On Saturday April 23, over 150 Chinese groups were scheduled to descend upon Foley Square in Manhattan to signal their support for a historic event: the resignation of 1 million people from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its affiliates, the China Youth League and Young Pioneers. The “March for Democracy and Freedom” was scheduled along with simultaneous events in Hong Kong, Taipei, Japan, Europe, other North American cities, and Australia’s Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. The uniting theme of the events is “Support the Million Withdrawals and Promote Freedom and Democracy.”
Supporters of the mass exodus from the CCP say this moment will be compared in history to the time just before the fall of the Berlin Wall. This deserves mainstream media attention and coverage.
It all started with the publication of an intellectual and scathing history of the CCP called the “Nine Commentaries.” (or “Jiuping”) The editorials were published beginning last November by the Epoch Times, a Chinese and English-language paper serving Chinese communities around the world and those interested in in-depth reporting on Chinese issues. Epoch Times critics aren’t the armchair variety; some have been arrested and imprisoned in China for writing for the newspaper.
Demand in Hong Kong for the commentaries hit nearly one million, meaning 1 in 10 adults in Hong Kong received a copy. Now the commentaries have been posted on the Internet as well as being published in book form.
Chinese tourists in Hong Kong carried the commentaries back into China, and the phenomenon began. People began rescinding their membership in the CCP in droves, according to documentation on a Chinese-language site run by Epoch Times. The newspaper says they tallied the estimates based on emails and phone calls they received from individuals recording their departure from the CCP. Individuals leaving the CCP can now document their action on the website. AIM is not able to verify the numbers but it is certainly clear that the supporting events surrounding the publication of the “Nine Commentaries” encouraged such actions and the Chinese state feels threatened by these events.
Following publication of the commentaries, the Epoch Times sponsored public forums on the “Nine Commentaries” held around the world. The Chinese embassy in Washington tried unsuccessfully to get the National Press Club to cancel one such forum in December of last year. In addition rallies were held from San Francisco to New York City. Often the rallies included a booth where individuals could sign their intent to rescind their membership in the CCP. The Times and the independent New Tang Dynasty TV network have collected many emails and letters from such individuals. Starting in January, NTDTV started broadcasting their documentary versions of the “Nine Commentaries” into China every 24 hours.
On April 16, Wang Juntao, a well-known advocate for democratic reform in China, told the Epoch Times that the large-scale resignations indicate the severity of the Communist Party’s plight. Juntao was arrested and sentenced by the Intermediate People’s Court of Beijing in February 1991 to a 13-year prison term. International pressure prompted his release in April 1994. Juntao then came to the United States where he earned a Ph.D. in Political Science at Columbia University under the supervision of professor Andrew Nathan, editor of The Tiananmen Papers.
Juntao said the “9 Commentaries” created an “intense momentum” and a “serious crisis for the CCP.” Said Juntao: “[T]his time the large-scale resignation trend seems to be a group behavior, brought about by a common recognition of the CCP’s current corrupt and malevolent nature. This is a major characteristic of the situation at large.”
Zeng Ning, a representative of the Democratic Movement in Guizhou, China, supports the rally and told the newspaper, “The transformation and development of Chinese society have reached the point where people with intellectual ability inside and outside of China strongly raise their voice together to support the tide of resigning from the CCP in Mainland China. It has reached the point where the democratic transformation in Mainland China is now rapidly promoted. The time has arrived! I hope people inside and outside of China will proactively take the current opportunity to facilitate the maturing and arrival of the transformation in Mainland China.”
If such a momentum supporting the ending of violations of press freedom and human rights is to be sustained, more media will have to bring attention to the efforts of Chinese state diplomats here in the US to foil the dissemination of such information as the “Nine Commentaries.” On April 18 AIM published a special report detailing harassment and intimidation tactics used by the Chinese state against Manhattan-based New Tang Dynasty TV. The Associated Press, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Forbes and Business Week have also reported on the situation. Equal attention should be given to reporting on the “Jiuping Phenomena” as well.