（VOA 齐之丰, 魏之）华盛顿 -1989年年初，中国最著名的政治犯，全世界著名的政治犯之一魏京生还在中国西部青海的一所监狱里。他在1979年发表声明，认为中国最迫切需要的是民主化，不能再让独裁统治祸害中国。魏京生随后被判重刑，罪名是"反革命罪"。
Wei Jingsheng: Xi Jinping Makes Provocative Moves against Chinese
Neighbors to Save His Regime
-- By Qi ZhiFeng and Wei Zhi, Voice of America
WASHINGTON -- In early 1989, Wei Jingsheng, the most famous Chinese
political prisoner and one of the famous political prisoners around the
world, was still in a prison in western China's Qinghai Province. In
1979, Wei Jingsheng issued a statement that the most urgent need of China
is democratization, that we cannot let the dictatorship be the scourge of
China. Then Wei Jingsheng was given heavy sentences on charges of
At the beginning of 1989, Chinese scientist Fang Lizhi wrote a letter to
the then supreme leader of the Communist Party Deng Xiaoping, requesting
the release of Wei Jingsheng and other political prisoners as a way to
show that the Chinese Communist regime was a regime that was willing to
join the civilized world.
Subsequently, Chinese intellectual groups followed with many letters to
the Communist Party and the Chinese legislative bodies, demanding the
release of political prisoners, the implementation of political reform,
and to promote building of democracy.
The actions of the Chinese intellectuals calling for reform and demand for
democracy, became the pilot of the 1989 country-wide demonstrations of
democracy and anti-corruption around China initiated by the students.
On the night of June 3 and early morning of June 4 of 1989, the Chinese
authorities headed by Deng Xiaoping deployed troops to violently suppress
the peaceful demonstrations in Beijing. Hundreds of people were killed.
In September 1993, Wei Jingsheng, who was put in prison in 1979 by the
Communist regime, was released. After he left prison, Wei Jingsheng did
not change his mind. He continued his call for the implementation of
political reforms and the realization of democratization in China. For
that, he was arrested again in April 1994. In December 1995, Chinese
authorities gave him another sentence of 14 years on charges of
"conspiracy to subvert the government."
In 1997, the Chinese and the U.S. governments made a deal to send Wei
Jingsheng into exile to the USA in the name of medical treatment.
As the 25th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown was approaching,
Wei Jingsheng accepted an exclusive interview with the Voice of America.
He believes that the Chinese Communist regime is currently facing a
serious crisis of survival, so the leader Xi Jinping has to distract and
"unify" the people by provoking around internationally.
VOA reporter: "Politically speaking, 1989 was a special year in
contemporary China. That year, less than a week after New Year's Day,
Chinese scientist Fang Lizhi wrote a letter to Deng Xiaoping, the then
supreme leader of China, requesting the release of you and political
prisoners like you, thus initiating the prelude of the 1989 democracy
movement in China. Subsequently, groups of intellectuals in China
published open letters one after another, demanding the release of
political prisoners in the Communist China, thus forming a movement. That
kind of movement was the first of its kind since the Chinese Communists
came to power in 1949. You were in prison at that time and did you know
these things were happening outside?"
* Around the Release for the First Time *
Wei Jingsheng: At first, I was not fully aware. But I did know some.
Why? Because in Qinghai where I was imprisoned, we had to buy lamb every
September and October, otherwise we could not get it in the winter. The
winters in Qinghai were very cold.
However, in that year of 1988, there was an old policeman who told me not
to buy lamb because I could go home on October 1. That meant people like
Deng Xiaoping had already made the decision to release me. Deng was not
comfortable to carry on like that, when I was in prison. That is because
he was scolded every day by both International and domestic criticism.
So, there was already a plan and I did not buy lamb when they asked me not
I waited and waited. There was still no news after October 1. I asked
what was going on. They told me that I would be home to celebrate the
Chinese New Year after the New Year Day of 1989. But there was still no
news after the New Year Day of 1989. Then they explained and there were
many people writing letters to the Central Committee of the Communist
Party that made Deng Xiaoping very unhappy, so the original plan of my
release was stopped.
Even at that time, I had heard about it.
VOA reporter: Which year was you released? After your release, did you
meet with Fang Lizhi?
Wei Jingsheng: I met with Mr. Fang in the United States. We met a few
times during all at the gatherings in New York.
Of course, we all think that Mr. Fang's actions were not just for me. To
launch this campaign also had the purpose to push democratization in
China. This is one of the reasons. The release of political prisoners
would be one of the first steps in the process to open expression.
Thus, they all responded with open letters. People in the fields of
technology and culture, as well as all the other communities wrote open
letters and formed a movement and a trend of thought. Initially, I was
secretly told about it by the prison guards.
* The 1989 Democracy Movement Would Likely Be Successful *
VOA reporter: Looking back at that campaign of 1989, according to your
past experience of engaging in the democratic movement in China (we know
you had participated in the democratic movement in China more than 25
years ago), do you think the 1989 pro-democracy movement was likely to
Wei Jingsheng: Actually it was possible. Why? At that time, most Chinese
were supporting (the then Secretary-General of the Central Committee of
the Communist Party) Zhao Ziyang.
I watched TV every day and was paying close attention to it. I was in
prison then, but we watched TV every day. One of the measures of
improving the living condition for us prisoners, after the former
Secretary-General of the Communist Party Hu Yaobang visited Qinghai, was
that we could watch TV every day.
At that time, I noticed when I was watching TV, even some cronies of Deng
Xiaoping, such as Qin Jiwei and Hong Xuezhi, who had followed Deng
Xiaoping since the Red Army period, supported Zhao Ziyang. They did not
support the martial law. They did not support opening fire to kill.
During the meeting announcing the martial law in May, they were dressed in
Even from the TV, we could feel the situation within the Chinese Communist
Party. Most people were standing with Zhao Ziyang. They felt that China
should reform, instead of keeping the old way of economic reform without
political reform. When the economy and politics are not matching each
other, there are more and more problems, and getting more and more
serious. At that time, most people supported Zhao Ziyang.
If Zhao was determined, this could have been accomplished. In fact that
would be the case. If he carried it out it would be accomplished, just as
Gorbachev was able to accomplish it.
However, Zhao Ziyang had one step back, and then Deng Xiaoping came up and
fully reversed it. Look at the early 1990's, even Deng himself could not
stand it anymore; even economic reforms had regressed. That was because
the so-called the reactionaries prevailed.
VOA Reporter: You just said Zhao Ziyang took one step back, what does that
Wei Jingsheng: He did not speak up. We all felt that he should not let
(then Premier) Li Peng commit all kinds of outrages, that the central
government should respond to call of the intelligentsia and the people to
start the political reforms with drastic measures.
This would completely put aside the power of Deng Xiaoping. Things would
be like this. Deng blocked it there, so we could not make political
reform. Zhao Ziyang had so much power. Why couldn't he put Deng Xiaoping
aside? That would be perfectly justified and legal. Zhao was the
legitimate leader, but not Deng. Why should Zhao be afraid of Deng?
Further, to be honest, when Zhao Ziyang was not speaking up and Deng
Xiaoping was, the army could only listen to Deng. For Zhao to give the
order, it would be legitimate. If Zhao had spoken up, then it would be
more than one Xu Qinxian, the commander of the 38th Army who was mobilized
to Beijing to suppress the protest, who had refused to execute the order
of suppression. Probably the other officials and soldiers of various
armies would not execute the command from Deng Xiaoping either.
Of course it was legitimate for Commander Xu Qinxian to refuse to carry
out the repression. Deng Xiaoping was a retired person, who did not have
the power to order the suppression. Moreover, according to the tradition
of the Chinese Communist Party in the past, the military cannot listen to
the command of one person. This was true even during the Mao Zedong era,
when at least three people of Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, and Lin Biao were
needed. Later, it would be the signatures from Zhao Ziyang and Li Peng.
Not just Li alone, plus Deng Xiaoping to make the decision. The order did
not even meet the rule of the Chinese Communist regime itself. So the
revolt from commander Xu was reasonable.
* Is There Any Influence to Work for China from Overseas *
VOA reporter: You were sentenced twice to jail time in China. Your every
move makes Chinese Communist authorities worried. Thus you have your
influence. Do you think you still make political impact on China?
Wei Jingsheng: In 1997, Jiang Zemin (then Secretary-General of the Chinese
Communist Party) made a deal with Bill Clinton (then U.S. President). The
deal was that the USA would let Jiang visit the USA and completely abolish
sanctions against China, in exchange for the release of me. So I came to
the United States.
When they asked me about this, I also weighed carefully -- was it better
off for me to stay in jail, or to come out? I thought it would be better
to come out, because I think at that time of 1997, the overseas democracy
movement was at a very low level that was very difficult to influence the
international community. However, for a country to have peaceful
evolution, it is absolutely indispensable to have the pressure and
influence of the international community.
So, I thought it just as well for me to go abroad. Although there were a
lot of people who told me that they thought that I should not come out,
that I should stay in jail to get that year's Nobel Peace Prize. But I
think that was not important. It is important to be able to promote
democracy movement in China. So I decided to go abroad at that time.
Before that, I was also asked about leaving China. Then I did not agree.
But in 1997, I thought that I was needed overseas, I felt a responsibility
to continue my influence. I think I made the right decision. For more
than one decade now, I have my influence overseas.
Despite that the international community's concerns about human rights in
China is getting weaker and weaker, we also should realize that without
the striving of us from overseas, without the support of people of other
nations, how much more China would go backwards.
* Tough Time Overseas, but It Will Not Change the Determination *
VOA reporter: Many Chinese viewers and readers are concerned of the exiled
life of the leader of the democratic movement then, for you as an
individual personally. They are most interested to know what do your kind
of people feel for this forced exile. Can you talk about it?
Wei Jingsheng: All the people put in exile overseas have more difficult
living environments than they had in China. They have the language
barrier, unfamiliar environment, are without relatives or friends, thus
invisibly have lost a lot of help. So, our lives are very hard. In this
situation, you have to come up with considerable effort and time to make a
living, usually doing work very different from what was familiar.
Then, you want to make time and effort to participate in various
activities of the democratic movement. It is very difficult. I think
most of us have made great contributions, but not for the sake of being
I think our friends engaging in the overseas democracy movement is not any
easier than for friends inside China. For the people inside China, it is
dangerous yet with better environment where people support you. Outside
China are foreigners who do not understand you. They are just curious.
For example, I was hospitalized due to my illness, the nurses told me
that, "wow I heard you are a hero, etc." But that is about it.
Inside China, it is not the same. Whatever you do there, you will receive
a lot of public support, which makes you full of confidence. And there
will be many people to help you.
Therefore, there are both advantages and shortcomings for engaging in the
democratic movement overseas and inside China. Being abroad is very hard
and not relaxed at all.
* The Survival Crisis of the Communist Regime *
VOA reporter: After the Communist regime suppressed people's demand for
democracy and anti-corruption, it has stood for 25 years. Do you think
the communist regime will stand for another 25 years?
Wei Jingsheng: Xi Jinping will even have a hard time to survive 10 years.
I think that since Xi Jinping came to power, he has taken a strong
attitude against Japan and the South China Sea issues largely because his
regime is unstable.
Because during the history since the Communist Party came to power, it has
been at war non-stop. For the Communist regime, the power struggle has
two forms. One is that it kept having coups; the other is that it kept
Many people are muddleheaded and claim that the Communist regime has not
had coups. How could that be true? The Communist Party had coups all the
time. The most serious one was the one with Lin Biao, who almost made it.
Hua Guofeng made his way, which was a coup.
So to the people who claim that the Communist Party did not have wars, let
us count. We will find that the Communists never stopped having wars,
which include the one by Deng Xiaoping when he came to power, in an effort
to establish his authority.
An authoritarian regime requires a strong authority. Xi Jinping does not
have this authority now. So his motivation for war is very strong. The
whole world should be wary of this.
Original link of this interview:
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Related photos: Wei Jingsheng accepts VOA special interview on May 9, 2014:
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Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A825-W525
Release Date: June 22, 2014
Topic: Wei Jingsheng: Xi Jinping Makes Provocative Moves against Chinese
Neighbors to Save His Regime (VOA exclusive interview)
Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)