“When governments collaborate with totalitarian regimes committing atrocities, they grow richer, they get faster technology. But when they slowly discover that freedom of speech is growing smaller then this wealth, this technology, is meaningless”
Even in the middle of a global pandemic there has been one country that has broken through the news cycle – China. The acts of the Chinese government in recent years are a true cause for global concern. From Hong Kong to Tibet, from Xinjiang to Inner Mongolia we are all witnessing the actions of an authoritarian regime, one that seemingly thinks little of human rights or of its citizens. To the outside observer the Chinese government seems more interested in quashing dissent, re-writing history and bending the rest of the world to fit its narrative, than it does on embracing core human values.
Index has written extensively over many years about the impact of this within China, the effect on media freedom, freedom of expression and freedom online. We’ve highlighted the work of incredibly brave dissidents demanding democracy in Hong Kong. We’ve featured the words of Uighur poets, the writings and musings of Ai Weiwei and the amazing work of organisations like GreatFire who every day challenge the firewall that the Chinese government has erected, restricting their citizens access to global information.
But the Chinese government is more than an authoritarian government. It is a government built on the ideology and infrastructure of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). This year marks the centenary of the CCP and in the latest edition of Index on Censorship magazine we’ve focused on the impact of the CCP both at home and abroad. Of the many features in our special report, what is most touching, at least for me, are the beautiful words of Ma Jian, the acclaimed writer in exile. Ma Jian reflects on the impact of the CCP on his life and why he has to live in exile.
When Index on Censorship was launched, one of our founders, Stephen Spender, was adamant that it was going to be more than a frustration sheet, we were going to be a home for amazing writing that inspired and moved us. Ma Jian’s words did exactly that, which he did once again when he spoke at the launch of the magazine on Wednesday.
His personal testimony will haunt me, his words were beautiful and reminded me once again of the vital importance of our work. Please take a minute to read Ma Jian in his own words, he will inspire you.
And to enter the bank holiday on a positive note, a few more words of hope from Ma Jian.