Chaired By: Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND)
Witnesses: Hon. Winston Lord, U.S. Ambassador to China 1985-1989; Perry Link, Professor Emeritus, East Asian Studies, Princeton University; Minxin Pei, China Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Susan Shirk, Ho Miu Lam Professor of China and Pacific Affairs, UCSD; Yang Jianli, Tiananmen Protest Participant, Senior Fellow, Harvard University Committee on Human-Rights Studies
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SEN. DORGAN: We're going to begin the hearing today. This is the Congressional-Executive Commission on China's first hearing in the 111th Congress. We have a distinguished group of witnesses before us today, and they will help us examine the significance of the tragic events that occurred in 1989 in China. They will also help us explore the implications of the 1989 democracy movement on U.S. policies towards China today.
We are honored to have a number of Tiananmen student leaders and others who participated in these demonstrations with us in the hearing room today. I want to welcome one person in particular, if he is in the room, Mr. Fang Zheng. Is he with us in the -- there he is. I had an opportunity to meet Mr. Fang Zheng, I believe, the day before yesterday, over on the -- in the Capitol.
Mr. Fang was an athlete at the Beijing College of Sports. On June 4th, 1989, he participated in the protests in Tiananmen Square. Tragically, his legs were crushed under a tank during that demonstration. He later was expelled from school because he refused to publicly deny the source of his injury. Mr. Fang later went on to become China's wheelchair discus and javelin champion. Earlier this year he moved to the United States with his family. And we welcome Mr. Fang to be with us today.
Twenty years ago, peaceful protestors like Mr. Fang gathered in Beijing's Tiananmen Square calling for the elimination of corruption and for political reforms. They asked for the right to speak freely, and for other freedoms that we now take for granted in this country. Those protesters included not only students but government employees, journalists, workers, in some cases the police, and even members of China's armed forces.
Chinese authorities repeatedly tried to persuade the protesters to leave Tiananmen Square, but they refused. Thousands of armed troops carrying automatic weapons in large truck convoys moved in to clear the square and the surrounding streets of demonstrators.
Then soldiers and columns of tanks fired directly at citizens and into the crowds, inflicting a very high civilian rate of casualty, killing and injuring unarmed civilians. Twenty years later, the exact number of dead and wounded still remains unclear. The wounded are estimated to have numbered in the hundreds. Detentions at the time were in the thousands, and some political prisoners who were sentenced in connection with the events surrounding June 4th still sit in Chinese prisons today.
I asked to be included in the hearing record a representative list of Tiananmen Square prisoners who remain in jail today. This list was developed from the commission's political prisoner database, which is the largest publicly accessible database of China's political prisoners that exists in this commission.
Many Chinese citizens died in the government's bloody crackdown. Relatives and friends have a right to mourn their sons, their daughters, their colleagues and their friends publicly. And they have a right to call, even now, for a full and public accounting of the wounded and the dead. And they have a right to call for the release of those who remain in prison.
But for attempting to exercise these rights, relatives and friends of those killed in 1989 have instead faced harassment. They have faced arrest, suffered many abuses, and today we express our sympathy with their cause. Most of all, we honor the memory of those whom they loved whose lives were lost.
Chinese authorities frequently tell us today that the Chinese people enjoy greater freedom to express themselves. At the same time, they repeatedly show the world, however, how they silence some of those who work for fundamental rights for all the Chinese citizens. Chinese authorities today continue to harass and detain human rights advocates. These include Mr. Liu and his wife.
Mr. Liu was a Tiananmen Square protester. He is now an important writer and thinker who signed Charter 08. It's a petition that calls for peaceful political reform and the respect for law in China. It's been signed by many thousands of Chinese. And Mr. Liu is now under house arrest because he endorsed Charter 08, and his wife faces constant harassment.
Last month, I met in my office with the wife of a great human rights lawyer, Mr. Gao Zhisheng. Mr. Gao has not been seen or heard from since February. He represented persecuted Christians, exploited coal miners, those battling human -- official corruptions in the Falun Gong.
And after Mr. Gao was released from prison, for which he had been in prison some years earlier, the family faced constant police surveillance and intimidation. His 16-year-old daughter was barred from attending school. The treatment's so brutal that the family decided their very survival depended on escaping China.
After his family fled, Mr. Gao was abducted by members of the security forces from his home. He remains missing, and no word has reached us of his whereabouts or his condition.
And I have urged the Chinese government in a speech on the floor of Senate and in letters to inform Mr. Gao's wife and us and children about where he is, and to release him. I also appealed to them to enforce internationally recognized standards of fairness and due process, and asked that they release those individuals imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising their rights, whether they exercised those rights in Tiananmen Square in 1989 or in China today.
This hearing will examine the significance of the 1989 Tiananmen protests and their violent suppression by the government 20 years ago; how have citizens' demands for accountability and democracy changed in 20 years; what impact did the 1989 demonstrations have on the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party over the last two decades; of what significance is the violent suppression of the 1989 demonstrations to U.S. policy today.
Let me conclude by saying that China is an extraordinary country. It's had immense success on many fronts and is justifiably proud of those successes. But China, in my judgment, must now lead in strengthening the human rights of its people and the integrity of its legal and political institutions, with no less skill and commitment than it has used, to lead millions of its people out of poverty.
So let me thank my colleagues for being with us today. And I will call on them for brief statements. And then we will hear from the witnesses and have them respond to questions.
REPRESENTATIVE TIM WALZ (D-MN): Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And thank you to each of our witnesses here today. We truly appreciate it. And I very much look forward to hearing what you have to say. And for those of you in the room who were in Tiananmen that day, I want to say thank you to you, for some very personal reasons.
Twenty years ago today, I was in Hong Kong, preparing to go to -- (inaudible) -- to teach at -- (inaudible) -- middle school. And I can tell you that for people of my generation here too, what you were doing and the democracy that you were asking for and what the Goddess of Democracy symbolized was as strong for us as it was for you.
It reinforced all that we care about, all of those things that we hold most dear. And to watch what happened at the end of the day, on June 4th, was something that many of us will never forget, we pledge to never forget. And this bearing witness and accurate telling of history is absolutely crucial for any nation to move forward.
I thank the chairman for his very insightful and timely hearing and the nature of it, in terms of where we go from here, how our relationships are shaped in what happened. Every nation has its dark period that it must come to grips with. This nation is no exception, and we still struggle with that.
I took a first teaching job that I had at a place called Wounded Knee, in South Dakota, that many of us in this room know well. And I hail from the city of Mankato, Minnesota, that has the distinction of being the site of the largest mass execution of Native Americans, in American history, 38 men, women and children hung, the day after Christmas in 1863.
Those are issues that all must be addressed. And every nation, as it matures and it deals with its human rights issues, moves to become a better nation. And so I thank each of you for being here today.
I thank the chairman for putting this together. And I thank those of you, who are sitting in this room, that know that something happened, important in world history, something that touches all of us on this day. And your willingness to bear witness to that is truly important.
I yield back, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. DORGAN: Senator Barrasso.
SENATOR JOHN BARRASSO (R-WY): Thank you very much, Senator Dorgan. It's wonderful to be joined by Representatives Walz and Smith and Pitts, representing Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, both parties being well represented here from both bodies.
I am very pleased to join the work of this commission and to welcome here our witnesses and our many guests.
The United States has a long record, Mr. Chairman, as being a champion for liberty and freedom around the world. The United States also has significant relationship with China. This forum today is a very important tool in supporting China's efforts to develop a government that respects the rights of individuals, and I look forward to the hearing today. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. DORGAN: Senator Barrasso, thank you.
REP. CHRISTOPHER SMITH (R-NJ): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I would ask that my full statement be made a part of the record.
SEN. DORGAN: Without objection.
REP. SMITH: Just very briefly, Mr. Chairman -- and I want to welcome our very distinguished panelists of those who were there, those who suffered, those who have been fighting for human rights in China for their -- the entirety of their careers. Let me just say briefly that the brave and tenacious heroes of Tiananmen Square will never be forgotten, nor will their huge sacrifice -- and that means, for some, torture; others, even death -- that that sacrifice never be in vain.
Future generations of Chinese and other advocates of democracy worldwide will forever honor their courage, vision and dream of democracy. The Chinese people deserve no less than the matriculation from dictatorship to democracy. The Chinese people are a great people and deserve democratic institutions and respect for the rule of law that reflects that greatness.
The Tiananmen Square massacre was a turning point in China, but not for the better. With some notable exceptions, including last year's savage crackdown on Tibetans, the Chinese dictatorship has taken their ongoing Tiananmen behind closed doors, where torturers routinely brutalize inmates and get them to sign confessions under duress and often, under that duress, provide additional names, because who can stand torture over the course of many days and weeks?
The hard-liners have practiced the politics of violence against democratic activists, labor leaders, political prisoners, as well as religious believers, including and especially Falun Gong practitioners. And through forced abortion, mothers and children have suffered crimes against humanity. That is often the forgotten human rights abuse in China. Brothers and sisters are illegal in China. And this terrible, terrible crime against women and gendercide, where young baby girls are targeted simply because they are girls, is widespread and pervasive.
For our part, since Tiananmen, the international community has failed, in my opinion, and the United States has not done even near what we have been able to do or should have done to try to combat this gross violation of human rights that we've seen.
The United Nations, for its part, pays more attention to Israel, tiny Israel, is obsessed with Israel, while it looks askance at myriad of human rights abuses that are committed every single day by the Chinese dictatorship.
Mr. Chairman, as you know, right before the Olympics, Congressman Frank Wolf and I traveled to China to try to raise -- to bring some additional visibility to these ongoing abuses, this ongoing Tiananmen Square massacre that again has gone now beyond closed doors each and every day. We had lists of prisoners, 730-plus prisoners, painstakingly put together by this commission.
We tendered that to the Chinese officials, and they as much as threw it out the back and said, "We're not interested."
That is the reality. And yet, the Chinese diplomacy corps strides the Earth, including in South America and in Africa, and seek to provide additional influence in those countries, while their human rights record is despicable.
The Olympics did not provide the hope that the Olympic Committee and others said it might -- you know, an easement, if you will, of human rights abuse. It has only led to additional crackdowns.
And finally, Mr. Chairman, I have been trying for three years -- and I will continue to try -- to get the Global Online Freedom Act up in front of my colleagues on the House side, and hopefully here on the Senate side as well, so that the enabling that groups like Google, Cisco, Microsoft have done -- Yahoo -- the enabling of dictatorships -- dictatorships need two basic aspects to survive and to flourish, and they can flourish in perpetuity if they're not combatted: one, a secret police -- and Cisco has ensured that the secret police is very well connected in China; and secondly, they have their hands on the tools of propaganda. And we know that Google and the others have enabled the message, the propaganda message of the Chinese government to go forward, while it has systematically blocked everything else -- all aspects of human rights advocacy.
And I saw it myself, Mr. Chairman. Frank -- Mr. Wolf and I went to an Internet cafe. We googled just about everything we can think of, from the Dalai Lama to several leading names in the Chinese diaspora and the human rights community. Every single one of them, including my own website, was blocked by Google. That is the everyday reality. They are getting the propaganda message that the dictatorship wants them to have.
This is a great hearing that you've put together, Mr. Chairman, and I thank you for it. It's time to stop the naivete and the enabling, wittingly or unwittingly, and say this brutal dictatorship has to be held to account. And we need to help the forces, the dissidents, the human rights activists who have played -- paid with their blood for freedom.
SEN. DORGAN: Thank you very much.
REP. JOSEPH PITTS (R-PA): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for holding this very important hearing on the 20th anniversary of Tiananmen Square.
This week, in a number of events we pause to remember the lives of those who were tragically lost and the many who were imprisoned in the Tiananmen Square massacre. And we commemorate their courage. We say to them: Your stand for freedom will not be forgotten. Those peaceful student protesters and their thirst for freedom represent millions of people in China today.
I remember well 20 years ago being spellbound, watching on TV as the student-protesters in Beijing held peaceful demonstration calling for freedom and openness and dialogue, and the government responded by declaring martial law. And on June 3rd, military troops and tanks were deployed in the square, and no one can forget the terrible massacre that ensued. The extraordinary image of a man standing unarmed in front of a row of China Type 59 tanks, preventing their advance, has become one of the most famous photos of the 20th century and will be forever ingrained in our memories.
Yesterday, I met with Mr. Fang Zheng, a student at the time who participated in the 1989 protest. He is with us today in the audience. On this very morning, 20 years ago, he stood in the square petitioning his government for freedom, when a military tank approached him from behind. Noticing a female student also in the tank's path, he ran to rescue her and, in doing so, he was run over by the tank. Both of his legs were crushed by the tank and had to be amputated.
Mr. Zheng did not lose just his legs that day.
He also lost his right to speak openly and to live his life free of interrogation.
Since the massacre, police have closely monitored and harassed him. He's a two-time gold medal-winning athlete, but the government has even gone so far as to forbid him from participating in the 2008 Special Olympics in Beijing in retaliation. The Chinese government has not only failed to acknowledge the injustice endured by people like Fang Zheng, it has continued to cover up the truth and harass those who dare to speak out.
Now China has made significant progress towards economic reform, but sadly, political reform is still greatly needed to ensure the fundamental rights of the people. China's benefited greatly from opening its doors to trade, becoming one of the world's most rapidly growing economies. And it stands to benefit even more from creating an open and free civil society that respects freedom of religion, speech and assembly.
So today we call on China to release those who remain in prison because of their involvement in the Tiananmen Square protest. And we urge the government to open an official investigation into the killings and detainings that occurred as a result of the massacre. We urge them to stop the cover-up, to acknowledge the events and to release all of the prisoners who are still in prison as a result of that.
And lastly, we encourage a dialogue between the government and the families of the victims. I'd like to extend a special welcome to all of our witnesses. Thanks to each of you for your leadership, and we look forward to hearing your testimony on this very important issue. I yield back.
SEN. DORGAN: Congressman Pitts, thank you very much.
Congressman Wu, did you have a statement?
REP. DAVID WU (D-OR): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am not going to make a lengthy statement at all. I want to hear from the witnesses. And I just want to emphasize that for self-government and for democratic government to thrive, it is very, very important to always remember, and to remember the truth, and to see the truth clearly. Yield back.
SEN. DORGAN: Congressman Wu, thank you very much.
I want to mention that because of other committee hearings and votes that will occur, we'll have several other people who have to take the chair from time to time. But we really appreciate the opportunity to hold this hearing and the opportunity of the witnesses to be available for us.
I want to begin with the witnesses, but first I want to ask those who are in the room who were part of the Tiananmen Square demonstration 20 years ago, if you would stand up. Would those of you stand?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Off mike.)
SEN. DORGAN: Raise your hand. I'm sorry. That -- all right. (Applause.) Thank you very much.
The honorable Winston Lord, U.S. ambassador to the People's Republic of China 1985-1989: As special assistant to then-national security adviser Henry Kissinger, Mr. Lord played a significant role in the historic opening of China in the early 1970s. In fact, he accompanied Dr. Kissinger on his secret trip to China, as well as subsequent trips by Presidents Nixon and Ford and Dr. Kissinger.
Mr. Lord was the ambassador to Beijing under Presidents Reagan and Bush from 1985 to 1989. Mr. Lord served under President Clinton as assistant secretary of State in charge of all East Asian policy, including China, from 1993 to 1997. Ambassador Lord served in China until April 23rd, 1989, at which time the student demonstrations were growing.
Ambassador Lord, thank you very much for being with us. The complete statements of all of the witnesses will be made a part of the permanent record, and we will ask you to summarize. Ambassador Lord, you may proceed.
MR. LORD: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Before beginning, two brief tributes. First, to the members and staff of this commission, who have maintained a meticulous record of what is really going on in China and have shown a searchlight on some of the dark shadows lurking there, I commend your work.
Secondly, of course, above all, to those in this room and elsewhere who were at Tiananmen Square in the youth of their lives, including Mr. Fang that you mentioned. My wife and I knew many of these people. I left just as the demonstrations were taking full flight, Hu Yaobang's funeral on the 22nd of April. My wife covered the demonstrations for two months for CBS and subsequently wrote a book about it. We still have great, vivid memories of those awful days, but also hope for the future.
Mr. Chairman, members of this commission, I'm honored to participate in this commemoration of a most significant event in recent history. Sunday, June 4, 1989 will be recognized as the seminal episode that evoked the political future of one-fifth of humanity. True, the Chinese authorities have shrouded, distorted and defaced what happened in the seven weeks that led to the bloodshed in the square.
True, the Chinese youth of today have scant knowledge and even scanter interest in how two decades earlier, their age group stirred the hearts and minds of the people.
True, Tiananmen anniversary demonstrations around the world have faded. Timid governments, visa-anxious academics, contract-hungry entrepreneurs tiptoe semantically. The Tiananmen massacre becomes the June 4th incident, if not a valid response to chaos.
History will render a just verdict. Let us recall what happened. Common descriptions of that spring suggest only that students marched in Beijing. Not true. Demonstrations flourished in over 250 cities and towns throughout China.
And if students were the vanguard, people from all walks of life, as the chairman mentioned in his opening statement -- workers, peasants, teachers, merchants, journalists, lawyers, monks, police, soldiers and party members -- championed them.
In the capital, up to a million petitioned for 50 days without an act of violence, indeed any vandalism, unless one counts the paint sprayed on Chairman Mao's portrait. No wonder the amazing spectacle in the square inspired millions, in Eastern Europe, who went on to achieve more benign outcomes.
For the Chinese people, the Goddess of Democracy symbolized not only the hope for greater freedoms but curbs on corruption and inflation. Their requests for moderate: calls for dialogue with the government, not its overthrow.
By the close of May, the petitioners camped in the square had dwindled to a few thousand. Surely the ending did not have to be tragic. But the red-faced patriarchs rules to hammer home lessons and petrify the public. Twenty years later, no one yet knows how many were bloodied, maimed or died in the massacre. Meanwhile the party drew firm conclusions.
First, maintain a united politburo on sensitive issues. So far, success.
Second, nip demonstrations in the bud. Despite a couple hundred per day, by even official count, the authorities have contained and isolated them.
Third, gain legitimacy through prosperity and nationalism. Economic reforms accelerated after the massacre. To China's credit, the standard of living has risen continually and dramatically.
The yuan, not Marxism and Maoism, is the ideological glue. So too is nationalism, which innately goes hand in hand with China's rise in the world.
Finally, control of the media. Here too the government has kept the lid on, screwing it tight on delicate topics. And I share Congressman Smith's concern about concern about the cooperation of many of our companies in this enterprise, and I trust his legislation will succeed.
Still, media outlets press the envelope, and the Internet and the cell phone haunt the party most. For every new censor, there are dueling bloggers and hackers. Today their weapons are humorous double entendres; tomorrow, what?
To date, therefore, Beijing defies history. The emerging middle class and elites eschew politics, content to follow the party's lead. The only checks and balances they hanker to expand are those held by their banks. Ironically, the most disaffected today are the peasants and workers.
Evidently, no Tiananmens lurk around the corner, but I've learned my lesson on predicting China's future. In 1989, I was overly optimistic, if not naive, about political reform. The depressing record of repression and human rights violations since then is amply documented -- by this commission, the State Department and international monitors. The grieving parents of Tiananmen, still harassed, still seek answers. The grieving parents of Sichuan now suffer the identical fate.
Nevertheless,I remain convinced that China will move toward greater transparency and liberty, not as a concession to the West but as the proven route to a brighter future. The rule of law, a thriving civil society, the accountability of officials, freedom of the media and expression would serve Beijing's own stated goals -- economic growth, political stability, control of pollution and corruption, the improvement of ties with Taiwan and the United States, the heightening of its stature in the world.
How fast, how smooth, how democratic? Who can predict? No doubt only Chinese can determine China's fate. Meanwhile, we should strive for positive relations with China despite this atrocious record. I have done so for 40 years.
Supporting human rights and democracy is a salient dimension of our policy, but America's vast and crucial agenda with China cannot be subsumed to one element. This is a painful but prudent calculation we apply to countries around the globe. With a Burma or Sudan, our values can be our dominant preoccupation. With a China or Saudi Arabia, we pursue a more nuanced course.
In conclusion, therefore, let us encourage China toward a more liberal society by appealing to its self-interests. Let us cooperate with China on a host of bilateral, regional and global challenges. And let us remain confident that one day the official verdict on June 4th will be overturned; that "hooligans" will be heroes, that "black hands" will be harbingers of history. For fabrications litter the ash heap of time, while authenticity survives.
Zhao Ziyang was premier and then party secretary. He was sympathetic to the petitioners and against the launching of tanks. He wept in the square. He was thrown out of office and into house arrest for 16 years. He died in ignominy. And yet on this 20th anniversary his recordings speak truths.
The journey toward freedom may begin with soft whispers from a solitary grave.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. DORGAN: Ambassador Lord, thank you very much for the really terrific testimony and for your service for many, many years.
We're joined by the co-chairman of the commission, Congressman Levin. And Congressman Levin, would you like to make your comment before we turn to the next witness?
REP. SANDY LEVIN (D-MI): Thank you very much, and I'm grateful for this opportunity to be here. The establishment of this commission was an important step a few years ago. And I think the efforts since then have reinforced the need for this commission, and I do believe fervently that the hearing today is a further validation of its significance.
I regret that because of two issues, health and energy, that I have had to be at another meeting and will need to return. But I did have a chance to read your stirring testimony, and yesterday in the House we passed a resolution marking this anniversary, and it passed unanimously except for one vote.
And I do think it marks how vital it is that there continue to be a recollection and a confirmation of the meaning of those events, and our determination, as constructively as we can, to bring some fruits out of that tragedy.
So Senator Dorgan, I am glad that you and I and our colleagues here, with the support of the leadership of the Senate and House on a bipartisan basis, are determined that this commission continue to be a very vital part of the effort on human rights and the rule of law.
So, again, I think I'll ask, if it hasn't been done, that my opening statement be entered into the record.
SEN. DORGAN: Without objection. And again, Congressman Levin, thank you for your leadership.
Dr. Perry Link is a co-editor of the 2001 publication of "The Tiananmen Papers." He's the chancellorial chair for teaching across disciplines at the University of California in Riverside, received both his B.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University, and specializes in 20th-century Chinese literature.
Dr. Perry, thank you -- or Dr. Link, rather, thank you very much for being with us. And you may proceed.
MR. LINK: It's my pleasure. I join Ambassador Lord in congratulating this commission on the fine work that you do. I have a written statement that is too long to read in the time that I've been given, so I won't. I would also like to offer for the record a translation of the Charter 08 that Senator Dorgan referred to a moment ago that I did for The New York Review of Books. This is an excellent statement of the political ideals of a broad range of China's leading free thinkers 20 years after the events at Tiananmen.
And there's one more item that I would like to put on the record, as it were, orally. And that is that one of the harbingers of the 1989 events was an open letter that the dissident astrophysicist Fang Lizhi wrote to Deng Xiaoping, the top leader, on January 6th, 1989. In that letter, Fang suggested that Deng declare an amnesty for political prisoners as a way to celebrate the anniversary spirit of the French Revolution and of the May Fourth Movement, China's May Fourth Movement of 1919, and to bring a healthier and happier atmosphere to China.
At the end of the following month, February 1989, President George H.W. Bush visited Beijing and hosted a banquet to which Fang and his wife Li Shuxian were invited. And as is well known, Fang and Li were blocked from the banquet and humiliated by Chinese plainclothes police for four hours. And when this story hit the world's headlines the next day, Chinese leaders were intensely embarrassed, as of course they should have been.
What I found odd, though, since then, is that some Americans who commented on this, among my colleagues in the academic community and also in government, have chosen to assign blame not to the Chinese government, who was showing both narrow -- you know, who was showing itself both narrow-minded and brutish that evening, but to whoever it was inside the U.S. embassy in Beijing who had initiated Fang Lizhi's invitation to dinner.
And what I'd like to enter into the record here is my own view -- although it's not just my view, I know -- that whoever that person was who initiated the idea of inviting Fang Lizhi to dinner, he or she showed vision and integrity and courage of the kind that echoes the finest traditions of our country.
Now for the remaining time that I have, I'm just going to go through seven points very, very quickly that are in my testimony.
One is that the movement at Tiananmen was deeper and broader than the Western media perceived it at the time. Ambassador Lord suggested this just a moment ago as well. There were demonstrations in more than 30 cities, large demonstrations, all across China. And the movement was animated really more by a revulsion at state socialism, I think, than it was by attraction to Western ideas. That doesn't mean that the Western ideas weren't attractive. They certainly were. But I think it's not appreciated how deeply this movement came out of the Maoist legacy and the state socialist legacy in China.
My second point is that -- was it a turning point? Yes, it was a turning point. Since then, as a broad generalization, the signal to the Chinese people has been economics, yes; politics, no. And by politics there, we need to understand broadly, ideals, political ideals, religious ideals and so on.
Point three is that this formula of economics, yes, and politics, no, led to what Chinese intellectuals have called a values vacuum, where the only publicly-shared values that course through the whole society are money, money-making, and nationalism. But these two kinds of values are too narrow to satisfy what the Chinese culture for millennia has sought in terms of shared ethical public values.
And that's my fourth point, that the thirst for ethical values in particular remains as a legacy of what happened that year. I study literature in my real life, and in recent Chinese fiction, including television fiction, one finds a plethora of very heroic people, who are not necessarily smart, but they are good people. They're honest, they tell the truth, they are willing to sacrifice their own interests for principle. And these characters are very, very popular. And the fact that they are popular tells us that there's this thirst, widespread thirst, in Chinese society for pursuit of this kind of value.
My point five is that, despite surface appearances, personal insecurity is a pervasive national malady in China -- I don't have time to go into detail here, but I could -- extending in different ways, all the way from ordinary people to the top leaders themselves.
Point six, a portion of youth have internalized this formula of economics, yes, and moral values, no. They play the system for their personal advantage and lack the idealism that earlier generations of Chinese youth in the teens, in the '30s, in the '60s, showed. That's not to criticize them entirely. One has to understand the situation that they're in.
So all of those points, my point two through six, I believe are related to the turning point of the Tiananmen massacre. And the final point I'll make is that the main reason why we shouldn't forget what happened that year is that the fundamental nature of the regime has not changed. Much else has changed, and we could go into that, but that fundamental nature is the same.
SEN. DORGAN: Dr. Link, thank you very much for your perspective. We appreciate that.
Next we will hear from Dr. Susan Shirk, the director of the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, the University of California San Diego. From 1997 until 2000, Dr. Shirk served as deputy assistant secretary of State in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. She is currently senior adviser to the Albright Group. Dr. Shirk's books include "China: Fragile Superpower," published in 2007.
Dr. Shirk, thank you for being with us.
MS. SHIRK: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It's a privilege to be here and to share this commemoration of the heroism of the demonstrators 20 years ago and to remember the sense of possibility of peaceful political reform in China that was lost that day, or at least deferred for two decades.
It was a turning point. And I have longer testimony than I have time to read, so I'll just briefly summarize some of the main points. It was a turning point for China's leaders as well as its citizens. And Perry Link has talked about this pervasive sense of insecurity on the part of China's leaders.
Certainly Tiananmen and the demonstrations that occurred in more than 130 cities throughout China, and the fact that the leadership split over how to mange the demonstrations, and that the regime actually remained standing only because the military did follow Deng Xiaoping's orders to come in and use force to put down the demonstrations -- after that day, China's leaders have, I think it's fair to say, never slept well at night, because they've had a pervasive sense that this could happen again.
And it's important to remember in that very same year communist governments in Eastern Europe and in the Soviet Union started to fall. The Berlin Wall toppled in November of 1989. And so meanwhile, Chinese leaders, with Tiananmen very much in mind, are watching this occur and thinking that they could very well be next.
So today, two decades later, communist rule has survived. And the system, as Perry Link said, is fundamentally the same. But its leaders remain very, very anxious about the possibility of another revolutionary moment occurring.
Now, to us outside of China, China looks like an emerging superpower: very powerful economically and influential internationally. But its communist leaders feel much weaker as they struggle to stay on top, of this society that has been so dramatically transformed by the market reform and opening over the past 30-plus years.
So they have a pervasive sense of insecurity. And everything they do is aimed at prolonging their time in power. And they drew three lessons from the Tiananmen experience. And I think if we look at their domestic policy and their international policy, you can see that their choices are designed to follow these lessons of Tiananmen. First of all, to prevent large-scale protests. Second, to avoid any public splits in the leadership. And third, to keep the military loyal.
Now, these lessons are interconnected, because if the leadership can maintain its cohesiveness, then they're likely to be able to use repression, police power, as well as control over media, cooptation, in order to manage the protests.
But if the leaders split on how to manage the protests, and let's remember that these people are politicians -- they're competing for power. And how do you prevent that competition from spilling out, outside the inner circle, in an effort to mobilize support? That's one of the greatest challenges that the Chinese leaders face today.
And then third, keep the military loyal, because if you have widespread unrest and the leadership splits, then the last line of defense is the People's Liberation Army, the People's Armed Police, and having them come in to support the party leadership.
So what my testimony does is kind of go through these three lessons and describe how the leaders have managed to prevent large-scale protests, and maintain -- public face of unity among the leadership, and, third, keep the military loyal.
And I just want to point out that it's a mixed picture. It's not simply the story of continued repression. In order to maintain themselves in power and prevent protests, they have become more responsive to the concerns of the Chinese public on such issues as food -- tainted food and medicine, environmental quality, the demand for social -- a safety net, such as health care. And they have improved the performance of the government in order to make sure that the public does not become so unhappy that they protest in a way that challenges the leadership.
They also have opened up the media in order to serve as a watchdog, especially on local officials, because the central leadership may want to carry out policies to protect the environment, say, but local officials have different interests. And how do you check those local officials without elections and without civil- society, independent, nongovernmental organizations? From the standpoint of the leaders, the media looks somewhat safer -- to use the media as a watchdog on those local officials. So we do see a market-oriented media, and an Internet which is playing an increasingly important role in China today.
There's also institutionalization of elite politics in order to prevent public leadership splits, and, of course, increases in the defense budget in order to keep the military loyal.
We often look at those increases in the budget as being driven by concern about Taiwan or other international objectives, but I think it's important to understand that there is a domestic political logic underlying it as well.
So those are the three lessons that they drew from Tiananmen, and their actions, in order to maintain themselves in power, has been a mixture of repression, co-optation and improved responsiveness.
SEN. DORGAN: Dr. Shirk, thank you very much.
I'm going to ask consent that the record contain a statement from John Cam (sp), the executive director of the Duahua (ph) Foundation. And so we had asked him to be present to testify, and John Cam (sp) was not able to be here. So we'll include his statement in the record.
Dr. Yang Jianli is president of the Initiatives for China and a fellow at Harvard University's Committee on Human Rights Studies.
During the spring of 1989, Dr. Yang -- excuse me -- Dr. Yang traveled from UC Berkeley to Beijing to support the student demonstrators. Subsequently, the Chinese government in 1991 refused to renew his passport, which had expired at that point. In 2002, using a friend's passport, Dr. Yang returned to China and was arrested and held incommunicado for over a year before he was eventually tried, convicted and sentenced to five years imprisonment for illegal entry into China and for espionage.
Dr. Yang was released in 2007 and returned to the United States. He's a signatory of the Charter 08. He has published many articles on democracy and human rights. And Dr. Yang, we appreciate your courage and your willingness to continue to speak out, and welcome you to this committee.
MR. YANG: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is great honor for me to testify here today, to provide a point of view of the Chinese human rights and democracy activist.
I'm not going to repeat what (these gentlemen and ma'am ?) have said. Massacre -- the Tiananmen Massacre sent China's reform down the wrong path. If the recently published memoirs of Zhao Ziyang tell us anything, it is that China was so close to embarking on the road of a peaceful transition to democracy, but sadly, now as then, very few people believe that China stood a real chance.
The truth is that the tragedy took place only because of four or five hardliners.
The massacre created universal fear and universal cynicism among the Chinese people that, in turn, has resulted in moral disaster, human- rights disaster and environmental disaster. The three disasters have, in the past 20 years, minimized the short-term cost of capitalists and that of government embezzlement. That is how China's economic miracle has become possible.
I use a metaphor to describe the current Chinese government. The regime is (a) four-legged table -- four-legged table. And the regime will collapse should any one of the four legs cut -- be cut.
Leg one is fear, supported by violence. Leg two is untruth, the control of the media. For example, the Chinese government has kept the truth about the 1989 movement and the magnitude of this tragedy from the ordinary people. Leg three is economic growth. This is the only source of the legitimacy of its rule. The fourth leg is corruption. The Chinese government exchanges the loyalty of the elite with opportunities for corruption. It has not only co-opted the Chinese elite, but also the foreign elite. The Chinese government, in a way, appeals to the universal tendency to corruption in vast wars against the universal value of human rights.
This is the so-called Chinese model, and this model is challenging the democratic way of life worldwide. The model is not sustainable for many reasons, but primarily because the Chinese people will reject it.
People are eager to find a breakthrough point. The reversal of the verdict on -- Tiananmen incident is widely considered one such breakthrough point. I agree. With this good intention, some democracy-oriented intellectuals have recently called for reconciliation with regard to this tragedy.
I think the notion of reconciliation is very important. We -- sooner or later, we'll have to come to terms with our troubled past. But putting forth -- proposal of reconciliation now is premature, because the Chinese government has not even acknowledged any mistake in all of this. One cannot reconcile to a non-event.
The truth is not out. When it is, perhaps it will be through an impartial truth-seeking committee, one of the major demands from the Tiananmen Mothers. It should be the regime, the more powerful party, not the victims, that first raises up the issue of reconciliation. First, an honest admission of the incident.
Truth must be before reconciliation.
The democratic forces in China are not strong enough to get the regime to sit at a negotiation table and beginning a process towards truth and towards reconciliation. And the regime has no willingness to engage in any such program, because it has accumulated too many grievances of incredible magnitude. Tiananmen is just one of the many tragedies. So to reach end-point of reconciliation, we must first develop the democratic forces, the viable opposition in China. That is necessary.
What the international community, particularly the U.S., can and should do:
First, we should put China's regime on the defense by raising the human rights issues on any occasion possible, because it is the Chinese that should worry more about an economic relationship with other countries. Remember, economic growth is one of the four legs on which the regime stands.
Second, we should nurture the growth of the Chinese democratic forces.
Third, we should help tear down the firewall that has been erected by the Chinese Communist Party. If the United States is not in the position to face down the regime's violent force, one of its four legs, it is most certainly in the position to expose its lies, another leg. Truth liberates.
Fourth, when a movement similar to the one in 1989 arises, national leaders in the United States should openly recognize and support the democratic forces and any democracy-oriented factions within the party. Had U.S. leaders had access to Zhao's memoirs beforehand, I believe they would have openly supported his faction during the Tiananmen uprising. The least the U.S. should do would be to press the government to enter into dialogue with the opposition leaders.
SEN. DORGAN: Well, thank you to each of our panelists. Very enlightening. And we'll go to some questions here from each of us.
But there's a couple of things I would -- first of all, Dr. Link, I'd like to say, you admitting being naive back in '89 made me feel better.
I too was right there. And it seems like a lifetime ago, when I remember the debate in the early-'90s, over most-favored nation status, and how many of us thought that economic reforms would instantly translate into social reforms. And it does seem like quite some time ago.
I remember just a couple of years ago, I asked Secretary Albright to characterize the U.S.-China relationship. She said, oh, it's really easy. It's like a drug user and a pusher, only we don't know which is which.
And very difficult, because I ask this, Dr. Link, because I thought you brought up a very interesting point on something. Having a newly-minted Bachelor's Degree-holder and someone my students said spoke beautiful baby Mandarin, when I got there, I watched and I saw the values, in trying to learn the culture.
This issue you bring up is something I too notice. And it's always very troubling for me, because I don't -- I don't want to pass judgments. But this values vacuum you spoke of is something that, I think, I find very troubling. And I've seen it, as my generation has aged into middle age, in my friends in China. And I've seen this. And I think many of them are reevaluating this, as many of us do, what's truly important.
My question to you is, as you think of it, I know it is somewhat -- it's incredibly subjective. What will fill that? How will that be filled? What's the outcome of that? Because a country with a values vacuum is troubling. So I just -- just to hear your thoughts on it.
MR. LINK: Well, it's easy to say what some of the feeling has been already. There has been a revival of religions. Christianity has boomed in China. About 60 times as many Christians have been produced, by this value vacuum, than were produced by one century of American missionaries, between 1850 and 1950, going to make converts. And then Taoism and Buddhism have seen revivals.
The problem here is that any time someone organizes something that is not either controlled by or controllable by the party, it gets crushed. Falun Gong is the --
MR. : Is Falun Gong an example?
MR. LINK: A good example of that, but underground churches are good examples of that too.
So religions have been creeping back. And I think some of the assiduous watching of these television programs is almost a communal thing to. There's a wonderful television series called -- (inaudible) -- about a soldier in the People's Liberation Army who's actually kind of mentally retarded.
He's not smart. He's not fast. He doesn't shoot well. He doesn't do any of these things well. But he's honest. And he tells the truth and he acts on principle. And it becomes a social phenomenon to talk about him and to indirectly praise these values.
That is, to me, pretty eloquent testimony for the kind of value- seeking that I see that again can't be organized but certainly is --
MR. : That hits a cultural nerve. What was it -- (inaudible) -- that we all did, the soldier who was -- selflessly gave the Cultural Revolution? It was a sense of that, of trying to instill values from the top down.
MR. LINK: That was top-down.
This is -- this was sort of middle-level media, up and down, I would say. It's --
REP. WALZ: Thank you.
MR. LINK: But it does show a popular thirst for ethical values. What eventually will fill it is still an open question, though.
REP. WALZ: Well, thank you.
Dr. Shirk, I -- two years ago now you wrote "The Fragile Superpower." Has anything changed, in your mind? I always watched over these last several years -- when I would ask my friends, every time I would travel back, especially over the last decade or so, you know, "What's going on, what are you doing," and they said, "We're just watching you to see how a superpower acts." And I thought to myself, "Gee, I don't know, necessarily."
But what do you think?
MS. SHIRK: Well, I think internationally China's influence has grown in the last two years. Its presence in Africa and Latin America -- I talk about it in the book, but it's certainly become a much bigger story. And of course in the global financial crisis, China's role is recognized and even deferred to. So internationally China's influence has grown.
Domestically, a couple of things have changed that are very significant. One, cross-strait relations with Taiwan have improved. And this is very, very important from the standpoint of U.S. security interests, because --
REP. WALZ: Do you think that's anything China's done or the lack of a -- their opposition party in Taiwan is not nearly --
MS. SHIRK: Well, the -- President Ma Ying-jeou in Taiwan created the opportunity, but Beijing has exploited this opportunity by appointing a very able diplomat, Wang Yi, as head of the Taiwan Affairs Office. And they have just gone full steam ahead to -- for economic integration and moving as quickly as they can toward a kind of reconciliation. They've been trying to win the hearts and minds of the people of Taiwan, which is a positive dynamic. And it reduces the risk of a military conflict in the strait, into which we could be drawn. So it's very, very important from our security interests.
But then the third thing I just want to point out and -- is that the Tibet issue has become more prominent. You know, I argue in that book that Chinese foreign policy on the hot-button domestic issues of Japan, Taiwan and the United States are driven by the insecurity of China's leaders and their hyper-responsiveness to nationalized public opinion.
Well, Tibet used to not be a particularly salient issue to the public in China, but after those violent demonstrations last spring in Lhasa, which were all over the Internet in video and photographs and pictures of Tibetans beating Chinese shopkeepers just infuriated the Chinese public, and the disruption of the torch relay by Tibetan protesters in Paris -- it became a very emotional issue of nationalism.
What's been the result? Very bad. The -- Beijing now has elevated Tibet to an -- a core issue of sovereignty, the same level as the way they treat the Taiwan issue. And they've launched an international campaign to strong-arm everyone into isolating the Dalai Lama. And they're taking a very, very tough stand. This could become -- I predict, unfortunately, it WILL become -- a major obstacle to U.S.- China cooperation on other issues.
REP. WALZ: Well, thank you very much. And my final question before my colleagues take over -- and this is probably the toughest one for all of you -- the criticism of spending time on these types of issues and looking back.
Several days ago, I was sitting down in a meeting with Prime Minister Erdogan and mentioned the Armenian genocide. Not a very happy subject with Prime Minister Erdogan. But I am absolutely convinced that getting these things out and getting them in a historical context that's as accurate as we can possibly get is important.
What do you say to those people who say the work that's done by this great committee -- and there's a great committee staff -- on keeping the list, the prisoners list and things like that, is detrimental to those relationships? How would each of you, as experts with lots of experience, respond? That -- why are we here today on June 4th, and why is it important, as the chairman said?
MR. LORD: Well, there are many reasons, and I paid tribute to the commission for all these reasons at the opening. First of all, we owe it to the people in China who are looking for greater freedom, not to mention those who sacrificed 20 years ago. We owe it to our value system, and we owe it to maintaining domestic and congressional support for an overall policy of engagement with China, which I do favor.
But if we engage with China and ignore these dimensions, we will lose support for that. We owe it because promoting human rights and democracy -- and that is one of the reasons why you remember what did happen -- is in our national-security interest, as well as promoting our values.
The fact is that more democratic countries and those who observe the rule of law and human rights are much better partners on the world scene. Democracies don't fight each other. Democracies don't spawn refugees. They don't harbor terrorists. They're better economic partners. They don't cover up swine flus and SARS and tainted milk. So there's very concrete reasons to keep this as part of our agenda, beyond just the values which are traditional in our foreign policy.
So I think it's very important what you're doing, and it's very important that this remain, as I said in my statement, a major part of our policy with China. It is painful, just as it is, say, with Saudi Arabia and their treatment of women, and even North Korea, where we can't get progress on any subject, where you have to sometimes assign higher priorities to other issues.
I'm afraid that's prudent. I'm afraid you have to do it, because much as I believe strongly in promoting human rights and democracy, it can't dominate our agenda with some of these big, important countries. But it's an essential part of that agenda.
MR. WALZ: Thank you. If anyone else wants to take that, otherwise I'll move to my -- Mr. Smith.
REP. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I again want to thank this very distinguished panel for your insights and your wisdom at this hearing, but really through the course of your lives. So many of you have spent so much time thinking what ought to be done, and it makes a difference.
Let me just ask a couple of questions. Ambassador Lord, I do thank your -- you for your comment about the Global Online Freedom Act and suggesting that it may eventually get done. Unfortunately -- and I've been here 29 years as a member of Congress -- I'm not as optimistic about my own bill, because the Googles and the other Internet giants have spread money ad nauseam on this place, and in other places in town, to prevent that legislation from coming to the floor. It was ready for floor action last Congress. It's ready right now, having gotten through all three committees of jurisdiction, only to be held up and never brought to a floor vote.
And just to -- you know, for those who may not be familiar with it, that legislation is all about providing or promoting nonviolent political speech and nonviolent religious speech.
That's what's in the bill, and it would provide for a very serious accounting. What is it that Google is censoring that's working hand-in-glove with the propagandas in Beijing that allows the people in China right now, who would love to know on June 4th what happened 20 years ago, from getting that basic information, without getting the big lie, if you will, that they do get each and every day? So your help, any of your help, in getting that legislation through, would be of enormous impact.
I would note that some of the giants, including Yahoo, have taken some corrective action, especially in Vietnam, where they put personally identifiable information that would be gleaned by the secret police so easily outside of the control of Vietnam so that -- it is in another country, so the secret police can't walk in the door and say we want to know everything about Zher Tao (ph) and who he's talking to. And that was in direct relationship to a previous remembrance of Tiananmen Square, as you all know so well. And he got 10 years in prison, and they coughed up, Yahoo, all those names.
Well, at least they've learned, and I think they are to be applauded for taking that action. But unfortunately the others have not, and it continues to be a serious problem. So any help you can give us.
I think so long as the Internet giants stifle that, despite the good work that's been done in busting through this new bamboo curtain, if you will, and this new censorship, as well as knowing -- if you go online in China and you put in your information, if you do something -- talk about the Dalai Lama, within an hour or so, they'll be at your door; that is to say, the secret police.
It is -- they can hold onto control forever, I think, with that kind of -- so your help on that legislation --
MR. LORD: If I could just comment on that?
REP. SMITH: Ambassador Lord. Sure.
MR. LORD: First of all, in terms of getting the truth into China, I want to take this occasion to urge that we expand funding for VOA and Radio Free Asia. That's something the Chinese block and so on, but it does get through. It does terrific work and terrific reporting back to us of what's happening. So that is one specific step that I strongly urge: not just maintain, but expand this. It's money very well spent, and it's related to the issue you're talking about.
One final comment on the computer companies. I think there's different degrees of culpability here. I don't agree with it completely, but I see the dilemma of some of the companies in which they say by having these websites and Google and search engines in China, even if they're partially blocked, it is subversive and over the long run it can be helpful, even if it's not perfect; and if we don't do it, the Europeans or the Japanese will do it. That's not a frivolous argument, that part of it, in terms of submitting themselves to some censorship.
Then you've got people providing hardware to help the police. That's unacceptable. And then you have people giving up e-mail addresses and getting people run down. That's not acceptable.
So I think there are some distinctions here. To be candid, I'm not sure of the latest specific portions of your bill, and I'd like to look at it. But I mean, I do think there's some tougher dilemmas in part of this spectrum than in other parts.
REP. SMITH: I appreciate that. We have worked with a coalition of human rights organizations, and Chinese human rights organizations especially. And it's been endorsed by virtually all of them -- Reporters Without Borders and others. And your point is well taken. There are gradations.
But I think, you know, when we're talking about an active disinformation campaign -- for example, when Manfred Nowak did his incisive inspection of the use of torture, the pervasive use of torture by the Chinese government, that was totally blocked online by the Chinese. But you can get Manfred Nowak's commentary on Gitmo, and you can get other publications that he has done, but not the one about China. So Google's all a part of that. And VOA and Radio Free Asia is blocked by Google as well, because I tried to get their sites, and others have tried it in China. They block it.
MR. YANG: Comment, please.
REP. SMITH: Yes.
MR. YANG: We all agree, nationalism in China is a phenomenon. But if you get online, look at what the Internet users say, mostly the younger generation people in China, you will find a pattern. When it comes to the issue of local issue, maybe domestic issue like government corruption, people will side with the victims. When it comes to the issue of relationship with U.S., of -- (inaudible) -- strategic relationship, and Tibetan issue and -- Internet users will -- very likely sided with the Chinese government.
Why? Information, because people in China, when they come to the issues -- domestic issues, local issues -- they just base on their experience to make a judgment. But for the issue of the relationship, international relations and the Tibetan issue, very largely they base on information provided by the Chinese government.
So in that way, for a long time, they have been brainwashed. So I think Internet freedom is a very important issue. And actually technology exists to bypass the firewall erected by the Chinese government. A modest investment will make much, much progress in this field.
REP. SMITH: Unfortunately I have some members who have to leave for a vote. But let me ask and maybe for the record, you can give this an answer.
When you talk about next steps, we've had 20 years of thinking naively but, I think, with good faith -- (inaudible) -- that trading would lead to a matriculation from dictatorship to democracy. Has not happened. I believe it's gotten demonstrably worse. And now they're spreading these errors to Africa, as Ms. Shirk pointed out.
I held two hearings on Africa, and China's influence on Sudan and Zimbabwe and other countries, where they have egregious human rights records. And they're fleecing Africa of its minerals, its wood. I can go on and on. But it's time to revisit things like reestablishing, I believe, a trade link or some kind of link. There's no penalty phase.
China gets away literally with murder. It attacks its women in the worst violation of women's rights, I believe, in the history of humankind, with its forced-abortion policy. And they get more money from the U.N., rather than less, from the U.N. Population Fund. Egregious behavior can't be rewarded, or we'll get more of it, no matter how insecure these individuals happen to be.
The Nazi leadership, we know, from historians and psychiatrists who've looked back, were very insecure men, men with phobias and problems. That made them even more dangerous in the execution of their policies. We have the same thing happening in China. And they're expanding rather than contracting.
PNTR shouldn't be PNTR anymore. It needs to be revisited, I would suggest respectfully. This is an unbridled bully. And I have many other questions. IRFA, International Religious Freedom Act; they've been on that list for five, almost six years. No penalty phase ever, from the Bush and now from the Obama government as well.
Thank you. If you'd like to touch on next steps, I would appreciate it.
MR. LINK: Maybe I can jump in here. This is sort of a next step, and it's a also a second to Ambassador Lord's plea for more funding for RFA and VOA. And it's also a sort of answer, to the question why this commission's work is important.
In addition to everything that's been said, I think that public articulation of our values, not arrogantly and pushing it on people, but articulation of it is important.
Now, an authoritarian regime like China's wants to say in response, "Just do this privately. Don't say these things publicly. Let us tuck it in our pocket and talk about it." That doesn't work. I think that the articulation of values publicly works not only for those Chinese citizens that are eagerly wanting to hear it, like the signatories of Charter 08 and like the other people in this room; it also works for the people inside the authoritarian system.
I don't know what my friend Susan would say, but this is part of what I mean by the insecurity of the people inside the system. They too have many levels in their psychology, and they're obliged in official context to hew to the party line, to the government line inside the -- I'm going to tell you one very quick anecdote to illustrate this, and then I'll yield the floor back.
A few years ago I edited this compilation called the "The Tiananmen Papers" with my friend Andy Nathan, which immediately was highly radioactive in Beijing. They didn't like it at all. They said this is illegal and the people that did it had bad motives; and he and I and many others were denounced that were in connection with it.
A few months later, a delegation of Chinese academics -- high- level delegation -- came to Princeton, where I was teaching at the time, to talk about academic exchange. And we had a cordial lunch, and after lunch came to my office, and one of them excused himself to go to the men's room. And as soon as he did, the other one said, "Do you have a copy of the "The Tiananmen Papers? Can you give it to me?"
"Yes, I can." Okay, here it is. I signed it for him.
And then he said, "Do you have a manila envelope that you could put it in?" Because he didn't want his colleague coming back -- they were friends in other ways, but that man was genuinely interested. There are levels in the psychology of the people that are inside the system, to whom we speak when we articulate our values, even though they can't give us and won't give us an immediate response to it
So I find it baffling sometimes that we're not more relaxed but open about articulating our public values.
REP. SMITH: Ms. Shirk.
MS. SHIRK: One quick word, and that is that I think something we could do that would be very constructive would be to spend more money helping promote legal-system development and the free press and civil society in China, which will be the foundation for an effective democracy if one is ever to develop in China.
And I understand why we have restrictions on the money we can spend, because we feel it as a matter of principle. But I think, frankly, the time has come for us to reduce those restrictions and -- so that if you compare what we do in China compared to so many other small countries, that -- and the need is very, very great here.
So I think Congress could really help a lot by allowing the government to help support the development of China's legal system, civil society and free press.
REP. SMITH: Thank you.
REP. MARCY KAPTUR (D-OH): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And I wanted to also thank Chairman Dorgan and Levin for this opportunity to remember with all of you the Tiananmen Square massacre.
I just wanted to put two minutes of formal testimony on the record, since I wasn't here initially, and look to the degree that China has not changed its policies in the last 20 years. And I thank you very much for your testimony.
Despite what many laud as progress in China, obviously the commission's research shows that a number of cases demonstrating the 1989 mentality remain. And the protesters two decades ago presented a list of seven demands, including elections, admission of past government mistakes, independent press and free speech.
Today, with a number of Tiananmen participants still imprisoned and some in the audience with us today who paid the price of free expression, we have seen little progress on these fronts. In fact, we have seen labor, expression, and other human rights deteriorate.
In the past few days, China has further restricted freedom of speech by blocking websites like Flickr that may describe the actual events of 1989. And though the Chinese have still not given in to the protesters' demands, the protests are still fresh in the government's mind.
In the United States, however, though we know the full extent of the tragedy of that day, we, too, are keen to forget. President George H.W. Bush implemented a number of sanctions as a result of the Chinese government's heinous reaction to the protests, and since 1989, all but a few have been effectively revoked, either by wholesale or consistent case-by-case basis. Indeed, one of the very few so-called Tiananmen sanctions still enforced to any degree puts export controls on crime-control devices, but is waived in a wide variety of cases, despite the Chinese government's documented use of these devices against dissidents.
For example, after the U.S. allowed various crowd-control devices in for the U.S. (sic) Olympics, including cameras, Keith Bradsher reported that the -- and I quote -- "the autumn issue of the magazine of China's public-security ministry prominently listed places of religious worship and Internet cafes as locations to install new cameras," unquote. Although China has made little progress toward meaningful elections or freedom of expression or basic human rights for so many protesters who gave their lives and livelihoods, our country appears to make few demands for true reform, while sending American jobs and tax dollars abroad and borrowing to unprecedented levels, supporting that closed economy and strict authoritarian regime.
In fact, many attribute directly the weakening of labor and human rights to the U.S. granting permanent normal trade relations to China, relations I do not regard as normal at all, but highly abnormal, which also led to the wholesale repeal of a number of the Tiananmen sanctions.
So I want to commend the commission and all of you for revealing the course that China has followed and the progress it has yet to make on the human-rights and democracy front.
And I have a few questions I would like to ask. Dr. Shirk, I wanted to ask you, before PNTR was passed, you stated that you believe that most-favored-nation would give the United States more tools to address human rights. So I would be very interested to ask you today, what are these new tools that you thought might occur as a result of PNTR when the debate occurred here in the Congress? What has resulted? What are these new tools?
MS. SHIRK: Well, I think the tools are largely the channels of communication and cooperation at every level between our two countries, starting from -- every agency in the federal government has some programs under way of, at a minimum, dialogue with counterparts in China. And, for example, our Department of Labor went to China and had -- bringing the ideas of free organization of labor to China just a couple of years ago.
And so at every level in the government, in our federal government, we have those kinds of channels.
Also, I'm sure in your state, your district, you know, there are many more interactions -- at the subnational level too. For example, in California, the state of California is cooperating with a number of provinces in China on climate change issues and helping develop capacity to verify and monitor actions that we hope will be taken in the future on climate change.
And then of course the amount of investment in China has absolutely skyrocketed after the passage -- after China's entry into the World Trade Organization. So you have all of those international companies and their employees and people going back and forth, cross- strait interaction. And all of those kinds of contacts, I believe, in the long run do make China a more open place, a more responsive place.
Democracy -- you know, I don't think any of us argued that PNTR and China's entry to the World Trade Organization were going to achieve a full-fledged democracy in China overnight, and I admit that progress has been slow. But I think there has been progress, nonetheless.
REP. KAPTUR: What kind of body politic is China today, where there is no democracy but there is a type of state-run capitalism? How does one describe that polity? Some of you have called it communism, but what is it? Dr. Link, what about yourself? Ambassador Lord?
MR. LINK: Nicholas Kristof had a clever phrase. He called it "market Leninism." It's a sort of a new animal on the world political scene, this combination of -- I think the Russian polity is evolving in that direction -- doesn't have the label "communist," but the -- or domination of a political economic elite that is corrupt and that -- I'm not ready to go point by point. I came from a hearing this morning where we were comparing these, and the parallels were striking to me. But I can't recall them one by one now.
REP. KAPTUR: How many members of that political elite are there?
MR. LINK: Well, it depends on how far down the tip of the iceberg you want to measure the elite as they --
REP. KAPTUR: The top 25 percent?
MR. LINK: Pardon?
REP. KAPTUR: The top 25 percent?
MR. LINK: How -- I --
REP. KAPTUR: How many individuals would you say are in that -- what is described in your testimony as masters of the regime?
MR. LINK: Oh, I mean just a few dozen --
REP. KAPTUR: A dozen.
MR. LINK: -- families, interlocking families, yeah. In that testimony that's what I mean by that, yes.
REP. KAPTUR: I'm being given a signal I have to run back to the House and vote, and I will return. But I'm very interested in your -- of all of the witnesses stating for the record -- and I will ask the staff director to sit up here in our absence -- to struggle with us over the issues of democracy and capitalism and what kind of society China is today. I was very, very taken by the numbers of young people being recruited into the regime and what that bodes for the future.
And I don't for a minute believe that capitalism brings democracy. It's the other way, and at least capitalism that we know is free, or even partly free, and open.
But I'm very troubled by what I see, and I'm very troubled by the statement made in Ambassador Lord's formal statement. With a Burma or Sudan, our values can be our predominant preoccupation, but with a China or Saudi Arabia, we pursue a more nuanced course. Does that mean a valueless course? What are our key values as a society?
And I'm very interested in each of you talking about the type -- politically, what type of society China is today. Marxist -- how did you describe that -- Leninism?
MR. LINK: Market Leninism.
REP. KAPTUR: Market Leninism. How each of you would describe the society today. And then, in terms of what kind of political economy -- what kinds of values does that political economy have today globally? What does it represent? It obviously doesn't represent freedom. So what is it? What is it galloping toward, from a value standpoint, a political value standpoint? I'd be very interested in your comments on that.
MR. LORD: Have we got time now, or are do you have to leave?
REP. KAPTUR: Well, I'm going to let you, Ambassador Lord, answer that question, for the record, and we --
MR. LORD: Yeah. These are big questions, and there's not much time here. But first of all, China so far has defied history, as I said in my statement. And other examples, for example Taiwan and South Korea --
CHARLOTTE OLDHAM-MOORE (CECC staff director): I'm sorry, Ambassador Lord. My name is Charlotte Oldham-Moore. I'm the staff director. And as you know, the Constitution requires them to vote. And we have a series of votes in the House. The chair, I hope, will return, by 4:00. He also has a hearing's he chairing right now.
So Ambassador Lord, if you could respond to her question, and also I sense that you wanted to talk about the description of the body politic. (Inaudible.)
MR. LORD: As I started to say, in examples like Taiwan and South Korea, once the economic engine got going, you built up a middle class. Man or woman does not live by rice alone, if you will, and there was a pressure for political liberalization. That's what all of us hoped 20 years ago would happen in China.
So far, as I said in my statement, a combination of repression, great economic growth and an appeal to nationalism has allowed China to actually carve out a unique path. And I would agree with Perry Link, it's -- on the political side, it's still Leninist, on the economic side, it's partly capitalist, partly socialist and partly state-run. So it's a unique phenomenon.
Now, so the question is, how long can they defy history? Have we found something new? And this is a very important question because if China's model does prevail, that's going to set a very unfortunate example for other countries around the world. So we have a real interest in hoping that China does evolve in a more politically liberal direction, and that the Indias of the world are not discredited while the Chinas of the world triumph.
I remain optimistic, as I said, because I don't think they can defy the laws of history over forever. They've done it longer than I thought possible. Without taking the time, let me just tick off the reasons why I think over time they will evolve. And I think it's going to become from the bottom up. I strongly support what Susan Shirk said about building up civil society. It's about the best we can do at this point, in addition to articulating privately and publicly our values and our concerns, and funding VOA and RFA and some of the other steps that have been mentioned.
But China -- it seems to me in an age of information and globalization, you can't go on forever trying to censor the Internet and flows of information. They manage to segregate out various topics now. But at some point, they're going to pay a price for the lack of information and freedom.
Secondly, if you don't have the rule of law, at some point you're going to lose investments. So therefore, economic growth is going to depend, I think, over the long line on a freer society. They cannot get at corruption without a freer press or the rule of law, and that's crippling them. So at some point, in own their self-interest, they're going to have to move for economic reasons.
And secondly, political stability. If people can't go to the courts, can't go to a free press, if they can't elect their officials, the only alternative if they have gripes -- and it doesn't have to be about political freedom, it could be about the environment or local land grabs or pollution -- then they take to the streets. So in terms of political stability, there's got to be a safety valve.
If they want Taiwan to get closer beyond economics and reunify, that will never happen as long as Taiwan's a democracy and China's repressive. If they want full-fledged relations with us that could equal, say, with Japan or Great Britain, we've got to share values as well as interests, and they want, therefore, strong ties with the U.S. and their stature in the world.
So on all the major goals -- economic goals, stability, ties through Taiwan, ties with the U.S. -- they're going to have to move in this direction. But I'm not going to naively predict as I did 20 years ago that it will come soon. But I think it can come, and I think we can encourage it with some of the steps we've all discussed today.
MS. OLDHAM-MOORE: You all have watched China policy for a very long time, and American response towards it. And one of the critiques of our human rights policy has been that it's been ghettoized in small divisions in the State Department, and therefore not taken seriously by the Chinese or by our leadership sometimes. What do you think of that?
Do you think that there's a role -- that more of our leverage on these issues resides in other branches, other departments, such as Treasury -- SED is occurring this July. Many rule-of-law issues will be taken up there.
I'd just be interested in your sense of how -- what better architecture could we have for U.S. foreign policy towards China in regards to rule of law and human rights concerns.
Dr. Yang, do you have any thoughts?
MR. YANG: Yes. I want to talk about it in general terms first. As far as I see, the U.S. policy toward China has a major problem, that it's seen inconsistent, that it will change so quick, so many times. A lot of people think engagement with China with the human rights issue openly creates resentment among China's people, which is not true. It is inconsistency actually damage the U.S. image among China's people.
So I think probably articulation of this country's values has no problem with Chinese people. If U.S. has consistent policy toward China and shows its sincerity in this field, I think eventually will win the respect of China's people. So I always say consistency is a key word.
MS. OLDHAM-MOORE: Dr. Link, do you have anything on that?
MR. LINK: I think Dr. Shirk is better at the question of the American government and how to unify policy within the government.
MS. SHIRK: Well, I'm not sure how -- I just think our rule-of- law initiative is too small, and that we have bound our hands because of a distaste for cooperation with the Chinese government, a political distaste.
And I think we should have a much more expansive effort, because China has itself said that it wants to have rule of law, that rule of law is important for their own objectives. But in fact, of course, their legal system lacks autonomy, lacks professional capabilities. You know, it's at a very early stage of developing an independent, autonomous legal system.
So I think the Europeans and other countries have a lot more active programs than the United States does, and that's also to the detriment of our commercial interests because they'll end up following more -- other legal systems other than our own. So I just think what we do is too puny, and we ought to sort of hold our nose and dive in.
MS. OLDHAM-MOORE: Thank you.
MR. YANG: I want to add a few words.
MS. OLDHAM-MOORE: Yes. We have five more minutes, and then we'll --
MR. YANG: Ah.
MS. OLDHAM-MOORE: Yeah.
MR. YANG: Three conditions must be present to effect political change in China. Number one, viable opposition. Number two, crisis. Number three, international support.
So I don't know why so many people are afraid of talking about opposition. I think a part of U.S. policy toward China must be nurturing the growth of opposition in China, democracy forces, if you will.
Opposition maybe is a too harsh word. But without that, I don't see there is a possibility for China to change. So I always call for openly engagement with democracy forces in China.
Democracy forces in China for a long time have not been visible. But the most significant thing about China '08 is now. People are organizing around China '08. The opposition is visible. I don't think -- a lot of people do not like opposition.
Democracy forces in China are visible. And we have to help them to become viable, become a force that can apply a necessary pressure on the regime, to have a political change.
MS. OLDHAM-MOORE: Dr. Shirk, you're shaking your head.
MS. SHIRK: Well, I think, that's actually a pretty dangerous policy.
To nurture an insurgency or a democratic opposition overtly in China, I think, would be a kind of suicidal policy for U.S.-China relations. And I also think that it would undercut the potential of such an opposition, if it is viewed as somehow just the puppets of the United States. So I think unfortunately you know, our leverage is very limited. And I think that the demand for political reform, in China, has to be domestic primarily.
MS. OLDHAM-MOORE: Do you have anything to add, Ambassador Lord?
MR. LINK: There's a big distinction in my mind between speech and action here. If we're going to go in and organize a resistance, I would agree with Dr. Shirk. That's going to be counterproductive. But it doesn't follow from that, that we shouldn't be open in speaking about ideas and ideals and speaking with all of the Chinese people, not just with the government.
Representative Kaptur, as part of her question, referred to young people joining the regime. And she seemed worried about that. The young people who are joining the party these days, as far as I can figure it out, are doing it for very personal, practical reasons.
It's pretty far removed from any ideals, not only about communism or Marxism -- that's way in the past -- but even public ideas that the party now is promoting. Most of them are more cynical than that. They're joining the party because it's the latter up.
That is part of what I mean by that group of people, in Chinese society too, being insecure and multi-leveled, and can be spoken to openly.
I still think that's the best policy.
MS. OLDHAM-MOORE: I think we have the topic for our next hearing, Dr. Yang and Dr. -- (chuckles). But Ambassador Lord, you --
MR. LORD: Yeah, well, I quickly want to get --
MS. OLDHAM-MOORE: Yeah, take the last one.
MR. LORD: -- at your question on promoting democracy and human rights. Two points.
First, to get to your question, it's got to be consistent without -- throughout the U.S. government. It can't just be the State Department. I had a painful experience in the early '90s where we had modest conditions on trade and the State Department was pushing -- it was the president's policy. His own economic Cabinet offices totally undermined it, and the president didn't back up the secretary of State. The Chinese saw we were disunited and the modest progress we were making with these modest conditions went down the tubes, and we had to reverse course. And therefore, you've got to have a consistent message across the government. It can be in strategic dialogues. We have many ministers and Cabinet officials in the same room. It's important we're all singing from the same tune.
Now, secondly, she took exception to my saying you need a nuanced policy with a Saudi Arabia or with a China. It's painful, but prudent, as I said in my statement. Mr. Obama is pursuing, when he was in Saudi Arabia, now in Egypt -- this man is clearly for democracy, but he's got to worry about other issues. So I do not apologize for a very uncomfortable double-standard we have to apply. When it's Burma, we don't have many other interests. But when you're trying to fight terrorism or not have nuclear weapons get around the world or fight climate pollution or maintain American jobs, these are concrete interests that we have, and we can't just throw them away for one other interest, much as we'd like to.
MS. OLDHAM-MOORE: Thank you. Thank you so much for this, our panelists. It was extremely stimulating testimony. Thank you for having mercy on me on my promotion, unexpected. And we'll have the transcript of this full hearing on our website. And due to Judy Wright (sp), our administration director, we have a webcast as well. So -- but thank you so much.
And I get the gavel. Thrilling, you know. (Sounds gavel.) It's over. (Laughs, laughter.)