Since January this year, former CMP fellow Pu Zhiqiang (浦志强), one of China’s most prominent civil rights lawyers, has been more active on Twitter. This follows a hiatus of nearly three years since his detention in May 2014. In a post earlier today, just as U.S. President Donald Trump was arriving in Beijing for an official three-day visit, Pu offered — with the help of a VPN — bitter remarks on the US-China relationship, indirectly highlighting the way human rights are not just sidelined but invisible.
Pu closes his post with the wish that America might also achieve “great unity,” or datong (大同), an ancient Chinese concept referring to a world in which everything is at peace — but in this case also implying that the United States, like China under the powerful Xi, is heading toward its own great authoritarian “peace” under its an aspiring emperor.
Trump arrives today. He is Xi’s personal friend, and there is no friendship whatsoever with me. I have a thousand reasons to seek good relations with him, and no reason to mess up relations. But neither side is very interested, and it’s just fine to be forgotten by either side. I have met with Americans before, but in this transition they have been defeated, they have all turned underground. Their standing is even lower than mine. The good thing is, this elite upstart stays here for just two days, and the harassment will have its limits. I wish the best for America, and hope that with another 20 years of work it can achieve the great unity it seeks.