Mourning Liu Xiaobo, a symbol of freedom for Hong Kong?

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These days, people around the world are getting involved in their weekly “let’s feel morally superior” pantomime: mourning Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate who cried for political reform in China and was finally imprisoned in June 2009 due to the publication of his “Charter 08” manifesto for a freer China.

Those who naively believe that a freer Hong Kong will only be realized when China leaves behind its authoritarian past may be legitimately concerned about the death of Liu Xiaobo. But leaving humanitarian questions aside, what is so special about Liu Xiaobo? Why does he deserve more media attention than the other million victims of the terrible Communist regime of China? And, why should Hongkongers even care about this particular Chinese dissident?

Whereas it is true that Liu Xiaobo was a Nobel peace prize winner, he did nothing for peace. China did not change at all because of him. No Chinese dissidents were saved thanks to his publications. No revolutions were carried. He just fought for peace and got a Nobel Prize. Which is not so different from fighting against AIDS and getting a Nobel Prize in Medicine, even if you did not achieve anything. Liu’s main achievement was the “Charter 08”, a naïve and unoriginal manifesto for government reform that adds little to the leftish propaganda of the student movements from 1919 China that were responsible for the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. Or in other words, Liu Xiaobo was merely advocating a light, more tolerant version of the Chinese Communist Party’s policies and Communism. Is that a symbol of freedom for Hong Kong?

From Tian’anmen to Liu Xiaobo

When Hu Yangbao passed away in April, 1989, thousands of students, unhappy with the policies of the Chinese Communist Party, joined forces in major Chinese cities, from Beijing to Shanghai, Tianjin, Nanjing, or Chengdu. Hu Yangbao represented the reformist front of the Chinese Communist Party, responsible for many of the reforms requested by Chinese citizens after the death of Mao Zedong a decade ago. On the opposite side was Deng Xiaoping and Li Peng, who represented the conservative, most repressive side of China, and who had defied Hu Yangbao’s support for students demonstrating in the capital two years ago.

These demonstrators who were about to be smashed by tanks did not oppose Communism. They did not even oppose the Chinese Communist Party. In Tian’anmen they sang the Chinese National Anthem, the “March of the Volunteers”, a song that was adopted by the Chinese Communist Party in 1949. They also sang the Communist “Internationale”, the previous National Anthem of China. They waved their beloved Chinese flags with Communist paraphernalia. And they asked for Deng Xiaoping’s resignation. And that’s all. They did not fight for freedom, and even when they ignorantly employed terms such as democracy, they were just supporting a light version of the Chinese Communist Party. They truly believed that, without the Chinese Communist Party, there would be no China.

Liu Xiaobo was among these Tian’anmen protesters and shared many of their ideas. For instance, in a document entitled “October Tenth Declaration”, released on February 1996, Liu Xiaobo supported the One-China policy, writing that “the peaceful reunification of China [with Taiwan] cannot be delayed anymore”. In this writing, he advocated the idea that the Chinese Communist Party rightfully liberated China from the Republican government because Chiang Kai-shek went against the teachings of Sun Yat-sen, the founder of the Republic of China:

Is the government of People’s Republic of China (PRC) the only legitimate government? We consider it as legitimate but not completely.

And he continues:

CPC has forgotten that it was CPC who claimed these standards and who hotly welcomed Roosevelt and Truman’s post-war policy on China’s democratisation and their statements on China.

Liu Xiaobo advocated a “return to its origins”, that is to say, the true spirit of Communism envisioned by its original founders. For instance, he addresses the Tibet issue in the following terms:

The right of peoples to self-determination is one of fundamental human rights in modern time, which is not only taken as the term in Article 1 of the UN human rights convention recognized by the international community today, but also a basic principle advocated by Marxism-Leninism (emphasis added).

And more explicitly:

Mao Zedong, president of this Soviet Republic made a further specific declaration in his policy address: ” all the ethnicities, Mongolian, Hui (Muslims), Tibetan, Hmong, Li, Korean, etc., who live in China may join the Soviet Federation of China, or break away from the Soviet Federation, or create their own regions, upon their wills to determine.”

One may guess that Liu Xiaobo would be a good supporter of Hong Kong independence. However, read carefully:

But we cannot use the subjective will of Han ethnicity (the Chinese government has always essentially been a Han government) to deny the right of minorities to self-determination.

Liu Xiaobo’s declaration clearly shows how self-determination is inextricably linked to ethnic minorities –“Mongolian, Hui (Muslims), Tibetan, Hmong, Li, Korean”–, rather than to modern concepts such as freedom, democracy, or human rights. Within this category, territories such as Taiwan and Hong Kong, who presumably share the same ethnicity as the rest of China, are excluded by Liu Xiaobo. Is that a symbol of freedom for Hong Kong?

Liu Xiaobo’s policies are just a step backwards

Every time a country collapses due to socialist or communist policies, some enlightened idiot will tell you that “That was not the real Communism”.  As we have seen, Liu Xiaobo supported the original true spirit of the Chinese Communist Party, apologetically quoting Mao Zedong and implying the humanitarian character of Marxism and Leninism. His most important writing, “Charter 08”, shows to what extend he supported the “original true spirit” of the Chinese Communist Party. For instance, when Liu Xiaobo talks about the “cultural sickness” of China:

The failure of technical imitation and institutional renewal prompted deep reflection among our countrymen on the root cause of China’s cultural sickness, and the ensuing May Fourth [1919] and New Culture Movements [1915–1921] under the banner of “science and democracy.”

This brief mention of the “cultural sickness” of China reflects Liu’s previous statement in an interview from 1988:

modernization means wholesale westernization, choosing a human life is choosing a Western way of life. The Difference between the Western and the Chinese governing system is humane vs in-humane, there’s no middle ground […]. Westernization is not a choice of a nation, but a choice for the human race.

Or, in other words, the total eradication of any trace of Chinese culture. The so-called May Fourth Movement mentioned above was a student movement that tried to modernize China through the concepts of “science and democracy”, but due to political conflicts between U.S. and the Soviet Union soon became a tool for the introduction of Communist ideas in China. The most important figure in the May Fourth Movement was Chen Duxiu, a young scholar who hated any aspect of traditional China, from its literature to its writing, and who advocated the destruction of Chinese culture, purge of traditionalists, the substitution of the Chinese writing with Western characters, and the creation of a new grammar based on Japanese and Western languages.

Sounds like the Cultural Revolution and the simplification of Chinese writing? You are not wrong at all: after 1919 Chen Duxiu fell in love with the Soviets and embraced Communism. Two years later, he founded, together with Li Dazhao, the Chinese Communist Party. Liu Xiaobo’s defense of total westernization and the true spirit of Communism is not different from Chen Duxiu’s ideas. And let’s not forget that Communism is a Western ideology.

As Liu Xiaobo recognized in 2002, “Mao-style thinking and Cultural Revolution-style language had become ingrained in me, and I had become my own gaol […]. It may take me a lifetime to get rid of the poison”. Indeed, six years later he was merely repeating his previous mistakes, advocating the original true spirit of Maoism and the Cultural Revolution. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and Liu Xiaobo is just one more step back to Chinese hell. Once again, is that a symbol of freedom for Hong Kong?

Where is Hong Kong’s Delilah?

There is another symbol of freedom for many right-wingers in Hong Kong, widely known for his long hair looks and his iconic Che Guevara T-shirt: Leung Kwok-hung, also known as “Long Hair”. But this “Long Hair”, just like Liu Xiaobo, is not a symbol of freedom, but of murder and despotism. He participated in the “Maoist student movement” of the late 1960s and was a member of the left-wing pro-communist labour union Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions. Afterwards, he embraced Trotskyism, the interpretation of Marxism advocated by Leon Trotsky, an orthodox Marxist and Bolshevik-Leninist and friend of the dictator Vladimir Lenin.

“Long Hair” co-founded the Revolutionary Marxist League (1975-1991) and, after its dissolution, also became a member of another Trotskyist group called April Fifth Action, a left-wing group named after the first Tian’anmen incident of April 5, 1976. The main belief of this group? Without a democratic China you cannot have a democratic Hong Kong.

“Long Hair”’s hero costume is a T-shirt with the image of Che Guevara, the Argentine Marxist revolutionary who was also a racist, a homophobe, and a mass murderer who once told his dad: “I really like killing”. If he was living in any Western country, “Long Hair” would be seen as any other leftard advancing Communism disguised as social justice and equality. That there are people in Hong Kong who call themselves “right-wing” while salivating at this clown demonstrates, once more, how the road to hell is paved by good, yet uneducated intentions.

Are any of these people a symbol of freedom for Hong Kong?

No.

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