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"China’s Conscience" Liu, Binyan

By Cheng Kai

Binyan Liu, a well-known journalist and author in mainland China, was born in Changchun, Jilin Province, China, on the fifteenth day of the first month of lunar calendar in 1925, died on 5 December 2005 in the United States in political exile at the age of 80.

Liu was named the first Chinese Democracy Democrat in 1986 by the China Democratic Education Foundation's Selection Committee.

Liu joined the Book Club led by Chinese Communist Party in 1939 when he was 14 years old. This year he published the first short story. When he was 18 years old, Liu participated in the underground anti-Japanese federation led by the Chinese Communist Party in Tianjin in 1943, and joined the Communist Party of China in the same year. After the victory of the Anti-Japanese War in 1946, he disguised as a teacher, engaged in patriotic and progressive activities, and had translated some of the Soviet Union's literary works. Then to 1951, he was engaged in youth work and newspaper editing in Harbin. In 1953, Liu went to Beijing to participate founding of "China Youth Daily", served as the newspaper fellow editor and department head.

The glitter of his life was a "great reversal" in the so-called Chinese modern history from 1956 to 1957. During this period, Liu published a news feature "On the Bridge Worksite", a sharp criticism of the CPC’s bureaucracy; this is the first critical works in the restricted area set by the Mao's "Speech at the Yan'an Forum on Literature and Art" in 1942. Then "The Inside Story of Our Newspaper" and sequel, criticizing CPC’s press control more directly, caused great shock and impact, resonated with the public. In May 1957, Liu published "Shanghai in meditation", criticizing the CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee which promoted the "Press Freedom" ineffectively. At this point, Liu's critical spirit attracted the attention of Mao Zedong, Mao pointed out his article, "trying to mess up China". In July 1957, Liu was labeled as the "extreme rightist", and expelled from the CPC.

From 1957 to 1979, Liu was forced to rural labor camps for thirteen years, served in the "China Youth Daily" information department for five years, and worked informally at the Commercial Press and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences for three years.

Liu had a turning point in 1979, his "rightist" label was removed in February, 6 months later, he published a reportage “People or Monsters” in September, caused great repercussions in the readers. Liu was transferred to "People's Daily" as a senior reporter in December, by the People’s Daily’s special position in China and his own high reputation and prestige in the Chinese press, cultural, he could issue more powerful voice for China's reform and the people's suffering.

At the Fourth Congress of the Chinese Writers' Association in 1984, Liu won the most votes, more than Ba Jin who was designated to be the chairman, became vice chairman of the Chinese Writers Association. Liu, who was already the vice chairman of the Chinese Writers Association and a senior reporter for the People's Daily, continued to call for opening speech ban, press and writing freedom. In the same year, he published the reportage "A Second Kind of Loyalty", directed at "personal superstition", caused a great uproar in China. It was widely believed that Liu used his reportage work to explore a road of writing to reveal the truth, intervene in life and spread the truth for the Chinese writing and cultural circles without press and creative freedom, led the press, literary and art circles trend. Because his works were close to the reality, profoundly exposed the darkness of the CPC's one-party dictatorship, Liu himself became the spokesman for social justice, was known as the "blue sky" by Chinese. Every day many people from all over the country came to the "People's Daily", named Liu, complained to him about their grievances, and asked him to justice. His extraordinary practices, as one of his articles said, ware "the fruits of wisdom and courage from sufferings".

In 1986, the CPC's top authorities felt Liu's righteous image and moral strength, as well as his great influence among the Chinese people, threatening CPC's rule by lying and violence, they began to persecute him again. In September, Liu's "My Diary" was published as a banned book, he was in danger again. But he still didn’t change his enthusiasm of lashing the social darkness. In January 1987, a campaign against "bourgeois liberalization" led to the resignation of the CPC General Secretary Hu Yaobang. Liu was expelled from the CPC for the second time, being named by Deng Xiaoping as the representative of "bourgeois liberalization".

Liu argued that the problems that had arisen in the overseas Chinese democracy movement since 1989 could be viewed as a rehearsal that would practice in China in the future. Most of the troubles, scourges and tragedies Chinese will encounter are coming from Chinese themselves. In other words, the main enemy of the Chinese people in the future will be the Chinese themselves. Our nation always has a tradition of self-destruction and self-destroying. The half century of CPC rule, pushed the awakening of the Chinese from the opposite side. The primary task of China's democratic movement is how to attract the most Chinese people into the process of Chinese society transformation. The practice of social transformation process, is of the most effective melting furnace of the soul. It is imperative to meet people's own needs, so that the civil power can be organized to legally defend and develop their own interests. Such topics can be found in many areas such as economy, society, culture, education, environmental protection, law and so on. In fact, this is the Chinese people's self-redemption. The new inspiring ideas, concepts and slogans are urgently needed to arouse the Chinese people, whose enthusiasm is already cooling down, to participate and dedicate in the social transformation. The Chinese need to know and see the country's prospects and the realistic path to that realistic goal. After his death, Liu received high praise from home and abroad, known as "China's conscience."




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