Washington D.C., February 17, 2022 – A Japanese version of Citizen Power Initiatives for China (CPIFC) president Dr. Jianli Yang’s selected collection of 138 speeches (2000-2020), “For Us, the Living: A Journey to Shine the Light on Truth” (https://www.amazon.com/dp/1952106834) was published in Japan today by Fukuoka Publishing House (https://www.hanmoto.com/bd/isbn/9784867350256).
The original 619-page English book, forwarded by the Dalai Lama and Natan Sharansky, was published in May 2021 by Redwood Publishing.
Over the past three decades, Dr. Yang has spoken to audiences across the globe — at venues as varied as the United Nations Headquarters in New York City; the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo, Norway; Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.; Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Geneva, Switzerland; New Delhi, India; Brussels, Belgium; Rome, Italy; Taiwan; and many more. He has attended grassroots rallies, walked through corridors of power, traveled to remote villages, visited high schools and universities, attended NGO forums, spoken at churches, and delivered remarks to United Nations delegations.
Throughout these speeches, Dr. Yang has exposed and documented the Chinese Communist Party’s widespread human rights abuses and continued exploitation of the Chinese people. He has explained how the CCP’s abuses of power threaten not only its own citizens, but also the rest of the world. He has called on the international community to stand up for human rights in China. He has laid out specific plans, initiatives, policies, laws and approaches that he believes will most effectively produce meaningful change in China.
The newly published Japanese version, translated by Japanese scholar and diplomat Kazuha Inoue, is titled “Let’s Change China”. The book was recently reviewed by former diplomat and commentator Kunihiko Miyake and assistant editor Rui Sasaki.
I. Commentary by Kunihiko Miyake
Democratic Activist Who Will Change China
Kunihiko Miyake, Research Fellow, Canon Institute for Global Studies
February 10, 2022
(Translated from https://www.sankei.com/article/20220210-FWCYYSQ2SZOR5PLUJSWPHFMTPA/)
I read a book on China last week, and it turned out to be the first book worth reading in a long time.
Have you ever heard of a man named Jianli Yang?
He is a well-known human rights activist from China, who was born in China’s Shandong province in 1963. He received a master’s degree from Beijing Normal University, and holds PhDs in Mathematics and Political Economy from UC Berkeley and Harvard University, respectively.
In 1989, Yang returned to China to help his fellow students involved with the Tiananmen protests. He was consequently marked by the authorities for supporting the democracy movement.
In 2002, Yang secretly returned to China to research the Chinese labor movement. He was arrested, charged with espionage and illegal entry, and sentenced to five years in prison. After finally being released in 2007, he resumed his work on behalf of the democracy movement in the United States and continued to lecture as a Harvard Fellow and has testified before Congress.
When I learned that Dr. Yang was ten years younger than me, I remembered my four years at the Japanese Embassy in Beijing beginning in 2000 and the many outstanding, young, liberal Communist Party members, like Dr. Yang, whom I met in Chinese academic circles. Many of them had taken part in the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. Their courage (including that of Dr. Yang Jianli)—then and now—continues to amaze me.
Dr. Yang has spent nearly 10 percent of his life in Chinese prisons, as a man living out his Christian faith, during which he was threatened and endangered by abusive prison guards. He has now published a book entitled “Let’s Change China,” a collection of the speeches he has given over the past twenty years.
The book was published on February 15. Dr. Yang’s writings on democracy, human rights, the Tiananmen Massacre and his suffering in Chinese prisons are deeply moving and will never be read in present-day China.
More than a decade ago, he made various proposals to the United States Congress regarding the Beijing Olympics and the Uighur issue, which continues to be the center of discussion today. I urge as many people as possible to read the book.
Advice to Japan
In his book, Yang says, “Since 1989 the ideology of the Chinese Communist Party has collapsed with nationalism and national interest replacing the communist ideal and Japan has become a convenient target.” In particular, he makes the following points:
1. An expansive, undemocratic, and uncivilized neighboring regime is unfavorable to Japan’s security and democratic lifestyle.
2. Japan’s historical feelings of guilt are toward the Chinese people and should not be toward the CCP. Japan has never let down the Chinese Communist Party. Supporting democratization and the improvement of human rights conditions in China will eventually help to resolve the Chinese people’s hatred toward Japan.
3. Japan is Asia’s most powerful democracy and should have more self-confidence and a greater sense of moral responsibility to help democratize China.
4. Japan does not pay enough to attention to China’s abysmal human rights record and abuse of the rule of law, and needs to adjust its traditional quiet diplomacy with a stronger message to its communist neighbor.
The book is a cry from one of China’s outstanding intellectuals and, while it will provoke different understanding from person to person, Yang says, “Japan’s government and position should understand that even if Japan feels bad for the Chinese people, it has never expressed this to the Chinese Communist Party.”
Even if such a man as Dr. Jianli Yang becomes the future leader of China, it will take time to solve the “100 years of hate” as he refers to his China.
It is in the interest of the international community, including Japan, to see as more Chinese people like Dr. Yang return to China to lead both domestic and international affairs. The new book, “Let’s Change China”, is a step in that effort.
II. Commentary by Rui Sasaki
I Want to Learn from the Cry of the Chinese Democratic Movement
Rui Sasaki, Assistant Editor
February 15, 2022
(Translated from https://www.sankei.com/article/20220215-DRWIA3YV7BPNVEBNX7LHRJ4XRE/)
The Beijing Winter Olympics featured pandas in spacesuits playing with athletes and doing interviews with local Chinese media with the Japanese media fawning over the scene, dancing in the hands of a China that behaves as if it is not violating human rights.
Right at this time, a publishing house in Fukuoka sent me a book translated by a friend, entitled “Let’s Change China”, by Dr. Jianli Yang.
The author is a Chinese human rights activist living in the United States, with a twenty-year record of giving testimony on China in the US Congress and elsewhere.
The translator is Mr. Inoue, proficient in both Chinese and English, whom I met while stationed in Washington, D.C., in 2010.
Unlike the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department and the US Congress, prior to the pandemic, one was able to enter with an ID and go through a metal detector to arrange an interview in both chambers of commerce without an appointment. I met Mr. Inoue there and he met Dr. Yang for the first time at a hearing in the US Congress.
After completing his education in China, Yang earned two PhDs in the United States. Upon returning to China to assist his fellow students, he was arrested and has spent nearly 10 percent of his life in prison as a political prisoner.
Describing the current situation in China, Yang writes, “Since the Tiananmen Massacre of 1989, the ideology of the Communist Party has collapsed and nationalism and national interests have replaced the ideal of communists as the only way of unifying Chinese society.”
The Communist Party used the anti-Japanese movement to divert public attention from issues such as corruption, the rule of law, and human rights, in order to survive following in the pattern of US policy towards China changing fundamentally in the wrong direction after Secretary of State Henry Kissinger announced a change in relations between the United States and China in the 1970s.
The prospect of China’s integration into the international community causing her to democratize is severely criticized by Yang. He sees this approach as completely ignoring the evil nature and hegemonic ambitions of the Chinese Communist Party.
Speaking to Japan, Yang says, “Japan is the most powerful, democratic country in Asia and we hope Japan will be more confident and lead with a sense of moral responsibility pushing China to democratize.”
The dancing panda has turned out to be an uncle with a rough voice, causing us to look beyond appearances to the reality that China needs to change.