It can be said that my month of April really began on March 30. On that day, the Human Rights Torch Relay got underway in the United States, and I spoke at length to its kickoff rally in Boston, Massachusetts.
That was two weeks after a renewed uprising in Tibet turned deadly -- the Chinese government began its crackdown on March 14. World attention had swung to these new human rights abuses by Communist China.
It was six days after the Olympic flame was ignited in Olympia, Greece (March 24), and on the same day, Greek officials were handing over the torch to Beijing Games organizers. The Olympic torch relay would get underway the next day (March 31).
In this, my first speech since Tibetan bloodshed was renewed, I underscored that Chinese leaders had three steps as "the least they could do" to defuse the crisis: "Stop the killing, release the prisoners, and talk to the Dalai Lama!"
Also, I had slated plans to speak in Providence, Portsmouth, Portland, and New Haven during April. At the Boston event, organizers and I decided to also have me speak in Washington DC, New York City, and Princeton, NJ.
So, seven appearances were slated for the Human Rights Torch Relay, and an eighth appearance would be in Fairfax, VA -- an event for the China Support Network in its own right, not under auspices of the Human Rights Torch Relay.
The following are my notes, largely to have a diary or journal.
April 5 - I was speaking in Providence, RI. The speech was extemporaneous. When I was in the largest cities (Boston, Washington, New York), I had and kept to prepared remarks, but in smaller cities I was willing to "wing it" and speak off the cuff.
April 6 - I was speaking in Washington, DC. Meanwhile, the Olympic torch was encountering trouble in London. And, an article in the Providence Journal noted that I was a speaker on the program the previous day.
April 7 - The Olympic torch was encountering trouble in Paris. Also this day, the Epoch Times published an article, quoting from my Washington speech.
April 8 - I gave an interview to American Family Radio News (AFRN). I then drove to Charlottesville, VA.
April 9 - AFRN broadcast their report, with my congratulations for the protestors who had intercepted the Olympic torch in Paris. This was the day that the Olympic torch was in San Francisco. Protestors and authorities played cat and mouse. The torch was run in a very truncated (shortened) and unannounced route.
Also this day, the Epoch Times published coverage stemming from the Human Rights Torch April 5 stop in Providence.
Also this day, CNN's Jack Cafferty made comments that (naturally) offended the Foreign Ministry of Communist China. There began a backlash against CNN in China, although it was very orchestrated through the official media.
Meanwhile, I spent the day in Charlottesville, VA like a tourist. I took a tour of Monticello, which was Thomas Jefferson's house. While protests were roiling in San Francisco, I took in the view from Jefferson's mountaintop, and visited the grave of liberty's author -- the American revolution's man of letters.
April 10 - I visited George Mason University (Fairfax, VA) at the invitation of the campus chapter of Amnesty International. They were having a Human Rights Fair which included the China Support Network. Also on this day, OpEdNews (OpEdNews.com) published the text of my Boston / Washington / New York speech, under the headline "China is the new Soviet Union." Two other web sites also published the speech.
April 11 - I put out a podcast for CSN. It included audio from the AFRN report, and from the speech I had given in Boston on March 30.
April 12 - The Human Rights Torch Relay, and I, arrived in Portsmouth, NH. Mine was one of many speeches, from various oppressed or concerned groups.
April 13 - It was the New York City stop of the Human Rights Torch Relay, and my own speaking tour. Again, many groups had speakers in the rally, and two leading Chinese dissidents (Tang Baiqiao and Yang Jianli) were scheduled to speak. At the last minute, Yang Jianli was unable to be there, so I was handed his speech to read in his absence. So really, at the New York stop, I gave two speeches, his and mine. I was the pinch hitter for Yang Jianli.
The New York event was covered by NTD TV and Sound of Hope (SOH) radio. In a post-speech discussion on SOH (translated into Mandarin), I emphasized that China invites tragedy if it does not talk to the Dalai Lama, who represents an historical opportunity to arrive at a negotiated, peaceful settlement over Tibet.
There are sidebar stories to my month of April. This was a month in which I got some pretty good press coverage, but I was kicking the news media at the same time. Actually, this month I opened Issue 6 of Compassion magazine, put out by Falun Gong, and I saw myself cited within an article, 'Out of the Media Spotlight':
"John Patrick Kusumi of the China Support Network, for instance, argues that Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, and Peter Jennings for years grounded the bias of not seriously discussing human rights in China on U.S. television."
April 14 - I published a "public diary" at OpEdNews. It was titled "Seething at United States network TV 'journalists'." This directed my ire at Jennings, Brokaw, and Rather again, but not CNN.
April 19 - The Human Rights Torch Relay, and I, arrived in Portland, ME. Amid many oppressed and concerned groups, I delivered my stock speech.
April 21 - Even though I don't owe any favors to CNN or to Jack Cafferty, I did them one. I published an article, "CNN's Cafferty should not be demonized." It was published at three web sites that commonly run my columns, OpEdNews.com, TheConservativeVoice.com, and NolanChart.com.
We should face it that CNN was under attack by the Chinese government -- even though they made it look like public sentiment in China, it was very orchestrated. The Foreign Ministry was demanding apologies from CNN, and creative people in China had already penned two new pop songs, both called 'Don't Be Too CNN.'
I think that Cafferty had made a poor choice of words, but that is a mere quibble where his overall point was right on. I have long decried China's "communists, dictators, tyrants, and thugs" without the blowback that hit Cafferty --because my line is clearly talking about the leadership, while his line was ambiguous, and then misrepresented as talking about Chinese people in general.
"Thugs" is not a racial slur; it's an assessment of the Chinese government, and I know what Cafferty meant, so I defended him. Also on April 21, the Epoch Times published coverage of the Portsmouth, New Hampshire stop of the Human Rights Torch Relay.
April 24 - The Human Rights Torch Relay, and I, arrived in Princeton, NJ. I had thought about defending Jack Cafferty some more, but I didn't. Instead, I ad libbed with my usual talking points. This is when I said--
"I think that Beijing's only way out of a predicament--or a pickle that it's in--is to talk to the Dalai Lama." This was once again a crowd pleasing applause line. Continuing to ad lib, I said--
"I would say also that the Western press and news media has been a funny beast, because there was a lot of coverage right after the Tiananmen massacre, and in fact the Chinese dissidents could be seen on the mainstream news conveying the stories of human rights abuse in China.
"The Western press really has been downplaying stories -- particularly about the Falun Gong persecution. And that's in a time period since -- y'know, 1999 is when Bill Clinton signed a free trade deal with Communist China and so the trade deal was starting at the same time as the Falun Gong persecution.
"And I think that some in the American news media made a choice to be silent about the persecution in order to preserve a path for the free trade deal. But that's shortsighted -- that suggests that they must be silent eternally.
"And especially in this year, with the Olympics upcoming, we've already now seen a new crackdown against Tibetans that has come to be front and center in the mainstream news media. And so that means that there's been coverage of the Tiananmen crackdown and there's been coverage of the Tibetan crackdown.
"--We still have not seen any justice done, even just as a matter of journalism, to the story of the Falun Gong. The Western news media has still got to convey fully to the people what is happening with the Falun Gong in China.
"And so, I encourage the media to do so. I've tried at many occasions -- I've offered criticism; I've written articles; I have a book manuscript that's in progress; and something was just published this morning on OpEdNews.com.
"--All of these are occasions where I am pressing, and I am pushing, and I am challenging the Western news media to open up a bit. To elucidate about the Falun Gong persecution. It's a very important piece of the puzzle and it has been the missing piece of the puzzle thus far. We need more in the way of attention paid and indeed respect for the work of David Matas."
Alrighty then. I was able to point at David Matas, because he was another speaker on the program, sitting right there. He is the co-author of Bloody Harvest, the investigative report about organ harvesting as a tool of Chinese government cruelty against Falun Gong practitioners whom it holds incarcerated in China.
Also on April 24, I published another diary at OpEdNews.com, titled 'Bigots of the U.S. news media.' It reflected similar thoughts as my speech -- that the press has still got to do justice to the Falun Gong persecution as a story. After all of the above, I drove to New York City for the night.
April 25 - Beijing announced that it will meet with emissaries from the Dalai Lama.
This was somewhat good news. It meant that Beijing blinked under international pressure. But it also meant that I had to change my speech for the next day. I found myself pulling an all nighter to rewrite the speech, aware that Chinese dissident Tang Baiqiao would also be on the program with me in New Haven.
Also on April 25, I missed a call in radio program on WNPR in Connecticut. I had been invited to call in while they discussed China and the Olympics. Unfortunately, I was just driving back into Connecticut from New York City and was on the road at the appointed hour.
I would have joined Marcus Gale, spokesman for the Human Rights Torch Relay, and I would have added anti-CCP balance into that program. I regret missing it, and that episode of the show 'Where We Live' seemed to skew in a pro-CCP direction without me. Dang it!
April 26 - The Human Rights Torch and I arrived in New Haven, CT. This time, my speech was different and titled, 'White Flowers for June 4.' I had begun to look ahead to this year's June 4 (Tiananmen massacre) anniversary, and I called upon the Chinese people to take white flowers and go to Tiananmen Square with them. This is a way to honor the dead, and also it is a way to press China to meet the demands of the Tiananmen Mothers.
The Tiananmen Mothers have long demanded the right to mourn publicly for their dead children. I was backing them up, and I also adjusted my speech upon talking to Tang Baiqiao, a leading Chinese dissident, at the New Haven Green. My speeches are often "Reaganesque anti-Communist" against Communist China. The new one was similar, and the Yale Daily News reported that a Yalie had found it too "hawkish" and insufficiently "conciliatory" towards Communist China.
As far as I'm concerned, I direct at the China Support Network and the Freedom First, Olympics Second Coalition. That Yalie is likely too young to remember the Ronald Reagan presidency and Reagan's style with the Soviet Union. Reagan also had his critics, who would cringe at the verbal assaults upon the Soviet Union. (I used to be a Reagan critic - in fact, Reagan's youngest political opponent - so I understand that feeling.) The existence of critics didn't stop Reagan, nor did it stop yours truly on the New Haven Green.
Related coverage proceeded to appear:
April 27 - New Haven Register:
April 28 - WNPR Radio:
New Haven Independent:
Yale Daily News:
China Support Network via YouTube:
April 29 - John Kusumi via OpEdNews.com:
April 30 - The Epoch Times:
Anyway, looking back upon April, a lot happened for a lot of people. As for the inclusion of myself in press coverage, I think it was best by American Family Radio News and by WNPR. (Even though I had missed WNPR on April 25, they caught up with me on the New Haven Green the next day.) I know that this isn't the end of the story; in Chicago on May 10, Robert Gerald Lorge is going to be speaking for the China Support Network/FFOSC, and by the end of May, the Human Rights Torch Relay will conclude in the United States, but the CSN/FFOSC will move immediately to run their observances of the June 4 anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown.