"Actions to promote human rights and democracy and to expose and fight against the enemies of democracy and human rights do not constitute a crime and certainly do not constitute the crime of conspiracy to subvert the government.'"
-- Wei Jingsheng at his trial, December 13, 1995
On December 13, 1995, in a brief trial in the Beijing Intermediate People's Court closed to foreign observers but attended by two members of the defendant's family, Chinese democracy advocate Wei Jingsheng was tried and convicted of "conspiracy to subvert the government" and sentenced to 14 years in prison. Wei appealed the conviction, but his petition was summarily rejected by the Beijing Higher People's Court on December 28. Although Wei, 45, and his two lawyers, Zhang Sizhi and Li Huigeng, presented a detailed defense of his actions, rebutting specific factual and legal points presented by the prosecution and calling for additional witness testimony, their efforts appear to have been virtually ignored by both courts, which in their verdicts affirmed the conclusions reached in the prosecution's indictment. The higher court reportedly took ten minutes to dismiss Wei's appeal.
A close examination of the documents relating to Wei's trial (generally referred to as the trial of first instance in the Chinese documents) and his appeal against his conviction (referred to as the trial of second instance) reveals that these proceedings were little different from the 1979 trial in which Wei was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment for his activities in the Democracy Wall movement. In both trials, the charges against Wei were essentially based on his expression of written and spoken opinions critical of the Chinese government and relied heavily on statements quoted out of context in what Wei calls the style of "literary inquisition" to prove that he had an intent to "subvert the government."
For example, in the December trial, the prosecution quoted from a letter Wei wrote to Deng Xiaoping criticizing Beijing's policies towards Tibet. The indictment states that Wei "attempted to divide the motherland by saying Tibet is undoubtedly a country with sovereignty'." This statement was contained in a section of Wei's letter describing the political history of Tibet in the past, rather than the arrangements of today. Later in the letter, Wei expressed "grave anxiety" over policies which he said were "pushing Tibet towards division." Wei concluded by saying, "If we can do a better job, why should the Tibetans bring suffering on themselves by breaking away from the unity which has existed for several centuries?"
The prosecution case against Wei described his various activities as "illegal activities under the cloak of legality." The actions mentioned in the indictment and the verdict included: publishing, in newspapers and magazines in Hong Kong and Taiwan, articles and letters he had written to Chinese leaders while in prison; encouraging the United States to put pressure on China to improve human rights in his meetings with U.S. officials, particularly John Shattuck, Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs; buying shares in a credit union; planning an art exhibition; discussing "the struggle" with friends inside and outside China; and collecting names of "political victims" and their families who needed financial help and trying to arrange for overseas groups to provide such assistance.
Since, as Wei and his lawyers repeatedly pointed out to both courts, none of these actions could be considered illegal under Chinese law, the prosecution's main strategy was to show that these acts were performed with the intention of "conspiring to subvert the government." To make this point, they collected snippets from Wei's writings which they claimed "attacked the socialist system as dictatorship socialism' [and] defamed our government as a dictatorial and tyrannical government.'" They particularly concentrated on part of one sentence from a proposal, entitled "Brief Introduction to Programs Requiring Assistance," which Wei wrote to an unidentified overseas organization. The indictment cites the Brief Introduction, charging "[T]he goal of these programs was to create waves capable of shaking the current regime.'" This statement was central to the prosecution's efforts to establish that Wei intended to "subvert the government."
However, according to Wei's lawyer, the full quotation from the document reads: "China's literary and art circles make up an enormous group, composed of millions of people. Along with additional fans and amateurs, the total number could be as large as a hundred million people. As an independent force, it would be powerful enough to create waves capable of shaking the current regime. We definitely should not ignore it." Thus Wei was actually making an assessment of the potential strength of a social force, rather than advocating the creation of such "waves." This is just one example of the many distortions the prosecutors engaged in to prove their case against Wei, tactics detailed in the appeal for a retrial presented to the Beijing Higher People's Court by Wei's brother Wei Xiaotao, sister Wei Ling and his lawyers following the rejection of his appeal against the original conviction.
This appeal also details a number of procedural errors committed by the courts. Among the most serious of these is that new evidence presented by the prosecution to the Beijing Higher People's Court rebutting Wei's contention that he had been explicitly permitted by "representatives of the highest authorities" to publish his writings abroad was never shown to the defense before the appeal hearing. Wei and his lawyers had repeatedly requested that these "representatives" be asked to testify at the trial. Furthermore, Wei and his lawyers were informed of the initial trial date less than a week before the hearing was to open, a clear violation of the Criminal Procedure Law which mandates a minimum of seven days, while the attorneys were given less than 24 hours to peruse the court's 1,996-page case dossier. For the appeal, the lawyers only had 10 hours to look at the dossier and were not shown crucial new evidence, as mentioned above.
In a fashion all too familiar from previous trials of dissidents, the courts also ignored important legal questions raised by the defense. For example, Wei's writings were all published outside China and thus should not be subject to the jurisdiction of Chinese law, the lawyers argued. Another crucial point is the issue of whether criticizing the government automatically signals an intent to overthrow it. This flimsy notion seems to have formed the heart of the prosecution case.
While his lawyers argue about the application and definition of the laws cited by the prosecution, Wei's own statements focus on defending his conduct against the prosecutions' charges, but also provide glimpses of the philosophical convictions which informed his 1979 writings and sustained him through his many solitary years in prison. He stresses the vital role citizens play in a democratic system in supervising their government,
arguing that only through exercise of their constitutionally-mandated right to freedom of expression can they perform this function. "The basic error of the indictment," he writes, "is that it confounds the actions of defending human rights and promoting democracy and reform with conspiracy to subvert the government.'" Wei also contrasts his view of the development of a democratic system with that of the Chinese Communist Party.
"According to the Chinese Communist Party's official theory, democracy is a democratic dictatorship to be achieved through the violent seizure of power. That is why the Party wrongly believes that a democracy movement is a movement to use violence, for power comes out of the barrel of a gun.' My understanding of a democracy movement' is: Democracy is not a gift from some savior to the people, but is something that belongs to the people themselves, including workers and peasants. Therefore, it is necessary to initiate a large-scale and long-lasting campaign for the people to educate themselves and liberate themselves, to heighten the people's awareness of their own rights gradually, and strengthen their ability to defend them and to expand the scope of self-management. It is necessary to build an atmosphere of tolerance and mutual trust so that various problems and disputes can be voiced, discussed and solved through open and lawful means. Chinese people with different interests, of different persuasions, different ethnic origins and of different regions will then be able to maintain their own positions and co-exist peacefully with others through open and lawful procedures."
The subtext to the prosecution of Wei is the fact that following his release in September 1993, after serving fourteen and a half years of his 15 year sentence, his courage in continuing to speak out against human rights abuses by the Chinese government galvanized China's struggling human rights and democracy activists. He became a symbol of a nationwide trend among such activists to eschew underground organizing and focus instead on claiming their legal rights and on open, public criticism of the government's violations of international human rights standards and of its own laws. It is this approach that the authorities labelled "illegal activities under the cloak of legality."
Wei Jingsheng, 45, was free for a scant six months before he was redetained, just days after he had met with John Shattuck. This meeting, which was the first time such a high-ranking visiting U.S. official met with a dissident, enraged the Chinese authorities. Wei was first sent out of Beijing on a "vacation" with a police escort and then on April 1, 1994, he was taken away by several carloads of police officers. He was held completely incommunicado in an unknown location from that time onward, under "residential surveillance," which is supposed to be a form of house arrest. His formal arrest came almost 20 months later, on November 21, 1995. In contrast to normal judicial practice, this 20-month period of illegal detention was not counted as time served in the court's verdict, so if he completes his term Wei will actually have spent another fifteen and a half years in prison.
Wei has now been returned to the cell where he spent the last years of his previous prison term, in the Jile No.1 Prison in Tangshan, Hebei Province. When his brother and sister visited him there on February 5, they found Wei in poor health, suffering from high blood pressure of 160/110, angina pectoris and arthritis. Yet the prison authorities stated that Wei "is not sick" and refused to let his family leave medicine for him. He has been refused the heater which he had gone on hunger strike to obtain during his last prison term and which he had used to heat the poor prison food he had difficulty eating because he had lost so many of his teeth during his incarceration--he has only 12 teeth left. Hebei Province is in north China, which has severe winters, and his cell has no heating. The guards who watch over him are equipped with heaters.
However, Wei's siblings described him as "optimistic, confident and calm" during the visit. When they told him he should be mentally prepared to serve out his 14-year term, he laughed heartily and said he was ready. As Wei's defense statements show, he is secure in the knowledge that history is on his side. "The true counterrevolutionaries are not those who stand for democracy and reform in harmony with the historical trend, but the autocratic conservatives.... who are true reactionaries blocking the path of reform and progress."
The full report of A TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE: THE SHOW TRIAL OF WEI JINGSHENG was released by Human Rights in China on March 4, 1996
Wei Jingsheng's Defense
Promoting Democracy and Human Rights is Not a Crime!
On December 13, 1995, in a trial in the Beijing Intermediate People's Court closed to foreign observers but attended by members of the defendant's family, Wei Jingsheng was convicted of "conspiracy to subvert the government" and sentenced to 14 years in prison. Wei appealed the conviction, but his petition was summarily rejected by the Beijing Higher People's Court on December 28. Although Wei, 45, and his lawyers, Zhang Sizhi and Li Huigeng, rebutted specific factual and legal points and called for additional witness testimony, their efforts were ignored by both courts. Below is an edited translation of Wei's defense statement, which is one of a number of documents contained in a forthcoming HRIC report on the trial.
At the trial, prosecutors described Wei's actions as "illegal activities under the cloak of legality." The actions mentioned included: publishing three letters to Chinese leaders written in prison in magazines and newspapers in Hong Kong and Taiwan; encouraging the United States to put pressure on China to improve human rights; buying shares in a credit union; arranging to put on an art exhibition; discussing "the struggle" with friends inside and outside China; and collecting names of "political victims" and their families and trying to arrange for overseas groups to help them. As Wei and his lawyer argue, none of these actions are illegal under Chinese law. Thus the prosecutors main strategy was using snippets of Wei's writings to show that these acts were performed with the intention of "conspiring to subvert the government."
The subtext to the prosecution is the fact that following his release in September 1993, after serving fourteen and a half years of his 15 year sentence, Wei's courage in continuing to speak out against human rights abuses by the Chinese government galvanized China's struggling human rights and democracy activists. Wei was free for a scant six months before he was redetained, just days after he had met with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State John Shattuck. Wei was first sent out of Beijing on a "vacation" with a police escort and then on April 1, 1994, he was taken away by several carloads of police officers. He was held completely incommunicado from that time onwards. His formal arrest came almost 20 months later, on November 21, 1995.
Wei has now been returned to the cell where he spent the last years of his previous prison term. When his brother and sister visited him there on February 5, they found Wei in poor health, suffering from high blood pressure, angina pectoris and arthritis. Yet the prison authorities stated that Wei "is not sick" and refused to let his family leave medicine for him. Despite the harshness of the Hebei winter, he has been denied the heater he had previously gone on hunger strike to obtain. However, Wei's siblings described him as "optimistic, confident and calm."
Respected Judges and Jurors:
The charges brought against me in the indictment are, in my opinion, all fabricated through such means as misinterpretation of facts, quoting from my articles and letters out of context, willful and wanton exaggerations and an all too free dispensation of incriminating political labels. The charge of "conspiring to subvert the government" cannot possibly be substantiated in any way. The following is my defense:
The indictment charges that the brief note I wrote to friends overseas to explain the kinds of assistance needed was "a plan of action in conspiring to subvert the government." This is an utterly groundless distortion of the facts meant to confuse two entirely different things. First of all, my note and the so-called "plan of action" are totally different in nature and should not be linked together.
Secondly, a well-known principle of mine when I seek or accept assistance from overseas is that no strings be attached to such assistance, especially any strings of a political nature. Therefore, any assistance sought or accepted under such a premise is not related in any way to the individuals or organizations providing the assistance... Whether the provider of such assistance is in possession of any such "plans of action" has nothing to do with me, nor is there any evidence to prove that I accepted any so-called "plan of action."
The indictment lists purely economic activities, labor union activities, humanitarian relief work and even cultural and artistic activities as instances of "conspiring to subvert the government." This is an even worse case of fabrication and the confusion of right and wrong.
"The Exhibition of Chinese, Japanese and Korean Modern Art," for example, was to be a purely artistic event. The statement of purpose said in explicit terms that the exhibition.... was designed to promote exchange between East Asian modern artists, to expand the influence of modern art, and that its ultimate goal was to form a modern art school with East Asian characteristics. And yet, such an event of a purely artistic nature without the slightest trace of political ideology is now labelled as being part of a "conspiracy to subvert the government." ....What a damaging mockery this makes of democracy and the rule of law!
It was precisely through employing such practices on a wide scale that the Cultural Revolution imposed "feudal fascist dictatorship" on practically all cultural and art activities as well as artists, inflicting upon the culture and arts of our country a calamity that lasted for more than ten years and irreparably damaging Chinese culture....
To say that "participation in protest activities of workers and peasants and assistance to them" constitute a "conspiracy to subvert the government" is to repeat the charge levelled more than 70 years ago by warlord governments on the basis of their reactionary laws, a charge that was refuted long ago.... Who would have thought that more than 70 years later, when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the leader of most "movements of the workers and peasants," has been in power for nearly half a century, labor union activities are again labelled as "conspiracy to subvert the government." What a mockery this makes of the ruling Party! How can a government that claims to be under the leadership of the "vanguard of the class" on the basis of "the union of workers and peasants" ....be toppled by labor union activities? This defies all reason, nor is the language any more logical.
To make lists of political victims, to seek donations and to provide relief and assistance to needy individuals, are acts of pure charity and are considered as such by all governments, ancient and modern, Chinese and foreign, which have provided support in varying degrees or have, at the very least, refrained from interfering in such activities....
Let me point out that to provide relief to "political victims" is not necessarily to engage in political activities or to harbor political designs. The fact is, the disabled and the needy receive aid from the government as well as charitable organizations, but those who have been disabled or lost their jobs because of persecution in political campaigns or for other political reasons receive no such aid from the official charitable organizations.... Are the miseries and hardships of these people, then, unworthy of sympathy? Do they deserve to be condemned to a life of deprivation without a home to call their own just because their political views differ from the official version? ....My friends and I follow no political standards when we select aid recipients, nor do we ask any questions as to their political beliefs. Our only concern is whether or not they need help but cannot get any from other sources. It is deeply regrettable that in reality, those who qualify for such aid are mostly "political victims." This is how the epithet came about. What we did was pure charity similar to the activities of the Red Cross. There was nothing political about it, just as assistance to "war victims" is by no means an act of war....
In order to place the funds for the above-mentioned lawful activities under professional management so as to prevent any unnecessary losses, I planned to entrust the funds to a bank and, because government-run banks generally reject funds for activities without official approval, I planned to approach the Xibianmen Municipal Credit Union (My younger brother owns one-eighth of its shares), a non-governmental cooperative bank that might have been willing to manage funds for the unofficial lawful activities that I have described above. But since I was detained, this remained nothing more than an intention that never was put into action. Neither the bank nor my younger brother's company had anything to do with this case and should not be implicated in any way.
Even if I had indeed bought a large proportion of the shares of this bank and placed under its management the funds for my lawful activities described above, it would still remain a lawful financial institution not guilty of any crime just because it has been labelled "a Democracy Movement Bank." Its legality should remain uncompromised whatever lawful activities it was involved in.
The indictment attempts to label such lawful activities as a "conspiracy to subvert the government" by repeatedly linking them to the "Democracy Movement." The accusation, in fact, is more against ideology than action, but, according to the laws currently in force, no charges can be made for ideological reasons alone, nor are there any legal provisions as to what kinds of ideology violate the law.
The definition of a democracy movement varies from country to country. Political parties diametrically opposed to each other in ideology have all held high the banner of democracy and initiated or participated in democracy movements. Communist parties are no exception. The CCP itself happens to be one of the best-organized "democratic institutions" in China and has never ceased to call on the people to "perfect democracy and the rule of law." Are we to understand that the CCP should also be charged with the crime of "conspiracy to subvert the government"? ....In fact, democracy movement is a very broad and ambiguous term applicable to all groups that fight for democracy. To apply the charge of "conspiracy to subvert the government" to it is to overextend the scope that such a charge can cover, for nearly all political and cultural activities of all descriptions would be covered by the charge, the Chinese Constitution and the CCP included....
In fact, there are many different interpretations of a democracy movement. According to the CCP's official theory, democracy is a democratic dictatorship to be achieved through the violent seizure of power. That is why the Party wrongly believes that a democracy movement is a movement to use violence, for "power comes out of the barrel of a gun." My understanding of a "democracy movement" is: Democracy is not a gift from some savior to the people, but is something that belongs to the people themselves, including workers and peasants. Therefore, it is necessary to initiate a large-scale and long-lasting campaign for the people to educate themselves and liberate themselves, to heighten the people's awareness of their own rights gradually, and strengthen their ability to defend them and to expand the scope of self-management. It is necessary to build an atmosphere of tolerance and mutual trust so that various problems and disputes can be voiced, discussed and solved through open and lawful means. Chinese people with different interests, of different persuasions, different ethnic origins and of different regions will then be able to maintain their own positions and coexist peacefully with others through open and lawful procedures. This is my understanding of a "democracy movement." It has nothing in common with a "conspiracy to subvert the government." A government can and should undergo changes. The proper procedures for such changes are laid down in the Constitution and the laws of the land. Only attempts to change a government through illegal means constitute a conspiracy to subvert the government. We resort to no illegal means in our democracy movement, nor do we harbor any designs to change the government through unlawful procedures. We have limited ourselves to mass political activities of a general nature as well as cultural and art activities. Nothing can be further from any "conspiracy to subvert the government."
The indictment also accuses me of secretly contacting Liu Qing, who lives abroad, and Wang Dan, who was sentenced to prison for counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement, in order to work out so-called "strategies for the struggle." This accusation is utterly fictitious. The law does not prohibit interpersonal contacts, regardless of whether the persons contacted live abroad or have served prison sentences. Only during the Cultural Revolution were such charges commonplace, for it was a time when those who had anything to do with people living abroad were charged with the crime of "maintaining illicit relations with foreign countries" and those released after serving a sentence still found themselves labelled as "released labor-reform prisoners," both being "untouchable" pariahs. ....The charge that I "joined in appeals to the United States to continue its pressure against China" is not anywhere nearer to the truth.
I say so because so far I have never joined in any appeal for anything, nor have I ever made any appeal by myself to the United States to revoke China's Most Favored Nation status. To use MFN as a means of exerting pressure was a decision by the U.S. government and its Congress. Moreover, this happened well before I was released. How could all this have anything to do with a Chinese citizen like me?
Secondly, the Constitution and the law give Chinese citizens rights to express their own opinions. These rights are the freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association, criticisms against the government and include the right to make appeals and even to exert direct pressure on the government. These are inalienable rights belonging to the people, the masters of the country. Therefore, "appealing to a certain party to continue its pressure on the Chinese government" is not in violation of any law but is a legitimate right that a citizen is entitled to exercise.
The fabrications in the indictment are designed to imply that it is not the government's fault that China finds itself in such a plight in foreign relations and that the blame should be laid upon members of the democracy movement who demand that the government respect human rights, because their appeals have made fair-minded international public opinion exert pressure on the Chinese government. This is not so much a legal indictment as an attempt by the government to take advantage of its power to find a scapegoat for its own incompetence. Therefore, it is necessary for me to give a clear account of what truly happened and why.
First of all, I am openly supportive of the demands made by fair-minded public opinion around the world, including in the United States, that the Chinese government improve its human rights situation. Under circumstances where the Chinese government uses the military, police and judicial organs to suppress the people's freedom of speech and their right to be informed, it is impossible for the Chinese people to exercise their right to monitor and change the government.... Under such circumstances, it is even more important for the Chinese people to receive help from fair-minded international public opinion and friends all over the world.... The people of various countries who love democracy and freedom demand that their governments use means they deem appropriate to compel the Chinese government to respect the Chinese people's rights and will. I am, as a matter of course, fully supportive of such kind and altruistic international assistance. It would be despicable for an individual to reject or even vilify such assistance for fear of possible illegal punishment. I trust that the Chinese have not yet stooped so low. At least I am not such a muddle-headed coward.
Secondly, in relation to the harm the revocation of MFN status might do to the Chinese economy, my views differ from those of my friends abroad. I don't believe this to be the best method, because the direct victims of such measures are the already poverty-stricken Chinese people. Greater poverty will not constitute any threat to the bureaucrats and corrupt officials in control of the government because they do not care whether people live or die. On the contrary, they will put the blame for all the hardships on the "imperialists' interference in our domestic affairs" and seize the opportunity to incite extreme nationalism which, instead of promoting China's democracy and reform, is likely to constitute a threat to world peace. Therefore, while supporting continuing efforts to impel the Chinese government to improve the human rights situation, I also hope for alternatives other than economic sanctions--alternatives that are safer and less likely to hurt the Chinese people. I have consistently held these views and have made them known to the press and to every American member of Congress and government official who visited me. When talking with John Shattuck, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, I said, apart from the above, that regardless of the final results of the Sino-U.S. diplomatic negotiations, it was my hope that the United States would not revoke China's MFN status. Shattuck said he understood my position and conveyed my message to President Clinton and Secretary of State Warren Christopher. The above-mentioned facts can be verified by Mr. Shattuck.... I request that the court obtain [his] testimony.
All this serves to show that though my friends and I acted separately without any consultation, we adopted a responsible position on Sino-U.S. relations as well as on the question of human rights, thereby averting the negative consequences of an economic collapse and the wide-spread turmoil to which a crisis in diplomatic relations might lead. The Chinese government's plight in foreign relations is caused entirely by its obstinacy in opposing human rights and democracy against the trend of the times. Putting the blame on others will not help the slightest bit.
By quoting half a sentence and the headline, which I did not write, of an article, the indictment accuses me of "attempting to divide the motherland." This is a typical case of "literary inquisition" by means of quoting out of context, willful exaggeration and wanton distortion, which are good only for making false charges but cannot be substantiated in any way.
The half sentence that the indictment quotes is taken from a letter I wrote to Deng Xiaoping from prison in 1992. The main purpose of the letter was to discuss the errors that the CCP had made over the past 40 years in its Tibet policy, as well as to urge the leading group of the CCP headed by Deng to adopt a more practical and realistic Tibet policy in order to solve the Tibet problem and avert a possible division of the country. The clearly-explained purpose of the letter should be readily apparent to all who have read it closely without any bias, but my point has now been distorted into "an intention to divide the motherland." ....In the letter, I set forth my views on quite a number of historical and academic questions. Being different from more often-heard arguments, my views can well be criticized, but no one has the right to distort the author's intentions.... How the introduction of such practices into the judicial system brought untold miseries to the peoples of Germany, the Soviet Union and China has been witnessed by all. The Chinese people, having only recently freed themselves from such scourges, should have all the more reason to be on guard against a comeback of ultra-left ideology.
Publishing articles overseas is outside the jurisdiction of Chinese law. As long as no local laws are violated, such publishing should be deemed lawful. China has no right to extend its jurisdiction to countries and regions beyond its borders. Even within China's borders, one should go by the laws of the region where the event takes place, since laws vary from one region to another. If the local laws do not hold the action to be a violation of the law, it is a lawful action. No laws of other regions can overstep their bounds to press charges. Therefore, by bringing charges relating to an article published abroad, the indictment is guilty of overstepping the bounds of the law....
I did not publish newspaper articles and my "Letters from Prison" abroad until after I had obtained explicit permission from the Chinese authorities. The police officers of the First Section of the Beijing Public Security Bureau can testify to this fact. Even if the articles had been published within China's borders, it would still have been within the scope of freedoms of speech and press. To charge a citizen with a crime over an action through which he/she exercises his/her rights is in fact an attempt to take away gradually a citizen's rights to freedoms of speech and press....
What is also worth mentioning is the fact that the phrase "There never has been any savior, nor are we to rely on any god or emperor" was officially labelled "counterrevolutionary incitement" 16 years ago. Then I explained that this phrase, taken from the lyrics of "The Internationale," reflected a basic theory of the CCP that the veterans of the revolution had tirelessly taught us. Little did I think that 16 years later, it would again come under attack, and this time, as evidence of an even worse crime: "conspiracy to subvert the government." This cannot be explained away as negligence, but serves to show that the "literary inquisition" techniques favored by some officials in our country's judicial system have gone so far as to include as their victims the Communist Party's own platforms and documents. Such a feudal autocratic ideology is the antithesis of democracy and the rule of law, and the biggest obstacle to reform and the open-door policy. The true counterrevolutionaries are not those who stand for democracy and reform in conformity with the historical trend, but the autocratic conservatives best at the game of "literary inquisition" who are true reactionaries blocking the path of reform and progress.
To sum up, the basic error of the indictment in making all these charges is that it confounds the actions of defending human rights and promoting democracy and reform with "conspiracy to subvert the government." Therefore, anything that can be linked to the "Democracy Movement" or "human rights" is an act of conspiracy and subversion. Such accusations are untenable for the following reasons:
First, if the government that makes the accusations is one that respects human rights and defends democracy, all demands that it further promote human rights and democracy and all criticisms of existing evils can only help to further consolidate and perfect this government instead of subverting it. Since the nature of such a government is in harmony with the movement for human rights and democracy, the interactions between the two will produce the same or similar effects. None will subvert the other.
A government that can be subverted by a movement of human rights and democracy can only be a government with a contradictory and opposite nature, a government that does not respect human rights or promote democracy, a government of "feudal fascist dictatorship." I don't think the prosecutor who is bringing this suit is representing such a government. Because according to our Constitution and laws, the people are the owner of this nation and the government is merely an agent of the people. The government must respect the sovereignty of the people, namely the political rights and individual freedom of each citizen, including the right of the people to know, the right to criticize and supervise the government, even to replace the government. If the government abolishes or suppresses such democratic rights, then it becomes an illegal government and loses its legitimacy....
As can be shown from the analysis above, whatever the nature of the government that brings the charges, action to promote human rights and democracy and to expose and fight against the enemies of democracy and human rights does not constitute a crime and certainly does not constitute the crime of "conspiracy to subvert the government." This is so because it is determined by the nature of the People's Republic of China.
December 13, 1995