The story of the orphan of Zhao first appeared in Zuo Zhuan, the well-known Commentary of Zuo on The Spring and Autumn Annals and then described by the great historian Sima Qian in his Records of the Grand Historian.
It was later adapted in the Yuan Dynasty (1271 to 1368) by Ji Junxiang in his play The Great Revenge of the Orphan of Zhao. It was the first play translated into European languages and well accepted in Europe.
The story is so popular in China that recently CCTV adapted it into a prime-time TV series The Orphan of Zhao with 41 episodes.
In the story, Zhao Shuo, the highest general in the Dukedom of Jin was framed up by Tu’an Gu, his political enemy. Tu’an Gu killed Zhao Shuo and all his 300 family members except Zhao’s orphan Zhao Wu, who was hidden and secretly brought up by Zhao Shuo’s loyal retainer Cheng Ying. When Zhao Wu had grown up 20 years later, the Duke rehabilitated his family and allowed Zhao Wu to kill Tu’an Gu to revenge his father’s death.
According to Hong Kong’s Ming Pao, near the end of Episode 37, Cheng Ying’s wife Song Xiang asked him, “Is it time for Zhao to be rehabilitated?” while in Episode 38 Cheng Ying said to Tu’an Gu, Zhao family’s murderer, “You have arrested all those you want to arrest and killed all those you want to kill, but rumor about the Zhao’s has continued to spread among the people endlessly……Those people are an irresistible force.”
Those short dialogues in the TV series entirely fit the plot and must have nothing to do with Zhao Ziyang. However, they have given rise to hot discussions among Chinese netizens. Some of them believe that the playwright wrote the dialogues to hint that Zhao Ziyang should be rehabilitated. That did not seem the case. However, netizens’ hot response reflected people’s desire to rehabilitate Tiananmen protests and Zhao Ziyang, the general secretary who was dismissed and placed under house arrest due to his refusal to give the order to use troops to deal with the students at Tiananmen Square.
Just as Cheng Ying said in the TV series “Those people are an irresistible force.”
Source: Ming Pao “Rehabilitation of Zhao: CCTV’s TV series regarded as hinting at June 4” (summary translated from Chinese by Chan Kai Yee)
Prominent astrophysicist sheltered by US embassy before being helped to flee China uses autobiography to deny any role in Tiananmen protests
Fang Lizhi was not a “black hand” behind the pro-democracy movement in 1989, he says in a newly published posthumous autobiography.
Rather, it was his innate character as a scientist – perseverance in pursuing the truth – that led him to be named China’s most-wanted man and forced him into exile, he writes.
“I hope my autobiography will help me to say clearly how I was guided by [the spirit of] science and democracy to the endless path of being the most-wanted man [by the Chinese authorities],” the book’s cover quotes the distinguished astrophysicist as saying.
The book goes on sale in Hong Kong on Friday.
Fang, who began writing the book more than 20 years before his death in April last year, reiterates in it his simple message that “democracy is not a favour bestowed from above, but should be won through people’s own efforts”.
The words come from a famous speech he made in 1986 while vice-president of the University of Science and Technology in Hefei . The speech became an inspiration for the student movement three years later.
A public letter that he wrote on January 6, 1989, urging Deng Xiaoping to release all political prisoners, including Wei Jingsheng , in a “massive amnesty” to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, only annoyed the paramount leader further, Fang writes.
However, he says he only wanted to express an honest opinion as a scientist about the development of China. “We learn from science [to be] open, honest, and fearless,” he writes.
Fang stresses that politics was never his cup of tea.
Besides a sole public appearance to persuade Anhui students to end street demonstrations in 1986, Fang says he tried his best not to show up at student gatherings, especially the remarkable two-month-long Tiananmen protests, which ended with a bloody military crackdown on June 4, 1989.
After the incident, Fang and his wife, Li Shuxian , a Peking University physics professor, found themselves at the top of the authorities’ list of “black hands” behind the protests.
“If there was something we had contributed to the [democratic] movement, it might be our simple [democratic] message, which had struck a chord … with the public,” Fang writes.
On June 5, 1989 the couple went to the US embassy, accompanied by the American professor Perry Link. They were initially turned away by Washington’s acting ambassador, Raymond Burghardt, but the US envoy made a midnight call a few hours later welcoming the couple to return to the embassy “as guests of President George H. W. Bush”.
The couple were taken to the US mission in a bullet-proof car and told they could stay as long as they needed.
Living in a sealed bungalow, a former clinic just metres from a Chinese armed-police checkpoint, the couple started their 385-day lockdown behind curtained windows. They never saw the daylight and Fang says that besides US ambassador James Lilley, few at the embassy knew of their whereabouts.
Security was a concern, in part because the Chinese staff at the embassy had all been approved by the Foreign Ministry.
In the first three weeks, the couple were worried that the PLA might burst into the embassy to take them away or even set fire to the complex to create “accidents” in attempt to kill them. But Lilley comforted them with news that Washington had warned Beijing that any intrusion into the embassy would result in diplomatic ties being severed.
After the crackdown, Washington suspended top-level exchanges with Beijing and introduced economic sanctions and an arms embargo. But bilateral ties were maintained.
While many senior Chinese officials condemned Washington for offering political asylum to Chinese students still in the US, their own spouses and children were flocking to the embassy to apply for visas, Fang writes.
He cites as an example Teng Teng , then deputy director of the state education commission, who summoned Lilley to his office and expressed Beijing’s condemnation. But less than an hour later, Teng called Lilley to ask for a visa for his wife, who wanted to meet their four children in the United States.
Besides Teng, relatives of Yuan Mu , a spokesman for the State Council in 1989, then those of former president Yang Shangkun all applied for US visas, Fang writes. A US embassy clerk even deliberately asked an applicant loudly in Putonghua during an interview whether they were a relative of Yuan Mu, to embarrass them in front of other visa applicants in the queue.
The couple were taken good care of at the embassy, Fang writes, adding that a famous dentist from Tokyo was sent to their room to treat Li’s toothache.
Their communication with the outside world was never cut, Fang writes, with many well-known universities and observatories sending honours and job offers while trying to convince the couple to leave China as soon as possible. But Fang turned down all such suggestions.
He refused to make a “confession” to Beijing in exchange for his freedom because, he insisted, he had never breached any law or democratic principle of the Chinese constitution.
After negotiations involving Lilley, former president Richard Nixon and ex-secretary of state Henry Kissinger, Beijing agreed to “expel Fang and Li on medical parole” in June 1990. They were sent to Britain on a US military aircraft a week later. Six months after that, they arrived in the US.
Source: SCMP “Fang Lizhi uses posthumous autobiography to deny any role in Tiananmen protests”
Picture of Peng Liyuan singing to troops after Tiananmen crackdown is scrubbed from web
A photo of new first lady Peng Liyuan in her younger days, singing to martial law troops after the 1989 military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, flickered across cyberspace this week.
It was swiftly scrubbed from China’s internet before it could generate discussion online.
But the image – seen and shared by outside observers – revived a memory the leadership prefers to suppress and shows one of the challenges in presenting Peng on the world stage as the country’s softer side.
The leadership wants Peng to show the human side of President Xi Jinping, while not exposing too many perks of the elite. And it must balance popular support for the first couple with an acute wariness of personality cults that could skew the consensus rule among top party leaders.
The photo shows Peng wearing a green military uniform, her windswept hair tied back in a ponytail, as she sings to helmeted and rifle-bearing troops seated in rows in Tiananmen Square.
It contrasts with her appearances this week in trendy suits and coiffed hair while touring Russia and Africa with Xi.
Kelley Currie, a human rights expert for the pro-democracy Project 2049 Institute in Arlington, Virginia, said: “I think that we have a lot of people hoping that because Xi Jinping walks around without a tie on and his wife is a singer who travels with him on trips that maybe we’re dealing with a new kind of leader, but I think these images remind people that this is the same party.
“It’s using new tools and new techniques, for the same purposes – to preserve its own power.”
Peng, 50, a major general in the People’s Liberation Army best known for soaring renditions of patriotic odes to the military and the party, kept a low profile as her husband prepared to take over as party chief. Her re-emergence has been accompanied by a blaze of publicity in state-run media hailing her beauty and charm, in a bid to harness her popularity to build support for Xi at home and abroad.
“The photo probably has a negative impact more so internationally than domestically,” said Joseph Cheng, a political scientist at City University of Hong Kong.
He said more scrutiny of Peng is likely and such photos could raise questions about Xi’s interest in reforms.
He added: “It has been several months now that Xi Jinping has assumed the top leadership role and we have found no indicator that he is interested in this stage to push serious political reform.”
The image is a snapshot of the back cover of a 1989 issue of a publicly available military magazine PLA Pictorial, according to Sun Li, a reporter.
He said he took a photo of it on his cell phone several years ago when it was inadvertently posted on his microblog.
Sun said he quickly deleted it and had no idea how it resurfaced on the internet years later.
Warren Sun, a military historian at Monash University in Australia, had little doubt about the authenticity of the photo. He cited a 1992 academic report as saying that after the crackdown, Peng performed a song titled The Most Beloved People in a salute to the martial law troops.
In an indication of Peng’s appeal on the mainland, a man whose 19-year-old son was killed in the Tiananmen crackdown said he bears no grudges.
“If I had known about this back then, I would have been very disgusted by it. But now, looking at it objectively, it’s all in the past,” said Wang Fandi, whose son Wang Nan died from a bullet wound to his head.
“She was in the establishment. If the military wanted her to perform, she had to go.”
Source: SCMP “First lady Peng Liyuan and the photo that’s best forgotten”
His fight seems personal, but it is in fact a fight for the rule of law and human rights. I will keep my readers informed of developments.
The following is SCMP’s report:
A rights activist is suing police in Anhui’s capital for illegally detaining his 10-year-old daughter after holding him and raiding his home without a warrant last month, he said yesterday.
Zhang Lin, 49, who was previously jailed for leading student hunger strikes in Anhui in support of the 1989 Tiananmen pro-democracy movement, lodged his case with provincial prosecutors on Friday.
He said a policeman took him to the Hupo police station in Hefei on the morning of February 27, saying he needed to apply for a temporary residence permit because he was originally from Bengbu.
The policeman then detained him and took his mobile phone and keys, and searched his home without a warrant, he said. When he said he needed to pick up his daughter from school in the afternoon, police refused to let him.
His daughter was then picked up by four unidentified men and was taken to the Hupo police station, where she was kept in a meeting room for more than three hours, Zhang said. He said he only saw her at around 7pm, after repeated requests.
Father and daughter were kept together until the next afternoon, by which time she had been held for 20 hours, he said. Zhang is divorced and said no one in his family was told about their detention.
“This incident has had a tremendous impact on my daughter – now she doesn’t want to see or talk to anybody and she often gets moody,” he said by phone. “That horrific experience has possibly brought irreparable damage to her young mind.”
A Hefei public security bureau worker said he had no knowledge of the case.
After their release, Zhang and his daughter were sent back to Bengbu, 130 kilometres away, and are homeless, after police barred them from staying in Hefei. His daughter has been barred from returning to her school.
He has been appealing online for somewhere to stay.
Source: SCMP “Rights activist sues Anhui police over illegal detention of daughter”
Liao Yiwu clearly recalls the moment when he first stepped into a Chinese jail. He was stripped naked by inmates who then violated him with chopsticks – the beginning of a four-year prison ordeal.
“I only stayed naked in front of everyone six to seven minutes, but I felt I had lost all dignity,” the author and poet said about the start of his 1990 imprisonment after the bloody crackdown on Tiananmen protests.
More than two decades on and despite intense police obstruction, the 650-page account of those four years – a rare depiction of life in a Chinese jail – has finally come out in France after first being published in Germany and Taiwan.
The book was a long time in the making and has come at huge personal cost. Faced with the threat of more prison if he had it published abroad, he decided to flee China in 2011, leaving his mother and others behind.
“They were watching my emails and they knew I was in touch with editors in Germany and Taiwan,” he said at the launch of For a Song and a Hundred Songs in Paris.
“They said I couldn’t publish the book, and if I did, they would put me in prison again, this time for at least 10 years … The German and Taiwan editors got worried about my safety and they pushed back the publication date.
“All in all, they pushed it back three times. The third time, I decided to escape.”
Liao, 54, has never fully revealed how he managed to flee over the border to Vietnam in 2011, when activists and dissidents were under intense scrutiny over fears Arab spring-type protests would spread to China.
“I used the mafia. China is a very corrupt society, so for once corruption was useful for me,” he said at last week’s launch, refusing to say any more and explaining he would reveal everything in another book. Liao’s self-imposed exile in Germany is the culmination of decades spent on the wrong side of China’s ruling Communist Party.
Source: SCMP “Dissident Liao Yiwu’s story of his ordeal in jail released in France” from Agence France-Presse
SCMP reports: “A Hunan dissident charged with “inciting subversion of state power” following the death of democracy activist Li Wangyang was placed under “residential surveillance” at an undisclosed location yesterday – a move his lawyer says is designed to prevent him from challenging charges on behalf of his client.
“Zhu Chengzhi, 62, was arrested last August on subversion charges and had been held at a Shaoyang police detention centre until yesterday.
“His lawyer, Liu Xiaoyuan , said Zhu’s family received a notice yesterday about Zhu’s ‘residential surveillance’ – which allows the police to hold a suspect but not necessarily at his home. Both Shaoyang police and prosecutors refused to say where Zhu was being held.
“‘Because he’s no longer at the detention centre, I have no way of seeing him to discuss challenging his charges, nor can I get access to files detailing his charges to prepare for a court hearing,’ Liu said.
“Zhu was the first of about a dozen of Li’s associates to speak out about Li’s suspicious death in June, raising fears that others in similar detention or under house arrest could face the same fate.”
For details, please visit SCMP website at:
SCMP reports: “Dozens of mourners gathered in a small alleyway just off Beijing’s premier shopping street, Wangfujing, yesterday to pay tribute to late Communist Party chief Zhao Ziyang on the 93rd anniversary of his birth.
“Mostly retired officials and teachers, they arrived at No 6 Fuqiang Hutong, Zhao’s former residence, yesterday afternoon to pay respects to the renowned reformer, who became party head at its 13th national congress in 1987 but was ousted in 1989 for sympathising with student democracy advocates who occupied Tiananmen Square.”
“Mourners appeared with flowers, pictures of Zhao and a large red banner reading: ‘Cherish the memory of the 13th; look forward to the 18th.’”
“Zhao Wujun, Zhao’s youngest son, said the authorities had not given them any warnings or tried to stop them from receiving mourners. No armed police or undercover security guards were seen patrolling in front of the house yesterday, although their presence has been normal on sensitive occasions in the past.”
“The party does not speak of Zhao in public, and past commemorative activities have often faced harassment from the authorities.”
For details, please visit SCMP website at:
SCMP’s Cary Huang reports from Beijing today, “The Communist Party leadership decided to strengthen its security apparatus shortly after the June 4 military crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in 1989”, according to former top legislator Qiao Shi’s new book.
“The leadership decided to resume the Central Commission of Politics and Legal Affairs in early 1990, which had been downgraded to the ‘central leading group on politics and legal affairs’ two years earlier, in an effort to accommodate the social changes wrought by the demonstrations, according to Qiao Shi , the No 3 official at the time.”
“Rule of law and democracy advocator Qiao Shi returns” dated June 22
“Victory of Rule of Law over Despotism” dated March 31
SCMP says on June 20, 2012, “Two weeks after veteran pro-democracy activist Li Wangyang died under suspicious circumstances, some of his friends who have spoken out about his case remained detained by police or were still under house arrest yesterday, according to people familiar with them.”
“Activist Zhu Chengzhi, who was given a 10-day administrative detention by police on June 8 after disputing the official ruling that Li committed suicide, should have been released on Monday, but he was immediately taken into police custody again, according to fellow activist Wang Lihong .”
“Several of Li’s Hunan-based friends could not be reached by phone yesterday, and their whereabouts were unknown.
“One friend, Luo Xiaoqing, said by phone that he had been confined to his home for more than a week, with several guards blocking his front door 24 hours a day.”
The life of a hero who gave his life for democracy, SCMP
Li Wangyang, 62, from Shaoyang, Hunan Province, was not the best-known democracy activist from the turbulent summer of 1989, but he served the most time in jail for the cause – 21 years – before his bizarre death on June 6.
After Tiananmen Massacre, Li organised protests by Shaoyang students and workers, and a vigil which was attended by thousands. Within days he was thrown into jail for 10 years.
In spite of the unearthly tortures he suffered in prison, in February 2001, he staged a 22-day hunger strike that drew global attention and was again imprisoned for 11 years.
When Hong Kong’s Cable Television asked if he had any regrets about how his life had turned out, Li was resolute: “I only went to jail; I haven’t lost my head,” he said. “Even if I have to lose my head, I will have no regrets.”
He was a hero we shall never forget.