Grace Wang Qianyuan has apparently been awarded the 8th annual Chinese Youth Human Rights Award. This award is granted by a select group of dissidents (veterans of Tiananmen in 1989), and includes with it a “minimum $1000 cash award”.
Her acceptance letter firmly plants her in the corner of the dissidents, and dashes the insistence of some that she was a “moderate” voice. After all, she chose to end her acceptance letter with a quote from Patrick Henry’s famous speech:
There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable–and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come. It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace– but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God!
I think it’s notable that she leaves out the last and most famous sentence from that speech: “I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” I guess that’s one choice she isn’t quite ready to adopt.
Many of Grace Wang’s earliest critics described her as the next Chai Ling, a student dissident leader of the Tiananmen protests now widely pilloried and hated. The description now seems surprisingly accurate.