my piece on Chen about his dramatic changes in the past year

From China to NYC, it’s night and day for Chen Guangcheng

A year ago one of China’s most famous dissidents escaped for a new life in America. Now he faces a different kind of rejection.

A year ago, one of China’s most famous dissidents escaped for a new life in America. Now he faces a different kind of rejection.

“It’s like heaven and earth,” says Chen Guangcheng, the 43-year-old human-rights activist. That’s how he describes the difference between his current life in New York City and his life before — under illegal house arrest in his native village in eastern China’s Shandong province.

We are chatting via Skype one night (Beijing time) about the drastic changes of the past year. My old friend adds, with a laugh: “Or as different as day and night — it’s daytime here, and night over where you are.”

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One thought on “my piece on Chen about his dramatic changes in the past year

  1. There is a lot of naivete and misguided and false notions in China about human rights or China”s perception about America and the West today.
    In all fairness, China’s social inequities, political culture, official corruption, government abuses and overreaching, economic injustices and a widening class and wealth chasm, and its mercantilistic, bling-bling trajectory of growth at any price even in environmental degradation, corrosion of basic civility and humanistic values are downright pathetic and unconscionable.
    But for many Chinese activitists, intellectuals, and dissidents, the notion that they can hitch their struggle to reform and change Chinese society from the outside with foreign, Euro-Western-American help is downright naive, if not dumb and stupid.
    China is beset with hugh problems… So is America!
    There are as much if not worse injustices and widening class and wealth disparity in America!
    Government overreaching, corruption, “pay to play” politics, crony capitalsm, the stranglehold of special moneyed interests in dominating and the corrupting culture of “influence-peddling” “corporate welfarism” are as pernicious and endemic in America or the UK, and so-called “Euro-Western” democracies.
    Chen Guangcheng is naive and perhaps “overwhelmed” by his first glimpse living and experiencing America!
    Why not? He and his family are being heavily subsidized and “free-loading” off his American benefactors.
    This “free ride” cannot last forever.
    Sooner or later, one’s feet have to be firmly implanted on the ground… and the reality and realization that the streets of America are not “paved with gold” and that America’s mean streets and societal problems are as serious if not more serious as China’s!
    China’s enormous social, economic and political injustices need to be resolved sooner or later by the Chinese themselves.
    So do America’s own unique set of enormous social, economic and political injustices, including the widening chasm between the 99% vs. the 1% elite ruling class in dire need of redress.
    Heaven and earth difference between America and China?
    Hogwash…. Mi Dian Kung. 糞!
    Mr. Chen has not lived in America long-term.
    That blind worship of “Western Moon” specially the “American Moon” will wear thin very soon!
    Americans have to wrestle with their own “demons”! So do the Chinese laobaixing with theirs.
    All governments today are “tigers”! They devour people!
    Learn not from the “lao wai;” their farts smell no more fragrant than the Chinese farts.
    Life is a struggle today for the world’s poor and laobaixing without “guanxi” or “pedigree”!
    Class matters! Culture matters!

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