举报正在进行的犯罪,遭到看守的辱骂殴打,一次又一次,我为能够分担他们的一点点痛苦而感到骄傲。

十年了,因为选择站在无权无势者一边,我们见证了太多的不公不义,太多的苦难不幸,可我们依然怀着一颗光明的心,理性建设性推动国家进步。在对收容遣送制度提出违宪审查建议后,我们调研起草新的流浪乞讨人员管理办法,推动教育平权,我们起草的随迁子女就地高考方案,被大部分省市所接受。呼吁官员财产公示,就在2013年3月我们还曾经讨论起草阳光法案。提出问题就要找到解决问题的办法,反对,是为了建设,因为我们是新时代的公民,对国家负责任的公民,我们爱中国。

然而遗憾的是,你们把公民群体的存在和成长当成异端心怀恐惧,你们说我们有政治目的,是的,我们的政治目的很清楚,那就是民主、法治、自由、公义、爱的美好中国。我们追求的,不是为打江山坐江山,为权力不择手段的野蛮政治,而是美好政治,是为公众谋取福利的美好事业,是全体公民共同治理国家的事业,我们的使命不是为了获得权力,而是为了约束权力。为中华民族世世代代的公平正义自由幸福建设民主法治健全的现代文明制度,奠基高贵的政治文明传统。美好政治离不开真正的民主法治,各级政府与议会必须由人民选举产生,政权出自选票而不是枪杆子。真正的民主法治,政治在法治秩序中运行,政党公平竞争,只有在自由公正的选举中胜出,才有资格执政。真正的民主法治,国家权力科学分立相互制衡,司法独立,法官忠于法律和良心。真正的民主法治,军队、警察是国家公器,不可沦为任何政党和利益集团的私产。真正的民主法治,媒体是社会公器,不可为任何政党和利益集团垄断为喉舌。真正的民主法治,宪法规定的选举权、言论自由、信仰自由等公民神圣的权利必须兑现,人民当家作主的承诺决不是一句谎言。这些现代民主的价值和尺度根植于普遍的人性,不是东方或者西方的,不是社会主义或者资本主义的,而是普适全人类,只要是人的社会,无一例外。民主制度是解决人类问题的知识,我们的祖先没有发现这种知识,我们就应该谦卑,向别人学习。三十多年来,中国引进自由竞争的市场经济制度,带来了经济繁荣,同样,必须引进自由竞争的民主宪政制度,才能解决当前面临的社会不公问题。

当下的中国,社会不公问题激化,而政治权利的不公既是最大的社会不公,同时也是其他不公正的根源。一系列重大社会问题的根源就在于,一个特权利益集团垄断了全部国家政治权力和经济命脉,中国的根本问题就是民主宪政问题。年年反腐败,可是六十多年来,腐败愈演愈烈,没有民主选举,没有新闻自由,没有司法独立,绝对的权力不可能打造一个清廉的政府。年年喊民生,可至今仍有数以亿计的人口生活在国际公认的贫困线以下。偏远山区,甚至每月一百元的低保也常常成为贪官污吏们侵吞的对象。权贵与普通民众之间的贫富差距越来越大。人民仇官仇富,根本上是仇视高高在上的垄断特权。就连教育,基础教育,千千万万个家庭也要为孩子上学而奔波愁苦,到处托关系送钱,甚至连上幼儿园都要行贿。这个社会为什么会溃烂至此?

人,是政治的动物,不仅要吃饱穿暖,还要自由,要公正,要参与国家治理。你们说,全国人大是中国的最高权力机关,可又说这个最高权力机关要听党领导。连国家的根本政治制度都是这样一个公开谎言,靠什么建设诚信社会?你们说,司法公正,法院公开审理,然后安排不相干的人占据法庭的旁听席位,连法院都这样的不择手段,人民到哪里去寻找正义的底线?于是,人与人之间到处是冰冷的面具,连老人摔倒要不要扶居然都成为一个持续的热门话题,毒奶粉、黑砖窑,各种恶劣社会问题层出不穷,但他们对此毫不愧疚,他们觉得这社会就这样。中国社会最大的问题是假,而最大的假是国家根本政治制度和意识形态的假,什么是社会主义,你们说得清楚吗?全国人大是最高国家权力机关吗?政治的谎言无底线,十三亿国民都深受其害,猜疑、失望、困惑、愤怒、无奈、抱怨,是很多人的生活常态。是的,政治和我们每个人息息相关,我们不可能远离政治,我们只有努力去改变它。权力必须被关进制度的笼子里,必须改变家天下党天下的专制政治。我真诚地希望,执政者能够顺应人类文明潮流,主动推动政治改革,建设民主宪政的文明政治,以和平改良的方式实现人民当家作主的百年中国梦。

一个多世纪以前,中国错过了和平改良通往民主宪政的道路,二十世纪,中华民族在革命、动荡与苦难中挣扎,民国曾有的市场经济和民主宪政希望昙花一现,极权政治回光返照,在文革中达到登峰造极。文革之后,中国的经济改革走上了一条增量改革的模式,在不触动旧体制及利益的前提下放松社会管制,又通过市场中成长的力量反作用于旧体制,推动改革前进。同样,中国的政治改革也可以没用此模式,在不触动旧体制利益的前提下,放松社会管制,容忍体制外民主力量健康成长,这才是有价值的中国道路。我们建设公民共同体,理性迈出一小步,对国家是负责任的。你们不用恐惧新公民运动,我们是新时代的公民,理念上,彻底告别了敌人、江山、推翻、打倒的专制意识,坚守自由、公义、爱的信仰,行为上彻底告别阴谋、暴力等野蛮模式,以和平改良方式推动社会进步,在阳光下健康成长。公民群体的使命不是作为反对党存在,虽然建立宪政民主,是未来中国实现政治文明的必然趋势。我们的使命,是和中国所有进步人士一道,共同推动中国实现政治文明转型。

新公民运动是民主法治进步的政治革新运动,也是一场政治文化传统重生的文化运动,民主宪政运行需要良好的政治文明土壤,而这土壤就是我们的集体预期和信仰。美好政治必须成为国民的信仰,无底线的野蛮政治必须在每个人的心灵深处永远成为过去。这需要一群优秀的公民勇敢地担当责任,牺牲自我,成为公民的楷模,这也是我们每一个中国人的责任。

这是我的责任。生在这片土地上,对这个国家的爱是不需要理由的,爱中国,就要让她更美好。我选择作为一个和平的改良主义者,继续一个世纪来先辈们未曾完成的使命,倡导绝对非暴力,倡导自由、公义、爱,倡导和平改良的民主宪政之路。我有能力在这个体制中过上优越的生活,但是,任何的特权都会让我感到羞耻。我选择站在无权无势者一边,一起感受北京的冬天街头地下通道的寒冷,一起承受黑监狱的野蛮暴力。上天创造了贫穷富裕、地位差别,不是为了让我们彼此厌弃甚至仇恨,而是为了让我们彼此相爱,我很荣幸有机会和他们一起走在漫长的上访路上。我选择了担当,在我孩子刚出生,家人最需要我的时候,我渴望守候在她们身边,可是很多年来,面对无辜弱者的苦难,我无法控制自己的悲哀,甚至无法保持沉默,我终于相信,审判和炼狱都是命中注定,为自由、公义、爱,为众生幸福,为主的荣耀,这一切苦,我愿意。

这是我们公民群体的责任。在一个遍地屈膝的臣民社会,总要有人率先站起来,总要有人为社会进步面对风险承受代价。我们是率先站起来的中国人,我们更关心祖国的前途和命运,关心民主法治,关心公平正义,关心弱势群体的尊严的幸福。我们更加纯真善良,厌恶阴谋诡计,向往自由简单幸福的生活。我们努力服务社会,帮助需要帮助的人,推动社会进步。我们勇敢担当责任,为理想放弃特权、放弃很多世俗利益,甚至失去自由,我们努力入下自我,不计较个人得失,尊重别人的权利边界,谦卑面对众生。

这是你们法官、检察官的责任。你们有责任忠于法律和良心,坚持社会正义的底线,不要沦为这个官僚体制中卑微的一员,不要践踏法治的尊严。不要说这是顾大局,中国最大的大局不是领导的命令,而是法治的底线,不要说你们是在按照法律的逻辑在给我定罪,不要忘记宪法规定的那些神圣的权利。不要说这只是个饭碗,你们是无辜的,任何人都要对自己的行为负责,任何时候都要忠于自己的良心。在一个延绵千年的人治社会,中国法律人肩负着特殊的使命。我无论作为辩护人,作为陪审员,作为宪法学老师,都努力坚持良心正义的底线,希望你们也是如此。我一直希望中国司法界会有一场良心觉醒运动,希望你们法官能和国外的同行一样受到人们的普遍尊重,希望良心觉醒能从你们开始。

那些躲在幕后观看这次庭审,或者在等待请示汇报的人,这也是你们的责任。不要因为自己是既得利益者就努力维护旧体制,一个不公正的体制下没有人是安全的。你们心中有太多的恐惧,以为政治永远就是刀光剑影血雨腥风,可是我要告诉你们,时代已经改变,新文明时代,人类社会最伟大的力量,不是暴力,而是爱。不要恐惧民主,不要恐惧失去特权,不要恐惧公平竞争,不要恐惧一人正在到来的自由社会。也许你们觉得我的理想太过遥远,太不切实际,但是我相信信仰的力量,相信人类灵魂深处真善美的力量,相信人类文明进步的浩浩荡荡的进步潮流。

这是我们十三亿中国人共同的责任。王朝、政党,都会成为过眼烟云,而中国依然是中国,我们都是中国人,有责任铸就中国美好的未来,中国一定会成为世界上最伟大的国家,有着最发达的科技,最繁荣的经济,最强大的全球范围内捍卫公平正义的能力,最灿烂的引领人类文明进步的文化。但那不可能是专制的中国,那一定是宪政文明实现之后的中国,那一定是民主的中国,法治的中国,自由的中国。请让我们一起思考我们能够为国家做什么,才能实现这个国家美好的未来。这个国家缺少自由,自由需要我们每一个人去争取,这个社会缺少公义,公义需要我们每一个人去捍卫,这个社会缺少爱,爱需要我们每一个人用真情去点燃。让我们一起把公民的身份当真,把公民的权利当真,把公民的责任当真,把公民社会的梦想当真,让我们一起坚守良心正义的底线,任何时候都不要因为上级的命令去作恶,不要因为后面有人推你你就推前面的人。底线,就在你的脚下,底线,在我们每个人的脚下。让我们一起用爱唤醒沉睡的良知,用爱消除心与心的藩篱,用爱建立中华民族高贵的政治文明传统。

推动教育平权,随迁子女就地高考,呼吁官员财产公示,倡导大家堂堂正正做公民,在这荒诞的后极权社会,成了我的三大罪状。如果执政者有一点点诚意把公民的宪法权利当真,我们当然无罪。我们没有扰乱公共秩序的故意,我们是为了推动国家的民主法治。我们没有扰乱公共秩序的行为,我们不过是在践行宪法规定的言论自由。我们没有扰乱公共秩序的后果,没有人的正当权利受到损害。当然,我清楚社会进步总要有人付出代价。我愿意为自由、公义、爱的信仰,为了中国美好的未来承担一切代价。如果你们执意迫害一个民族的良心,我将坦然接受命运的安排,从容接受这份荣耀。但是,你们不要以为把我投入监狱,就能扼杀新公民运动。置身于现代文明浩浩荡荡的潮流之中,必将有越来越多的中国人把公民的身份当真,把公民的权利当真,把公民的责任当真。总有一天,我十三亿中华同胞将从跪倒的臣民成长为堂堂正正的公民,这一天一定会到来的,这将是一个政治文明的国度,一个自由、公义、爱的幸福社会。得救赎的不仅是那些无权无势者,也包括你们,这些高高在上,但内心阴暗恐惧的人们。

今天,中国依然高扬改革的旗帜,我衷心希望改革顺利进行,实现美好中国的梦想。但是改革必须有清晰的正确的方向。继续摸石头过河是不负责任的,头痛医头脚痛医脚是不负责任的,项层设计回避根本政治制度也是不负责任的。中国向何处去,一个世纪之后,这依然是我们民族面临的根本问题。利益集团固化,经济趋于衰退,社会不公积累的矛盾集中暴发,中国再走到了一个历史的十字路口。顺历史潮流以实现民主宪政为目标,改革就会成功,逆历史潮流以维护一党专政为目标,改革必然失败。缺乏清晰的民主宪政的方向,改革即使全面深化,也很难走出清末中体西用的老路。今天,我们的遭遇很大程度上是在轮回一个多世纪以前清末改良主义者的悲剧,我为中华民族的未来依然充满的深切的忧虑。当改良的希望破灭,人民会起来革命。权贵们早已把财富和子女转移到国外,他们不在乎弱者遭遇的不幸和苦难,不在乎中国的未来,可我们在乎,必须有人在乎。和平改良的民主宪政之路是中华民族唯一通往美好未来的道路。一个世纪以前我们错过了,今天我们不能再错过。我们中国人民必须决定中国前进的方向。

同胞们,任何时候,不论中国发生了什么。我恳请大家一定要坚守自由、公义、爱的信仰。坚守自由的信仰,活在真实之中,追求一个世纪以来仁人志士们浴血奋斗所追求的那些普世的自由权利;坚牢公义的信仰,任何时候都怀有一颗的心,绝不为目标不择手段;追求一个民主法治健全、各司其职、各尽其能、各得其所、强有制约、弱有保障的正义社会,一个道义良心基石上的社会;坚守爱的信仰,这个民族有太多阴暗苦毒的灵魂需要救赎,人与人之间有太多的戒备、恐惧和敌意,这些埋藏于灵魂深处的魔鬼必须被驱除,但这驱除的过程不是仇恨,而是救赎。我们是救赎者。自由、公义、爱,这就是我们的新公民精神,它必将成为中华民族的核心价值,而这需要我们这一代人的奋斗、牺牲和担当。建设一个民主、法治、自由、公义、爱的美好中国,这是我们坚定不移的信仰。只要我们相信爱,相信光明希望的力量,相信人类灵魂深处对真善美的渴望,我们一定能把这个信仰变成现实。公民们,就让我们从现在开始吧,无论你身在何处,无论你身处何种职业,无论贫穷还是富裕,让我们在内心深处,在现实生活中,在互联网上,在中华大地的每一寸土地上,坚定而自豪地说出本来属于我们的身份—我是公民,我们是公民。

公民许志永
2014年1月22日

 

English translation re-posted from http://chinachange.org

For Freedom, Justice and Love — My Closing Statement to the Court

By Xu Zhiyong, January 22, 2014

This is Xu Zhiyong’s closing statement on January 22, 2014, at the end of his trial. According to his lawyer, he had only been able to read “about 10 minutes of it before the presiding judge stopped him, saying it was irrelevant to the case.”

 

You have accused me of disrupting public order for my efforts to push for rights to equal access to education, to allow children of migrant workers to sit for university entrance examinations where they reside, and for my calls that officials publicly declare their assets.

While on the face of it, this appears to be an issue of the boundary between a citizen’s right to free speech and public order, what this is, in fact, is the issue of whether or not you recognize a citizen’s constitutional rights.

On a still deeper level, this is actually an issue of fears you all carry within: fear of a public trial, fear of a citizen’s freedom to observe a trial, fear of my name appearing online, and fear of the free society nearly upon us.

By trying to suppress the New Citizens Movement, you are obstructing China on its path to becoming a constitutional democracy through peaceful change.

And while you have not mentioned the New Citizens Movement throughout this trial, many of the documents presented here relate to it, and in my view there is no need to avoid the issue; to be able to speak openly of this is pertinent to the betterment of Chinese society.

What the New Citizens Movement advocates is for each and every Chinese national to act and behave as a citizen, to accept our roles as citizens and masters of our country—and not to act as feudal subjects, remain complacent, accept mob rule or a position as an underclass. To take seriously the rights which come with citizenship, those written into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and China’s Constitution: to treat these sacred rights—to vote, to freedom of speech and religion—as more than an everlasting IOU.

And also to take seriously the responsibilities that come with citizenship, starting with the knowledge that China belongs to each and everyone one of us, and to accept that it is up to us to defend and define the boundaries of conscience and justice.

What the New Citizens Movement calls for is civic spirit that consists of freedom, justice, and love: individual freedom, freedom without constraint that brings true happiness, will always be the goal of both state and society; justice, that which defines the limit of individual freedom, is also what ensures fairness and preserves moral conscience; and love, be it in the form of kindness, tolerance, compassion or dedication, is our most precious emotion and the source of our happiness.

Freedom, justice, and love, these are our core values and what guides us in action. The New Citizens Movement advocates a citizenship that begins with the individual and the personal, through small acts making concrete changes to public policy and the encompassing system; through remaining reasonable and constructive, pushing the country along the path to democratic rule of law; by uniting the Chinese people through their common civic identity, pursuing democratic rule of law and justice; forming a community of citizens committed to freedom and democracy; growing into a civil society strengthened by healthy rationalism.

Common to all those who identify themselves as citizens are the shared notions of constitutional democracy, of freedom, of equality and justice, of love, and faith. Because taken as a whole, civic groups are not the same as an organization as defined in the authoritarian sense, having neither leader nor hierarchy, orders or obedience, discipline or punishment, and in contrast are based fully on the voluntarily coming together of free citizens.

It’s through acts of pushing for system reforms that geographically dispersed groups of citizens are able to grow spontaneously into their own, and by acting to hold authorities accountable and pushing for political reforms, establishment of democratic rule of law, and advances in society, that civil groups are able to grow in a healthy way. Pushing for equal access to education, the right for children of migrant workers to sit for university entrance exams where they live, and calling on officials to disclose their assets, these are civic acts carried out in precisely this sense.

The push for equal access to education rights particularly for children of migrant workers was a three-year-long action we initiated in late 2009.

Prior to that, we had received a series of requests for help from parents, it was then we realized the severity of this social issue. More than 200 million people across China had relocated to urban areas to live and work but found themselves unable to enjoy equality where they lived despite being taxpayers. Far more serious was learning that their children were unable to study or take university entrance examinations in their new places of residence, leaving no choice but to send them thousands of miles away back to their permanent registered addresses in order to receive an education, resulting in millions of Chinese children being left behind.

While many feel concern for the fate of left-behind children, rarely do they realize the best help they can offer is to tear down the wall of household registration-based segregation, allowing the children to return to their parents.

Our action consisted of three phases. The first took place over the first half of 2010, with petitions to education authorities in Haidian district and across Beijing, through deliberations to allow non-local students to continue their studies in Beijing as they entered high school. The second phase, which lasted from July 2010 to August 2012, consisted of petitions to the Ministry of Education to change policies to allow non-local children of migrant workers to take university entrance examinations locally.

The third phase took place between September 2012 until the end of year. It focused on pressing the Beijing Education Commission to implement new policies issued by the Ministry of Education. To that end, we gathered signatures and expanded our volunteer team of parents, and on the last Thursday of each month, we approached the Education authorities to petition. We submitted our recommendations and we consulted experts to research actionable changes to policies regarding educational paths for non-local children of migrant workers. We wrote thousands of letters to National People’s Congress delegates, making calls and arranging meetings, urging them to submit proposals during the two annual parliamentary sessions.

During the Two Sessions in 2011, the Minister of Education said in one interview that policy changes for non-local children were then being drafted. During the Two Sessions in 2012, the Education minister promised publicly at a press conference that changes to university entrance examinations for non-local migrant children would be released sometime in the first half of the year, and provincial education authorities would be required to draft implementation plans over the second half of 2012.

By June 28, 2012, a scheduled day for parent volunteers to continue petition work, the Ministry of Education had yet to issue any formal response. Parents decided then and there that they would return the following Thursday if by the end of the month the Ministry of Education failed to issue the new policy as it had promised. This led to the July 5th petitioning.

In August, the Ministry of Education finally released a new policy regarding university entrance examination eligibility for children of non-local migrant workers, along with an order for local education authorities to draft implementation strategies. By the end of 2012, 29 provinces and cities across China released plans to implement the policy except for Beijing. One parent joked bitterly that after a three-year struggle they had managed to liberate all of China, just not themselves.

I could see the tears behind the joke, because it meant that their own children would have to leave and take up studies in a strange place, in a possibly life-changing move.

As idealists, we were able to win a policy allowing children of migrant workers to continue their studies and remain with their parents, and yet the main impetus behind this change, the parents who lived and worked in Beijing without Beijing hukou, had not been able to secure for their own children the chance of an equal education. I felt I let all of them down, and many of them grew disheartened. I was compelled to go out and, standing at subway station entrances, hand out fliers calling for one last petitioning effort on February 28, 2013.

In the two petitioning events, one on July 5, 2012 and the other on February 28, 2013, we the citizens went to the education authority, or a government office, not a public place in a legal sense, to make an appeal. China’s Criminal Law is very clear on the definition of public spaces, and government buildings, locations of organizations and public roads are not among them. Therefore our activities do not constitute disruption of order in a public place.

Over the past three years, our activities have remained consistently moderate and reasonable. Certain parents did get emotional or agitated during the July 5th petition, and the reason was that the Ministry of Education failed to live up to its own publicly-issued promise, nor did it provide any explanation.

Yet despite this, their so-called agitation was merely the shouting of a few slogans, demanding a dialog with the Minister of Education, rather understandable considering they had gathered 100,000 signatures, behind which stand the interests of 200 million new urban immigrants.

And the response they got? Take a look at the photos of the scene. One parent who goes by the online alias “Dancing” was taken away by police pulling her hair. Was there no other way to escort her away? Was she exhibiting extreme behavior? Had she ever done anything provocative in the past three years? No, never! It hurts whenever I think of the event. We had pursued a very simple goal for three years, our approaches had been so reasonable, but we were assaulted with such viciousness. There were police officers who, with a prepared list of names in hand, sought them out and beat them.

In spite of what happened, I told them, over and over again, that they must stay calm and that we can’t stoop to their level. This society needs a renewed sense of hope, and we can’t behave like them.

The right to an equal education, the right to take a university examination where you live, these are concepts that the New Citizens Movement encompasses. Starting with changes to specific public policies and concrete system changes, in this case, for the freedom of movement, for justice, for love.

When China established the household registration system, or hukou, in 1958, it created two separate worlds: one rural, one urban. In 1961, China established the system of custody and repatriation. From then on, anyone born in a rural area who wanted to find work and try a new life in the city could be arrested and forcibly returned home at any time. In Beijing in 2002 alone, 220,000 were detained and repatriated.

In 2003, the custody and repatriation system was abolished, but it remained a long road for new urban arrivals to integrate with the city. In 2006, we discovered through our research in Beijing that there still existed as many as 19 discriminatory policies against non-local permanent residents, the most inhumane of them being the very policy that prevented children from living with their parents and receiving  an education.

We worked tirelessly for three years to win children the right to take the university entrance examination locally while living with their migrated parents. During the three years, I witnessed equal education campaign volunteers brave bitter winters and scorching summers at subway entrances, on roadsides and in shopping malls to collect more than 100,000 signatures with contact information included. I witnessed several hundred parents standing in the courtyard outside the Letters and Petition Office of the Ministry of Education and reciting their Declaration of Equal Access to Education. I witnessed several hundred parents and children planting trees in Qinglong Lake Park on the Clear and Bright Day (清明节) in 2012. Everyone wore caps bearing the same slogan: “Live in Beijing, love Beijing.”

I also witnessed the taping of a program on Phoenix TV where a little girl sobbed because she could not bear to leave her mother and father in Beijing where she grew up to go back to a strange place where her hukou is to go to school. In a hutong in Di’anmen (地安门), I witnessed Zhang Xudong (章旭东), a top eighth grader at Guozijian Secondary School, who was forced to go to a completely strange county high school in Zhangjiakou after graduating from middle school to continue his education just because he did not have Beijing hukou. A year later, Ill-adjusted a year later in language, environment and textbooks, he dropped out. He became withdrawn, not the happy boy he once was anymore. His parents have worked for nearly thirty years in Beijing but they are forever outsiders and second-class citizens in this city.

When I think of the hundreds of millions of children whose fates were permanently decided by the hukou segregation, of generation after generation of Chinese people who have been hurt by this evil system, of the countless Chinese who died in the custody and repatriation system, today I stand here as a defendant, filled with no grudges but pride for having worked to eliminate the segregation system with Chinese characteristics and for having fought for millions of children to be able to live with their parents and go to school.

The calls on officials to publicly declare their assets, these are our efforts to push the country to establish an anti-corruption mechanism. More than 137 countries and territories around the world currently have systems in place for officials to declare assets, so why can’t China? What exactly is it these “public servants” fear so much? Excessive greed and undeserved wealth do not just bring luxuries, but also a deep-seated fear and insecurity, as well as public anger and enmity.

When we go online to collect signatures and distribute promotional materials, or unfurl banners on the street, all to call on officials to publicly declare their assets, we are at the same time exercising our civic rights to free speech provided for in the Constitution. Our actions did not violate the rights of any other person, nor did they bring harm to society. While the speech delivered in Xidan has a few strong words, as a speech about public policy, they did not exceed the limits of free speech provided for by the Constitution and the law.

It is a normal occurrence in a modern, civilized society for citizens to express their political views by displaying banners, giving speeches and taking other actions in public venues. Law enforcement agencies can be present to monitor and take precautionary measures, but they should not abuse their power or interfere. In fact, when banners were displayed at the west gate of Tsinghua university, Zhongguancun Square and other places where no police officers were present, they caused no disorder, nor did they hinder any other people’s rights. They left after displaying banners. This conforms to our idea of a “flash action.” It had taken consideration of China’s reality and Chinese society’s tolerance capacity. We took quick actions in small groups, instead of larger gatherings, to make these public expressions.

Of course we hope that the sacred rights enshrined in the Constitution will be realized, but reform requires stability and social progress requires gradual advancement. As responsible citizens, we must adopt a gradualist approach when exercising our constitutionally guaranteed rights and when advancing the process towards democracy and rule of law.

Over the last ten years, we consistently pushed for progress through peaceful means, and we tried to effect change in specific policies through involvement in public incidents. We did so for the sake of freedom, justice, love, and for the sake of our long-held dreams.

In 2003, the custody and repatriation system was abolished but not without Sun Zhigang paying the price of his life for it. We, as legal professionals, made every effort in the process and we recommended, in our role as citizens, constitutional review on the custody and repatriation system.

For the past decade we have continued to strive to win equal rights for new migrants in cities, resulting in the introduction in 2012 of a new policy allowing migrant children to take university entrance exams where they have relocated with their parents.

We provided legal assistance to victims of grave injustices, such as the victims of melamine-tainted milk powder and the high-speed rail accident.

In 2008 when the Sanlu milk powder scandal broke, we brought together a team of lawyers and calculated the number of victims based on media reports. We proposed fair compensation schemes in accordance with the law, while working with the victims to successfully push the issuance of a government-led settlement plan. However, the government compensation package was far from from adequate for the damages suffered by many children. For instance, the cost of an operation for one child was nearly 100,000 yuan, and the compensation he received was only 30,000 yuan. So we continued to seek redress for the more than 400 children we had represented, bringing lawsuits all the way to the Supreme People’s Court, to more than a hundred courts across China, and to a court in Hong Kong. In July, 2009, when I was thrown in jail for the so-called “Gong Meng tax evasion” and when people from all walks of life made donations to help pay the fine imposed on Gong Meng, our volunteers in the south were sending a settlement of one million yuan to the home of a baby victim.

I am forever proud of that moment, and we will not give up our promise to the disempowered even when we ourselves are in trouble.

We have spent many winters out on the street delivering coats, blankets and steamed buns to the poor and homeless petitioners so that they would not die of hunger or cold silently in this bustling city.

Petitioning is rights defense with Chinese characteristics. In a society like ours comprised of relationships that belie privilege, corruption and injustice, to step forward in defence of one’s rights and dignity is something only the most stubborn of us dare do. But this small minority, when gathered in the nation’s capital, number in the tens of thousands. They get driven out of Beijing, or illegally detained, or beaten. In Beijing alone, there are more than 40 black jails — and we’ve verified the numbers — that have been used to illegally detained people. When we visited these black jails and reported the crime taking place, showing the specific laws it violated,  we were humiliated and beaten by those guarding them. Time and time again, I feel proud for sharing a little bit of their suffering.

Having chosen to stand alongside the powerless, we have witnessed far too much injustice, suffering and misfortune over the past decade. However, we still embrace the light in our hearts and push for the country’s progress in rational and constructive ways.

After proposing review on the unconstitutionality of the custody and repatriation system, we researched and drafted new measures to better manage beggars and the homeless. We pushed the educational equality campaign. We drafted a proposal for migrant workers’ children to take college entrance exams locally and our draft was adopted by most provinces and cities.

For our call for disclosure of officials’ assets, we even drafted a “Sunlight Bill” in March 2013. Raising an issue is not enough; solutions must be found. To oppose is to construct, for we are citizens of a new era, we are citizens responsible to our country, and we love China.

Unfortunately, you regard the existence and growth of these citizens as heresy and something to fear. You say we harbored political purposes. Well we do, and our political purpose is very clear, and it is a China with democracy, rule of law, freedom, justice and love.

What we want is not to fight to gain power, or barbaric politics by any means; but good politics, a good cause for public welfare, a cause for all citizens to govern the country together. Our mission is not to gain power but to restrict power. We aim to establish a modern and civilized system of democracy and rule of law and lay a foundation for a noble tradition of politics so that later generations can enjoy fairness, justice, freedom and happiness.

Good politics is a result of true democracy and rule of law. On every level, the government and the legislature must be elected by the people. The power to govern should not come from the barrel of a gun but through votes.

Under true democracy and rule of law, politics should be carried out within the the rule of law. Political parties should compete fairly and only those that win in free and fair elections are qualified to govern.

Under true democracy and rule of law, state powers are scientifically separated and mutually subject to checks and balances; the judiciary is independent and judges abide by the law and conscience.

Under true democracy and rule of law, the military and the police are state organs and should not become the private property of any political party or vested interest group.

Under true democracy and rule of law, the media is a social organ and should not be monopolized to be the mouthpiece of any political party or vested interested group.

Under true democracy and rule of law, the constitution stipulates and actualizes sacred civil rights, including the right to vote, freedom of speech and freedom of belief. The promise of people’s power should not be a lie.

These modern democratic values and measurements are rooted in common humanity. They should not be Eastern or Western, socialist or capitalist, but universal to all human societies.

Democracy is the knowledge to solve human problems. Our ancestors did not discover this knowledge. We should thus be humble and learn from others. Over the past thirty years, China introduced the system of market economy with free competition which brought economic prosperity. Similarly, China needs to introduce a democratic and constitutional system to solve the injustices of our current society.

The social injustice is intensifying in China. The greatest social injustice concerns political rights, which lie at the heart of other forms of injustice. The root of many serious social problems can be traced to the monopoly of all political powers and economic lifelines by a privileged interest group, and China’s fundamental problem is the problem of democratic constitutionalism.

Anti-corruption campaigns are waged year after year, but corruption has become more and more rampant over the course of the last sixty some years. Without democratic elections, press freedom and judicial independence, a clean government is not possible under a regime of absolute power.

The People’s livelihood is emphasized year after year, yet hundreds of million of people still live below the internationally defined poverty line. In remote and mountainous areas, corrupt officials even embezzle the subsistence allowances of only 100 yuan a month for the extremely poor. The wealth gap between the elites and the general public is ever-widening.

Hostility towards government officials and the wealthy is, in essence, hostility towards power monopoly that perches high above. Tens of thousands of families toil and worry about their children’s basic education, looking for connections to pay bribes just for kindergarten enrollment. How has the society become so rotten?

Humans are political animals, in need of more than a full stomach and warm clothes. Humans also need freedom, justice, and participation in governance of their own country. You say the National People’s Congress is China’s highest body of power, then again you say this highest body of power answers to the Party.

If the country’s basic political system is such an open lie, how is it possible to build a society that values trust? You say the judiciary is just and that courts hold open trials, then you arrange for unrelated people to come occupy seats reserved for observers in the courtroom. If even the courts resort to such unscrupulousness, where can people expect to find justice?

It should surprise no one that people wear frozen masks in their dealings with one another, and that whether to help a fallen elderly person can become a lasting debate. There is toxic baby formula, kilns using child slaves, and every sort of social ill imaginable, yet the perpetrators haven’t had the slightest bit of guilt or shame, and they think this is just how society is.

China’s biggest problem is falsehood, and the biggest falsehood is the country’s  political system and its political ideology. Are you able to even to explain clearly what socialism entails? Is or is not the National People’s Congress the highest authority?

Political lies know no bounds in this country, and 1.3 billion people suffer deeply from it as a result. Suspicion, disappointment, confusion, anger, helplessness, and resentment are norms of life. Truly, politics affects each and every one of us intimately. We cannot escape politics, we can only work to change it. Power must be caged by the system, and the authoritarian top-down politics must change. I sincerely hope that those in power will find a way to integrate with the trends of human civilization, and take an active role in pushing for political reforms and adopt the civilized politics of a constitutional democracy, therein realizing the hundred-year-old Chinese dream of empowering the people through peaceful reforms.

More than a century ago, China missed an opportunity to turn into a constitutional democracy through peaceful transition, sending the Chinese nation into a protracted struggle marked by revolution, turmoil, and suffering. The Republic of China, with its hopes for a market economy and democratic system, didn’t last long before totalitarian politics were revived and reached extremes during the Cultural Revolution.

Following the Cultural Revolution, China’s economic reforms led to a model of incremental reforms in which social controls were relaxed but the old system and its interests remained untouched, although new spaces created by the market slowly eroded the old system as reforms were laid out.

Political reforms in China could rely on a similar model, one in which the old system and its interests stay in place as social controls are relaxed and democratic spaces outside the system are permitted to grow in a healthy direction. A model such as this would actually prove a valuable path for China to follow.

We have built a community of citizens and rationally, remaining responsible to the country, taken the first small step.

You need not fear the New Citizens’ Movement, we are a new era of citizens, completely free of the earmarks of authoritarian ideology such as courting enemies, scheming for power, or harboring thoughts to overthrow or strike down. Our faith is in freedom, justice, and love, of pushing to advance society through peaceful reforms and healthy growth in the light of day—not acts of conspiracy, violence or other barbaric models.

The mission of civil groups is not to exist as an opposition party, although the creation of a constitutional democracy is inevitable for a future China built on civilized politics. Our mission is shared by all progressives in China, to work together to see China through the transition to civilized politics.

The New Citizens’ Movement is a movement of political transformation leading to democratic rule of law, as well as a cultural movement for the renewal of political and cultural traditions. A constitutional democracy needs a fertile bed of civilized politics in order to function, and it’s our collective anticipation and faith which serves as such a soil bed.

At the same time our country’s citizens seek faith in healthy politics, unscrupulous and barbaric politics must also be forever cast out from the deep recesses of each and every soul. This calls for a group of upstanding citizens to bravely take on such a responsibility, sacrificing ego to become model citizens. Each and every Chinese person shares this responsibility.

This is my responsibility. Having been born on this land, I need no reason to love this country; it’s because I love China that I want her to be better. I choose to be a peaceful reformer, carrying on with the century-old but unfinished mission of our forebears, advocating an unwavering commitment to non-violence just as I advocate freedom, justice, and love, and advocate peaceful reform as the path toward constitutional democracy.

Although I possess the means to live a superior life within this system, I feel ashamed of privilege in any form. I choose to stand with the weak and those deprived of their rights, sharing with them the bitter cold of a Beijing winter the way it feels from the street or an underground tunnel, shouldering together the barbaric violence of the black jail.

God created both the poor and the wealthy, but keeps them apart not so we can reject or despise one another, but in order for mutual love to exist, and it was my honor to have the chance to walk alongside petitioners on their long road to justice.

My decision comes at a time when my child has just been born, when my family needs me most, and when I yearn to be there by their side. After years now of witnessing the bitter struggles of the innocent and downtrodden, I remain unable to control my own sorrow—or, try as I might, to remain silent.

I now finally accept judgment and purgatory as my fate, because for freedom, justice, and love, the happiness of people everywhere, for the glory of the Lord, all this pain, I am willing.

This is our responsibility as a citizen group. In a servile society prone widely to submission, there will always need to be someone to be the first to stand up, to face the risks and pay the price for social progress. We are those Chinese people ready now to stand, with utmost concern for the future and destiny of the motherland, for democratic rule of law, justice, and for the dignity and well-being of the weak and marginalized.

We are kind and pure of heart, loathe to conspire and deceive, and we yearn for freedom and a simpler, happier life. We strive to serve society, and help those most in need, pushing for better society.

Bravely, we assume this responsibility, ready to forgo our privilege and secular interests—even at the cost of our freedom—to stay true to our ideals. Ready to put aside our egos with no thought of personal gain or loss, we respect the rights and boundaries of others, facing all beings with humility.

Such is the responsibility now upon you judges and prosecutors. Your responsibility is fidelity to the law and your conscience, to uphold the baseline of social justice, to neither be reduced to a lowly cog in this bureaucratic system nor debase the sanctity of rule of law.

Do not say you’re constrained by the bigger picture, because the bigger picture in China is not an order from above, but the letter of the law. Do not say you merely follow the logic of laws as you sentence me, and do not forget those sacred rights afforded all by law. Do not say this is just your job, or that you’re innocent, because each and every one of us is ultimately responsible for our own actions and we must at all times remain faithful to our own conscience.

As a society with a history of rule by man that stretches back centuries, the law in China serves a very distinct purpose. Regardless of acting as a defendant, a juror, or a legal scholar, I have always remained true to the idea of justice and I behoove you to do the same.

It has always been my hope China’s legal community will undergo an awakening of conscience, that you judges can gain the same amount of respect afforded your counterparts overseas, and it is my hope an awakening of conscience will begin with you.

Those of you watching this trial from behind the scenes, or those awaiting for orders and reports back, this is also your responsibility. Don’t take pains to preserve the old system simply because you have vested interests in it; no one is safe under an unjust system. When you see politics as endless shadows and reflections of daggers and swords, as blood falling like rain with its smell in the wind, you have too much fear in your hearts.

So I have to tell you the times have changed, that a new era of politics is afoot in which the greatest strength in society is not violence but love. Fear not democracy or loss of privilege, and fear not open competition nor the free society now taking shape. You may find my ideas too far-out, too unrealistic, but I believe in the power of faith, and in the power of the truth, compassion and beauty that exists in the depths of the human soul, just as I believe human civilization is advancing mightily like a tide.

This is the shared responsibility of us 1.3 billion Chinese. Dynasties, likes political parties, all pass with time, but China will always be China just as we are all Chinese. It’s our responsibility to build a bright future for the country. Our China is destined to become the greatest country in the world, possessing the most advanced technology, the most prosperous economy, the greatest ability to defend equality and justice throughout the world, and the most magnificent culture to spearhead human civilization.

But that’s a China that cannot exist under authoritarian rule. Ours is a China that will only exist once constitutional democracy is realized, a China that is democratic, free and governed through rule of law. Allow us to think together what we can do for for our country, because only then can we create a bright future. This country lacks freedom, but freedom requires each of us to fight for it; this society lacks justice, which requires each of us to defend it; this society lacks love, and it’s up to each and every one of us to light that fire with our truth.

Allow us to take our citizenship seriously, to take our civil rights seriously, to take our responsibilities as citizens seriously, and to take our dreams of a civil society seriously; let us together defend the baseline of justice and our conscience, and refuse without exception all orders to do evil from above, and refuse to shove the person in front of you just because you were shoved from behind.

The baseline lies beneath your feet just as it lies beneath all our feet. Together, let’s use love to rewake our dormant conscience, break down those barriers between our hearts, and with our love establish a tradition for the Chinese people of noble and civilized politics.

Here in absurd post-totalitarian China I stand trial, charged with three crimes: promoting equal education rights for children of migrant workers, calling on officials to publicly disclose their assets, and advocating that all people behave as citizens with pride and conscience.

If the country’s rulers have any intention to take citizens’ constitutional rights seriously, then of course we are innocent. We had no intention to disrupt public order; our intention was to promote democracy and rule of law in China. We did nothing to disrupt public order, we were merely exercising our freedom of expression as provided for by the constitution.

Public order was not disrupted as a result of our actions, which infringed on the legitimate rights of no one. I understand clearly that some people have to make sacrifices, and I for one am willing to pay any and all price for my belief in freedom, justice, love, and for a better future of China. If you insist on persecuting the conscience of a people, I openly accept that destiny and the glory that accompanies it. But do not for a second think you can terminate the New Citizens’ Movement by throwing me in jail. Ours is an era in which modern civilization prevails, and in which growing numbers of Chinese inevitably take their citizenship and civic responsibilities seriously.

The day will come when the 1.3 billion Chinese will stand up from their submissive state and grow to be proud and responsible citizens. China will become a country that enjoys a civilized political system and a happy society in which freedom, justice, and love prevail. The disempowered will be redeemed, as will you, you who sit high above with fear and shadows in your hearts.

China today still upholds the banner of reform, something I sincerely wish will be carried out smoothly allowing the beautiful dream of China to come true.  But reform must have a clearly defined direction, and it is irresponsible to continue “feeling the stones to cross the river,” just as it’s irresponsible to treat the symptoms but not the roots of social ills, and irresponsible to sidestep the fundamental political system in designing the country.

One hundred years on, where China wants to go is still the most crucial question the Chinese nation faces. As interest groups consolidate, the economy slows down, and accumulated social injustice leads to concentrated outbursts, China has once again arrived at an historical crossroad. Reforms will succeed if the goal remains to realize democracy and constitutionalism as in line with the course of history, and without question will fail if the aim is to maintain one-party rule in contravention of history.

Absent a clear direction toward democracy and constitutionalism, even if reforms deepen as promised the most likely result will be to repeat the mistakes made during the late Qing Dynasty, picking and choosing Western practices but not fixing the system. To a large extent, what we see happening around us today is re-enactment of the tragedy of the late Qing reforms, and for that reason I am deeply concerned about the future of the Chinese nation. When hopes of reform are dashed, people will rise up and seek revolution. The privileged and powerful have long transferred their children and wealth overseas; they couldn’t care less of the misfortune and suffering of the disempowered, nor do they care about China’s future. But we do. Someone has to care. Peaceful transition to democracy and constitutionalism is the only path the Chinese nation has to a beautiful future. We lost this opportunity a hundred years ago, and we can’t afford to miss it again today. We, the Chinese people, must decide the future direction for China.

My fellow compatriots, at any time and regardless of what happens in China, I urge everyone to maintain their faith in freedom, justice, and love. Uphold freedom of religion, stay rooted in reality, and pursue those universal rights and freedoms which were pursued and fought for and paid for in blood this past century by those also with lofty ideals.

Remain steadfast in your faith in justice, always stay true to your heart, never compromise your principles in the pursuit of your goals. Pursue a rounded and just democratic society governed through rule of law, where all fulfill their duties and are provided for, where the strong are constrained and the weak are protected, a society built on the cornerstone of moral conscience. Adhere to faith in love, because this nation has too many dark, bitter, and poisoned souls in need of redemption, because there exists too much vigilance, fear, and hostility between people. These evil spirits, buried in the depths of the soul, must be cast out. It is not through hatred that we rid ourselves of them, but through salvation. We are the Redeemer.

Freedom, justice and love, these are the spirit of our New Citizens Movement, and must become a core value for the Chinese people—for which it is up to our generation to fight, sacrifice and assume responsibility. Our faith in the idea of building a better China, one of democracy, rule of law, freedom, justice, and love, is unwavering. As long as we continue to believe in love and the power of hope for a better future, in the desire for goodness deep inside every human soul, we will be able to make that in which we have faith a reality.

Citizens, let us begin now. It does not matter where you are, what jobs you have, whether you are poor or rich; let us say in our hearts, in our everyday lives, on the internet, on every inch of Chinese land, say with conviction and pride that what already belongs to us: I am a citizen, we are citizens.

Citizen Xu Zhiyong

January 22, 2014

 

 

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