Tuesday, April 24, 2007

China and Human Rights - Nien Cheng is still alive you bastards!

Red Guards - Canton HQ 1966 The arm band of a Mao Thought Worker - Canton HQ 1966
I sometimes encounter proud young things who possess newly printed degrees from Canadian universities. Those who claim to have read modern Chinese history catch my attention because I’m always eager for exposure to new schools of thought. They usually disappoint. It bugs the hell out of me how few of them bother to investigate the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and worse, I have never met a Canadian grad whose read Nien Cheng’s memoir LIFE AND DEATH IN SHANGHAI. That’s a lapse which no China “specialist” should ever admit. In my view, if they haven’t read Nien Cheng, their degree is worth sh*t.

I would extend that unsavoury opinion to include the legitimacy of the new Canadian Museum of Human Rights. Our federal government just committed to pouring a staggering $311,000,000 in vote buying dollars for the museum's construction in Winnipeg, and goosed that with an additional $22,000,000 per year (for starters) in guaranteed operating costs. What is it's mandate? Probably to spend money and leave the government alone. My suggestion is that the new Museum seek out and record the tragic experiences of thousands of Chinese Canadian families who were victimized by the Chinese Communists during Mao's Cultural Revolution, much as Steven Speilberg has done with his Shoah Foundation and European Jewish Holocaust survivors. If they do that, instead of merely duplicating what's already been done by the Holocaust Museum in Washington, their museum will not be a total waste of our money.

Canadian Museum of Human Rights - ugly ArchitectureButt ugly design for $311 million CDN Human Rights Museum

Every thumb-sucking poseur in the world now feeds his or her vanity by getting a friend to post a Wiki page. Who cares for my gracious hero, Nien Cheng? Very few, it seems. So much for the self described “China experts” out there. Check out her Wiki tribute page! The fact is that the aged monsters who populate Chinese Communist retirement resorts have done a truly splendid job in suppressing Madame Cheng’s testimony. Several years ago a wealthy woman in Taiwan, a some time movie director, ahem!, purchased the film rights to LIFE AND DEATH IN SHANGHAI. It will never be filmed of course. The Red villains of Shanghai bribed the pseudo-Taiwanese bitch with primo real estate in Shanghai, in a covert Op to silence Madame Cheng’s voice and influence. Taiwanese are often easy to bribe. Fortunately her astonishing memoir is readily available on eBay, but simply buying a copy is not the real effort. Reading her testimony from cover to cover - now that's a commitment. It’s grown up subject matter after all. It demands something of you the reader. I’ve only read her book twice, but I know I can always benefit from another careful reading, and I will. It’s a responsibility which I feel deep in my soul.

Final thoughts? Oh yes, and for those Canadians planning a holiday trip to the Beijing Olympic Games – here is a little Chinese reality your grinning hosts will hide from you. Because... you just can’t handle the truth.

Execution of women in China - 2001
Beijing 2001. Women cops drag woman away to be executed.

AN UGLY SEQUENCE - Mass execution in 1994
Five images culled from a series taken at a Chinese Execution Ground. I don't know what these two women were accused of. I do know that blowing their heads apart with an assault rifle is totally inexcusable.
Execution of two women in China - on display before a crowd
They were first paraded before the public, and apparently one of her escort is ready for trouble. I suspect he has a pistol in his pocket and will plug her if she attempts to run or cry out.

Execution of two women in China 1994
The condemned were off-loaded from trucks and lined up at the Execution Ground. They were then frog-marched to a berm,  and stone dead not more than two minutes later.

Chinese officer shoots a prisoner in the head with a rifle

Chinese field execution of another young woman, using an assault rifle to blow her head off. Note the two cops leaning away from the muzzle blast. They don't want the taste of her brains in their mouths.

Executed woman in China

A chilling image and not one I enjoy posting, but it still happens in China on a regular basis.

Chinese Execution ground - dead woman

The second woman, equally disfigure by a high velocity bullet from an  assault rifle.  As stomach churning as these  images are,  I have seen a few even worse.


martinbrink said...

having just read "LIFE AND DEATH IN SHANGHAI" Nien Cheng is testimony how to fight tyranny with strength and grace . and maybe without swearing

Menthe Valda said...

I have just finished reading "Life and Death in Shanghai", it is a most captivating and outstanding book which allowed me to understand the workings of the Cultural Revolution. I have the greatest admiration for Nien Cheng who has shown not only courage, but a deep intelligence. I hope she is still alive and doing well.

Sam's Exotic Travel Photos said...

I totally agree than Nien Cheng's book is a must read for anyone interested in recent China history, especially of the Cultural Revolution years. While I have read many other books on the subject, most of the authors were impressionable youths when they were sent to the countryside. Nien Cheng was a mature and extremely intelligent woman, who was 51 in 1966 when detained in solitary confinement. Her story is without parallel and gives a chilling and impassioned account of he evil than men can do.

Sam Stearman

Olivia Blackburn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Olivia Blackburn said...

Life And Death In Shanghai is without a doubt the most amazing book I have ever read on the cultural revolution in China. Nien goes in to gripping detail without any self pity. And with no swearing. Her intelligence level outwitted The Red Guards, and everyone else who stood in her way. It would be a great honor to meet her in person.

Teresa said...

I have just received an e-mail from my son, Marcus Alejandro Hull of Germantown, Md and it reads:
"Some sad but not unexpected news. May she rest in peace, she takes our love with her." (Nien Cheng had passed away in her home in Washington the 2nd of November, 2009).
More than twenty years ago my late husband, Charles J. Hull, II and I had the fortune to have met Mrs. Cheng, she insisted us to call her Nien, but she was too Grand of a lady to be addressed by her first name. She has been a very dear friend of all our family and an inspiration through our lives; I am sure she will be forever so, for the rest of the world.
I shall miss her forever, Teresa Camacho de Hull from La Paz, Bolivia (South America)

Michael Stanton said...

An amazing book, loved it. You are right, everyone who wants to know about modern China needs to read it.

Andersons said...

What a courageous woman Nien Cheng is. So grateful for examples that show how truth prevails. Man can torture and take away the physical freedoms but one can never take from another the agency of the mind. We saw the frustration of those that tried in Life and Death in Shanghai.