Wednesday, May 13, 2009

- Good news, bad news, and a clarification -

Today's good news is that major news wires have "broken" the story that Chinese dissident Zhou Yongjun (also known as Majer Zhou, his English name), a former Tiananmen Square student leader, was arrested and is being held (unjustly) in China, by "the authorities," or the Chinese Communist Party.

To bring this to world attention is a positive, constructive step and therefore it is today's good news. The bad news is that, "They're holding Majer Zhou!" This is a new Tiananmen-Square related arrest -- the continuation of a crackdown that has happened for almost 20 years. (June 4, 2009 will be the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown.)

The clarification is this: Most of the coverage correctly identified Zhou as a U.S. permanent resident, or a "green card holder." That's correct. He would have obtained that green card in 1993, when he first came to the United States for exile.

The clarification becomes necessary where the Associated Press, within its article, reported: "Zhou had applied for but does not yet have a green card, his family said."

This was an exchange with perhaps a misunderstood question, or a misunderstood answer. The source of that statement, Ms. Yuewei Zhang, clarified to CSN that Zhou applied for naturalization (a step to citizenship) two years ago, but that it's not approved as yet.

Naturalization is a completely different matter than U.S. permanent residency. The former is an application process now interrupted. The latter is something that Zhou Yongjun already has.

We can therefore underscore that yes, Majer Zhou is a U.S. permanent resident. And as the CSN has reported in connection with other political prisoner cases, "Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as a non-citizen U.S. national." A permanent resident may be considered a U.S. national.

It is also true that the China Support Network (CSN) was mentioned in the related coverage by the New York Times and the AFP news wire.

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