Biography of Keynote Speaker
Christine Loh is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of the independent,
non-profit public policy think tank, Civic Exchange. Loh had a 14-year career in the
private commercial sector, where she was engaged in commodities trading and
strategic planning, before having a highly successful career in politics for nearly a
decade. She is a published author of many books ranging from the environment to
history and politics.
Loh is an Adjunct Professor in the Division of Environment at the Hong Kong
University of Science and Technology. She is also a Board Member of the Hong Kong
Mercantile Exchange, First Pacific Company Limited, and Thomson Reuters
Founders Share Company. She is a member of the External Review Committee of
Royal/Dutch Shell’s Sustainability Report. Loh is a Board Member of numerous
non-profit organisations in Hong Kong and abroad involved in the environment, urban
planning, as well as human rights. Loh is also a trustee on several family foundations.
Loh has been widely recognised for her achievements, including being recognised as
one of the ‘Heroes of the Environment’ by TIME in October 2007, and named
‘Woman Who Makes A Difference’ in 2009 by RBS Coutts/Financial Times’ Women
in Asia Awards.
Yu Jie English Speech Transcript
The Society of Publishers in Asia 2012 Awards for Editorial Excellence Presentation I’m deeply honored to be invited to give a speech during The Society of Publishers in Asia 2012 Awards for Editorial Excellence Presentation Ceremony.
My friend and mentor, Nobel peace prize winner Mr. Liu Xiaobo wrote in his book “Charter 08” that “Freedom is at the core of universal human values. Freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, freedom of where to live and the freedoms to strike, to demonstrate and to protest, among others, are the forms that freedom takes. Without freedom China will always remain far from the civilized ideals.” Evidently, for Liu Xiaobo, the freedom of speech and press are of the utmost importance.
Liu Xiaobo paid a heavy price with 11 years of imprisonment for the sake of himself and all Chinese compatriots by taking a stand for freedom and human rights. Likewise, I was also
summoned by Chinese authorities and was interrogated, tracked, harassed and put to illegal house arrest and even secretly kidnapped and tortured to unconsciousness, until I finally fled to the United States.
Nevertheless, we have no regrets, for our cause did not fail, and our vocation has only just begun. We believe that China will eventually embark on the road to democracy, republicanism and liberty with constitutional governments, and the Chinese people will finally be released from over 2000 years of tragic dictatorial rule, and our lives and future will be as the Bible says,“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.”
In the pursuit of freedom, our ideas, vocation and goals are the same as The Society of Publishers in Asia.
In recent years, China’s human rights situation has steadily declined, with last decade’s positive hopes and expectations for the “Hu-Wen New Administration” vanishing. Even the hosting of the Olympic Games and the World Expo in China did not urge China to accept these universal values. On the contrary, the rapid growth of the Chinese economy has allowed the central government’s regulations and ideals to gradually edge towards Fascism. Due to the fact that China’s economic development deeply leverages the “subdued human rights advantage”, China has become an unnatural combination of the “worst of socialism” and the “worst of capitalism”. Each year, more than RMB 70 million are spent on “stability maintenance”, yet instability continues to grow within the state. The Chinese government has transformed into an interest group, and even with the change involving the eighteen powers, there is a minimal chance for top-down political reform in China. Even today the academic communities in China and abroad cannot define a framework to describe China’s political, economic, and cultural structure and ideology. Nobody can classify whether China is following a totalitarian or post-totalitarian system, and if the country is a devotee of fascism or militarism.
Under these circumstances, accurate and truthful reports of the situation in China are extremely important. Only a large quantity of first-hand reports can give us the ability to understand and research the current situation in China, and to allow us to find a way out for China’s future. As such, I have the utmost admiration for all the journalists who put everything on the line and report on the so-called “sensitive issues” of China.
Since Liu’s Nobel Peace Prize and the “Tunisian Revolution”, there has been a significant increase of reports on the issue of Chinese human rights in the global media. As a reaction to this, authorities of the Communist Party not only tightened the control of the domestic media, but also revealed their dark side to overseas media. In the spring of 2011, police assaulted a foreign journalist in Wangfujing. Later, a reporter who went to ShandongDongshigu village to interview the blind human-rights activist Chen Guangcheng was chastised and violently blocked, gang-like, by government officials. Recently, Al Jazeera China’s English Channel reporter Chan Jia Yun (Melissa Chan) was banished from Beijing, resulting in Al Jazeera closing down all English reporting operations in Beijing. What did Chan do that was out of line as a reporter? In fact, her punishment was the result of Al Jazeera’s broadcast back in November 2011, of a documentary entitled “Slavery: The evil of the 21st century – the prison slave labor documentary”. The film provided a detailed look with evidence of Chinese prisoners engaging in high-intensity labor with no security, then selling and exporting the “Laogai products” into the international market. Thus, humiliated and infuriated, the Chinese government used despicable means as retaliation against Al Jazeera.
And so, as the environment for reporters in China is deteriorating rapidly, is it still possible for them to adhere to their professional principles and tell the truth?
Darkness fears the light, and not vice versa, with the light fearing darkness. With the same analogy, the Chinese government, with their illegal operations, should dread being exposed by reporters, rather than reporters fearing the Chinese government. Indeed, the CPC has a military force well trained for maintaining stability, with the power to make an innocent citizen disappear, develop a list of hundreds to be “buried alive”, and the ability to revoke the working visa of any foreign reporter. They were even capable of letting 30 million people starve to death in years of good harvest, gave consent to massacre unarmed students and citizens in the capital. Is there anything they can’t do? Still, we should not fear them, and quoting from the Bible: “do not be afraid of those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul”.
Yu Jie Chinese Speech Transcript
亚洲出版协会 2012 年卓越新闻奖致辞
非常荣幸获邀在亚洲出版协会 2012 年卓越新闻奖的颁奖典礼上致辞。
A 21st Century Evil: Prison Slaves