别等我 – 写给错过的爱恋和祖国

2014/01/23

别等我

– 写给错过的爱恋和祖国

楼顶的旭日,正午的光

太阳西斜

燃烧着大西洋

春季的疑惑,夏的奔放

秋日殷实

点缀苍凉的忧伤

我会在深冬的暗夜启航

纹身太阳图腾,带着春的想像

着红戴绿, 穿粉配银

碎花多彩的裙子,

    高跟鞋,打上蝴蝶结

你矫情南边的烟火

我闷骚北边的烟火

还有酒吧的窗子,赖皮框住的烟火

我迟了,但我终将到达

一把无弦的吉他

一脸沟壑纵横

不过你千万别等我

大风吹过、雨打过

你玩过,我浪过

伤寒疟疾胡言乱语过

我在东港捕我的龙

你在西街吃你的烧烤

纹身太阳图腾

带着春的想像

谁敢拦我就给他一枪

我们厮守过、虔诚过

我们爱恋过,患得患失过

我迟了,但我终将到达

一袋过期的烟草

一面浑浊的旗帜

不过你一定别等我

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转载:我們這一代/許知遠 —許志永、余杰、郭玉闪

2013/12/11

一.
從京瀋高速公路的豆各莊出口下來,車子拐進一條引水渠旁的林蔭道,再往右轉就進村了。這是一個再平常不過的郊區村落,主街上滿是小商舖,從山西刀削麵到手機、雜貨店、還有從剃頭到按摩等服務都提供的美髮店,劣質的藍底或紅底噴繪廣告一個接一個、毫無章法地連成一片。路面上盡是塵土,車子駛過時揚起一片,讓人無處可躲。
這絲毫不妨礙人們在路邊從容不迫地吃下盤中的炒麵,再心滿意足地點上一根菸。他們有的青春年少、有的已近老年,全都裸著上身、肌膚黝黑。他們不是本村居民,而是不遠處那排「富力又一城」住宅高樓的建築工人。這時正是中午,他們享受著暫時的放鬆時刻,抽菸、喝茶、和安徽老闆娘無傷大雅地調笑幾句。街對面美髮店的姑娘斜坐在門前,專心打著毛衣,右腿壓在左腿上,有節奏地抖動著,紅涼鞋若即若離地掛在懸空的右腳上。
倘若不算那排正築起的住宅樓,北京市看守所可算是豆各莊中最龐大的建築群了。它的規模隱藏在院牆與鐵門裡,只能看到兩幢大約六、七層高的辦公樓。透過接待室的後窗,我模糊地看到一幢二層板房,灰色、簡陋,不知那裡是否是被關押人員所住之處,也不知這樣的板房有幾幢。

網路上流傳著許志永就關押在此。他不是我第一個被捕的朋友,卻可能是第一個讓我清晰地意識到「被捕」這種感覺的朋友。
二○○九年七月二十三日的夜裡,我們一起在北大附近的一家餐廳吃飯。席間,他保持著一貫的樂觀與信心,似乎九天前稅務部門突然造訪「公盟」和近乎瘋狂的懲罰措施,完全沒讓他心灰意冷。誰都清楚這是一次以經濟為名義進行的壓迫。
中國似乎總是充斥著這重重荒誕。這裡分明已然道德崩潰、衝突不停,但到處卻都在大談和諧社會;憲法保證每個人的言論自由,但是法律也懲罰所有可被認定為危害國家安全的行為;你說不清哪句話可能會一不小心就顛覆掉一個這麼大的國家;這個國家的一些官員公然四處尋找處女,色情服務無處不在,卻聲稱要用一款軟體,保護那些上網的青年免受色情內容的傷害……
專制政權總是以消除社會力量為首要任務,不容許人民因相同的志向和興趣而結合在一起,這有可能會分散權力中心的權威。當一個國家所有的社會力量都被清除時,這就是一個極權社會;國家力量無處不在,從你的工資單到臥室,從你出生一直到你死亡,還記得在情書中引用毛主席語錄的年代嗎?極權體制透過恐懼和欺騙,造就出孤立無援、喪失獨立思考的個體,而這些個體又是一場場荒誕的群眾悲劇的素材。
而三十年的改革之後,我們看到了市場力量迅速興起,卻沒看到社會力量的成熟。只有在健康而強大的市民社會中,才能培育出多元的價值觀,讓人們既能抵制強大的政治力量,又可防止淪為單向度的生產者和消費者。當權者瞭解這些,因此登記一家非營利公益組織,要比登記一家公司要困難得多。這其中的涵義一目了然——我允許你賺錢,其他你就不要管太多。
但許志永和他的同志想多管一些,因為中國人早已生活在一個扭曲的社會之中:經濟進步沒有帶來普遍的福利,貧富差距迅速擴大;政治權力與商業利益結成新聯盟,利益壟斷集團出現,普通人的成功機會不僅減少,而且利益更經常受到侵害……於是,在中國這台龐大的經濟列車轟然前進的同時,許多人從車上跌下,被巨輪碾過,但他們的叫喊聲卻經常被轟鳴聲所淹沒。
這些跌落的人群只能在家中嘆息,擠在上訪途中,或是徒勞地等待希望,舉著申冤的牌子默默站在法院、檢察院乃至中央電視台門前。媒體漠視他們的存在,因為媒體不但被意識形態控制,更加入了娛樂化的潮流。社會精英也很少關注到這些人,因為精英們要大談的是中國的全球領導力、經濟增長率,弱者們不過是發展中無可避免的犧牲品。官僚機構當然更不會有對他們興趣,這個政權建立的最基本哲學就是漠視人的尊嚴;人是工具、是材料,過去的國家主席都曾如此慘死,更何況是這些普通人。至於廣大的公眾,因為身邊有太多不幸,所以更要拚命向上爬,以期得到些許的安全感……
許志永和他的同志們滿懷責任與深情,想透過自己的法律知識幫助困境中的陌生人,減少這個社會的不公,給那些悲觀無力者一些希望。但他們想成立一家民間機構時,卻因為沒有政府部門願意出面擔任主管單位,而無法登記為民辦非企業。它不得不註冊為「北京公盟諮詢有限公司」以求生存。公盟旗下的數十位律師幾乎全部免費地為不同的群體提供法律諮詢,並以各種方式普及法律常識。從推動廢除收容遣送制度,到為鄧玉嬌案的辯護,再到協助受三聚氰胺奶粉影響的家庭,他們很少用口號和理論表明姿態,而是以具體的行動推動增長公民權利,為充滿絕望和嘲諷的公共空間增加希望。
他們也從未放棄任何一個改善社會的機會,包括在體制內。許志永自從二○○三年當選為北京海澱區人大代表後,就不斷利用他的新身分,揭露種種問題。他在某次演講中提到,公盟尋求的是團結、共識、參與、奉獻,他們要透過點點滴滴的努力,改變中國長久以來惡劣的政治生態。他們在某些時刻成功了,在另一些時刻則失敗了。他們當然也得罪不少當權者與利益團體——當他們為受害者尋求公正的同時,既得利益者的特權當然也因此減少了。
許志永生於一九七三年,他的出生地似乎決定了他未來的道路——河南民權縣。兩年前,我們因為一個青年組織而相識。這個組織的大部分成員,都是中國的成功者,投資銀行家、出版商、企業高級管理人員、藝術家,無一不是中國經濟奇跡的參與者和受益者。許志永談論的則是另一個世界,上訪者、無奈的父母親、被判冤獄的人——一個被人侮辱和損害的世界。他身上散發出的活力和強烈的正義感讓我折服,他既讓我欽佩,也讓我不安。我們對於這樣一個世界曾經撇過頭去,假裝他們不存在。我們無節制地崇拜成功者,不追問他們為何成功,不願為失敗者稍做停留,去理解他們的困境。我當然瞭解這個廣闊的中國暗藏無數的個人悲劇,倘若你在中國的縣城與鄉村旅行,會有一種撲面而來的窒息感;這不在於人的內在悲劇性,而是顯而易見的社會不公和制度性的傷害。但是,許志永卻決定將這些私人憤慨轉化成行動。
許志永在席間還試圖分析到底是什麼原因,造成了目前的困境。即使在分析這一切時,他仍舊保持著一貫的樂觀。我想起了兩年前和他的一次交談,當時他意氣風發,相信二○○八年的奧運會給中國帶來巨大的變革。當全世界都盯著北京時,政治權力會有所收斂,不同的民間組織都該利用此一良機,拓展公民社會的空間。在這之前,一連串的事件都表明了弱勢者經由網路的聚合與傳播效應,可能與強勢者進行一場大衛與歌利亞的戰爭,而且勝負未定。
那如今呢?這些年來,我看到的卻是政府權力藉著重大的國家事件而增長——大地震、奧運會,還有金融危機,似乎每次挑戰都必須藉由擴張國家權力才能應對。賑災只能由政府出面,傷亡名單是國家祕密,奧運會的一切都只能由國家承擔,最富有的是國家的中央企業,連年輕人都意識到公務員才是這個世上最美好的工作。那些自以為有性格的線民,輕易地彙聚成一股「愛國主義」的洪流,而社會力量則困難重重,身分不清、財政吃緊、經常處於被收編的邊緣。在意識形態死亡之後,黨與政府早已分化成不同的利益集團。當他們的利益受損時,都會毫不留情地動用手中的權力資源。
許志永在困境之中看到的仍是希望。他為上訪者提供法律援助,為受毒奶粉所害的父母索賠,他探訪京城的黑獄,他挨過打、被粗暴地拘留過,這些全因他試圖為一群受難卻失語的人尋求公正。或許,他在這一系列的個人際遇中,會感覺到人們對正義與良知的巨大渴望。這種渴望讓他溫暖、堅定。
那天晚上,我們在薊門橋道別。我記得他離去前所說的最後幾句話,其中有一句是:「最壞的結果是抓我坐牢,這也沒什麼。」我沒把這話太當真。我想,他們對許志永這位受到普遍關注的人物,會以更謹慎的方式對待,而不會下重手。何況,志永的方式是如此溫和,公盟的方式不是批評——儘管批評很重要,也不是改良,當然更不會是對抗,而是建設。更何況,他還是一名區人大代表,如果要逮捕他,是要區人大通過的……
但不到一週之後,就傳來了截然不同的消息。七月二十九日清晨五點,社區保安看到他被四、五個人帶走,不知去向……

二.
大約六年前,在北京豆各莊更遠的東郊的一間公寓裡,余杰和我玩笑似地講起他這些年被跟蹤、審查的經歷。我和余杰結識於一九九七年的北大,他比我年長三級,但不同系。我記得初次讀到他油印出版的文集《明天》時內心難耐的激動——思想的熱忱、批判的銳氣、寬闊的視野,這些全都混雜在少年意氣中了——而這不正是我期望北大校園中本應具有、卻幾乎沒有的氣質嗎?
我們成了朋友。比起文章中的尖銳,生活中的余杰善良、任性、小小的虛榮、喜歡回鍋肉、要命地單戀一位長腿姑娘。在我們相識一年後,一位出版商發現了那些油印的文集;突然之間,余杰在大學中、在青年間、在社會精英裡,成了炙手可熱的人物。距離天安門的那場悲劇將近十年了,這也是思想上沉悶和過度謹慎的十年,但一個年輕人跳了出來,用他明顯帶著稚氣的口吻表達他對文化、社會、政治的看法,他的勇氣和熱情感染了所有人。余杰顯得既年輕又古老,他才二十五歲,但是他所採用的方式又是中國人最熟知的——寫文章、談論思想、引起爭論、刺激人們思考。他是個啟蒙者,儘管思維有時過分單調。
他接下來的軌跡不再那麼順利。他的嚴厲批評態度讓校方難安,或許也讓更多的保守者不舒服。二○○○年畢業後,余杰發現原本該接收他的單位拒絕了他。他成了獨立作家,但依舊引起爭議。他在一份期刊上發表一篇名為《昆德拉與哈維爾──我們選擇什麼?我們承擔什麼?》的文章,借由中國知識分子對這兩位捷克作家的態度,試圖剖析一九九○年代的文化心理——我們太聰明了,而且缺乏嚴肅的道德立場。
似乎每一次公開討論,都是一種價值觀覆沒前的最後頑抗。在一九九三年對於人文精神的討論之後,人文精神被棄如敝履;而在這次關於智慧和立場討論之後,連立場的最後防線也潰敗了。
隨著名聲提升、交往圈子擴大、還有他在海外媒體上撰寫的文章,余杰逐漸被劃分到異議作家的群落。緊接著,他的著作無法繼續在中國出版,中國媒體禁止刊發他的文章,再接著,他成為一名基督徒……
我們的關係日漸疏遠。這既是因為我們離開大學之後,各自有了不同的生活軌道,也或許是因為我在潛意識裡覺得他的方式太過簡單。一個新時代到了,過分的道德判斷便會顯得既單薄又粗暴。
一個新的時代真的來了。網路熱潮在一九九九年席捲中國,成為新偶像人物的是比爾.蓋茨、史蒂芬.賈伯斯、丁磊、張朝陽,而不是羅素、卡夫卡、魯迅或是李敖;成為時代精神載體的是資本與技術,而不是書籍與思想。
我先是在網路公司工作,而後進入一家新興的報紙。這份報紙要報導的是中國融入全球的進程,跨國資本如何改造中國的面貌,技術如何衝破被禁錮的社會,市場化如何摧毀了計畫體制,民營企業家如何成為時代英雄……總之,我們似乎看到了一個不同的世界。去他媽的政治問題、意識形態問題、道德立場問題,這些東西如今陳腐不堪了。我們有了蘋果電腦和Google、出國旅行、充沛的工作機會與性愛;也可以大談矽谷精神與搖滾精神的相似之處,評論911與美國外交政策,偶爾還引用一下詹姆斯.喬伊斯(James Joyce)。我們心安理得地說,告別革命吧,中國需要的是漸進;放棄批評吧,我們要的是建設,強調道德是愚蠢的,因為它通往災難;我們聰明、時髦、以為無所不知、或許還挺酷的……我們是中國經濟奇跡的一代。
然而六年後,我的看法變了。我曾以為我們這一代可靠全球化和技術革命所帶來的自由和力量,將中國引入新的舞台。如今,希望猶在,那種淺薄的樂觀卻迅速地消退。倘若我們這一代不能正視這個國家深層的困境,還用膚淺的時髦來轉移我們對這種內在困境的理解和改善,那麼我們只能被證明是輕飄飄的一代。
因為許志永的被捕,余杰的形象再度浮現出來,我開始覺得他的那些憤怒和呐喊或許失之片面,但對這個社會仍然至關重要。如果一個如許志永這樣溫和的建設者都要面臨如此殘酷的對待,那麼中國蘊涵的巨大黑暗力量,是必須被不斷檢討和糾正的。一些曾經被我淡忘的書籍和人物再度進入我的腦海中。歐威爾的《1984》,還有尼姆勒(Friedrich Martin Niemoller)的那著名的詩句:

納粹開始追緝共產黨員,
我沒說話,因為我不是共產黨員。
當他們囚禁社民黨員,
我沒說話,因為我不是猶太人。
後來他們逮捕工會成員,
我沒抗議,因為我不是工會成員。
當他們衝著我來,
此時已沒有人能替我說話了。

因此,讓我們走出網路和消費主義營造的小世界,去迎接這個真實的社會吧。我們需要揭露黑暗的新聞記者、富有正義感的律師、有社會良知的商人、願意推動變革的官員、值得尊敬的非政府組織……他們恪守類似的準則,對未來有著相似的憧憬,他們用積極的思考與行動取代消極的嘲諷,用具體而細微的行動取代空洞的呐喊,富有激情卻足夠冷靜。
我們也要努力讓自己成為富有建設性的一員。拒絕身邊的謊言,做一個直言不諱的人;去簽名,表明你的立場;你成不了維權律師,卻可以為這些組織捐款、提供別的説明;你可以在你的報紙上,為這些社會不公提供更多的版面,而不僅僅是無聊的娛樂;你可以和身邊的人結伴旅行,真心理解中國的現狀;你可以在網路上發起free internet campaign,去抵制那該死的防火牆;你可以在你創辦的公司強調自尊和公平的文化,而不是那些拙劣的市場規則;做一個好醫生,讓你的病人能感受到人道;你可以在餐桌上對朋友說,我們別談論股票和房價了,我們來談論一本書,我們不要再聊那些藝人八卦了,來說說許志永他們做的事;放棄那些自我原諒,相信個人的力量,你會想影響周圍的人,接著這種影響會擴散開來,友愛、同情、公正、正直,這些美好的東西,會逐漸浮現而出……
我和余杰也恢復了聯繫。「我徹夜沒睡,放聲大哭」,二○一○年十月八日,余杰在短信裡這麼說。當時,他人正在三藩市,目睹電視畫面上諾貝爾和平獎委員會的新聞發布,劉曉波得獎了。
我多少能體會余杰淚水中的複雜成分,除了狂喜,更有這一路走來的酸甜苦辣。在過去十年中,他是劉曉波最親密的朋友之一,他們共同參與的獨立中文筆會是這個龐大的國家中一小群異議人士的臨時避難所。殘酷的國家機器固然可憎,反對者內部的爭吵同樣令人心焦。在這樣的雙重壓力下,保持獨立的人格、建設性的態度更是難上加難。有時你不禁沮喪,中國掉入了歷史的陷阱,它的統治者與反對者都有一顆專制的頭腦,總是重演著小暴君推翻大暴君的劇碼。與此同時,他們還多少不安地看到國際社會的曖昧態度,人人都急著想和中國政府做生意,讚嘆「中國模式」的成效,至於民主、自由、人權,倒像是歷史的陳舊之物。
「當你覺得一切毫無希望時,上帝突然給了你這樣一個禮物。」余杰說。他回到北京了,我們幾個朋友聚在他住處社區的一家餐廳裡。餐廳門口的長椅上坐著七、八個青年人,他們奉命來監視余杰,似乎擔心這個文弱的作家,突然會帶來不測的威脅。不過,這監視的形態與氣氛已經有了變化。昔日的意識形態早就失效,這些青年再也不會認定自己在報效黨與國家,他們會無奈地說「這是我的工作」,一臉身不由己的表情。別試圖激發起他們的人性溫暖,電影《竊聽風暴》(Das Leben der Andern)中的一幕從不發生。你在許多時刻會感覺中國社會正陷入漢娜.鄂蘭所說的「banality of evil——平凡的邪惡」,每個人都以看似無奈的方式讓這個系統繼續運行,別期待這強大的慣性會立刻改變。
我和余杰仍有許多分歧。我讚賞他持續的勇氣,卻對他過分簡單的思維感覺不適。我們在一起時,各自又回到了十二年前的角色。他是知識淵博的中文系研究生、新銳作家,我是個大學三年級的文學青年。這感覺令人既舒服,又彆扭。 我覺得余杰成了自己的姿態的俘虜,他成為一個重要的反對聲音,卻不再是個講究語言與思想的作家。
在聚餐隔天,他在自己家被軟禁了。四個小夥子日夜守在他家門口,其中一個還因為氣溫突然驟降而得了重感冒。來探訪余杰的人被攔住,他則不能離家。接著,他的手機被切斷,成為北京這座擁擠城市中的隔離者。這不自由的狀態可能要一直持續到十二月十日,諾貝爾和平獎頒發之時。他和劉曉波一樣,都是國家的敵人……

三.
二○○九年八月末,我再度見到志永。他在被關押了一個多月後獲釋,這次釋放和捉捕一樣,沒有具體說明,很有可能是輿論壓力的結果。這個經歷絲毫沒有影響他;相反地,他似乎更樂觀了。既然嘗過牢獄之災,還有什麼令人畏懼的?況且,獲釋本身也說明了中國社會正在進步。
像以往一樣,我們的交談仍是表層的、事物性的、甚至有點玄怪。他說自己在看守所時,內心出奇的平靜,滿腦子都是宇宙的起源、時空變化的問題。我想探究他內心的軟弱無助,還有他深切的焦慮、支持他的根本信念,但志永無意進入這種話題。我試著理解他的談話——倘若沒有這樣一種強大乃至封閉的自我,他該如何應對這樣的壓力?或許我不是個好的交談對象。在這層意義上,他單純,卻仍是個謎一般的朋友。
將近二年後,我再次見到志永,是在他的婚禮上。那郊外的莊園中的婚禮也是一次「異議人士」的聚會,維權律師、新聞記者、活動者濟濟一堂,當然還有幾名「國寶」。我記得神色不定的滕彪,他似乎剛從一次迫害中走出不久,他與我交流時,帶著明顯的創傷痕跡。我不知道如何形容和這些不算熟悉的朋友的關係,我讚嘆他們的作為,卻又知道自己難成為其中一員。我們都不滿這個政權,都期待一個美好的社會。他們是行動者,而且做出了個人巨大的犧牲;我是個旁觀者與描述者,盡可能逃離不必要的麻煩、更別說迫害了。他們也讓自己紮根在現實生活中,而我總像是無根浮萍,會欣賞與支持那些抽象的道德與正義,卻躲開人群與衝突。對於他們,我總有一種因為無能、膽怯而帶來的慚愧感。我記得,那場婚禮有一種動人的張力,是一種壓力下的溫柔。
又過了二年,二〇一三年的八月末,我聽到志永又被拘壓的消息,我竟沒有半點驚訝,或是其他什麼特別的感受。我又想起了二○○七年夏天,我們在五道口酒吧的那場長談;彼時,他意氣風發,相信一年後的北京奧運會給中國帶來一股巨大的進步力量,而我們也將迎來自己的進步時代。但歷史似乎證明,二○○八年竟成了中國停滯與倒退的轉捩點。巨大的成功讓共產黨政權更加傲慢,以一種更尖銳的方式來對付像他這樣的「異議者」。而且手段似乎越來越極端,越來越無所忌諱;從劉曉波到艾未未,這個政權想做什麼,就做什麼,愛怎麼整你,就怎麼整你。
也因此,許志永被監禁在家,進了看守所,他的組織被查封,這些似乎是再正常不過的事了。

四.
「索多瑪的臣民們會圍著你、羞辱你、詛咒你,向你扔石頭……在毀滅的大火與硫黃從天而降之前,他們願意毀掉一切希望……」在志永被捕後不久,郭玉閃在一封公開信中如此寫道。
在索多瑪城中當一個「義人」固然不幸,但一個民主的雅典也未必通往光明的結果。他接著寫道,「雅典也把蘇格拉底和他的新公民運動送上審判席,判決蘇格拉底該喝下毒酒受死。與索多瑪不同,雅典是被祝福的城邦,然而雅典的公民們也不能忍受蘇格拉底對他們美德的不停追問」。
郭玉閃和許志永的友情從十年前的北大就已開始了。十年來,這兩個昔日一起喝酒、談論理想和姑娘的青年已是中國公共生活中最令人矚目的角色,都致力於推動中國公民社會的生長與成熟。郭玉閃也因「傳知行研究所」的努力與在營救陳光誠行動中的表現贏得廣泛關注。
郭玉閃的感慨出人意料,更流露出少見的悲觀。我們認識不過半年,但我幾乎一下子就被他身上那股巨大的能量、當然還有喋喋不休的言說征服了。在一次共同參加的座談會上,他對剛剛上台的新領導人毫無期待,反而表明一種悲觀——控制會日益加禁,紅衛兵出身的這代人是不忌諱使用任何極端手段的。這論調與當時中國盛行的期望態度大為不同,大多人樂於相信在一個平庸的胡溫時代結束後,新繼任者會打破這個僵局。如今看來,這僵局的確開始打破,卻是一種向下的姿態。新領導用一種新的強硬手段來控制社會。
我從未和許志永建立起親密的朋友關係,與郭玉閃卻有一見如故之感。我猜是因為他身上有一種放鬆感,他很少為自己的行為賦予某種道德優越感,也很少流露出因此而生的孤立與自憐。他還保有對知識、生活的強烈熱情——從海耶克(Friedrich Hayek)的經濟原理到杜甫的感時憂懷,他都能滔滔不絕。他也有一種自嘲精神,回憶起戀愛時光時,更能讓我們笑翻在地。郭玉閃總給我這樣的感覺,他因為對人性與社會的複雜性都有充分理解,因此很難成為極端主義者,這意味著他有適度的圓滑,知道如何保護自己。他不止一次興致勃勃地講起他與「國寶」與員警的奇妙關係,由於被監視的時間太久了,他們早已彼此熟悉,甚至還捲入這些監視者的個人生活,為他們的子女上學出謀劃策。郭玉閃也知道,官僚系統並非鐵板一塊,適度的合作可能帶來更大的生存空間。面對這樣龐然的國家機器,他似乎從來沒有卡夫卡筆下的K那樣的焦灼,反而有一種好兵帥克式的戲謔。
在某些時候,我面對粗壯、健談、永動機式的郭玉閃時,心中會生出另一種歷史感,他讓我想起我認識的那些七○年代台灣的黨外政治人物。這些人接受過現代教育,同時有一種紮根於土地的實在感,一種面對時代變幻的江湖氣。我不知道這是否與郭玉閃的福建人身分有關,他的家鄉曾是洪門的發源地,而且過去三十年來充斥著發財致富的野蠻故事。
但很可惜的,不管是郭玉閃、許志永還是他的其他同志,他們似乎找不到讓能讓自己真正紮根的土地。他們從河南、福建的小城來到北京,獲取了現代知識,被一種正義感驅動,試圖去糾正錯誤,但卻始終面臨著巨大的孤立。十年來,郭玉閃依靠不同類型的基金會和媒體的支持、同志間的幫助,以及國際輿論對中國政府的壓力,得到了暫時的生存空間。相比於傲慢的國家權力,他們的聲音與力量是那麼地微小,儘管這微弱的聲音與力量在某些時刻會被媒體放大出來。
兩週前,我去探望郭玉閃,他的樓下整日停著一輛警車,他被限制自由行動。他在那個短暫的下午依舊興致勃勃,但偶爾還是說出這樣的話:「他們想要捻死我們真是太容易了。」這句話不是突如其來,而是有感而發。就在幾天前,許志永被捕,他的傳知行研究所被查封,正如四年前公盟的命運。一貫老練如他,也不知道這次的風暴會有多麼猛烈,他該用什麼樣的方式來應對。
索多瑪與雅典的比喻讓郭玉閃流露出少見的不確定性,這也讓他的反抗具有另一種個人的美感。人類漫長的抗爭歷史,歷來都是在這巨大的不確定與彷徨中進行的——人們明知自己的行動難以獲勝,卻仍舊堅持自己的主張。在很大程度上,郭玉閃、許志永等人都太過孤立了,他們從未得到足夠的社會共鳴,尤其是社會精英的響應。我們的時代在很大的程度上也像是葉芝所感慨的——最聰明的不承擔責任,最有熱情的卻缺乏頭腦。
又有一個人入獄了。我想起了郭玉閃曾有的感慨:「如果功權入獄,中國的『美麗島陣營』就形成了。」玉閃一直對台灣的民主轉型深感興趣。在他心中,他與志永仍是異端,而他們的朋友、一直以來支持他們的王功權卻是另一種角色。王功全不是個職業的異端,他是個成功的商人,分享到中國經濟奇跡的甜頭,他的舊識新知都是中國商界最活躍的人物,他也是個溫和耐心之人。在接受採訪時,他說:「我不是幹革命,我不希望中國爆發革命。我們的國家、民族在這重複的暴力更迭中損傷太慘烈了……」他也表達了某種困惑,「我只是做了一個公民應該做的,為這個國家的良性變革提供一些健康的批評之聲……這麼多年,我做的事情都是在不違反法律的前提下做的,我不明白為什麼這樣做點事、說點什麼都會被渲染。」這樣有高尚情操、溫和的手段的人物,如果仍不免遭此困境,這會驚醒沉睡的中國社會與精英群體嗎?
王功權真的被捕了,但帶來的震撼卻沒有想像中的那樣大。誰也不清楚這一事件是否會變成中國精英改變態度的分水嶺,他們可能繼續逃避,也可能因此審視自己的價值與使命;他們是經濟與社會地位上的成功者,卻是政治與道德上的侏儒。這個社會仍未準備為變革付出代價,搭順風車仍是主要的社會心理。
我想起了在綠島監獄參觀時,那麼多我熟悉的作家的名字都刻印在綠色的監牢門上;他們不是第一線的政治挑戰者,卻以作家的身分捍衛社會良知。我也捫心自問,或許要等到一群像我這樣自認溫和的批評者與旁觀者都站出來,大聲說出自己的主張,並主動接受得付出的個人代價時,中國社會才可能真正從這巨大的道德沉睡中驚醒。我們也有可能依然只是仍進湖中的小石子,沒有激起太多浪花,但至少我們履行了自己的道德義務。
多年來,我們一直在逃避這一切……
「陆续写于2009年夏,2013年秋」


Speech at Daley Plaza, Chicago

2012/06/05

My speech at Robin Hood Tax Rally, in Chicago, May 18th, as part of the kick of for series of actions during the May 2012 Chicago protest that climaxed on May 20th large anti-NATO march.

Text of the speech:

I’m standing here, as a Chinese exile from Tiananmen, as an immigrant, and as an Occupier for the 99%, to pledge again my commitment to nonviolence, to civil disobedience, to social and economic justice.

Back in 1989, we were inspired by nonviolent principle and carried out the largest civil disobedience with over 100 million direct participation in street protests.
Our struggle ended with bloodshed, and I narrowly escaped the Tiananmen Massacre. But we have continued our struggle nonviolently.

While in exile, here in America – my second home, I’ve learnt the precious but fragile nature of democracy. Democracy has journeyed from,
1 propertied white man 1 vote,
to 1 white man 1 vote
to 1 white person 1 vote
to 1 person, 1 vote thanks to the Civil Right movement
But Now we are trending to $1m, 1 vote.

Last Fall, Occupy Wall Street revived my spirit of nonviolent struggle, I AM BECAUSE WE ARE

We are the 99%, we got sold out when banks got bailed out
We are the 99%, our youth is carrying more than a trillion dollar student debts
We are the 99%, we bare witness in this land of ours with more empty homes than homeless families
We are the 99%, we can not care for the sick or feed the poor among our least fortunate,

We are the 99%, we are mad as hell

We are the 99%, we find strength in our commonality and in our numbers
We are the 99%, we are here to celebrate the dawn of a just & fair society
We are the 99%, we have stepped up to occupy

We dares to imagine
This is the beginning of the beginning
BECAUSE
The people united,
will never be defeated.
The people united, will never be defeated.

March on May 20th in Chicago with 25,000 protesters against militarism for social and economic justice including 99% Solidarity Riders from Occupy Wall Street movement from a dozen cities coast to coast


I am because we are – a civic revival (Lessons learned from #OWS Series No.1)

2012/02/09

The American public has been curious, interested, and at times confused about Occupy Wall Street since its birth last fall, and especially given the recent perceived tactics in Oakland. They’ve watched with some fascination and some uncomfortableness a series of social, political and organizational experiments unfolding in the middle of a widespread, if not yet very large-scale, protest movement. Most well-known have been the general assembly with a set of unique facilitation procedures and hand signs which became somewhat iconic, the poetic and effective people’s mic, emphasis on being leaderless with the intent to set the lowest possible entry barrier for everyone to get involved, emphasis on non-conventional demands with the intent that all demands are possible through changes of laws and votes only when we change enough hearts and minds, and militant non-violent civil disobedience. These and many others have been lessons for me about values and about code of conduct, and ultimately about beliefs of which I have been reminded sometimes, and challenged at other times.

Lession No. 1: I am because we are — a civic revival

Coming from collective cultures of both traditional Chinese culture, and the violent modern implant of the communist revolution, being individualist had saved me from “conventional wisdom” and “hive mind” when our society had gone through the madness of the Cultural Revolution, rampant government corruption, and heartless gold rush. My individualism has faced a surrealist challenge coming to America after I was exiled from China. The extreme individualist in Nietzsche’s superman with willpower, or more directly the influential Ayn Rand, seem to have so successfully produced the myth of a corrupt version of the American Dream. Instead of an America being the land of the free and equal opportunity; the myth tells American youth that even though billionaires are few, and getting fewer and richer, in fact, you can be one of them tomorrow.

Joe the Plumber did not have a business that makes over $250,000 a year; he was making $40,000. But why someone like him would worry about higher tax for $250,000 earner and above? I don’t know Joe the Plumber, or the McCain metaphor. but I have known similar behavior and speech. I think many like him sincerely believe that given some hard work and a little bit of luck, only the sky is the limit for their personal wealth accumulation, if only the government does not get into the way of the magic of a free market that self-regulates.

This extreme individualist triumph measured almost exclusively by monetary success has more than one cause, chief among which is the decline of the collective and the decline of the commons. This myth is not just a daydream, but a nightmare when it fosters a culture of political apathy. The apathy I speak of here is not lack of political ambition — there is plenty of that in extreme individualism and elitism. The apathy is the decline and even distrust of civic virtue as a participatory common citizen, as seen in our low voter turnout, and as seen in almost complete lacking of sustained grassroots mobilization to tackle the worst problems with broad impact this country has faced.

When I first stepped into Zuccotti Park last fall, I immediately felt that the magic was in the communal participation. It’s the communal connection, not so much who these individual occupiers were before the movement that was inspiring, that was transformative, and that was even transcending. I had thought, on my way over there, that with a life of experience in social movement and philosophical deliberation about what constitutes a just society, I’ve had a lot to teach the first-time young activists. Instead, I quickly realized that I had little to teach the movement. (The only speech I’ve made at Occupy Wall Street eventually was to repeat the most successful and inspiring memes of OWS to Liberty Plaza occupiers on Thanksgiving Day 2011.) I had realized the power of the park is for anyone who cares to go there to have a conversation about our common problems and shared future (and doing so in a way outside the current system symbolically and physically — this is another lesson to be discussed separately). I have noticed that there are many others who have more profound ideas than I, and more thorough understanding about movement tactics, and about the sophistication of the policy, legislative, and electoral issues. I’ve also noticed that so many of them are eager to teach the occupiers the best thing the occupiers should do. There are many more well-meaning, politically conscious people who didn’t come to the park, but wish that occupiers come up with solutions that fit nicely in their comfort zone. To them, the movement is only meaningful and mature if OWS carries out this or that demand and agenda.

I have buried the lede with this long rambling. I’m one of the early converted who felt that “to step up and occupy with fellow citizens” is a clear enough demand for now, and should be the most important demand for the foreseeable future.

The movement has called for communal conversations in hundreds of American cities to successfully shift national dialogue from hypocritical austerity discussion to social and economic fairness, and achieved a moral high ground that’s rarely associated with political campaigns. The fact that all of these took place in a short two to three months’ time has not been enough for the broader population who are curious, interested, or even supportive of OWS to feel connected, a challenge for the movement if OWS is to build a broader base and to continue to inspire and mobilize. It indicates to me the profound apathy of the American general public. We have long failed to translate our own guts’ feeling of a deep problem related to money and politics into civic participation; and we can only relate to politics in the form of policies, votes, and electoral candidates. We have so comfortably lived in a loser mentality of being treated as consumers, voters, and viewers in commerce and in politics, retail or wholesale. We don’t know yet that we are all part of this, collectively. We bought the lunacy of this corrupt version of the American dream, thinking that if we kept our heads down and moved long, and if we worked hard and were lucky, we would do better, we would get ahead, way ahead as a triumphant super individual.

There is a deeper realization in this amazing and much-needed civic revival. The individualist culture succeeded in protecting The Private. But when it has gone to the extreme as the last decades have trended, it kills The Public. The PUBLIC good, such as saving a democracy, the PUBLIC virtue, such as justice and fairness, needs more than charity and philanthropy; it needs more than argument and counter-arguments; it needs more than clever messaging. Given the heightened political awareness during these short few months, I’ve learned so much about existing efforts that many have made, libertarians, liberals, and deeply political independents. In the past three to four decades they have made great efforts to set this country back on the correct democratic track. But when I ask the obvious questions of why all these efforts by and large fail and our country ended up in such a troubled times, I’ve gotten either no answer or long-winded deliberation. OWS has taught me the simple but profound answer. The Public Good needs a foundation for all these service-y good deeds to stand upon. Without that, all the volumes of books, talk shows, billions of charitable donations are just a mirage. Without that, all good intentions have to make the tired old sales of “lesser evil” next to sheer thirst for wealth and naked power.

For those who fault these forms of direct democracy for its naive belief that with enough talking and communal participation, misunderstanding and honest disagreement will simply give way for collective wisdom and consensus, you have missed the point. Naivete? Maybe. Useless experiment? Absolutely not. Somethings are better done privately, somethings, individually. To reclaim our Commonality, and to rebuild our Public Good from corrupt politics, public and collective participation is the necessary means that will produce the desired results. It is the foundation that is missing for many other legislative and electoral causes.

I felt then, and I know now, I am part of that foundation ever since I was in the first general assembly meeting through people’s mic at Liberty Plaza. It was immediately poetic, immediately emotional, and decisively political and powerful. I was reminded my best civic virtue education through the writings of Gandhi and Martin Luther King. I was reminded the interconnectiveness I felt in Tiananmen and the best of social movements I’ve had the privilege to be part of. The connectiveness that Gandhi and King talked about. The connectiveness that is the very soil Public Virtue and Public Good can take root, grow, flourish, and bear fruit. Different from 1980s China, when our student movement turned massive demonstration, America has no shortage of sophistication on issues and policy options. They seem as if they are potted plants in a greenhouse at best, or a museum at worst. What this country needs, I believe, is a flood that will grow all these wonderful seeds into a jungle of flourishing. Only then can we change the apathetic political environment. Only then we can have a new atmosphere of civic revival. And only then will all the policy issues have a chance to be deliberated and implemented in a functional democracy.

The flood has been held back by the flood gate of political apathy fostered by the strange myth of ultra-individualism. OWS needs to continue its efforts to bust the flood gate open by massive grassroots participation. For all patriotic Americans who are part of this, whether you realize it now or not, stay curious, stay interested, stay supportive, or even stay critical if that’s the way you stay connected to OWS. For OWS is busy creating the space for your demands to have a shot of success. OWS is doing so by changing hearts and minds, so you can change laws and votes, especially when you step up and becoming part of it.

(Published http://huff.to/wumEnU via @HuffingtonPost 2/8/2012)


Honoring Dr. King, Chinese pro-democracy movement, Occupy Wall Street (with Video)

2012/01/15

I’m Shen tong

In honoring Dr King’s legacy, I’m standing here, as a Chinese exile from Tiananmen, and as an Occupier, to pledge again my commitment to nonviolence, to civil disobedience, to social and economic justice.

Back in 1989, we were inspired by non-violent principle and carried out the largest scale civil disobedience with over 100 million direct participation in street protests.
Our struggle ended with bloodshed, and I narrowly escaped the Tiananmen Massacre.  But we have continued our struggle non-violently.
I want to honor Dr. King’s legacy today by honoring my colleagues in that struggle
Ai Weiwei – the outspoken dissident artist
Liu Xiaobo – the Nobel Peace laureate of 2010 who is still in jial along w  hundreds of thousands of dissidents.

While in exile, here in America – the land of the free, I’ve learnt the precious but fragile nature of democracy. Democracy has journeyed from,
1 propertied white man 1 vote,
to 1 white man 1 vote
to 1 white person 1 vote
and with Civil Rights movement comes 1 person, 1 vote.
Now we are trending to $1m, 1 vote.

How do we revive our democracy?
I say: Step up and occupy
I say: non violent civil disobedience.

22 years ago today, I had the special privilege soon after my exile to speak the following words in the Church Dr. King once worked:

… the principle of non-violence…is the only way for China and for the world if we are to survive.  Our various communities struggle to achieve justice and equality, freedom and human right.  We must join our hands and stand as one.  As Dr. King once said, “ Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.  Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”

We must learn from each other to find that crystal way which will lead to the crystal goal.  And together, as one movement, we will be able to look at the tyrants and oppressors of history and repeat Dr. King’s words, “ We have matched your capacity to inflict suffering with our capacity to endure suffering.  We have matched your physical force with soul force.  WE ARE FREE.


“Faceless” Terror

2009/11/21

Last week, watching 2012 for all the money Hollywood throws at a big blockbuster, the “parts are bigger than the whole” type of production that Hollywood can be counted on.

Something funny happened after watching that movie. It made me watch Funny Games again. Guess the connection is an obvious one though not short of a twist. A fantastic disaster such as 2012 is completely unconnected to human emotions, it’s overwhelming and faceless.

The pain and violence in Funny Games have two young and pretty faces but little if any human ethics informed emotions except the strange “politeness” which only make them more surreal.  Hard Candy girl at least had a “reason”.


Reflection on Tiananmen, Spring of 1989, Part I

2009/06/04

The 1989 movement has a place in China’s modern history equal to the Opium War, the Taiping Rebellion, the 1898 Wuxu Reform, the Boxers, the 1911 Xinhai Revolution, the 1919 May 4th Movement, the Civil War, the 1949 founding of the People Republic of China, and the Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution. Its significance surpasses that of a mere short-term student movement, not only because of the great number of lives it touched nationwide during the movement, but also because it has long-lasting symbolic and political meaning that will continue to unfold for generations to come.

The mass movement in 1989 raised the fundamental questions that China faced in the 1980s. The questions are:

Can a technologically and economically modernizing China develop, prosper, and strengthen without implementing other Western values?
Can a patriarchal political system cope with the desires and aspirations of its youth and of its future generations living in an increasing interconnected world and open society?
Can dynastic cycles and the psychology of you-die-I-live in the zero-sum political transitions be somehow replaced by dialogue, negotiation, compromise, and co-existence?
Can order and progress somehow co-exist in China?
Is every movement in support of liberal tradition, (freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law), doomed to act merely as a prelude to each and every major transformation in China, only to be commandeered later by forces that are conservative and comparatively backward?

These are questions that concern the whole of China: the ruling party, the people, and the emerging political elite. Moreover, they are the same questions that generations of Chinese have faced in their relentless modernization efforts during the last century and a half. The answers to these questions were uncertain then, and still remain so today in the post-Deng Xiaoping era.

The 1989 movement dramatically raised those fundamental questions. Furthermore, they connected the old and new all in one theatrical play of love and hate, faith and betrayal, naiveté and realpolitik, hopes and disappointments, dark impulses and a sense of responsibility: factors that are all too human and all too Chinese to be transcended by the noble goals and stated purposes of the spokesmen of the movement. The familiar rhetoric used by both the government and the leaders of the movement; the speed and power exerted without the structure of checks and balances, which can corrupt even the purest souls; the acceleration of tension; the presence of a revolutionary fervor similar to that which inspired the youth of the Cultural Revolution; the broad and lofty claims made by the students; the inability of high government officials to cope with open challenge; the low capacity of the student leaders to genuinely control either the direction of the movement or the pace of its course; the tendency that part of the intelligentsia had to hover between serving as outside critics or as inside participants, as well as go-betweens for the government or as supporters of the mass and students are all symptoms of a nation and its youth caught in a timeless space.

What was exceptional about this movement? It was not a movement of national salvation. The country was not under major external threat or internal turmoil anywhere near to the degree of that existing in previous national movements. However, for the first time, the purpose of a nationwide mass movement was not national survival, but the betterment of the overall quality of people’s lives.

This was not a top-down, politically elite-engineered movement with a distinctive political agenda. There was no clear bearer of the political consequences prior to the movement. Political forces, both within and outside the establishment, became involved as the course of the events progressed. The reform-minded government faction and the self-styled aspiring liberal political elite outside the government all connected themselves with the all-powerful student-led movement only when it reached a level of national influence. For the first time, a nationwide mass movement was not solely a tool of political games and a product of political design, but rather a spontaneous, grass-roots demonstration of the general concerns felt by a large section of the society, albeit primarily urban.

There were several features of this movement that made it remarkable. The fit between student demands and popular sentiment was strong in the area of social justice and general hope for greater freedom and democracy. The general population expressed little criticism of the students’ insistence on a dialogue with high ranking government officials and for the generally confrontational ways in which the students conducted their affairs. This was unexpected for a people long accustomed to the paternalistic political mentality and the supremacy of political authority. The reason was not so much because of any clear and present danger that the country faced due to the inability of the government, but rather due to the partial yet important success of government engineered reforms and the psychological, intellectual, social, and political by-product–raised- expectations–brought about by those reforms. For the first time in China’s modern history, the country was enjoying an uninterrupted period of growth with relative social stability. Fast economic growth, like economic depression, often creates psychological up-rootedness. Thus, uncertainty and the raised expectations, which were not met, generated deep dissatisfaction in the general population.

The impressive organizational structure of the student leadership was, for the most part, an important and positive factor in the growth of the movement. Anyone outside of the governmental apparatus lacked the necessary experience in mass organization, yet despite their inexperience, the students demonstrated how quickly a spontaneous movement can turn into an orderly operation. This opened up the possibility of a relatively fast mobilization and organizational consolidation of a political alternative to the Communist totalitarian Party and its supporting police state apparatus. While many had hoped for this, more had feared that it was unfeasible. This is not to say that the organizational aspect of the movement is politically mature, on the contrary, the speedy disolution of leadership following the massacre indicated the imaturity by any sound political standard. It merely indicated a remote possibility of a organizational political alternative in the future based on a sponteneous movement.

However, the movement’s importance lies not in what it accomplished, but in what it did not. 1989 did not see reconciliation between radical public concerns and adaptive public policy. Compared to government crackdowns on previous political dissent, this movement accelerated under a relatively safe environment, and repeated stimuli from the government allowed it to continue. In the early phase of the movement, pressure from school authorities on student leaders, attempts by police to block demonstrations, government manipulation in response to the demands of demonstrators, and temporary setbacks were all practically affordable before the Massacre of June 3rd and 4th, and in turn, stimulated the movement’s growth. From my own recollection, and from the dozens of eyewitness accounts that have come out in the last eight years, it was quite clear that the longer the movement lasted, the less control the leaders of both opposing parties were able to exercise till the bloody showdown in Early June. We were also, to a significant degree, led by the course of events, over which the student leadership had little overall control.

In the decade prior to the 1989 movement, almost any public demonstration resulted in a call for fundamental political reforms. The Democracy Wall Movement followed Deng’s rise to power in the late 70s. The reopening of universities and reinstallation of local elections opened up the Election Movement. Japanese revision of official high school textbooks on the Sino-Japanese War triggered the New 9.18 Movement, and the nationwide student movement of 1986. In these series of events, the 1989 movement cannot be seen as sudden and exceptional. As many fundamental conflicts accumulate, and as long as symbolic anniversaries remain appealing to the public, another mass movement could rise at anytime. Will this likelihood cease when the opposition achieves limited but concrete changes in government policy or attitude? Will the government use even more force to crackdown? How far can gradual reform go? 1989 left these questions wide-open with the deep wound inflicted by the double impact of an intolerant government and the movement’s uncompromising leadership.

The price for radical reform remains terribly high. The dramatic ending of the 1989 movement demonstrated how high that price can be, and cast a shadow over future possibilities. When a mass movement rises again, there will be no room for naiveté. What could not be accomplished last time does not necessitate its realization next time around. History tends to repeat itself, and no matter how fantastic it may seem, things can always be worse.

This complexity of the 1989 movement in the Chinese national psyche, along with the Anti-rightist Campaign in the 50th and the Cultural Revolution from the mid-60s to mid-70s, have made the already tortuous path of China’s modernization even more uncertain. Imbedded in the complexity of post-Communist transitions in Central and Eastern European countries and the Former Soviet Union since the end of the 1980s, the triumph of the institution of liberal democracy and market economy is not so certain as some have claimed and many tend to believe. The “end of history”, as some enthusiastically believed after the fall of Berlin wall, remains an inspiration, and far from reality.

This is not to say that the chance that China will finally get on the liberal democratic track is slim. On the contrary, the opening up of China in the reform period, the experience of the 1989 movement, the collapse of the world Communist camp, and the great expansion of the global market have all provided favorable conditions for democratization in China. What this does say is that the process is not an easy one, and cannot be taken for granted. China’s liberal democrats face even more complex situations, for the Chinese population has more complex examples to learn from, therefore raising more complex expectations.

While liberal opposition in China and in exile have the dream of promoting a free society of responsible individuals, how to accomplish the goal, and to start with, how to assess China’s current situation continue to be difficult tasks. Contrary to the accusations by those in the Beijing regime and some China experts in the West, we fully understand the torturous path of China’s modern history. We have empathy for the pain that all the people in China endure. We are alert to the complex domestic and international security issues China faces, and subsequently, the political and social stability that is important for a balanced development.

We differ with the Beijing regime on the point of stability. Stability should not be mere stagnation, and progress does not necessarily lead to chaos. We believe that stability should be for the good of the country, not the party in power; and that stability is only achieved if a prospering China also develops respect for human rights, rule of law, an accountable democratic government, and responsible and peaceful participation in international affairs. Only then, will we have lasting stability.

We differ also from Beijing and the apparent majority opinion in the Western political and commercial establishments on the virtue of China’s economic development. We welcome the greater freedom in job allocation, travel, access to information, and civic association due to the economic growth, and most of all, the expansion of free market. However, when economic growth strengthens a regime, that increases the military budget, increases the budget for police surveillance, but also continually decreases the investments in education, in arts and culture, in social justice, and in government’s public accountability, this represents a negative growth in the overall quality of life. Pure economic growth as such does not necessarily mean it is sustainable, nor does it mean it is a balanced development.

On the same note, we do not believe that China’s problem have to be dealt with in a one-time, revolutionary fashion (though we respect people’s right to do so.) We support all the healthy reform measures including new Premier Zhu Rongji’s anti-corruption campaign and administrative streamlining. We believe that if gradual reform can reach the necessary depth, the price people have to share for the transformation could be lower than a revolution. At the meantime, we clearly see the limitation of the current reform, and its avoidance of genuine political institutional change. Though we appreciate the complexity of the problems China is facing, and understand that such a complexity is not only a political one; we believe that without a genuine political reform, balanced development can not be achieved.

Twenty years have gone by, since the bloody crackdown at the night of June3-4, 1989. Once again, Chinese paid the price of blood for reform at that night, and mass arrest, forced exiles which followed the massacre. Today, there are still prisoners in China who have been imprisoned in connection with the 1989 movement, relatives of the dead are still harrassed for their public mourning of their loved ones and for their appeal to establish a truth commission by the People’s Congress, and hundreds remained in exile, most of whom are not allowed to return to our homeland, even to enter Hong Kong.

So much loss, and so much pain have once again captured a generation in the bitterness that so many generations in Chinese modern history have tasted. And yet, it is the duty of us who survived the massacre to rise above the tortuous past for a better tomorrow.

Twenty years of time at least should give us the distance for a better understanding of the meaning of 1989 in Chinese history. Like the May 4th Movement in 1919, 1989 Movement means not only its particular historical events, but also a historical movement broadly defined. What a movement can leave us by and large depends on what we can discover in the process of our reflection.

(The essay so far is mostly from the preface of Almost a Revolution,  Ann Arbor Edition by the University of Michigan Press)

To be continued.