- Documents on Democracy
On January 22, Xu Zhiyong was tried on charges of gathering a crowd to disrupt public order. The charges stem from Xu’s participation as a founding member of the New Citizens Movement, which exhorts Chinese citizens to seek their rights as laid out by the Chinese constitution. Since 2012, it has organized small demonstrations calling on Communist Party officials to disclose their assets. At his trial, Xu tried to read a lengthy statement but was stopped by the judge after about ten minutes. Xu was sentenced to four years in prison. Below are excerpts from his statement, posted on the website China Change:
Unfortunately, you regard the existence and growth of these citizens as heresy and something to fear. You say we harbored political purposes. Well, we do, and our political purpose is very clear, and it is a China with democracy, rule of law, freedom, justice, and love.
What we want is not to fight to gain power, or barbaric politics by any means, but good politics, a good cause for public welfare, a cause for all citizens to govern the country together. Our mission is not to gain power but to restrict power. We aim to establish a modern and civilized system of democracy and rule of law and lay a foundation for a noble tradition of politics so that later generations can enjoy fairness, justice, freedom and happiness.
Good politics is a result of true democracy and rule of law. On every level, the government and the legislature must be elected by the people. The power to govern should not come from the barrel of a gun but through votes.
Under true democracy and rule of law, politics should be carried out within the rule of law. Political parties should compete fairly and only those that win in free and fair elections are qualified to govern. Under true democracy and rule of law, state powers are scientifically separated and mutually subject to checks and balances; the judiciary is independent [End Page 183] and judges abide by the law and conscience. Under true democracy and rule of law, the military and the police are state organs and should not become the private property of any political party or vested interest group. Under true democracy and rule of law, the media is a social organ and should not be monopolized to be the mouthpiece of any political party or vested interested group. Under true democracy and rule of law, the constitution stipulates and actualizes sacred civil rights, including the right to vote, freedom of speech and freedom of belief. The promise of people’s power should not be a lie.
These modern democratic values and measurements are rooted in common humanity. They should not be Eastern or Western, socialist or capitalist, but universal to all human societies. …
Humans are political animals, in need of more than a full stomach and warm clothes. Humans also need freedom, justice, and participation in governance of their own country. You say the National People’s Congress is China’s highest body of power, then again you say this highest body of power answers to the Party. If the country’s basic political system is such an open lie, how is it possible to build a society that values trust? You say the judiciary is just and that courts hold open trials, then you arrange for unrelated people to come occupy seats reserved for observers in the courtroom. If even the courts resort to such unscrupulousness, where can people expect to find justice? …
China’s biggest problem is falsehood, and the biggest falsehood is the country’s political system and its political ideology. Are you able to even explain clearly what socialism entails? Is or is not the National People’s Congress the highest authority? Political lies know no bounds in this country, and 1.3 billion people suffer deeply from it as a result. Suspicion, disappointment, confusion, anger, helplessness, and resentment are norms of life. Truly, politics affects each and every one of us intimately. We cannot escape politics, we can only work to change it. Power must be caged by the system, and the authoritarian top-down...