The following article appeared in German newspaper Welt am Sonntag on February 5th 2006.
Jing Wang is a 32-year old petite and seemingly shy Chinese lady who has been living in Germany for eight years. She has studied at the Universities of Weimar and Heidelberg and now works as an interpreter in Berlin. Yet, Ms. Wang is very opinionated when asked about human rights in her home country. She is working at the i>The Epoch Times, a Chinese language newspaper, which is published abroad in nine different languages and has a circulation of 700,000. The weekly paper mainly reports on human rights violations in China.
“You really have to report more often about the real China”, Ms. Wang insisted at our first meeting at the Springer Building in Berlin. She considers it worrisome that Western businesses view China simply as an expanding marketplace rather than the perfect system designed for oppression run by the Communist Party. “Whenever a country is not willing to respect human rights, at some points the investors too will run into problems”, she said and went on to explain that the Chinese legal system is not even close to international standards but is completely controlled by the Party. In general, foreign businesses care little about human rights and may be under the impression that the undisputed economic upswing is benefiting all Chinese people.
However, this is not the case at all. It is exactly the booming economy that leads to arbitrary evictions, trumped up charges of ‘corruption’ and the persecution of labour unions that try to defend the unemployed. There are 68 different transgressions punishable by the death penalty. 10,000 people were executed in 2004 in the People’s Republic of China. Every form of opposition is brutally suppressed by the Communist powers and ethnic and religious minorities are particularly harshly treated.
Jing Wang is a follower of the Falun Gong movement that has been persecuted since 1999 in China and she is well informed about human rights violations including abductions, torture, forced labour camps and the death penalty. The penal code allows for arbitrary arrest and sentencing of unwanted individuals under the pretext that they are endangering public security or that they are counterrevolutionary or subversive. Ms. Wang said that the communists feel especially threatened by groups like Falun Gong that have a spiritual orientation and have been extremely popular during the last few years.
In addition, the number of Chinese Christians is also increasing with the number of mostly protestant believers estimated at nearly 100 million. One fifth of that number is under state control, whereas the vast majority are underground churches called ‘house-churches’ that are constantly threatened by persecution.
Jing Wang is hopeful that due to the increasing repressive measures, the collapse of the Communist Party will follow soon. Since 2004, nearly 8 million Chinese have left the Party. Smiling softly she says in parting: “You Germans have seen the same things in 1989. Would you have bet on the SED (the East German Socialist Party) at that time?”
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