Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Official Media Calling Oversea Dissidents Scum

On the web site of the official Xinhua news agency, many articles praise honorable and nice behaviors of the Chinese mass since the devastating earthquake. However, one article, titled The Metrics Measuring Huaminty's Good And Evil, goes a step further. To contrast with the good, it also makes a list of evil Chinese overseas who allegedly have been celebrating the disaster. The list includes Li Hongzhi, the founder of the controversial Falun Gong, as well as Wei Jingsheng, Wang Dan, Wang Juntao, Wu Fan (伍凡), and Sheng Xue (盛雪). All of them were oversea dissidents who, the article claimed, had become Falun Gong followers. The article also accused them for working with Falun Gong to sabotage the Beijing Olympics.

Wang Dan released a statement today to rebuke the accusations. He denied to have any relationship with Falun Gong. He has also been working on donation drives for earthquake victims and had postponed his own protest for the respect of victims. Finally, he has always been a supporter of Beijing Olympics, since when Beijing made its bid as a host city.

Separately, Wang Juntao also released his own statement rebuking the charges. He also disclosed that his father has been seriously ill in Beijing and he was denied the right to visit.

It's not uncommon for the official press in China slander people they consider to be enemies. It is interesting though that names such as Wei Jingsheng, Wang Dan, and Wang Juntao were mentioned at all. For many years the official media has been careful not to mention anything that could conjure up memories of 1989. Was this an oversight or signs that things are changing?

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