Chinese Embassy in Washington D.C. is the first oversea facility of P. R. China to be marked with protesting graffiti, July 10th, 2013

The Global Times, a state-run subsidiary newspaper of China’s People’s Daily, recently published a report filled with lies and fabrications that defames the Sparrow Initiative and its organizer Dr. YANG Jianli of Citizen Power for China (also known as Initiatives for China). In the article, the Global Times claimed it had interviewed Dr. YANG when it did not, and provided misleading and false information about the initiative in an attempt to discredit the organization.

The Sparrow Initiative is a campaign launched by Citizen Power for China to help Chinese citizens defend their property rights and obtain justice for the victims of China’s violent dismantling and forced evictions. The name of the initiative comes from the belief that everyone deserves to have a home, even the lowly sparrow. On July 10 three big graffiti-ed Chinese words “拆” appeared on the front gate of the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC.  In China, the word “拆” literally means “dismantle, and is marked on buildings that are slated to be demolished. The spray-painting of this character on the Chinese Embassy is seemingly an expression of support for dismantling the Chinese Embassy and expresses the many citizens deep resentment toward the Chinese Communist regime’s heavy-handed policy of demolishing people’s homes. The graffiti creator therefore is suspected to be a supporter of the Sparrow Initiative.

Chinese Embassy in Ottawa, Canada marked with Graffiti,
 July 14, 2013
Chinese Consulate in Sydney, Australia becomes the third oversea facility marked with force eviction protesting graffiti on July 16, 2013


Chinese Embassy in Italy marked with protesting graffiti on August 12, 2013.

On August 19 the Global Times published a report with the headline: “Investigation into the Graffiti on the Chinese Embassies in the U.S. and Canada: Organizer was jailed in China.” The Global Times reporters Yan Shuang (闫爽)and Wu Yun (吴云)claim that they interviewed the organizer, participants of the Sparrow Initiatives, and many other Chinese in the U.S. and Canada, and concluded that they were simply a handful individuals who fabricated facts in order to draw attention to themselves and use this opportunity to seek political asylum overseas.

The truth is, Ms. Yan Shuang never interviewed Dr. YANG, either in person nor through email. She requested an interview with Dr. YANG but the interview never took place. Dr. YANG sent her background information about the Sparrow Initiative, which she then used to claim that she had interviewed him. Her complete lack of professional ethics is shocking.

In addition, the Global Times’ report heavily cited Mr. Meng Xuan, a Chinese-American commentator, who allegedly is critical of the Sparrow Initiative and made negative remarks about Dr. YANG Jianli during Wu Yun’s interview with him. However, Mr. Meng confirmed to Citizen Power for China that what was reported in the Global Times was not what he meant, and some of his remarks were taken out of context.

The report also describes Dr. YANG as a Chinese-American to avoid mentioning that he is in fact a Chinese citizen, thus creating an impression that the Sparrow Initiatives is nothing but a smear campaign organized by a foreigner to discredit the Chinese government.

In light of the above, Citizen Power for China makes the following statement:

1.     Citizen Power for China is sympathetic and supportive of the victims of China’s violent dismantling and eviction policy and is working to help their cause, however, Citizen Power for China does not encourage, and in fact opposes, using graffiti as a tool to protest against the Chinese government’s policy overseas.

2.     The Global Times’ despicable and dishonest reporting clearly indicates that the Chinese regime refuses to face the truth about its unpopular policy of violent and forced evictions, and chooses to whitewash its actions rather than take steps to curb the rampant corruption and massive injustice that is the result of this policy.

3.    China’s forced dismantling and evictions will continue to increase tension between the Chinese government and common land owners. The systematic, widespread, and grave violations of human rights may become far worse than anyone can expect; massive anger and destabilizing violence could erupt and tragedy will surely follow.  We  therefore urge the Chinese leadership to take initiatives to reverse this policy and place the Chinese people’s well-being first, and to start constitutional and political reforms to guarantee basic human rights, including land rights for the Chinese people, and take measures to ensure each and every Chinese citizen has a home of their own.