Last Interview with Harry Wu
Chinese Communist Party has still power of real government
Chinese dissident Harry Wu emphasises that to not be deceived by Chinese propaganda broadcasted to West one needs to understand that the Communist Party of China has still absolute power in the state. The Party controls Chinese government and other forms of public life. It denies basic freedoms to Chinese citizens.
How the situation of human rights changed after three years of Xi Jinping’s being a First Secretary of Communist Party in China?
One needs to know that Communist regime established a special system of prisons called laogai. If one protests or disagrees with the regime then one is being sent to a labour camp. These camps are similar to Soviet gulags and the Hitlerite concentration camps. I think this is one of the basic issues crucial for understanding situation in China. Chinese prisoners are being tortured, forced to heavy work and to offering of their organs for the transplantation. These are major violations of human rights. Nobel Peace Prize winner has been in such prison for more than five years.
How the knowledge about China prison system explains current situation in the state?
Since 1949 Chinese Communist regime destroyed more than 40 million prisoners comparing with Soviet Union gulags, which killed 25 million. Soviets helped Chinese Communists build a laogai but the size of Chinese camps surpasses imagination of any decent person. For instance the area of laogai in Anhu province is 152 square kilometres. In about 120 km east of Beijing is another laogai that covers 115 square kilometres. The regime is still destroying two classes of enemies: so-called counterrevolutionaries and Catholic class.
I was one of them. I was imprisoned for 19 years without any court order. I was guilty only because I was Catholic.
Chinese government argues that the laogai prison system does not exist anymore
No. Laogai is still in China. Communist regime stopped using these two words. More people recognize the laogai so regime decided to change the official name of laogai into “prison”. But laogai prisoners are still being forced to labour.
Did Chinese regime undertake any reforms in last three years to change this situation?
The regime is not going to change, but it made some adjustments in this system. For example, they declared that they were going to discontinue the organs transplantations, regime will allow practicing religions to some degree or to have second child. There is no freedom in trade – Western companies such Microsoft, Yahoo or other companies can sell their products but they cannot operate freely their businesses in China.
But the protests of opposition and average Chinese people are increasing…
Chinese government controls television and radio stations, central and local newspapers, Internet and other media. It is impossible to protest or petition without facing danger of being intimidated or punished other way by the Communist regime.
Meanwhile West treats Communist China as a normal state. International institutions include China in their plans and strategies. International Monetary Fund has just announced its decision to include Chinese renminbi to the system of global reserve currencies.
China has no history of republican experience it has been under the imperial systems for thousands of years. Communist Party also followed the system of dynasties. The material situation of an average Chinese improved in last 20 years compared to the previous 40 years of Communism. At that time there were food coupons but now more products are available on the market. This relative prosperity comes with a high cost of polluted environment. This is why Chinese generally do not fight with Communists hoping for more improvement in their lives. This fact also emboldened Communist Party.
In the 1980’s President Reagan introduced strategic plan to collapse Soviet Union. Human rights defenders also increased pressure on the Communist regimes. In the recent past some groups of advocates for Chinese opposition encouraged boycott of Chinese products. What can be done today to stop the human rights abuses by Chinese Communist regime?
Many Westerners do not understand current situation in China.
What should they know about the regime to be able to understand it?
Regime controls every aspect of public life. Australia, for instance, have permission to invest in manufacturing but it cannot invest in education or Chinese media. Department of Propaganda of Communist Party of China strictly forbids investment in those areas. This Department prohibited practicing of any religions in China in first 40 years after Communist revolution. In 1980’s Department of Propaganda established a Catholic state church. It is of course Communist Catholic church with its own bishops and priests. These Catholic Church is different from the universal worldwide Roman-Catholic church because it is strictly controlled by Communist Party’s Propaganda Department.
One of its decrees prohibits women from conceiving children. If woman breaks that rule she is guilty and sentenced for labour camp or forced abortion and sterilization. These particular laws were adjusted allowing couples two children because Communist Party needs labour force. Suffice to say that the establishing such limitations on having children proves that the Communist Party of China did not resign from its birth control policies. Freedoms of Chinese people are still depending on the decisions of Communist regime.
So you are claiming that current Chinese government is the same like its predecessors.
Yes. This is a crucial fact about current life in China, which must be understood by Westerners. The Communist Party of China is still such a powerful force that it is a real government. Communists are controlling every aspect of China’s policies.
When in your opinion China will transform itself into democracy?
In 50 years China will be democratic country but the change of political system may occur sooner. It depends on the will of Chinese people. The Communist Party of China cannot influence will of Chinese people.
Harry Wu – geologist, author. Harry Wu has been unjustly imprisoned for 19 years in Chinese laogai prison. He is human rights defender and founder of Laogai Research Foundation. He is an author of 6 books and thousands of articles published on China. Recently he published “Thunderstorm in the Night”.