Saturday, February 13, 2010

Liu Xiaobo's last statement

Source: The Guardian (Feb. 11, 2010):

China's endless literary inquisition

To block freedom of speech is to trample on human rights, to strangle humanity and to suppress the truth
By Liu Xiaobo

[The following is an abridged statement by Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo, co-author of the Charter 08 campaign for constitutional reform, given in his trial on 23 December 2009. Today the result of his appeal against an 11-year jail sentence for subversion was announced -- ­ the court
upheld the verdict]

June 1989 was the major turning point in my 50 years on life's road. Before that, I was a member of the first group of students to take the newly restored college entrance examinations following the Cultural Revolution; my career was a smooth ride, from undergraduate to grad student and through to PhD. After graduation I stayed on as a lecturer at Beijing Normal University.

On the podium, I was a popular teacher, well received by students. I was also a public intellectual: in the 1980s I published articles and books that created an impact. I was frequently invited to speak in different places, and invited to go abroad to Europe and the US as a visiting scholar. What I
required of myself was to live with honesty, responsibility and dignity both as a person and in my writing.

Subsequently, because I had returned from the US to take part in the 1989 movement, I was imprisoned for "counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement to crime", losing the platform I loved; I was never again allowed to publish or speak in public in China. Simply for expressing divergent political views and taking part in a peaceful and democratic movement, a teacher lost his podium, a writer lost the right to publish, and a public intellectual lost the chance to speak publicly. This was a sad thing, both for myself as an individual, and, after three decades of reform and opening, for China.

Thinking about it, my most dramatic experiences after 4 June 1989 have all been linked with the courts; the two opportunities I had to speak in public have been provided by trials held in the people's intermediate court in Beijing, one in January 1991 and one now. Although the charges on each occasion were different, they were in essence the same, both crimes of expression.

Twenty years on, the innocent souls of 4 June are yet to rest in peace, and I, who had been drawn into the path of dissidence by the passions of 4 June, after leaving the Qincheng prison in 1991 lost the right to speak openly in my own country, and could only do so through overseas media, and hence was monitored for many years; placed under surveillance (May 1995 ­ January 1996); educated through labour (October 1996 ­ October 1999), and now once again am thrust into the dock by enemies in the regime.

But I still want to tell the regime that deprives me of my freedom, I stand by the belief I expressed 20 years ago in my hunger strike declaration ­ I have no enemies, and no hatred. None of the police who monitored, arrested and interrogated me, the prosecutors who prosecuted me, or the judges who sentence me, are my enemies. While I'm unable to accept your surveillance, arrest, prosecution or sentencing, I respect your professions and personalities. This includes the prosecution at present: I was aware of your respect and sincerity in your interrogation of me on 3 December. For hatred is corrosive of a person's wisdom and conscience; the mentality of enmity can poison a nation's spirit, instigate brutal life and death struggles, destroy a society's tolerance and humanity, and block a nation's
progress to freedom and democracy. I hope therefore to be able to transcend my personal vicissitudes in understanding the development of the state and changes in society, to counter the hostility of the regime with the best of intentions, and defuse hate with love.

I firmly believe that China's political progress will never stop, and I'm full of optimistic expectations of freedom coming to China in the future, because no force can block the human desire for freedom. China will eventually become a country of the rule of law in which human rights are
supreme. I'm also looking forward to such progress being reflected in the trial of this case, and look forward to the full court's just verdict ­ one that can stand the test of history.

Ask me what has been my most fortunate experience of the past two decades, and I'd say it was gaining the selfless love of my wife, Liu Xia. She cannot be present in the courtroom today, but I still want to tell you, my sweetheart, that I'm confident that your love for me will be as always. Over the years, in my non-free life, our love has contained bitterness imposed by the external environment, but is boundless in afterthought. I am sentenced to a visible prison while you are waiting in an invisible one.

Your love is sunlight that transcends prison walls and bars, stroking every inch of my skin, warming my every cell, letting me maintain my inner calm, magnanimous and bright, so that every minute in prison is full of meaning. But my love for you is full of guilt and regret, sometimes heavy enough to
hobble my steps. I am a hard stone in the wilderness, putting up with the pummeling of raging storms, and too cold for anyone to dare touch. But my love is hard, sharp, and can penetrate any obstacles. Even if I am crushed into powder, I will embrace you with the ashes.

Given your love, my sweetheart, I would face my forthcoming trial calmly, with no regrets about my choice and looking forward to tomorrow optimistically. I look forward to my country being a land of free expression, where all citizens' speeches are treated the same; where different values, ideas, beliefs, political views ... both compete with each other and coexist peacefully; where, majority and minority opinions will be given equal guarantees, in particular, political views different from those in power will be fully respected and protected; where all political views
will be spread in the sunlight for the people to choose; [where] all citizens will be able to express their political views without fear, and will never be politically persecuted for voicing dissent.

I hope to be the last victim of China's endless literary inquisition, and that after this no one else will ever be jailed for their speech. Freedom of expression is the basis of human rights, the source of humanity and the mother of truth. To block freedom of speech is to trample on human rights, to strangle humanity and to suppress the truth.

I do not feel guilty for following my constitutional right to freedom of expression, for fulfilling my social responsibility as a Chinese citizen. Even if accused of it, I would have no complaints.

-- This statement was translated from the Chinese by Professor David Kelly of the China Research Centre, University of Technology, Sydney. It can be read in the original and in full here:


在我已过半百的人生道路上,1989年6月是我生命的重大转折时刻。那之前,我是文革后恢复高考的第一届大学生(七七级),从学士到硕士再到博士,我的读 书生涯是一帆风顺,毕业后留在北京师范大学任教。在讲台上,我是一名颇受学生欢迎的教师。同时,我又是一名公共知识分子,在上世纪八十年代发表过引起轰动 的文章与著作,经常受邀去各地演讲,还应欧美国家之邀出国做访问学者。我给自己提出的要求是:无论做人还是为文,都要活得诚实、负责、有尊严。那之后,因 从美国回来参加八九运动,我被以"反革命宣传煽动罪"投入监狱,也失去了我酷爱的讲台,再也不能在国内发表文章和演讲。仅仅因为发表不同政见和参加和平民 主运动,一名教师就失去了讲台,一个作家就失去了发表的权利,一位公共知识人就失去公开演讲的机会,这,无论之于我个人还是之于改革开放已经三十年的中 国,都是一种悲哀。


二十年过去了,六·四冤魂还未瞑目,被六·四情结引向持不同政见者之路的我,在1991年走出秦城监狱之后,就失去了在自己的祖国公开发言的权利,而只能 通过境外媒体发言,并因此而被长年监控,被监视居住(1995年5月-1996年1月),被劳动教养(1996年10月-1999年10月),现在又再次 被政权的敌人意识推上了被告席,但我仍然要对这个剥夺我自由的政权说,我坚守着二十年前我在《六·二绝食宣言》中所表达的信念——我没有敌人,也没有仇 恨。所有监控过我,捉捕过我、审讯过我的警察,起诉过我的检察官,判决过我的法官,都不是我的敌人。虽然我无法接受你们的监控、逮捕、起诉和判决,但我尊 重你的职业与人格,包括现在代表控方起诉我的张荣革和潘雪晴两位检察官。在12月3日两位对我的询问中,我能感到你们的尊重和诚意。


众所周知,是改革开放带来了国家的发展和社会的变化。在我看来,改革开放始于放弃毛时代的"以阶级斗争为纲"的执政方针。转而致力于经济发展和社会和谐。 放弃"斗争哲学"的过程也是逐步淡化敌人意识、消除仇恨心理的过程,是一个挤掉浸入人性之中的"狼奶"的过程。正是这一进程,为改革开放提供了一个宽松的 国内外环境,为恢复人与人之间的互爱,为不同利益不同价值的和平共处提供了柔软的人性土壤,从而为国人的创造力之迸发和爱心之恢复提供了符合人性的激励。 可以说,对外放弃"反帝反修",对内放弃"阶级斗争",是中国的改革开放得以持续至今的基本前提。经济走向市场,文化趋于多元,秩序逐渐法治,皆受益于"敌人意识"的淡化。即使在进步最为缓慢的政治领域,敌人意识的淡化也让政权对社会的多元化有了日益扩大的包容性,对不同政见者的迫害之力度也大幅度下 降,对八九运动的定性也由"动暴乱"改为"政治风波"。敌人意识的淡化让政权逐步接受了人权的普世性,1998年,中国政府向世界做出签署联合国的两大国 际人权公约的承诺,标志着中国对普世人权标准的承认;2004年,全国人大修宪首次把"国家尊重和保障人权"写进了宪法,标志着人权已经成为中国法治的根 本原则之一。与此同时,现政权又提出"以人为本"、"创建和谐社会",标志着中共执政理念的进步。


尽管我坚持认为自己无罪,对我的指控是违宪的,但在我失去自由的一年多时间里,先后经历了两个关押地点、四位预审警官、三位检察官、二位法官,他们的办 案,没有不尊重,没有超时,没有逼供。他们的态度平和、理性,且时时流露出善意。6月23日,我被从监视居住处转到北京市公安局第一看守所,简称"北 看"。在北看的半年时间里,我看到了监管上的进步。

1996年,我曾在老北看(半步桥)呆过,与十几年前半步桥时的北看相比,现在的北看,在硬件设施和软件管理上都有了极大的改善。特别是北看首创的人性化 管理,在尊重在押人员的权利和人格的基础上,将柔性化的管理落实到管教们的一言一行中,体现在"温馨广播"、"悔悟"杂志、饭前音乐、起床睡觉的音乐中, 这种管理,让在押人员感到了尊严与温暖,激发了他们维持监室秩序和反对牢头狱霸的自觉性,不但为在押人员提供了人性化的生活环境,也极大地改善了在押人员 的诉讼环境和心态,我与主管我所在监室的刘峥管教有着近距离的接触,他对在押人员的尊重和关心,体现在管理的每个细节中,渗透到他的一言一行中,让人感到 温暖。结识这位真诚、正直、负责、善心的刘管教,也可以算作我在北看的幸运吧。


如果让我说出这二十年来最幸运的经历,那就是得到了我的妻子刘霞的无私的爱。今天,我妻子无法到庭旁听,但我还是要对你说,亲爱的,我坚信你对我的爱将一 如既往。这么多年来,在我的无自由的生活中,我们的爱饱含着外在环境所强加的苦涩,但回味起来依然无穷。我在有形的监狱中服刑,你在无形的心狱中等待,你 的爱,就是超越高墙、穿透铁窗的阳光,扶摸我的每寸皮肤,温暖我的每个细胞,让我始终保有内心的平和、坦荡与明亮,让狱中的每分钟都充满意义。而我对你的 爱,充满了负疚和歉意,有时沉重得让我脚步蹒跚。我是荒野中的顽石,任由狂风暴雨的抽打,冷得让人不敢触碰。但我的爱是坚硬的、锋利的,可以穿透任何阻 碍。即使我被碾成粉末,我也会用灰烬拥抱你。

亲爱的,有你的爱,我就会坦然面对即将到来的审判,无悔于自己的选择,乐观地期待着明天。我期待我的国家是一片可以自由表达的土地,在这里,每一位国民的 发言都会得到同等的善待;在这里,不同的价值、思想、信仰、政见……既相互竞争又和平共处;在这里,多数的意见和少数的仪意见都会得到平等的保障,特别是 那些不同于当权者的政见将得到充分的尊重和保护;在这里,所有的政见都将摊在阳光下接受民众的选择,每个国民都能毫无恐惧地发表政见,决不会因发表不同政 见而遭受政治迫害;我期待,我将是中国绵绵不绝的文字狱的最后一个受害者,从此之后不再有人因言获罪。