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Release Date: November 23, 2015

Topic: Free Trade and Human Rights in China -- Wei Jingsheng's Speech at CATO Institute's Policy Forum on China
 标题:自由贸易与中国人权 -- 魏京生在卡托研究所的中国政策论坛上的讲话

Original Language Version: English (Chinese version at the end)

Note: Please use "Simplified Chinese (GB2312)" encoding to view the Chinese parts of this release.  If this mail does not display properly in your email program, please send your request for special delivery to us or visit: which contains identical information.


Free Trade and Human Rights in China
 -- Wei Jingsheng's Speech at CATO Institute's Policy Forum on China

 On November 23, 2015, a policy forum was held in the Hayek Auditorium of the Cato Institute featuring guest speakers Chen Guangcheng, Wei Jingsheng, Teng Biao, with comments by Xia Yeliang, and moderated by Ian Vasquez of the CATO Institute.  The title of the forum was: "The Deteriorating State of Human Rights in China."

Before the forum, Peter Goettler, president and CEO of the Cato Institute, and David Boaz, the executive vice president of the Cato Institute, met with the speakers.  Later, Professor Xia, visiting fellow, Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity of the Cato Institute, gave a very informative tour and introduction of the widely known and respected think tank to the guest speakers and their associates.

In addition to the attendees, the event also was broadcast alive on Internet.  After the forum, speakers received many different forms of interviews.  All the attendees were treated with a lunch and had some social time afterwards.

The following is Wei Jingsheng's speech at the forum.
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Free Trade and Human Rights in China
 -- Wei Jingsheng
 November 23, 2015

 I want to express my gratitude to the Cato Institute and Professor Xia Yeliang for giving me this opportunity to talk about China's issues.

In the US, there are a lot of businessmen, especially those businessmen who like to invest in China or other authoritarian states, do not like human rights.  They believe the demand for these countries to improve human rights would make a negative impact on their business.  This is a great misunderstanding, or a one-sided view.

They secretly support dictatorships' violation of human rights, thinking that it can ensure their getting cheap labor and thus super-high profits from selling the cheap goods in normal developed markets.  In the past few decades, their strategy has been realized.  They helped China to undermine the normal market order of the international trade.  There are a large number of capitalists who got rich, while more people fell into relative poverty at the same time.  This has made the gap between rich and poor increase rapidly around the world, and pushed the world gradually into an unstable state.

Why is this so?

First of all, cheap labor makes a slow growth of purchasing power in China and other authoritarian states where these profit came from.  Most of the value produced becomes the financial wealth of the rich and government revenues in these countries, and supports unusual prosperity in the financial markets and an arms race.  Its consequences could be simply put this way: the growth of money is far greater than the growth of the purchasing power, the growth of goods is far greater than the growth of the market.  Such an economy must rely on others' markets to be maintained.  In other words: to treat others' markets as colonies by exploiting these markets to sustain the rapid economic growth and ultra-high profits.

This kind of economic model inevitably provides a very small market for the products produced for itself and other undeveloped countries.  Thus it is necessary to maintain a large trade deficit in order to maintain the operation of the economic model with low human rights standards.  In order to maintain a large trade deficit, it must use various means to disrupt the normal market order, including the manipulation of currency, falsified data, various non-trade barriers, and cleverly avoiding international law arbitration, and so on.

Secondly, the countries with free-market economies cannot maintain order with their own domestic laws.  Thus, while they let cheap goods from the countries with low human rights flood their own markets they are unable to enter others' markets equally.  This results in production declines and slow growth of purchasing power, and has to rely on borrowing from financial markets to sustain consumption.  It is like a person's blood getting gradually drained, so the body is constantly weakening.  And it is not just a weakening of the economy, but a comprehensive weakening of all aspects.

The reason for the uneven balance of the trade between the markets of these two types of countries is because their trade is not carried out in the same type of market, with same type of conditions.  That is an unfair trade.  The main reason causing this unfairness is because the societies that the market is relying on are not the same, as well as the legal and human rights protections are not the same.  It is like a reasonable man dealing with a rogue without precaution.  In this case, the reasonable man will suffer.

Many businessmen insist that businessmen only need to care about making money, which is not associated with human rights although there may be some association with laws.  From the perspective that they make money for themselves, they may be right.  But viewing from the country and the market as a whole, this statement is wrong.  When these businessmen make money from the market differences, both societies are hurt.  Not only are these societies hurt economically, but people's lives also are hurt.  It is unfair and unethical trade that must be controlled by the state.

In the bilateral trade between China and the United States, business people are in different legal and social environments.  In the United States, they are subject to be treated fairly by law.  In China, they face unfair treatment in law and human rights.  They must balance this unfairness in accordance with Chinese law and order.  Thus, unlawful behavior such as bribery became the new order.  This new order polluted the politics and society in China, and will inevitably spread to the politics and society in the United States.  At the same time, it also brings a potential illegal and unstable threat to the existence of these businessmen.

What is law?  The first and foremost of the law is to protect individual rights, including property rights.  Without the protection of human rights and property rights, commerce will lose its order and become purely speculation, with high risk.  This classical speculative business and trade does not meet the needs of a modern economy.  It is also a factor of destruction for a modern economy that has been developed in a more orderly fashion.  Unless there is a change of the political and legal systems to make them more equal, only through legislation in the individual country may one control and thus balance the trade between the markets of different legal systems.  Only through eliminating the influence of destructive factors one might reach fairness and balance.

Otherwise, the speculative prosperity of a few countries will bring the global recession.  At the end, these a few countries would also get sucked in.  This is the current situation of the global economy.

Thank you for listening.  We may expand this discussion further during the Q&A session.
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Related photos:
 1. Forum speakers with the leaders of the CATO Institute Peter Goettler and David Boaz:
 2. Wei Jingsheng speaking at the forum (from left to right: XIA Yeliang, TENG Biao, Ian VASQUEZ, CHEN Guangcheng, WEI Jingsheng, HUANG Ciping):
 3. Speakers receiving interviews:
 4. Wei Jingsheng at lunch:

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Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue:A902-W583

Release Date: November 23, 2015

Topic: Free Trade and Human Rights in China -- Wei Jingsheng's Speech at CATO Institute's Policy Forum on China
 标题:自由贸易与中国人权 -- 魏京生在卡托研究所的中国政策论坛上的讲话

Original Language Version: English (Chinese version at the end)



 -- 魏京生在卡托研究所的中国政策论坛上的讲话


讨论会前,卡托研究所的总裁兼首席执行官Peter Goettler及执行副总裁David Boaz会见了嘉宾们。之后,卡托研究所的客座研究员夏业良教授带领来访嘉宾及同行们参观了这个知名智库并给予热情的介绍。


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 -- 魏京生











法律是什么?法律首先和主要是对个人权利的保障,包括对财产权利的保障。没有对人权和财产权利的保障,商业就没有了秩序,成为一种纯粹的投机,而且风险极高。这种古典式的投机商业和贸易,根本不符合现代经济的需要。而且,它对有序发展的现代经济, 是一种破坏性的因素。在暂时没能改变不同社会的政治制度和法律体系之前,必须由国家通过立法来控制,才能够平衡不同法律体系的市场之间的贸易。只有消除破坏性因素的影响,才能使它达到公平和平衡。


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 1.论坛主角与卡托研究所领导Peter Goettler和David Boaz: