We Still Believe in Our Future

To refresh readers’ memory, here is the translated excerpt of Cheng’s open letter to the premier:-


Here is my abridged translation of Xu Zhiyong’s reply:-

“Dear Wing Yan,

How have you been? After my release I learned that you wrote a letter to Premier Wen on account of Gongmeng. I had the pleasure of meeting you once in the office of Gongmeng and I have always wanted to express my gratitude to you and all the friends who have shown their concern for Gongmeng.

As a non-profit organization that has always insisted on abiding by the law and promoting social progress by rational means, Gongmeng was obviously hard hit by the disaster due to tax-related problems. This reflects the difficult and sad state that China’s civil society finds itself in. While many citizens who are true to their conscience and sense of justice are standing up to cheer us on, a most powerful and fresh voice has stood out – ‘please convince me from a legal standpoint’. This voice that is based on common sense, innocence and conscience is both uplifting and empowering.

That day you came to visit us in our office in April, I gave a speech that can be summarized in this sentence: we are optimistic that China will be able to realize the ideals of democracy, rule of law, social justice and fair play through moderate, rational and progressive reforms, and the fact that civil organizations like Gongmeng are allowed to exist and develop in a place like China is proof that our society has been moving ahead. I felt optimistic because on the one hand we have unyielding faith in our belief, and on the other, I was hoping that as you students begin to understand China’s practical problems, you will not lose faith in her. Then to my utter surprise, three months thereafter Gongmeng met with the great misfortune. I am sorry that this incident has hit your spirit hard. But it is because of you and the thousands and millions of supporters who stand unshakably with us, the case has had a chance to turn the corner.

Many Hong Kong citizens have shown their solidarity with Gongmeng. Freedom of Hong Kong citizens is inevitably linked to that of mainland citizens. In my view, it is not only out of vigilance for their own freedoms that Hong Kong citizens care about their mainland counterparts’ freedoms and rights - they actually shoulder that responsibility for the sake of the entire Chinese race’s freedoms. In order for the Chinese race to complete the political and civil transformation into a great nation governed by democracy, rule of law, sense of justice and fair play, this is a responsibility that should be shared by mainlanders, Hong Kongers and Taiwanese alike. Hong Kongers are in a unique position to be caring about mainland politics. China’s recent history of racial humiliation has given rise to a fanatic outburst of nationalistic emotions. When other countries try to show concern about China’s human rights and rule-of-law conditions, the outcome may sometimes be counterproductive because of mainlanders’ hostile and rebellious feelings towards foreigners. But Hong Kong is different – Hong Kong is a part of China. Hence Hong Kongers’ concern about the mainland’s human rights conditions would wield the most influence. Thank heavens for giving our nation a free Hong Kong. As a gateway to modern civilization, Hong Kong is destined to shoulder the special mission of bringing modern civilization to the Chinese race.

The Gongmeng case has caused many to feel deeply worried. Is there no future for the constructive path to reforms via moderate and rational means? Does our race have no better alternative other than revolution and chaos on the path towards civilized politics? The fortunate thing is: we can see a silver lining. Currently, the case for Gongmeng’s criminal liability should be at an end. Pursuant to the 2009 amendment to the Criminal Act, after discharging punitive administrative obligations, there will be no more criminal prosecution. Thus the Public Security Bureau should close the case as soon as possible. As for the penalties imposed by other departments, including the tax department, Gongmeng will seek self-defense legally.

At the end of the day, we still believe that like us, many Chinese citizens, including many officials inside the bureaucracy, feel a sense of responsibility towards the future of our country and our race. We shall be able to build a democratic, law-governed, civilized and benevolent China. Even after Gongmeng has been treated unjustly, we still stand by our belief. We have such faith because our country has a lot of citizens like you who are with us.”