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Snowden vs Human Rights Lawyer

Recently I saw Oliver Stone’s film on Snowden from Showtime and read NYT magazine article on Chinese human rights lawyers and feel the need to discuss both here. Mr. Snowden and the lawyer Liang Xiaojun and his client Xie Yanyi are in both cases dissidents. Yet their stories are so different and revealing. I suspect Chinese propaganda department could learn something from both Mr. Stone and NYT in the treatment of stories when they bemoan the soft power deficits. I hope maybe they can hire Mr. stone to do a biography on Xi Jinping.
The NYT article is by Alex Palmer. The article reads like a gothic novel, heavy laden dreads, implied threats everywhere, worried spouses and innocent children, tea meetings for interrogations, ending with Mr. Liang free but uncertain, and his client freed after 1 year in detention because prosecutor dropped the charges. Nowhere does Mr. Palmer stated how did the lawyers make their living or their economic status. Did they get subsidies from West? From lawyer’s fees? Rich families? Suddenly my memory stirred about the 709 ( July 9, 2015) incident. There were swirling rumors before then of a police brutality in Chinese internet. A beggar was shot and killed in a railroad station by police. There were demonstrations and lawyers and “big V”s demanding justice on Weibo. Then the government initiated crack down, some lawyers were arrested and law firms closed. Then the truths were revealed. Surveillance video showed a professional beggar, yes, he makes his living by traveling from Northeast to major cities with his 2 children begging for living, got into a scuffle with the security police at the checkpoint in rail station. He was drunk and used his young daughter as a battering ram against policeman, and using that distraction attempting to disarm the policeman. In self defense the policeman fired 1 shot and killed him. And those demonstrators? more than half were professional demonstrators traveling place to place and paid by the lawyers to extort from local governments weary of mass incidents. I also recall there was a film about murders committed by gangs throwing unwary recruits down coal mining shafts and pretending grieving families to extort from mine owners and local government trying to hide unsafe working conditions. I guess they also need human right lawyers to negotiate a price. The only thing I gleam from Mr. Palmer is they both have military officers as parents, corrupt enough to send one to Singapore to study law? Where he learned rule of law, the law from British colonial days where communists were jailed from 30-40 years without trial? I did learn from the comment section one claimed that 14 student activists were awaiting beheading in Saudi Arabia and nowhere from the newspaper.
Mr. Stone is a gifted story teller. I am his fan since “Platoon”. Snowdon portrayed by him is a patriot who volunteered for Special Force because of 9/11, he broke both of his legs due to stress fracture in training. He didn’t finish high school because of family circumstance, yet smart enough self studying computer to pass CIA school in flying color. His politic is more like a conservative unlike his liberal girl friend. He revealed law breaking by NSA and CIA, and willing risk jail for the rest of his life. He’s an American dissident and a worthy contrast to those Chinese lawyers.

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  1. N.M.Cheung
    August 4th, 2017 at 00:06 | #1

    NYT finally reported an editorial about those Shiite underage students awaiting execution in Saudi Arabia, but based hope on intervention by Trump to Saudi King.

  2. August 12th, 2017 at 00:54 | #2

    Just as a leaker can be a despicable “national traitor” or heroic “whistle blower,” so can a human rights lawyer be a despicable “national traitor” or heroic “whistle blower.” It depends on the acts done, and the perspective of the person making the judgement.

    But for the uninitiated, depending on the imagery and rhetoric used, the worst “traitor” can be made to look like a saint or best “whistle blower” can be made like a scum.

    This is why institutions like New York Times, Washington Post, etc. are so important. It’s not to “illuminate” the world – as they like to believe – but to make captivating spin – to create a giant deafening “echo chamber” to subdue the masses.

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