Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Official Media Remembering Hu Yaobang

The great student movement of 1989 was triggered by the untimely death of former General Secretary Hu Yaobang (胡耀邦). Ever since then, it was a rare occasion that Hu's name would be mentioned in China's official media. One notable exception was that, in 2005, a moderate ceremony was held to commensurate the 90th anniversary of his birth. But perhaps due to the fact that the date of his death is so closely connected to the movement itself, there has been no activities on the anniversary of his death, on April 15th, 1989.

Maybe until now. It is still two months away from that anniversary but a very unusual essay praising Hu is being published in the official Xinhua Net. The article, originated from the News of the Communist Party of China, is titled "Hu Yaobang's Character as a Public Servant: Not Worrying about the Level of his Position, but Worrying about the Lack of Morality" (胡耀邦的公仆品质:不患位之不尊,而患德之不崇). It's a pretty lengthy appraisal of Hu's characters: modesty, open-mindedness, tolerance, and intelligence. It illustrates each of the character with some small stories of Hu's political life. The personal stories are interesting, but however not very revealing.

The beginning paragraph of the article is pretty telling:
Hu Yaobang has passed away for 19 years. But his voice and expression, his marvelous achievements, and his characters as a public servant are still deeply etched in people's memory. His virtues, noble character, integrity, and charisma, is still being widely praised.

In the coming months, will there be more to come?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Speak No Evil During the Olympics

It looks like the controversial mix of human rights and the Olympics will not be restricted just in China this year. British media is reporting that the British Olympic Committee is forcing a contract to their athletes, banning them from speaking up on China's human rights issues. Any athletes who refuses to sign the contract will not be allowed to travel to Beijing, or sent home right away should they be found in violation.

According to this report by the Daily Mail, New Zealand and Belgium have also censored their athletes, while countries including the United States, Canada, Finland, and Australia have pledged to stand by their athletes' rights of free speech.

Monday, February 4, 2008

A Portrait of Hu Jia

Melinda Liu of Newsweek just published a nice portrait of activist Hu Jia. It is interesting to note that "Hu's moment of awakening was the carnage of the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown on prodemocracy protesters", according to the article.