Greg Autry

Fighting for space, not over it.

Visual Artists Guild Tiananmen Commemoration Event

Tonight my son and I attended the Visual Artists Guild Annual Tiananmen Square Commemoration and Award Dinner.

event

 

Those advocates of democracy and human rights that were honored tonight (in absentia) included:

Wu Lihong , environmental activists who served three years for speaking out against the pollution of Lake Tai.

Dhondup Wangchen, serving six year in prison for making a documentary film that discusses Tibetan attitudes to China’s 2008 Olympic spectacle.  His wife explained that he has contracted hepatitis in prison and she has been told that he is losing his vision. She begged the U.S. government to stand up and demand his release so he can rejoin his family. Below you see her crying next to his photo after accepting the award on his behalf. It was heart breaking. Please sign the petition to free him.

wangchen

The good folks at Amnesty International are supporting the Wangchen family in the U.S. James Zimmerman, from that group, offered a summary of their annual China report; which invariably includes the statement that China continues, year after year, to execute more people than the entire rest of the world combined.

zimmerman

Zhu Yufu, doing an additional seven years in prison for “inciting subversion” by writing a poem entitled “It’s Time.” How ironically appropriate.

Hat’s off to event organizer Ann Lau, one of the most energetic and dedicated fighter for freedom that I have ever met.

Next month will see President Obama greeting Xi Jinping, the dictator behind this system at Annenberg estate near Palm Springs, California. We can expect him to make some extremely vague comment about human rights in a way that doesn’t “offend” his fascist guest and then he will move on to encouraging closer economic ties to China’s despotic regime. If you can, please come to Palm Springs June 7 & 8 to protest this meeting between the President of the United States and a common thug.

 

 

Greg Autry serves as Senior Economist with the American Jobs Alliance, Economist with theCoalition for a Prosperous America and is co-author (with Peter Navarro) of Death by China: Confronting the Dragon – a Global Call to Action. He blogs regularly at: http://www.gregautry.us/blog  and on the Huffington Post.

Tiananmen Remembered, Again


 

In remembrance of the anniversary of the massacre in Tiananmen on 6/4, China’s  9/11, inflicted on the people by those who claim to lead them I’m reposting this piece I wrote with Tang Baiqiao.

We have forgotten the lessons of Tiananmen

From the San Diego Union Tribune, June 16, 2011

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/jun/16/we-have-forgotten-the-lessons-of-tiananmen/

Twenty-two years ago, millions of people gathered in public places across China to demand the respect of their government. As thousands jammed into Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, one of us was there in the crowd as the other watched fascinated from the other side of the world. Unknown to each other at the time, we were connected by the common exhilaration of the moment as free people stood up to claim both their natural rights and a nation’s rightful place in the world order. It should have been a glorious moment as well as a new basis for a true partnership with China’s natural ally, the United States.

Of course, we all know what did happen that June 4. Though one of us was lucky enough to just miss the gunfire by returning to lead protests in Changsha and the other remained safely behind a television screen in America, we shared the horror, disgust and disillusionment of that day. We wept, shook our heads, cried out, “Why?” and reached the same, frankly obvious conclusion: The Chinese Communist Party is a murderous regime that couldn’t be trusted and America’s policy of engagement had failed.

History tells us that engagement with totalitarians has been a proven dead end since Napoleon used the 1801 Treaty of Amiens to consolidate his regime of fear and to prepare for war, and the lesson for democracies has been the same from Hitler to Gadhafi: Bad guys don’t change and they do not honor agreements.

Two decades of failure since have made clear that fake smiles aside, Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao are no different from the rest of history’s rogue’s gallery. It’s no surprise that China’s dictators continue to lie, cheat and steal their way through domestic politics, international affairs and business engagements.

What is surprising is that America’s business leaders, politicians and pundits continue to pander to this particular group of thugs against all reason. Decades after Tiananmen, we ask those Americans just how many artists, peacemakers and religious practitioners must China lock up before America opens its sleepy eyes? How many millions of women need be subjected to forced reproductive control? How many executions must there be? To what degree must China’s cities, rivers and seas be polluted by a perverted state capitalism that keeps Communists in power?

If human rights no longer carries weight with America’s free traders, then we ask how many American jobs need to be sacrificed to China’s blatantly manipulated currency, sad labor conditions and abuse of World Trade Organization rules? How many American firms need to be destroyed by intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer, “partnership” requirements, tariffs and export restrictions? How badly do our most promising new companies, like Facebook and Google, have to be cheated by market-restricting censorship and government-backed cyber attacks?

Before he was oddly silenced, Jeff Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, commented to the Financial Times, “I really worry about China. I’m not sure that in the end they want any of us to win, or any of us to be successful.” Of course they don’t. Why would a government whose very name – “The People’s Republic” – is a lie and that uses its own constitution – which guarantees freedom of speech, religion, and assembly – as a doormat honor any partnership with your company or America – the embodiment of the principles it despises?

Finally, if you find repression and economic warfare an unwelcome distraction from consumption of cheap goods, please consider this before you fill your shopping cart: China is building a massive, high-tech military force that grows faster than its breakneck gross domestic product. A rising armada of naval power, missiles, stealth aircraft and space weaponry is aimed squarely at our allies in Asia, U.S. armed forces and the heartland of America. Is this the kind of regime we should be doing business with?

Over the years we have become very familiar with the argument that U.S. policy should remain forever frozen regardless of how outrageous Beijing’s behavior becomes, because any action in support of our principles would either prove futile or worse, resulting in economic retribution. The former argument may be true, but has not altered our approach toward China’s good friends in Iran, Zimbabwe or Sudan, while the latter simply makes it clear that we are falling into the Communist Party’s web of intimidation. That is exactly the reason we must make a stand sooner rather than later.

—————–

Autry is the co-author of “Death by China” and teaches macroeconomics at UC Irvine. Tang was a student leader in China in 1989, still works for Chinese democracy, and is the co-author of “My Two Chinas: The Memoirs of Chinese Counter-Revolutionary.”

We have forgotten the lessons of Tiananmen

 

We have forgotten the lessons of Tiananmen

 

 

From the San Diego Union Tribune, June 16, 2011

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/jun/16/we-have-forgotten-the-lessons-of-tiananmen/

 

 

Twenty-two years ago, millions of people gathered in public places across China to demand the respect of their government. As thousands jammed into Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, one of us was there in the crowd as the other watched fascinated from the other side of the world. Unknown to each other at the time, we were connected by the common exhilaration of the moment as free people stood up to claim both their natural rights and a nation’s rightful place in the world order. It should have been a glorious moment as well as a new basis for a true partnership with China’s natural ally, the United States.

Of course, we all know what did happen that June 4. Though one of us was lucky enough to just miss the gunfire by returning to lead protests in Changsha and the other remained safely behind a television screen in America, we shared the horror, disgust and disillusionment of that day. We wept, shook our heads, cried out, “Why?” and reached the same, frankly obvious conclusion: The Chinese Communist Party is a murderous regime that couldn’t be trusted and America’s policy of engagement had failed.

History tells us that engagement with totalitarians has been a proven dead end since Napoleon used the 1801 Treaty of Amiens to consolidate his regime of fear and to prepare for war, and the lesson for democracies has been the same from Hitler to Gadhafi: Bad guys don’t change and they do not honor agreements.

Two decades of failure since have made clear that fake smiles aside, Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao are no different from the rest of history’s rogue’s gallery. It’s no surprise that China’s dictators continue to lie, cheat and steal their way through domestic politics, international affairs and business engagements.

What is surprising is that America’s business leaders, politicians and pundits continue to pander to this particular group of thugs against all reason. Decades after Tiananmen, we ask those Americans just how many artists, peacemakers and religious practitioners must China lock up before America opens its sleepy eyes? How many millions of women need be subjected to forced reproductive control? How many executions must there be? To what degree must China’s cities, rivers and seas be polluted by a perverted state capitalism that keeps Communists in power?

If human rights no longer carries weight with America’s free traders, then we ask how many American jobs need to be sacrificed to China’s blatantly manipulated currency, sad labor conditions and abuse of World Trade Organization rules? How many American firms need to be destroyed by intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer, “partnership” requirements, tariffs and export restrictions? How badly do our most promising new companies, like Facebook and Google, have to be cheated by market-restricting censorship and government-backed cyber attacks?

Before he was oddly silenced, Jeff Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, commented to the Financial Times, “I really worry about China. I’m not sure that in the end they want any of us to win, or any of us to be successful.” Of course they don’t. Why would a government whose very name – “The People’s Republic” – is a lie and that uses its own constitution – which guarantees freedom of speech, religion, and assembly – as a doormat honor any partnership with your company or America – the embodiment of the principles it despises?

Finally, if you find repression and economic warfare an unwelcome distraction from consumption of cheap goods, please consider this before you fill your shopping cart: China is building a massive, high-tech military force that grows faster than its breakneck gross domestic product. A rising armada of naval power, missiles, stealth aircraft and space weaponry is aimed squarely at our allies in Asia, U.S. armed forces and the heartland of America. Is this the kind of regime we should be doing business with?

Over the years we have become very familiar with the argument that U.S. policy should remain forever frozen regardless of how outrageous Beijing’s behavior becomes, because any action in support of our principles would either prove futile or worse, resulting in economic retribution. The former argument may be true, but has not altered our approach toward China’s good friends in Iran, Zimbabwe or Sudan, while the latter simply makes it clear that we are falling into the Communist Party’s web of intimidation. That is exactly the reason we must make a stand sooner rather than later.

—————–

Autry is the co-author of “Death by China” and teaches macroeconomics at UC Irvine. Tang was a student leader in China in 1989, still works for Chinese democracy, and is the co-author of “My Two Chinas: The Memoirs of Chinese Counter-Revolutionary.”

Counter-Revolution!

And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government, which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about. I can understand why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for that is one thing, which can by inspection destroy such a system. Surely I can understand this, and I hate it and I will fight against it to preserve the one thing that separates us from the uncreative beasts. If the glory can be killed, we are lost.

 

– John Stienbeck, (East of Eden)

 

Sunday evening, the day before Memorial Day, I’m flying over the Land of the Free with a perspective that renders our nation’s flaws invisible. We are heading West and I’m looking down at deep snow on the Rockies; a late spring thaw feeds the Colorado River as it begins its long trip South to the Sea of Cortez. There is a vast flat layer of clouds ahead, stretching out over Arizona, all brilliantly lit with the golden glow of another perfect sunset over the beaches of my native California. It is a fittingly glorious return from a weekend in the presence of inspirational greatness.

I had been invited, by my friend Tang Baiqiao (My Two Chinas) to spend two days crammed into an unremarkable, hot, and crowded conference room in a small hotel in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens. I was there to speak to a group that by Sunday afternoon had agreed to name itself the China Democratic Revolution Federation.

My hosts were a group of Chinese men and women from a variety of backgrounds that shared a long and hard-earned resentment against the regime in Beijing. They had gathered to commemorate the Centenary of China’s lost democratic revolution and hold an annual observation of the June 4 tragedy in Tiananmen Square.

Many Americans are sadly ignorant of the story of China’s 1911 revolt that buried the corpse of the corrupt Qing dynasty. The democratic movement was led with high expectations by the brilliant Sun Yat Sen. A new China had woken from its long opium coma and was prepared to boldly step forward and take its rightful place among the ranks of great progressive nations. Tragically, Sun’s embryonic republic was trampled by warlords, Japanese invaders, and finally stolen by Mao’s gang of Communist thugs.

The stuffy room in Queens was packed with businessmen, lawyers, waiters, and artists. They were Buddhists, Christians and non-believers. They’d come out of Hunnan and Yunnan and fled Beijing and Shanghai to settle in California, Georgia, Alabama, and New York. I encountered a collection of disparate souls who had fled from a vast and diverse nation and had been scattered across another. And yet, their differences were invisible. Although many of them had not met before, they were at once a family, united by decades of suffering and resigned to years of hard work ahead. Work in bringing down the criminal government that rules their homeland. This remorseless regime has recently accelerated what is already the world’s biggest campaign of repression against the mind and spirit of humankind. This ratcheting up of arrests has pulled in thousands of citizens and a few notables like world renowned artist Ai WeiWei.

What was to be a most insightful weekend began with a ride from JFK in the company of Guo Baosheng ,a Christian minister in San Francisco who had been jailed for years in the 1990s for advocating human rights and fled to America after having his “unauthorized church” closed by the Chinese police.

During much of the conference translation was provided for me by two Falun Gong practitioners – a practice horribly repressed in China – have dedicated themselves to curing the moral cancer of Marxism one soul at a time via their work running the “Global Service Center for Quitting the Communist Party.”

I met several souls who lived through the horrors of June 4 and had a most interesting interview with Yan Xiong. Yan was a young man, just days shy of graduation, who made repeated trips through the hail of AK-47 fire hauling the bleeding bodies of fellow Beijing University students from the streets around Tianamen to the hospital on a rickety bicycle. It was a day he still remembers as though it were yesterday. The reward China offered for his heroism under fire was nearly two years in a prison camp – much of it in solitary confinement or shackles, everyday of it of it on the edge of starvation. Yet, as if to prove Nietzsche right, Yan emerged strong and is now a Captain in the US Army! He is serving as a chaplain at the Warrant Officer Career College at Fort Rucker, Alabama after completing a tour of duty in Iraq.

After the public meeting broke late Saturday, we all headed out for dinner in the Little Shanghai that Flushing has become. I sat with a journalist, an attorney, and Huang Xiang, a quiet and introspective poet and artist, who after the meal and more than a few toasts stood to deliver a frighteningly animated rendition of his poem “Wild Beasts” – the story of a powerful, wild animal captured, tortured, and destroyed, but stubbornly free until the bitter end. His long, grey hair flew about as he stomped around the Beijing Duck Restaurant like a visitor from “Where the Wild Things Are” and his smiling eyes sparkled as he snarled the ending line, “Even though barely a bone is left, I want this detestable age to choke on me.” After this, the sister-in-law of Ai WeiWei stopped by to offer her regards.

The next day we returned to the practice of democracy and honed a plan of action to recapture the world’s attention that has so selfishly turned its gaze from victims of Tiananmen to the shelves of WalMart. You will be hearing from them and it will be time for us all to sit down and take a moment to listen to what they have to say and for Americans to remember that our founding fathers not only gifted us with liberty but also burdened us with the responsibility to defend it!

Will we join the Americans before us who sacrificed to end slavery, fight fascism, secure Civil Rights, and bring down the Soviet’s Evil Empire? Or, will we sell out my Chinese friends to “Save Money, Live Better” at WalMart and trade other people’s liberty – and someday our own –  for access to a “huge market?”

Make your decision carefully, but stop pleading ignorance.

 

–       Greg Autry teaches Macroeconomics at the Merage School of Business, UC Irvine and is co-author (with Peter Navarro) of the new book “Death by China” www.gregautry.us