In his latest New York Times op-ed, via China Digital Times reports, the writer Murong Xuecun writes about the impact that persistent surveillance of government critics has on Chinese society. He writes about Hao Jian, a professor at the Beijing Film Academy:
The police tap his phone, read his email and follow him. On special occasions, like for several months after Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, the government forbids him to leave China. “To me, your life is totally transparent,” a police officer told Mr. Hao during one of his recent chats.
Among my acquaintances and friends like Hao Jian, dozens are compelled to lead transparent lives. And in addition to government critics, the authorities watch organizers of church services held in private homes, Falun Gong practitioners and simple petitioners. No one knows how many people are under surveillance. We can’t even be sure which agency oversees that daunting task.
[...] My internal battle to fight off the constant fear of not knowing what could happen to me at the hands of the government affects my judgment. I don’t know if this has affected my writing. Intuition tells me it hasn’t, but I have trouble trusting my intuition. It is the breakdown of trust — trust of oneself, trust of others — that is the worst consequence of living a transparent life.
CDT is a grantee of the National Endowment for Democracy.
Corruption takes many forms in China, from corrupt officials at all levels using their public office for private gain and seizing land for development to corrupt state-owned enterprises gaming the system to their advantage. Corruption also continues to be among the root causes of rights abuses against Chinese citizens. Senior leaders acknowledge that corruption threatens the legitimacy of the Communist Party and contributes to citizen dissatisfaction, and President Xi Jinping has stated that fighting corruption is a high priority.
But Chinese authorities continue to crack down on independent and citizen-led efforts to combat corruption. Panelists will discuss corruption among Chinese high-level officials and recent anti-corruption efforts, and explore corruption’s role in human rights violations. Panelists also will examine corruption linked to state-owned and other enterprises and explore the implications for commercial rule of law.
“Corruption in China Today: Consequences for Governance, Human Rights, and Commercial Rule of Law”
Thursday, November 21, 2013
3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Capitol Visitors Center, Room SVC 209-208
Joseph Fewsmith, Professor of International Relations and Political Science, Boston University
Li Xiaorong (above), Independent Scholar
Andrew Wedeman, Professor, Department of Political Science, Georgia State University
Daniel Chow, Professor of International Law, Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law
Click here to download a copy of the Commission’s full 2013 Annual Report.
*No RSVP is required but please arrive early and bring ID for check-in.
The Congressional-Executive Commission on China, established by the U.S.-China Relations Act of 2000 as China prepared to enter the World Trade Organization, is mandated by law to monitor human rights, including worker rights, and the development of the rule of law in China. The Commission by mandate also maintains a database of information on political prisoners in China-individuals who have been imprisoned by the Chinese government for exercising their civil and political rights under China’s Constitution and laws or under China’s international human rights obligations.