Chinese Dissidents Feel Heat of Beijing’s Wrath. Even in Canada.

from NYTs

Search for Sheng Xue on Google in English and you will find the story of an award-winning writer who left China for Canada after the Tiananmen Square uprising and became one of the world’s leading advocates for Chinese democracy.

But that same search in Chinese comes up with a very different portrait: Sheng Xue is a fraud, a thief, a traitor and a serial philanderer. Want proof? It offers up salacious photos, like one seeming to show her kissing a man who is not her husband.

As China extends its influence around the globe, it has mastered the art of soft power, establishing Confucius Institutes on Western college campuses and funding ports and power plants in developing countries.

But building up is only one prong of the Chinese strategy. The other is knocking down. And few know this better than Sheng Xue.

More here.

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5 Responses to Chinese Dissidents Feel Heat of Beijing’s Wrath. Even in Canada.

  1. Horace L Bryce Jr April 9, 2019 at 2:08 am #

    In this article author Catherine Porter describes the tension between China and democratic activist Sheng Xue. The author explains the dynamics of this relationship and how many problems have surfaced since her rivalry with the Chinese Communist party began in the 1990’s. First and foremost, it is most interesting to me how she was ridiculed and the steps that were taken to plot against her, in order to destabilize the movements, she has created. One action people against Xue have taken use the idea of sexual images and false scandals to discredit her name and take away her professionalism. Since she is a women, it is very looked down upon by many to have images such as the ones described linked to your name, especially being a woman. Eventually others began writing in her name, making radical remarks and saying things that aren’t true just to make her look bad. In addition, she was also attacked, which took a toll on her whole career. Since she is an activist and fights a system that has been in reign for centuries, it is not surprising that people would go after her, especially since she has done so much under the Canadian Federation and Chinese democracy. Also, she is a woman, and in the Confucian communities of China, they do not advocate women in power, or even going outside the boundaries of family, marriage, and beauty standards. So, when there are people who fight against these beliefs, which are held by almost every being in China, it is looked down upon on a national scale. Xue felt as though she escaped these oppressive manors, but her rebellion has been seen as acts of a traitor in the eyes of China for decades now. Although she has fought them for many years, her time is twiddling down, along with her message. It is not long before she cannot continue her work and the Chinese mission to destabilize her is complete. I feel as though the victimization of Xue was a warning sign for others who many be thinking of rebelling against the Chinese government, and a way to silence other voices, just as anybody has done when fighting oppression on a national scale.

  2. Edward S April 11, 2019 at 1:53 pm #

    China has a substantial interest in curtailing the efforts of Sheng Xue because according to a document created within the Chinese Communist Party, Western values including democracy and freedom of the press are considered to be existential threats to the country. The C.C.P’s interest is in maintaining an iron grip on their political control, having 90 million members. There is an inherent lack of transparency in the government’s political decision making body as their Central Committee and Politburo consists of membership that goes through secretive processes to become elected. Some officials for example are simply elected by virtue of their elite class within the C.C.P. While the Politburo has supreme authority to set policy and the staffing of cabinets, local government officials are also appointed by the party. Therefore the C.C.P. has a complete and total grip on the country through all aspects of Chinese life including culture, politics, and economics (https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/chinese-communist-party).
    Even history is not off limits. China recently changed the dates of the Sino-Japanese war. It is agreed to have lasted from 1937-1945 and the Chinese government recently mandated that the date in all textbooks be changed to 1931-1945. Zhang Lifan, who is a historian in Beijing believes that the change was done in order to promote the Communist party (https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/jan/13/china-rewrites-history-books-to-extend-sino-japanese-war-by-six-years).

    There has also been the long looming dilemma of how to handle government sponsored hacking campaigns. One of the biggest problems with cybercrime is that when governments participate in such activities, determining an equivalent punitive response is difficult. The shift that has occurred in the global arena of boasting one’s geopolitical influence has moved from physical combat to cyber combat. Indeed the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) shows that collectively since 2006 China, Russia, and North Korea has been responsible for the majority of significant cyber incidents against the rest of the world (https://www.csis.org/programs/cybersecurity-and-governance/technology-policy-program/other-projects-cybersecurity).

    There is a sentiment however that has been growing in China, known as the concept of intra party democracy. One avenue for which China may move to a democracy system is through the C.C.P itself. The proposal is that although China’s C.C.P. is the dominant party, there are now factions within the party which are competing for power. The notion is that the potential exists that such factions in themselves represent a different form of democracy. Although it may not be the type of democracy comparable to the United States, it is potentially another form of democracy which will expect to undergo political evolution in the future (https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/fall_china_democracy_li.pdf).

  3. Aidan Nathaniel Clee April 12, 2019 at 8:43 pm #

    I found interest in the article due to the fact that I am taking a class on Asian history and it has really given me an insight into their culture and background to their whole society. The culture of China and most of eastern Asia is far more reserved then that of the western world we live in. This article describes the way that they attacked her and in their attacks they really went for aspects of her life that would be far reserved in an attempt to ruin all of her honor and in our society the way she was attacked would not have as large of an effect as the attacks effect overseas. The reasons for her attack are far more interesting though and the potential effects of it thereof. The CCP has taken interest in bringing down her name because she stands for western political ideas and China has labeled those ideas as a threat to the country and her bringing those ideas to the attention of Chinese citizens scares the government as they see it as they could lose power. They currently have total control of the government and everything that goes on and that’s all controlled by those at the top so if they allow the citizens in on that process, they have going on then they could definelty end up losing their absolute control. They have so much control that they change the dates in textbooks and censor content for their citizens to an extreme level as well as monitor everything going on in their country. I think this is all very dangerous and Sheng Xue should be protected and her message should be spread so that the CCP can face consequences for their actions.

  4. Nicholas Meyerback April 16, 2019 at 1:45 pm #

    The Chinese have become adept at utilizing propaganda to their benefit. The history of political propaganda within the nation dates back hundreds of years, peaking during Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution. The Cultural Revolution was an effort to revoke the focus from the failure of Mao’s Great Leap Forward in which he attempted to industrialize the agrarian nation in just five years. The Cultural Revolution became one of the greatest cover-up schemes in history. Just like Hitler, Mao blamed the shortcomings of his economic policies on scapegoats. Mao was proficient at brain-washing the youth, shutting-down schools and mobilizing them to attack political opponents in a “spirit of revolution”. The Cultural Revolution sought to purge society of “impure” “bourgeoise sympathizers” . Mao’s avenue of propaganda was restricting education and circulating his “Little Red Book” that created a cult of personality.

    Since Mao, the Chinese government has become more subtle in their efforts to spread their message. Chinese officials make great use of the appearance of freedom in China. For Example, the government allows citizens to access the internet but strictly censors anything that commends Chinese politics or the nation as whole. They’re now using the internet as a tool to spread propaganda, just as Mao used the Little Red Book. Oftentimes, citizens who leave China do so for political freedom. More often than not, Chinese immigrants take to the internet to condemn their former government and converse with other defectors around the world. Their goal is to spread awareness of the horrors of political oppression. The government has responded to this criticism with censorship and a general smear campaign. Sheng Xue, a Chinese immigrant living in Canada, has been an active advocate of Chinese Democracy online and in her community. As a result, Xi Jingping’s regime has made sure to paint a negative picture of Xue and her fellow activists. They even depicted her as an promiscuous woman with fraudulent photographs of her with another man. These efforts are no different than China’s previous efforts to undermine opponents.

  5. Josh Shupper April 16, 2019 at 3:54 pm #

    The Chinese government has been well-known for trying to suppress dissidents and not in the good way either. A woman identified by the pseudonym Sheng Xue has fallen victim to being oppressed by many threats from the Chinese Government and others. When the name Sheng Xue comes up on the internet, there seems to be two different sides. One side is in regard to what she has done as an activist and journalist throughout her career after leaving China to move to Canada because of the Tiananmen Square incident where tanks were forced into the streets of China. Honestly, that is something very tough for anyone to escape. She was very fortunate that she was able to get out from somewhere where the government is harsh at the time and likes to criticize people for speaking out against them. People should have a right to say whatever they want within certain parameters or limits. Xue had spoken out against the Government of China on many different occasions. The second side can stem from this and that many people try to mock her and bully her online by posting pictures or saying mean and nasty tweets about her all over the internet. The article mentioned Sheng Xue showing up in a picture where she was half-naked. The thing is that this never happened. Sheng Xue has built a lot of stress of herself to get away from her problems. However, if there is one thing that people should know, it is that whatever you do as an action either good or bad, that stays with you for the rest of your life and there is no way around it. Sheng Xue has suffered in a huge way and her life has been completely ruined by the Chinese Government and the internet. The stress that she has endured made her end up going to a hospital and has suffered severe health consequences that she may never be able to recover from. I feel bad for what Sheng Xue has endured over her life. People should have a right to speak up for themselves and have the ability to say what they want. For what she has had to suffer from, it seems ridiculous that people would say or post inappropriate things about a woman who barely escaped China with her life back in 1989.

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