Saturday, October 16, 2010


PRIZE TO ONE OF CHINA’S MAIN DISSIDENT - China’s leaders are worrying about this month’s award of the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo. Their currency policy is under attack from wealthier nations, most recently Japan. Take the case of Nobel Prizewinner Mr Liu. When the literary critic and a group of friends were preparing two years ago to publish Charter 08, a pro-democracy manifesto, they expected repercussions from the authorities but nothing like what transpired. Not only was Mr Liu arrested days before the launch, he was also sent to jail for 11 years for subversion of state power. Even some government officials were surprised by the length of the sentence. Mr Liu belongs to a generation of pro-democracy activists who were involved in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests but have found it hard in recent years to win a broad audience for their views.

Yet by jailing him for such a long time, the authorities created the risk that Mr Liu will become a martyr for democracy supporters - especially now that the Nobel prize is sparking strong curiosity among young, educated Chinese about Charter 08 and his other writings. China’s spate of public agitation for political reform continued on Friday, as more than 100 Chinese intellectuals and dissidents signed and posted an online letter asking that the Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo be released from prison and that government security officers stop harassing his wife, Liu Xia. The authorities could offer to free him if he agrees to emigrate to, say, the US - from where many dissidents have struggled to make an impact on domestic politics - but friends think he would be unlikely to agree.

Liu Xiaobo went on a hunger strike in support of the Tiananmen Square students in 1989. In Charter 08, the pro-democracy manifesto that Mr. Liu co-authored and which led to his imprisonment, the signers asked the government to give people more basic freedoms, such as of expression, association and religion. Despite the big capitalist development in China, there are people who are not satisfied with clocks, plasma TVs, cars and computers, but also aspire to enjoy the freedom to think, to choose who to vote for and what to believe. We should search in the Vedic scriptures the highest ideals.

We want to make everything the same. We are not sure whether we want to make the good the bad or the bad the good. What is it that we want to change? Everywhere we hear about equality. Can anyone explain what equality is? It is only in the religion of the self that true equality can come. It cannot come in any other religion. And these are all the words from the scriptures. Why are the politicians borrowing these words from the scriptures? Equality, Liberty, Fraternity. These are all words from the scriptures, not from politics. Why is it necessary to borrow from the scriptures? ... All questions are answered in the spiritual world if we discuss them with proper application of mind. If we do sadhana-bhajana regularly, then all faults, errors or wrong notions which bind our lives, stand corrected. We can lead a higher form of life, higher level of life. Not that it will create any inconvenience for us in our search for food and clothing and a roof. But on top of the search for food, clothing and roof, we also need to follow morality and ideals.

Śrī Bhaktivedanta Vamana Gosvami Mahārāja :
"Self-imprisonment for the whole of one's life?"
Talk given on 12 December 1998 at Sri Madhav Jiu Gaudiya Matha
On the occasion of Vyas puja of Srila B.V. Vamana Maharaja

No comments: