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Yaxue Cao, March 20, 2018     Li Baiguang (李柏光), a human rights lawyer, died on February 26, aged 49. Li Baiguang, born on October 1, 1968, was the youngest of seven children in a tiny mountain village household in Jiahe county, Chenzhou, Hunan. His father died when he was seven years old. The family was impoverished. When Li reached school age, his playmates went to school, but he had to stay home another year and help his mother with chores. One day, after he herded the ducks back home, Li went to the school, leant on the window, and saw his friends all studying. He returned home and told his mother through tears: “If you don’t let me go to school, I’ll hack our […]


Guo Yushan, September 22, 2016     On September 22, after nearly two years in detention and a trial in August, lawyer Xia Lin (夏霖), my friend, will finally face his sentence. Whatever he’s been charged with, it’s clear to everyone that it was only because he defended me that he has been imprisoned, and suffered as he has to this day. In May 2014, Xia Lin got dragged into a number of disputes because of his involvement in Pu Zhiqiang’s (浦志强) case. One day in mid June, me, Xia Lin, and Kaiping (黄凯平) were sharing drinks at Beijing Worker’s Stadium, lamenting Pu’s case. At a break in the conversation, Xia Lin suddenly said to me: “If you get sent to prison in the future, […]


Ren Bumei, August 2, 2016 In 2005, when Hu Shigen was serving the 13th year of his 20 year prison sentence for forming the Chinese Free Democratic Party, he was awarded that year’s Outstanding Democracy Activist Award by the California-based Chinese Democracy Education Foundation. This is an excerpt of a speech given by exiled dissident Ren Bumei (任不寐) titled “Hu Shigen and the Highest Aspirations of Our Age” (《 胡石根与我们时代的精神高度》), upon accepting the award on Hu’s behalf. Hu, among the first four of the July 9, 2015 detainees to be indicted, is being put through a show trial today (August 3, Beijing Time) in the Tianjin Second People’s Intermediate Court. This is our first post in a series about Hu Shigen. — The Editors.   […]


By Fengsuo Zhou, Yaxue Cao, published: November 4, 2014   We did not foresee writing this letter. We didn’t think it was necessary. All we need to do, we thought, is to present facts to the public, including the Wellesleyans. And we thought that truth is the only thing that matters, and that, before racism and McCarthyism become issues, the first order should be to find out what happened. Let us introduce ourselves first. Fengsuo was a senior and physics major at Tsinghua University in Beijing in 1989. During the Tiananmen democracy movement, Fengsuo told the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on May 30, 2014, “I was responsible for setting up a student network that directed the protesters on Tiananmen Square, provided medical services to thousands […]


By Yaxue Cao, published: October 26, 2014 Almost a year ago, I posted a report titled “Why Is a Math Professor at Wellesley So Hard Hitting against an Economics Professor Fired by Peking University in China” on this website. This week, on October 22, the story entered a second season when the math professor in question – Professor Charles Bu – posted the article I Am Not a Communist Spy in The Wellesley News. On October 23, Thomas Cushman, Professor of Sociology and Director of Wellesley’s Freedom Project, posted in the same paper a rebuttal, On Charles Bu’s Falsehoods, in response to Professor Bu’s accusations against Cushman. I am also among the people accused by Professor Bu of participating in a “McCarthy-style witch hunt.” The following is […]


By Yaxue Cao, published: November 25, 2013   To be sure, there is nothing wrong about a math professor—or a marine biologist, an astronaut, an alchemist, for that matter–speaking out against Professor Xia Yeliang, defending Peking University’s decision to fire the professor of Economics who “happens to be” a dissident and a critic of the communist regime, and lashing out at his Wellesley colleagues for their support of professor Xia. For those of you who have not been following news from China that closely, here is a quick review of the Professor Xia Yeliang Incident: Professor Xia is a professor of economics at Peking University. On October 18, the university notified him that a faculty committee voted not to renew his contract. Professor Xia’s firing […]


By Yaxue Cao A few days ago, I watched a video clip of the 6th plenary session of the Chinese communist party’s 17th Central Committee. I didn’t pay attention to what they were talking about. Instead I was interested by the stony faces of China’s highest-ranking officials when the camera rolled over them one after another: except for Hu Jintao who was giving a speech, each had the same frozen, expressionless face with no discernible muscle movement whatsoever, while it is hard to catch the focus of their eyes. A Weibo commentator said all of them suffered from “facial paralysis.” I probably shouldn’t be promoting physiognomy here, but in China, officials do tend to have highly uniformed facial display. In front of superiors, they pile […]


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