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Wei Jingsheng's Open Letter to Der Deutscher Bundestag (National Parliament of Germany)

October 12, 2008

On September 24, Germany’s government-funded international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) revoked Zhang Danhong’s official title as the deputy chief of its Chinese division after her public defense for Beijing’s human rights policy and Internet censorship. Four days before the Beijing Olympics, Zhang hailed the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) practice of article three of Universal Declaration of Human Rights unmatched by any other political force. She also likened Beijing’s blocking of Falun Gong and Tibetan movement websites to Germany’s restriction on child pornography or right-wing extremist sites. She has since been taken off the air by DW. On October 1, 2008, Wei Jingsheng, a long-time activist in the Chinese democracy movement, wrote a letter to the German Parliament (cc US Congress and National Assembly of France)

Respectful members of the German Parliament,

The Deutsche Welle (the German Wave) is a broadcasting station fully funded by the country of Germany. Yet, we have learned recently that not only do the Chinese programs broadcast by Deutsche Welle lack attention to Chinese human rights, but also the station even employed a pro-CCP (Chinese Communist Party) person as editor, who would defend Chinese human rights abuses for the Chinese Communist Party.

1. In many countries, there are directly funded broadcasts to other countries. The purpose of these broadcasts is to introduce the political, economic and cultural lives of these countries, as well as propagate the ideologies of these countries. Just like other similar broadcasting services in Europe and America, the Deutsche Welle were born a half century ago as a declaration of democracy against dictatorship. Therefore, Deutsche Welle (DW), Radio France Internationale (RFI), British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), and Voice of America (VOA) became the important windows for the democratic world to propagate information to the dictatorial countries. These broadcasting services made incalculable contributions to the peaceful revolutions in the Eastern Europe in 1989. People will never forget that it was you who gave moral support and spiritual encouragement to the people of Eastern Europe during the most difficult time of dictatorial rule, and thus enabled them to crush the dictatorship, walking toward democracy.

2. Very unfortunately, with the ease of the Cold War, especially the development of economic globalization, some politicians and business enterprises of the democratic countries have given up the political and moral support to the people of the developing countries (especially the dictatorial countries), for their short-term economic benefits. Reviewing the programs at DW, RFI, BBC, VOA, even RFA (Radio Free Asia) in these years has often made me disappointed and angry. Some people willingfully support the idea of “economic exchanges to bring political reforms”. They are even willing to accommodate dictatorial governments in an effort to maintain association with these governments, and thus take a low-key treatment of the human rights abuses by them. This approach severely damaged the Chinese people's confidence for human rights and freedom.

3. Nowadays, the Chinese Communist Party has stepped up its human rights abuses. This increase is already sufficient to prove that the theory of “economic exchanges to bring political reforms” is totally wrong. “To exchange” with the CCP dictatorial government has in fact pushed the CCP to be even more dictatorial, and thus to suppress the Chinese people unbridled. The CCP has been putting the wealth it controls into its armaments to threaten the peace in Asia on the one hand, while on the other hand to play “diplomacy of business orders” in an effort to prevent democratic societies to condemn its tyranny against its people. The CCP uses hundreds of thousands of Internet police for information blockage. Furthermore, the CCP invested a great deal of money to seal or buy out overseas Chinese media in various forms. So this “Zhang DanHong incident” at Deutche Welle is not an accidental incident, but a big exposure of how the CCP has infiltrated the media. After it was reported by the German news media, the CCP promoted an Internet protest movement to fan up Chinese' nationalism against the West. This is a very dangerous omen. After 60 years of dictatorship by the CCP, social conflict has been increased to such a degree that even the CCP itself has totally given up communism, so only nationalism becomes the open spiritual weapon for the CCP to use. The CCP wants to use nationalism to shift the focus of the Chinese people, in an effort to reduce the social conflict that could explode any time inside of China. People should remember what deep disaster nationalism brought to the world during World War II. Now this disastrous bomb is in the hand of the CCP. And just like before World War II, it has received support by some Western politicians.

4. We have never given hope to a dictatorial government. We put our hope on the shoulders of the Chinese people. However, just like that peaceful revolution in the Eastern Europe, without the wakening of the Chinese people, without the support of the international society, the Chinese Communist government would not make any political compromises. Thus, the Chinese will not be able to peacefully realize democracy and human rights. Therefore, we need more importance placed on the voice of the international society to the Chinese democracy and human rights movement. The theory and experience of human rights and democracy should be the main theme of the international Chinese broadcasting services and Internet websites. Unfortunately, Deutche Welle, Radio France Internationale, British Broadcasting Corporation, Voice of America, and Radio Free Asia have done far less than enough. In particular, Deutche Welle, as an organization fully supported by German taxpayers, went the wrong way. It was supposed that the Chinese people could hear more truthful information from this radio, in an effort to supplement the lack of information and errors due to the blockage by the Chinese Communist Party. But the reality is that, the Chinese government heard distorted voice, a voice in defending the CCP's tyranny, a voice that was helping the Chinese government to block information and betray its audience, a voice making the Chinese audience to think that the country of Germany is in support of the tyranny of the Chinese Communist Party.

German Parliament must give full attention to this “Zhang DanHong incident” in Deutche Welle and give a throughfully investigation of the related personnel and adjust the Chinese broadcasting programs at Deutche Welle as well. Both program arrangements and personnel arrangements must take the principle of promoting Chinese democracy and human rights, with the purpose of being to supplement of the blocked information by the CCP, instead of being a repeat and supplement of the false propaganda of the CCP. Hereby, I am also sincerely hoping that Deutche Welle could be waked up from this lesson, to assure that promoting human rights to be not only the guideline of the German constitution, but also the spirit of Deutche welle. It would not just be beneficial to the Chinese for China to realize democracy, but also beneficial to all the people of the world.

Sincerely yours,

Wei Jingsheng
In Washington, DC
Cc: US Congress and National Assembly of France
[1] The Wei Jingsheng Foundation, October 1, 2008

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