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China Letter-News and Human Rights

China human rights news with focus on the Uygur of Xinjiang, Tibetans and Tibet, Chinese mining workers, religion, corruption and censorship.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

China's Dissidents Turning Homeward

With the passage of time memories of cataclysmic events like Tiananmen Square 1989, Gulja 1997 and countless others of the 80's and 90's in China have begun to fade. Those in exile from China's oppression in countless countries around the world are now showing the effects of age and family responsibility. Too busy, many of them, with the daily grind of life to "man the barricades" with the zeal and investment in time they once did. Less and less are the postings on internet "message Board", fewer and fewer are the internet websites and protests events and petitions and lobbying of politicians and governments.

The linked article talks about some of these people, those that have stuck firmly to their original principals and those that struggle in their new lands and long for a return home to family, friends and familiar ways.

The article quotes an Oakland, California , resident Lin Muchen, who is in his 50s, and was involved in may pro-democracy events in China and was jailed as a result as saying that he understands why many have left the movement.

"When you live abroad you have to make a living, pay rent and sometimes you don't have enough time to organize or go to meetings," he says. "You don't have the time to write articles and even if you do, what affect will it have on what's happening in China?"

With China's booming economy and promises of reform it is understandable that many of these exiles are turning their eyes longingly to where their roots are. It is even more understandable when you see that the world that stood so steadfastly behind them in those times in condemning the Chinese government is now, more often than not, seen in smiling pictures of shaking hands, slapping backs and signings of lucrative trade deals, best of buddies.

There you are in a "foreign" country, far away form your ancestral home, away from family and friends with parents aging and dying, unseen and apart.

You read the papers or hear the news of people just like you, your contemporaries, your generation, buying new imported cars and lavish apartments and holidaying in exotic places whilst you work perhaps an unskilled job barely scraping by.


The Chinese Government can be forgiving when it suits it's purpose and at the moment it is attempting to lure trained and talented people who have left China to return to the "motherland" and partake of the feast. The 'prodigal sons" are being welcomed home so to speak.

"If you become inactive or passive about what you think of the Chinese government, they may take you off blacklists," says Xing Zheng, president of the Independent Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars (IFCSS).

Maybe not all are welcome just of yet, maybe some never, but if you have some talent and are willing, if not to recant your past, at least leave it in the past then you may well qualify.

Time is a great leveler and age a great "forgettor". As human beings these exiles have a right to be where they believe they belong. If that is back in China so be it. They have paid their dues, they have done their bit. They certainly should not be looked down upon or see themselves as traitors to the cause.

Linked Article Read Rating: Worthwhile

Pacific News Service: China's dissidents returning Homewards