Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Activist remembers Tiananmen massacre

Note. Charlie Grapski is, and was in 1989, co-founder of the China Support Network. He has just published these recollections of what he did in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square massacre -- the famous event of June 4, 1989:

June 4. This anniversary is one of the most significant anniversaries in my life. My political "virginity" was lost 25 years ago today and tomorrow - as I saw what was happening in Tiananmen Square and said to two friends - "we have to do something."

Throughout the 80s in college I had hoped to find a leader to follow and learn from. But in the early 80s - activism was not very widespread on campuses across the country. My nature is actually quite shy - despite what most know as my public persona. And I was far more interested in science than politics. But I had an inner voice calling me for years - telling me something was wrong in the world and that something needed to be done about it.

It was that total naiveté that was perhaps the best aspect of my character at the time. I had no idea what I was doing - I "just did it" (its not just a slogan for sneakers - but for citizens).

Within a few weeks of "doing it" - not knowing a thing about what I was doing - I was using the early internet to coordinate with people around the world - even finding one person in my own back yard - the hard way. This was years before the world wide web. The internet was mostly a haven for scientists - and thus for many of the students and scholars studying in the US who had been involved in the protests the previous months and whose lives were threatened by their government if and when they returned home.

I coordinated with people, gave my first public speeches (a shock when I was told I was going to do so - at the University of Central Florida - never having spoken in public before), took over the annual general meeting of Amnesty International, co-authoring a document about how they could keep young people and students involved (in the years following Live Aid).

And I wound up in Washington, D.C. I was using the office of a then freshman congresswoman, Nancy Pelosi, to help get a bill through the House Judiciary Committee - where it was stalled because of certain members insisting on incorporating anti-abortion clauses in the legislation aiming to protect those students and scholars who spoke out in our country from having to return on their limited J-1 visas for certain harassment - if not worse.

Then I was asked to help get eight of the leaders who had escaped China and had made it to Paris - but were being denied US visas - come to America. OK, I said, again having no idea what I was doing - but just understanding that it needed to be done. So I just did it.

Then a whirlwind tour of Congressional offices with these amazing young leaders (not all were students - one Wan Runnan, was the CEO of China's equivalent if IBM, and Yan Jiaqi who was the aide to the Party Secretary Zhou Zhiang who was removed for his support of the student movement; perhaps the closest relationship I formed among the group was with Li Lu, who recently was named a likely successor to Warren Buffet at Berkshire Hathaway, and then was the vice-commander of students on the Square) along with press conferences and talks at places like the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the National Press Club, and televised in the then fairly new to most people C-SPAN an event at the Heritage Foundation. Again - I have to reiterate - I knew absolutely nothing about what I was doing - only that I needed to be doing something - and what came naturally is how I learned - including from my mistakes (I even at one point, I am not sure if this was a mistake or not, turned down a meeting with the Vice President as a substitute for a meeting with Bush Senior. Then, when they relented and offered a meeting with the Secretary of State, which was acceptable except for wanting us to cancel a previous commitment, had to turn that meeting down as well!).

That was twenty-five years ago today. In a sense - as a citizen - I am turning twenty-five (and that's better than my actual birthday coming next Monday) today. Yet I was so busy I had lost track of time until I had a moment to reflect during the evening - and realized the date.

I have probably made more mistakes in those twenty-five years than right moves - but at least, I can say, I was moving - I was going - somewhere. Where? I hope heading toward, with my own contributions being but small pieces of a larger puzzle, a future of democracy - true democracy - that was dreamed of by those students on Tiananmen Square in the days before the tanks arrived - and then crushed them, literally, where many lay in their tents. That dream, however, is still alive. It lives, at least, within me. And I hope I have helped over the past two and a half decades encourage and instill that hope in others.

Charlie Grapski 
June 3rd, 2014

Friday, June 08, 2012

No Fifth Dictator!

On June 3, 2012, I gave the speech, "No Fifth Dictator," at the Times Square commemoration of the anniversary of Tiananmen Square's June 4 massacre of 1989.

That occasion is in this video:  http://youtu.be/I2x4jcQSx88

In addition to that, on June 4, 2012, I attended an event held outside the public library of Flushing, NY - an event organized by dissident Tang Baiqiao and related groups.

That second occasion allowed me to reprise my speech. There is no video from it, but the text of my speech reads similarly to the prior day's version. Here is the full text from June 4 in Flushing:

No Fifth Dictator!
Remarks by John Kusumi as delivered on June 4, 2012

This is the 23rd year that we have gathered for an anniversary commemoration of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Tang Baiqiao is very right to have a different feeling about this year. This year, things are different. This is a year in which things are coming together; the stars are aligning favorably for the Chinese democracy movement.

The Communist Party - we can say - has been losing face all year long. It's like, one scandal after another has embarrassed and humiliated the Communist Party. They have had the Wang Lijun incident. They have had the Bo Xilai incident. They have had the Chen Guangcheng incident. And they have had Tibetans lighting themselves on fire to protest the brutal crackdown in Tibet.

And they have had Ya Weilin - a member from the Tiananmen Mothers, group of parents of the victims - and Ya Weilin hung himself. He is now dead at the age of 73. He hung himself out of grief over his dead son - his son that was killed on June 4, 1989. 23 years of time did not heal the grief. And Ya Weilin's suicide has been a very public event. It has been visible on the newswires, world-wide. It is been another point of embarrassment, of shame, of humiliation for the Communist Party.

So we know, right now, they are a discredited party. We can ask the question, 'What about the degree of losing face?' And what happens when the degree of losing face becomes 100 percent?

Right now, the Communist Party would like to give to China a fifth Communist dictator. A fifth administration of the CCP. To follow Mao, follow Deng, follow Jiang, and follow Hu. Now, they want to give Xi Jinping to China as the fifth Communist dictator!

No way, no how! There should be no fifth Communist dictator! And so, right now is the opportune time: the Chinese people can and should take matters into their own hands, and make a movement right now that demands no fifth dictator from the Communist Party!

We can see what happens if we all do nothing: the party will give a fifth dictator to China. We can see it coming! We have no excuse to not be knowledgable! We know what would happen next - we don't want a fifth Communist dictator.

And so the time is now for the Chinese people to take matters into their own hands - to make the push - to change that government - and to insist that there will not be a fifth dictator. Instead, there will be a democratic election to decide the next leader of China.

Thank you for listening to my speech.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Output from the Chinese revolution conference

This past weekend (May 28 and 29, 2011), a significant conference of Chinese dissidents convened in Flushing, New York, titled, "The Centenary of the Revolution of 1911 and the Contemporary Democratic Revolution." It was also subtitled, "Commemoration of Twenty Second Anniversary of June 4," a reference to the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989.

The conference seems to have birthed a new umbrella organization, or coalition: The China Democratic Revolution Federation. The program of speakers included Lianchao Han, Li Dayong, Greg Autry, Liu Guokai, Wu Fan (by video), Huang Xiang, Yan Xiong, Yi Rong, Zhao Yan, Zi Yang, Ruan Jie, Xin Haonian, Tang Baiqiao, Liu Guohua, Li Fengzhi, Guo Baosheng, Bian Hexiang, Mao Xiaomin (by video), Zhang Kaicheng, Ye Ning, John Kusumi, Steve Mosher (by video), Sun Yun, and Feng Congde.

The proceedings also heard an impromptu speech from a young man who will turn age 27 this year. He is identified as the originator of this year's Chinese youth movement and the calls for a 'Jasmine' revolution. What this means is that China's "Generation Y" is beginning to have a voice and a big impact in the Chinese democracy movement.

If you speak Mandarin, the following link points to a three-minute news report about the conference, done by NTDTV (New Tang Dynasty TV):

If you read English, the following link points to reflections about the conference, by Greg Autry, the co-author of a new book, 'Death By China':

Also in English, we have to repost here the speech that was given to the proceedings by John Kusumi, the founder of the China Support Network:

Advice for a revolution

A talk given to the conference for China's Jasmine revolution
May 28, 2011 • Marco LaGuardia Hotel, New York City

By John Kusumi

I am happy that the organizers of today's conference brought together so many top revolutionaries -- leading figures in the fight and the struggle of China's pro-democracy movement.

It is 2011, and the world is having many revolutions this year. The conference topic is the matter of change in China, but this year the world has experienced and witnessed the changes in Tunisia and in Egypt, and we see struggles continuing in Libya, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, and elsewhere.

In fact, there is a European youth movement that coincides with the Arab youth movement. Europe has seen unrest in Iceland, Greece, Ireland, Britain, Portugal, and Spain.

Inevitably, there will be a Chinese youth movement that prevails in changing China from a despotic tyranny to a more free and democratic society.

I would like to use my time today to consider and to compare the Chinese and Egyptian revolutions. I'm making use of Egypt for purposes of discussion, but my thoughts also extend to the other revolutions as well.

Egypt recently displayed 'people power' and unseated its dictator. That is excellent news, as far as it goes.

However, in Egypt they are not finished with having a pro-democracy revolution. The following words are good for China as well as Egypt: Any pro-democracy revolution must change two things: (1.) the party in power; (2.) the system of the society. In Egypt, they did the former -- the first thing. We are waiting to see the latter type of change. The second task is to make the system democratic and run by elected civilians, not by the military. The military was not elected and it did not get there by a democratic process.

Egypt is not finished with step two in the process, and so we must continue to be watchful and to pay attention to what happens in Egypt.

However, even if we expect a successful transition -- let's suppose that Egypt arrives at having a freely elected government -- they are not out of the woods! There are further perils -- hazards and impediments that may stop life from getting better.

I continue to have advice for a successful Egypt and for a successful China. Here is what I would say to Egypt now:

(1.) Do not accept any loans from the IMF (International Monetary Fund); and,
(2.) Please ensure that your government must own and operate its own central bank.

I wonder, do Chinese dissidents understand that there is division and struggle and fighting within the free world? Differences arise about the subject of banking and currencies. Many people believe that currencies must at least be pegged to a commodity standard.

In the old days, currencies could be changed into a fixed quantity of gold. In more recent times, the free world has essentially fallen into the hands of private bankers, who create fiat money in ways that are mercurial and arbitrary. And, there is no backing for the currency. This is not the gold standard. This is “the ‘trust me’ standard.”

As I noted above, a true revolution must change more than the party in power. It must change the system of the society. In the Western world these days, too much power has been given to private bankers who mis-manage the nation's power to issue currency. There is no excuse for this, because the issuance of money is a power of government. Government can and should do this itself, without delegating this task to the private sector.

The currency mis-management has raised the price of food -- and that was a central complaint of the Egyptian people as they took to the streets.

So, as I said above, Egypt is not out of the woods! A true system change would abolish private central banks, and also abolish the gambling and speculation which drives up the price of food commodities. It is not just Egypt, it is the whole world which needs these reforms.

And so, it is not just the job of the Egyptians that I speak of! It is a job for Chinese and yes, Americans as well. In many poor regions of the world, a high price of food means a matter of life and death. Let's remember: If we are reformers, I see it as our job. We must work for banking, currency, and speculation reform.

Ultimately, this matter is like Wall Street reform. For the population, this is a life-and-death matter. And the issue must be put to every government on earth. I believe that is why we are seeing such unrest this year, and it is not limited to the Arab street. We see it on the street in Europe, and we will soon see it on the street in China, by way of your efforts that are under discussion today.

Thank you for letting me contribute these thoughts to the conference.

John Kusumi is the founder of the pro-democracy China Support Network, formed in 1989 as the world responded to the slaughter of innocents at the bloody Tiananmen Square massacre.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

To locate the 4/23 speech

The full text of the CSN speech by JPK, delivered to a Falun Gong rally in Flushing, New York on 4/23/2011, is located here:


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Tweet of Saturday, 4/23/2011

Speech today! It's an important anniversary of Falun Gong persecution in China, +abuse of Tibetans. Rally@ public library, Flushing NYC 1PM

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

China clashes with Tibetan protestors at Kirti

From Students for a Free Tibet, this is important:

UPDATE: A young monk from Kirti monastery has died after lighting himself on fire prompting a protest by up to 1,000 monks and lay people. Chinese forces have flooded the town and have surrounded Kirti monastery. Read more about the incident.

Take Action:

1. Call your Embassy in China: Alert them to this incident and urge them to press the Chinese government to respect the right of Tibetans to peaceful protest. http://is.gd/iyKs5d

2. Call Chinese authorities in Sichuan: Demand the immediate release of those detained and for them to uphold the basic rights of Tibetans. http://is.gd/bxGCAe

3. Call the Chinese Embassy in your country: Tell them that people worldwide are watching the situation in Ngaba, Tibet closely and demand the release of all those detained in today's protest. http://is.gd/Gj00Mt

4. Organize a solidarity protest this Friday, March 18th. Send details of your protest to info@studentsforafreetibet.org and we'll help to spread the word.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Presence on Facebook

For those who want to follow / contribute to the China Jasmine Revolution on Facebook, find below a list of Jasmine-related Facebook pages.

The first one is approaching 10,000 members, and the others are 100 <= x <= 1,000.

I feel it is smart to join and cross-post at more than one of these, because you never know when the evil people will cause a problem for one of these pages.

http://www.facebook.com/jasminerevolution.cn (membership: 9,551)
http://www.facebook.com/Chinarevolution (membership: 824)
http://www.facebook.com/ChinaJasmineRevolution (membership: 483)
http://www.facebook.com/pages/中國茉莉花革命/190173991012902 (membership: 189)
- also known as: -
http://www.facebook.com/NoCPP (membership: 162)