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China: Cui Weiping tweets elite views on Liu Xiaobo

Charter 08 has been around for just over a year and has reportedly gathered more than 10,000 signatures. Liu Xiaobo, one of its founders, was sentenced to 11 years in prison on Christmas Day last week.

While most of the original 303 signatories to Charter 08 were prominent liberal mainland Chinese public intellectuals, the larger group of people who tend to fall in that category have for several years often been criticized for a tendency to remain silent on China's numerous social issues.

More recently, well-known Beijing Film Academy professor Cui Weiping has been getting some of that on Twitter, which she took up in late 2009. Following several tweets from her followers, though not her stated motivation, she decided this week to phone up friends and colleagues and tweet their responses to the news of Liu's heavy sentence.

Many have been translated by C.A. Yeung at Under the Jacaranda Tree, but below is the GVO version along with several newer tweets. As Yeung writes, while not all those interviewed share the vision put forth by Charter 08 or even with Liu himself:

this time there seems to be a consensus among them that (1) Liu Xiaobo’s conviction constitutes some kind of Wenzi Yu (文字狱 means jail sentences for publishing articles on topics deem to be politically incorrect); and (2) it is both legally and morally unacceptable to punish a person for exercising his freedom of speech.

Cui's tweets:

徐友渔
徐友渔的看法:宣判刘晓波,罪名中有零八宪章。宪章重申联合国人权宣言,因此宣判是对人类大家庭公认的文明准则的挑战,也是对中国现存宪法的挑战,因为该宪法载明了中国公民的言论自由。说到底,是对中国人民和人类良知的挑战。

Xu Youyu:
The crime Liu Xiaobo was sentenced for was based on Charter 08. The Charter was a reaffirmation of the United Nations [Universal] Declaration on Human Rights, therefore Liu's sentence defies civilized norms widely recognized by humankind. It also defies the current Chinese constitution, because the constitution clearly states that Chinese citizens possess freedom of speech. To be frank, it flies in the face of the Chinese people and human conscience in general.

秦晖
秦晖的看法:现在还搞因言治罪那一套,真是太可悲了。我不是宪章的签名者,但我懂得“不赞成你的观点,但坚决捍卫你发表观点的权利”的道理,我坚决反对对刘晓波搞文字狱。

Qin Hui:
It's a travesty that people are still being penalized for their words and such. I didn't sign the Charter, but I accept the notion that while I might not agree with your point of view, I'll defend your right to express it, and I firmly oppose the sentencing of Liu Xiaobo to prison for his writings.

徐贲
徐贲的看法:一个中国公民以宪法给他的权利,善意地对国家政治表达自己的看法,却受到如此严厉的惩罚,感到难以置信。中国是一个签署了国际人权公约的国家,中国要在国际上崛起,必须建立良好的言行一致的信誉。从许多国家对此事的报道来看,这是一件使中国信誉受到损害的事情。(关于刘晓波)

Xu Ben:
It's hard to comprehend how a Chinese citizen, using the rights granted to him by the constitution in expressing his constructive views on national politics, would be punished so harshly. China is a signatory to the International Covenant on Human Rights, and China wants a greater role internationally and the prestige that comes with, its words must be in line with its deeds. Judging from the number of countries which have reported on Liu's case, this is something which has done much to hurt China's prestige.

袁伟时
袁伟时的看法:二十一世纪了,还以言获罪,侵犯公民权利,亵渎文明,又一次往中国脸上擦黑!当局认定的罪犯刘晓波成了众人心目中的英雄,鸿沟如此巨大,执政者如何面对?

Yuan Weishi:
It's the 21st Century, and people are still being criminalized for their words. This is a civil rights violation and a desecration to civilization, once again smearing China's name! The authorities’ insistence on making Liu Xiaobo a criminal has made him a hero in the hearts and minds of many. With the gap so vast, how will the rulers manage?

章诒和
章诒和的看法:1968年,我以现行反革命罪,判处有期徒刑20年;2009年,刘晓波以煽动颠覆国家政权罪,判处有期徒刑11年。我们都是因言获罪,前后相距四十一载。这种状况不得不使人怀疑:我们的制度,到底改善了多少?我们的社会,究竟进步了没有?

Zhang Yihe:
In 1968, I was sentenced to twenty years in prison for the crime of counter-revolutionary actions; in 2009, for the crime of inciting subversion of state power, Liu Xiaobo has been given a sentence of eleven years. We both were made criminals for our words, one forty-one years before the other. This can only make one wonder: this system of ours, has it really improved much? Has our society made any progress at all?

乐黛云
乐黛云的看法:一,看过零八宪章,觉得其中没有颠覆国家的想法,是希望改善;二、零八宪章是一个讨论,如果一个讨论也要定罪,是违背宪法的,不能让人心服口服;三、如果(弄得)大家都不敢说话,国家还怎么改善?

Yue Daiyun: First, I've read Charter 08, and I don't see how it incites subversion of the state, rather that it hopes to improve it; second, Charter 08 was a discussion, and if a discussion has been made a crime, that is a violation of the constitution and nobody could be convinced otherwise; third, if the result of this has been that nobody dares speak out, how will this nation improve?

钱理群
钱理群的看法:不一定同意刘晓波的所有观点和做法,这是另一回事;但刘晓波属于平和、理性的批评者,对他都要判刑,是一种虚弱的表现,觉得很难接受,

Qian Liqun:
I don't necessarily agree with all of Liu Xiaobo's views and methods, but that's beside the point; Liu Xiaobo is a peaceful and rational critic and to incarcerate him for this is a sign of weakness, one very difficult to accept.

丁东
丁东的看法:文章自古多奇狱,又添十一载;思想从来要自由,何止零八年。——圣诞中国

Ding Dong:
“Since antiquity many essays have landed their authors in jail. So you may well add another 11 years to the toll. The pursuit for freedom has never ceased and will continue, beyond 08. – A Sage has been born in China.” [Yeung's translation]

莫言
作家莫言同意将他的这句话放在这里:不太了解情况,不想谈。家里有客人,正在和他们说话。

Mo Yan: I'm not too clear on the details and I don't want to talk about it. I've got guests over right now, we're in the middle of a discussion.

汪晖
汪晖先生来信:谢谢来信和电话。我不赞成刘晓波的许多观点,但反对任何以言治罪的方式。我会关注此事的发展,在了解更多的情况之后,表达我的看法。

Wang Hui: Thank you for your call. I don't approve of many of Liu Xiaobo's views, but I oppose any criminalization of speech. I will pay attention as this case develops, and express my views once I better understand the situation.

胡杰
胡杰的看法:社会已经如此开放,言论自由已经成为全社会的共识,从(对待)谭作人到刘晓波,怎么还会出现如此荒唐、倒退的现象?

Hu Jie:
With as open as society is today, freedom of speech has already become commonly accepted by society. From Tan Zuoren to Liu Xiaobo, how is that such preposterous regression can still occur?

余英
余英时的看法:刘晓波先后入狱三次,一次比一次光荣,这次最光荣。中国史上有一个光辉先例——范仲淹,他“宁鸣而死,不默而生”,一生被贬放三次。一次送行,朋友们说:“此行极光。”第二次大家说:“此行亦光。”最后一次说:“此行尤光。”他笑答:“仲淹前后三光矣。”这便是今天的刘晓波。

Xu Ying:
In total, Liu Xiaobo has been sent to prison three times, with each time bringing him more honor than the last and this topping it all. A glorious precedent exists in Chinese history, that of Fan Zhongyan, who said he would rather die than live in silence, was put away three times throughout his lifetime. The first time, his friends said, “a star has fallen.” The second time, people said “now the moon.” The final time, “and the sun.” He laughed in response: “the three phases of Fan Zhongyan.” This is what Liu Xiaobo is today.

贺卫方的看法:不久前,某海外传媒来电采访,问我对于Mr. Hsiao-po Liu的十一年之罚。我没有好气地说:“我欲无言。”对方问:“难道说你不觉得十一年太重?”我反问:“难道说判三年就适当么?对于根本无罪者,一天都太重,一天之罚都是冤狱。再说,你真以为他会在牢里服满十一年?”

He Weifang: Not too long ago, one foreign media outlet phoned for an interview, asking what I thought of Mr. Hsiao-po Liu's eleven-year sentence. I replied angrily, “I'd rather not talk about it.” He asked: “So you don't think eleven years is too heavy?” I retorted: “So what, you think just three years would be okay? For someone who hasn't committed any crime, a single day is too much, even one day would be an injustice. Anyway, do you really think he'll be kept in there for the full eleven years?”

梁文道:說劉曉波是「異見份子」,但什麼叫做「異見份子」呢?一個正常的社會本該有许多不同意見。我在香港、台灣和美國等地方見到知識份子勇於自命「異見份子」,以誌其異;但在緬甸、伊朗和中國卻見到無奈被封的「異見份子」,幾成罪名。可見只准一種意見是正見的國家才會有劉曉波這種「異見份子」。

Leung Man-tao:
They say Liu Xiaobo is a “dissident”, but just what is a “dissident”? A normal society should have a wide variety of opinions. Intellectuals I've come across in places like Hong Kong, Taiwan and America dare to proclaim themselves dissidents, to distinguish themselves. But of the hopeless and oppressed “dissidents” I've met in places like Myanmar, Iran and China, most of them bear that as their crime. It's only in countries where the only view is “the right view” that you'll see “dissidents” like Liu Xiaobo.

郭于华的看法:08宪章表达的是公民最基本和正当的权利要求,而且提倡以温和改良的方式推进社会进步,道出常识何罪之有?即使说的全然不对,也不可以因言获罪。判刘晓波有罪才是真正的颠覆国家政权(合法性)之罪,而且是对社会良知和人类文明的挑战。

Guo Yuhua:
What Charter 08 proclaimed were demands for basic and legitimate rights, and the social change it called for was through moderate change and common sense, so where is the crime? Even if its assertions were completely wrong, that's not the kind of speech that can be criminalized. Sentencing Liu Xiaobo for a crime is the true incitement to subvert state authority, and flies in the face of social conscience and humanity.

王晓渔的看法:我不会翻墙,没有在大陆媒体上看到报道。我坚信一个手无寸铁的书生因为几篇文章将在铁窗之内度过11年,是少数敌对势力制造的谣言。一个伟大、光荣、正确的国家,怎么可能允许这种违反法治的事情发生呢?希望广大善良的不明真相的群众,睁开眼睛,明辨是非,不要被谣言迷惑。

Wang Xiaoyu:
I can't circumvent internet filtering, and I didn't see any reports on this in mainland media. I'm firmly of the opinion that an unarmed scholar was sentenced to eleven years behind bars is purely rumor manufactured by a small number of hostile forces. How could a grand, honorable and upright nation possibly allow something as unconstitutional as this to occur? I hope that the many and good masses who don't understand the truth can open their eyes and see the truth for themselves, not to be confused by rumors.

杜小真的看法:因为思想和提出问题而获罪,在今天只能解释为对思想言论自由这现代政治生活中最重要也是最基本的公民权利的亵渎和挑战。况且零八宪章,在没有签署的我看来完全是善意和建议性的,如果连这都不能容忍,真是太可悲。我并不完全同意刘晓波的一些观点,但他发表观点的自由绝对应该受到保护。

Du Xiaozhen:
That somebody could be punished for their thoughts and asking questions, can only be explained as a violation and challenge to that most important and most basic of rights in modern political life, freedom of thought and speech. In my view as someone who hasn't signed it, Charter 08 is completely well-intentioned and constructive. If even that can't be tolerated, then it's a true tragedy. I don't necessarily agree with some of Liu Xiaobo's views, but his freedom to express them absolutely ought to be protected.

李银河的看法:在2010年即将来临之际,得到刘晓波被判的消息,感觉回到了1910年。

Li Yinhe: On the eve of 2010, hearing the news about Liu's sentence, I feel like we're back in 1910.

黄纪苏的看法:坦率地说,我对刘晓波有过很多批评,但是现在不应该以言治罪。这个例子不应该开,开了不是一件什么好事。

Huang Jisu:
Speaking frankly, I've made my fair share of criticisms of Liu Xiaobo. But he shouldn't have been sentenced for his writings. This is a bad precedent to set, nothing good can come of it.

朱学勤的看法:“我不同意你的观点,坚决捍卫你发表观点的权利”,这是文明共识,法治底线。以言治罪,置文明于何地?置宪法于何地?吁请最高法院介入,驳回此案,维护文明,维护宪法尊严。

Zhu Xueqin:
“I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to death your right to say it”, this is the consensus of civilized society and the basis of rule of law. What place does speech crime have in civilization? Or in the constitution? I urge the Supreme Court to intervene and strike down this charge, uphold civilization, uphold the dignity of the constitution.

贾樟柯的看法:(关于刘晓波被判)这件事,很难理解,很受伤。是不是以后我们就不能为这个国家设想了?

Jia Zhangke: This, it's hard to understand, I'm very hurt. Does this mean nobody can think for this country from now on?

黄纪苏来信进一步完善了他的看法:刘晓波的政见我多不同意,以往彼此均无好话。但因言治罪不是好事,既不当也不智,不应再搞了。

Huang Jisu (cont'd):
I don't agree with many of Liu Xiaobo's political views, and in the past we had nothing good to say to each other. But incarcerating someone for speech is just wrong and unwise and should stop.

雷颐的看法:反对以言治罪。这是国家文明程度高底的重要标准之一。

Lei Yi: I oppose the criminalization of speech. This is one of the main standards of a country's degree of civilization.

与刘小枫先生通了电话,他此前不知道刘晓波被判的事情,他要在网上“看看再说”。

Liu Xiaofeng: [When I phoned him, he hadn't heard the news of Liu Xiaobo's sentence and wants to go online to] “check it out before I say anything”.

吴思的看法:我赞成关于言论自由的各种观点,但我想做利害计算。老子说:“物或损之而益,或益之而损。”什么事做过分了,谁受损谁受益,就要反着算了。

Wu Si:
I approve all views regarding freedom of speech, but let me consider the pros and cons. Lao Tzu said: “something lost is something gained.” If you go too far in anything you do, someone gains and someone loses, but it works both ways.

与张颐武先生通了电话,他表示此前不知道刘晓波被判的事情,他的注意力主要在别的地方,比如小沈阳。我解释只是想听听周围人们的反应,他说“一点反应也没有”。

Zhang Yiwu:
[When I phoned him he said he hasn't heard about Liu Xiabo's sentencing, that is attention is mostly kept elsewhere, like on Xiao Shenyang. I explained that I only wanted to hear people's thoughts, he said] “no thoughts whatsoever.”

刘军宁的看法:不期望,不绝望!(关于刘晓波)

Liu Junning:
Neither hopeful nor hopeless (regarding Liu Xiaobo).

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