Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Wei Jingsheng or Jing-sheng

Chinese Human Rights and Democraticization Activist, deported to the United States on medical parole

"We want to become masters of our own destiny. We need no gods and no emperors; we believe in no savior; we want to direct our own lives."

"Democracy is not a mere consequence, a certain stage in the development of society. It is the condition on which the survival of productive forces depends."

"Taiwan is already a democracy. This is what upsets the Chinese communists the most. The Chinese communists will always be unhappy unless you (Taiwan) accept their rule."

"China's economic policy is not to develop China's own economy, but to make some people rich. Its aim is to maintain cheap labor. So the Chinese Communist regime will not allow the Chinese currency RMB to appreciate, nor let the free flow of markets in between China and the foreign countries. Maintaining the enormous gap between the Chinese and the foreign markets is the fundamental policy for the Chinese Communist regime to get rich in unity with the capitalists in the world. Only an authoritarian regime could have done so. Therefore, the existence of this authoritarian regime is the root cause of the deformed Chinese economy. As long as China is undemocratic, this situation will continue until the collapse of Chinese Communist regime."

"For this great Chinese patriot to die in the American desert 22 years after he was forced into exile symbolizes the harsh truth about the ruling Communist regime which Mr. Fang [Chinese astrophysicist] often warned the world about. For those of us whose memories have not been erased by the censorship of getting rich gloriously, Fang was a hero. In the years and months leading up to the Tiananmen demonstrations in 1989, he dared to tell the historical facts – about Mao, the Party, the Great Leap Forward, and the Cultural Revolution – to a new generation."

"Look rather at the teachings of history, true history, not the history written by Party hacks: genuine democracy, the only valid democracy, is nourished with the blood of martyrs and with the blood of tyrants."

"Just look at the elated hype on the Nobel Prize by the Chinese government before and after the announcement. We could tell that this prize was awarded for the purpose of pleasing the communist regime and is thus not noteworthy."

"I've waited decades for this chance to exercise my rights to free speech. But the Chinese people have been waiting for centuries."

"We want to be masters of our own destiny. We need no gods or emperors. We do not believe in the existence of any savior. We want to be masters of the world and not instruments used by autocrats to carry out their wild ambitions. We want a modern lifestyle and democracy for the people. Freedom and happiness are our sole objectives in accomplishing modernization."

"We must ask the high cadres ... When you suppressed the rights of others to express freely their political views, did you secure your own?"

"So let us dedicate all our strength to the struggle for democracy! People can get all they want only through democratic channels."

"Although the safeguarding of human rights and basic freedoms depends on legislation and policy enforcement on the part of sovereign states, human rights themselves have objective standards which cannot be subjected to legislation and cannot be changed by the will of the government, the letter says."

"A lot of people have the spirit inside, but they conceal it, since otherwise their very existence, their livelihood, would be threatened," Wei later says. "But they haven't lost it. When the right time comes, it will come out again. Most people wait until others are standing to make their move, very few are willing to stand up first or to stand alone. That's why my friends call me a fool! But I don't have any regrets."

"Dictators can never be satisfied with the power they already hold; the freedoms and prosperity you have gained are not protected by walls of steel. If you look aside when gangsters abuse your neighbours, then your own home will no longer be safe. Only when people join together to defeat all such gangsters will everyone be safe and free."

"Human rights are common objective standards which apply to all governments and all individuals and no one is entitled to special standards. Like objective existence and objective laws, they are objective truths. That was why Rousseau called them 'natural rights'. ..."

"Human rights are violated at every stage of the judicial process. Police are required to fill quotas, and are rewarded for obtaining 'confessions'. Alarming numbers of people are arrested and detained as a result of these processes. Over the years there have been many reports of miscarriages of justice and people being routinely executed after giving false confessions extracted through torture."

"Despite paying lip-service to the principles of freedom of speech, the Chinese government continues to arrest and detain political activists, defenders of human rights and internet users for nothing more than peacefully expressing their views and opinions... Their 'crimes' include such peaceful activities as signing an online petition, calling for reform and an end to corruption, communicating with groups abroad, and calling for an independent inquiry into the massacre of peaceful pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Many are imprisoned after unfair trials, often on vaguely defined charges relating to 'state secrets' or 'subversion'. Such charges almost always result in prison sentences, ranging from two to 20 years."

"Every year, it is estimated nearly 10,000 men, women and children have their most fundamental right - the right to life - violated when they are sentenced to death and executed by China's barbaric criminal justice system. China kills more of its citizens every year through execution than the rest of the world combined."

"I don't have the energy to deal with all these agents. I am just going to do my own work. I will not try to unite the movement."

"If I lost, I would definitely be killed, but the vast majority of the Democracy Wall activists could escape. There would be opportunities for the democracy movement to stage a comeback. If I won, I'd still be in prison, where I would surely die. But chances were the majority of other Democracy Wall activists would not be arrested immediately. They would have a little time to publicise their work, and the ideas of the democracy movement would be able to spread."

"If the United States continues to help China expand its economy and strengthen its ability to purchase weapons, a conflict with the U.S is bound to happen."

"If the people allow the power holders, in the peoples' name, to violate and ignore the rights of some of the people then, at the same time, they are giving the power holders the power to violate the rights of all the people. This is especially so in a society where there are no racial or cultural differences."

"Many... facts have shown that the United States Government has not been very active in supporting and assisting the democracy movement of the Chinese people. Instead, there has been help for the communist party. For example, in recent years, the United States has assumed a passive and perfunctory attitude towards the resolution condemning China for its violations of human rights at the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva."

"It would be harder for this generation to realize democracy than the older generation, and I will explain why. The first generation of communists, although they did many things that were wrong, were real idealists. They sincerely believed in Communism and they genuinely wanted progress for China, including some kind of democracy. But the current generation are pragmatists. Communism to them is just a tool to maintain themselves or the interests of the ruling class."

"People should have democracy, the essay states. When they ask for democracy, they are only demanding what is rightfully theirs. Anyone refusing to give it to them is a shameless bandit no better than a capitalist who robs workers of their money earned with their sweat and blood. Do the people have democracy now? No. Do they want to be masters of their own destiny? Definitely yes."

"Prisoners are often denied their legal rights, including their right to a lawyer and the opportunity to prepare a defense. Trials are rushed through and death sentences are often handed down in only a couple of hours. ..."

"The biggest beneficiary of U.S. trade with China is the Chinese Communist Party, not the American people or the Chinese people."

"The laws of history tell us that only when the old is gone can the new take its place."

"The masses realize now that freedom of speech can only be secured through the abolition of political imprisonment and oppression. People's rights cannot be protected by a dictatorship that strips people of their rights. They can only be secured by the mutual protection of everyone's rights."

"The enemies of democracy have always deceived their people by saying that just as democracy is inevitable, so it is also doomed, and therefore is not worth wasting energy fighting for.?"

"The three pressing tasks are as follows: First, mutual hatred and discrimination between the Han people and the Tibetans must be rooted out, especially erroneous ideas in the minds of Han people about the Tibetans... Secondly, the government should speed up the development of the market economy in Tibet and establish closer economic relations between the heartland areas and the Tibetan market... Thirdly, the Chinese Government should abolish its policy of detaining Tibetan religious leaders as hostages. Both religious and non-religious Tibetans have a strong aversion to this policy; and this is a clear violation of human rights."

"The struggle will certainly be victorious, though there will still be bloodshed and suffering. Liberation (about which there has been so much talk) will surely be attained. However much we may be covertly plotted against, the democratic banner cannot be obscured by the miasmal mists. Let us unite under this great and real banner and march toward modernisation for the sake of the people's peace, happiness, rights and freedom!"

"There is much to be done to eliminate the evil consequences of the suppression and killings of the last 40 years and to return the China-Tibet relationship to the traditional track of normal development."

"The repression of the 1989 movement taught the Chinese people a very bitter lesson... that relying on the dictators to gradually move towards democracy was a vain hope."

"Those who already enjoy democracy, liberty, and human rights, in particular, should not allow their own personal happiness to lull them into forgetting the many others who are still struggling against tyranny, slavery, and poverty; and all those who are suffering from unimaginable forms of oppression, exploitation, and massacres, he tells the assembled media."

"Trade and democracy have nothing to do with each other."

"We must get rid of Qincheng forever. We must be permanently rid of all political persecution and imprisonment. At stake are not simply a few unfortunate victims, but rather the basic political and personal rights of an entire people. Do you believe that every individual has the right to express his or her opinion on national policy? If you do, then you must oppose the arrest of those who have expressed their political views. If you do not believe others have the right to express their opinion then how can you argue that you have any rights? After all, your opinion might be absolutely correct, but having the right express it is another matter."