• People Talk and My Ear Bleeds


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    Tuesday, January 18, 2005

    Zhao Ziyang

    Sunday, 16 January 2005, marked the passing of a man whose true impact on the world may not be recognized for years to come. Zhao Ziyang, once Prime Minister of China, passed away at the age of 85 after a fight with pneumonia and strokes.

    We need to take this time and remember what almost happened in 1989--a people longing for democracy, a Prime minister who supported them to late, and a party who crushed everyone. Fifteen years later Zhao died under house arrest, his name purged from the official party history books, and the ghosts of the Tiananmen massacre still haunt. Recently Chinese have risen up to demand better work conditions, compensation for on-the-job debilitating injuries, more freedom of the press, etc.

    When will the party realize that governing in constant fear of insurrection is not leading? The tiger is not as vaunted as they wish to think. In fact, it may bite the party riding it. Does America, which entered Iraq on the premise of WMD, stopping human rights violations, and setting up a democracy, owe the same to Chinese citizens, or Tibetans, under the thumb of such a corrupt government? Many writers think the party will qwell any demonstrations in China prompted by the death of this revolutionary. I hope we, in free countries around the world, who are able, demonstrate and effect changes to benefit not only the 1 billion people under China's rule, but everyone around the world.

    I sincerely hope everyone will learn more about Zhao Ziyang and the Tiananmen massacre, as well as what needs to be done today. A good novel about the massacre is Diane Wei Liang's The Lake With No Name. For news coverage on the passing of Zhao Ziyang, please see:

    A Tragic Figure Spurned by His Party . . .(WSJ)
    Chinese reformer Zhao Ziyang dies (BBC)
    China confirms death of Zhao Ziyang (ABS-CBN)
    The Prisoner of Conscience: Zhao Ziyang, 1919-2005 (TIMEasia)
    Purged Chinese Leader Zhao Ziyang Dies at 85 (Wash. Post)
    Purged Chinese leader dies (CNN)
    The Future Is Zhao (WSJ)

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