Overseas Chinese Democracy Coalition News and Article Release Issue: A40-M8
Release Date: November 22, 2003
Topic: Appeal to the Chinese Government to Openly Invite Exiles Back (MO, Li)

Editor's words:

Mo Li is a reputed and well-known Chinese human rights activist and writer. She has published numerous articles regarding Chinese human rights, including a book in Chinese: "Journey of Human Rights". She is a trustworthy Chinese friend to the Tibetans with extreme sympathy and remarkable support. She is one of very few Chinese authors who wrote so much for the Tibetans' cause and freedom.

Mo Li was put in prison for her participation in the 1989 Chinese democracy movement. Before that, she was a teacher in a college. After that, she was forced into exile, first to Hong Kong, eventually to Sweden where she now lives.

As a woman myself, I have always admired Mo Li's straightforwardness and bravery, as well as enjoyed our times together and our "women talk". I love to read her articles, which are very different from the mainstream male-dominated Chinese human rights and democracy authors. Often they could move me to tears and make my heart talk to her heart. Yet, most importantly, I love her as a good friend and admire her as a person with extraordinary courage and kindness to the others. Her ordeal comes from that, yet she shines through that.

Here I recommend you Mo Li's article, which does not carry her typical female trademarks yet is on a very important subject.

-- Ciping Huang

(This editor recommends the following article to our readers, although its contents do not represent either Mr. WEI Jingsheng or the Wei Jingsheng Foundation's opinion or stand.)


Appeal to the Chinese Government to Openly Invite Exiles Back to China
-- By Mo Li

The Chinese government is quietly doing something good - privately inviting some overseas dissidents in exile to return to China. On the surface, it is loosening up.

People like myself have received invitations from the Chinese National Security Bureau via friends and family members to visit China. Some people in exile have even visited China (even though they were monitored when they were in China).

The remarkable part is that, several years ago, these people had to write confessions and guarantees as a condition to go back. Those who refused ended up not able to meet their beloved for the last time. But now, those who are invited do not have such a condition attached. It seems that the Chinese government is much kinder and gentler now.

I am an example. Two years ago, I received an invitation to go back to China, on the condition that I not criticize the Chinese government anymore. The messenger was one of my friends in Sweden who was visiting China. I refused, because I believe that criticism is my basic right as a Chinese citizen.

More than one year later, while visiting China, my friend in Sweden received an even better meal offered by the National Security with an even better invitation for me: "Mo Li is welcome back to China and may even maintain her right to criticize the government". Probably from monitoring my mail to home and knowing our family financial problems, this time the Chinese Government even voluntarily offered to pay all my expense in China if I returned.

Honestly, when I learned of the invitation, a warm current went through my heart. After so many years in exile, with so much sadness thinking of my family and homeland, my will to hold my belief was finally understood by that government which forced me to become a fugitive. And I heard similar talk from others afterward.

From the surface, this is a very humanitarian act and meets the United Nations' UN international convent on civil and political rights that Chinese government has signed. However, there is no condition attached in the UN's article for a citizen of the country to return.

So I became curious: why is the Chinese government only inviting selected individuals in exile under the table? Why don't they openly do such a good thing? As a person who does not want to give up my ideals, I became hesitant: I am worried that my return to my homeland, which was my basic human right, will become a private bargaining and make myself suspect of "selling myself" to the Chinese government. This worry is a big psychological barrier for me to leap through.

To my knowledge, this invitation has not been made to everyone; there are people in exile who are not invited. Therefore, I have to ask further.

While the others like me are still forbidden in China, if I accept the offer from the Chinese government is it fair? In his last days, the well-known author Wang RuoWang, kept saying, "I miss Shanghai, I miss my children", yet he ended up dying in New York because he would not accept the Chinese government's conditions. The grieving fate of this respectful elder made me feel guilty to others while I was considering returning to my homeland.

The Chinese government should open its policy and publicly announce and invite all people in exile equally to have their right of return, without any condition. This invitation would be beneficial to both the Chinese government and the exiles.

First, to openly invite all exiles to return would greatly raise the Chinese government's international reputation. For all these years, the Chinese government has signed UN covenants yet not exercised them. This non-compliance has caused great outrage in international society and has been strongly condemned. If the Chinese government openly announces a policy of welcoming those in exile, it will be considered a big step forward for the Chinese human rights condition and will win international praise. Meanwhile, it will also win hearts of Chinese inside China. Such action will make the Chinese government the biggest beneficiary.

Secondly, it would be very beneficial to those of us in exiles that wish to return to our homeland even in our dreams. We could kept our integrity and return to our home respectfully. Our families would not have to worry about our safety while we are in China.

I am publicizing my opinions and thoughts here and appeal to the Chinese government to give consideration. To return to China is our basic human right without the need to have the invitation of the government. If the Chinese government were not an obstacle, we could exercise this right ourselves. For me, I have to wait with homesick tears in my eyes in the hope of return to my country. I have been wandering all over the world for the last decade. Yet, I am waiting for the Chinese government to open its policy and to give back the equal right to all those in exile to return to China.


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