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By: Yutong Su
On 17 April, a court in Beijing sentenced Gao Yu to 7 years in prison. The 71 year old veteran female Chinese journalist will be jailed for the third time. The internaional community seethes with indignation and condemns Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime of their repression of dissidents and prohibition of free speech. International organzations such as Reporters Without Borders call the international community for pressure and sanction against the Chinese government.
In this context, we’re glad to see that Mr. Peter Limbourg, the Director-General of Deutsche Welle (DW) made official statement to condemn the verdict against Ms. Gao. Further he made more active stance to halt the on-going cooperation negotiation with the Communist official media China Central Television (CCTV). I appreciate this wise decision of Mr. Limbourg, as it’s in line with the principles of the “Deutsche Welle Act” and the mainstream value of liberal society.
In August and September last year, Mr. Limbourg visited Beijing, met with CCP officials and determined the cooperation framework with CCTV. I questioned and criticized publicly DW’s cooperation with CCTV which forced Ms. Gao Yu to confess in public as humiliation. Further, together with democratic activists like Wuerkaixi, one leader of the students’ protest in 1989, I wrote letters to Bundestag, the German Federal Parliament to request public hearing of the “Chinese direction” of DW. On 25 March, The media and social culture group of Bundestag invited several organizations to hold a public hearing（http://www.bundestag.de/mediathek/?action=search&ids=4763927&instance=m187&mask=search&contentArea=details）. I watched the hearing from begin to end on Internet, although unfortunately I couldn’t attend it. I witnessed an opinion passage in the democratic system of Germany that can bring some voices of the public to the top decision makers.
In vast contrast to Ms. Gao’s situation of today, although I was dismissed in name of “leaking internal secret” because I criticized in public numerous articles written by Mr. Frank Sieren, who is Beijing based journalist of DW, to whitewash the despotism and “4th June Massacre” of the CCP regime, and also because I criticized Mr. Limbourg of his “China direction” at that time, I still feel fortunate that I was not risking my personal freedom to be put in prison, but still able to speak out and defend my rights through legal procedures. Even better, I can see that Mr. Limbourg changed his earlier decision when he updated his knowledge of the false propoganda machines of a dictatorial state. This change requires courage, moral strength and capacity of discretion. I would like to take the chance to express my gratitude to Mr. Limbourg for his commitment to keep concerned about the fate of Ms. Gao Yu and many other persecuted. This is a valuable new direction.
I’m also expecting Mr. Limbourg to restore the “Beijing Observation” column which was previously contributed by Ms. Gao Yu, so as to pay respect to her bravery in defending freedom of speech, as well as DW’s termination of cooperation with CCTV and stop the violation of general guidelines of “Deutsche Welle Act” by beautifying the despotism to please the CCP regime in exchange for commercial benefits. The culture exchange between Germany and China won’t be stagnated or affected by ending DW’s cooperation with CCTV. There are also many ethical media striving for survival in the cracks of the totalitarian system, and also waves of new media which become more and more active. They should become the new direction of DW’s strategic objects of cooperation.
Concerning the DW’s dismissal of me on 19 August of last year, I will begin a dialogue with Deutsche Welle about the rule of law on the court in the near future.