Written by students of FC1750.06
at Founders College, York University
by Jennifer Henry
It may seem that he is neither shy nor socially awkward because he has lectured at various universities all over the United States. This ease in speaking, however, has come from much practice. Highlights:
Q: Are the people of the younger generation trying to change the governmental system?
Liu: Yes they are. As people have probably heard, the pro-democratic students who gathered at Tiananmen Square were led by a radical group of student leaders. They, along with thousands of peaceful followers, started the largest anti-governmental rally to date. There are many other smaller groups of individuals within China who are also trying to do something about the government, but many are afraid to speak out because of the way the Tiananmen Square incident ended.
Q: Do you think since the emergence of Deng Xiaoping, the lifestyles of the Chinese have changed?
Liu: Yes, I do because before Mao's death in 1976, the people of China were very constricted. Mao among many things went so far as to make the people read his book promoting Communism. Today the people of China are much more liberal.
Q: Will a person prosecution in China for expressing their religious beliefs? Liu: In both 1957, and again in 1987, I was declared a rightist and purged for speaking out against the Chinese government. It is only when a person calls attention to himself politically that he will face any consequences.
Q: Why do you think Canada and the United States continue to trade with China and put millions into their economy, while at the same time condemn them for human rights violations?
Liu: Canada and the United States have an image of superiority to portray to the world. They accomplish this by pointing out other countries' bad elements. They pretend to care and might even give the excuse that they buy and sell from China to help, but I feel that they are concerned with and ruled by the dollar.
Q: Will the lifestyles of the Chinese people be altered by when the sovereignty of Hong Kong is reverted to China in 1997?
Liu: No one can rally say for sure, I don't think it will be altered. I'm hoping that with Hong Kong being so prosperous that China will follow its model.
Q: Do you think there will ever be another Tiananmen Square? Liu: Yes, I do. Since the Communist victory in 1949 the people of China are progressively becoming more liberal and the incident at Tiananmen Square shows just that. I feel that the people of China have had enough and it will only be a short period of time before another incident and one probably not as peaceful as the one that occurred at Tiananmen Square will happen again. I'm not sure if I'll live to see it, but I strongly feel that it will happen within one more generation. The government will see another uproar with the Chinese people and culture.
Q: How many children are women allowed to have?
Liu: A family in China is only allowed to have one child. There are many stories of families wanting a boy. There is some truth to this; most families do want boys to carry on the family name. There is a high rate of abortion in China for this reason, for other reasons as well, for example, accidental pregnancies. The stories about the way they go about getting a boy, in most cases, are exaggerated. There is absolutely no truth in the tales of the murdering of female children.
Some families in China have more than one child, but this is not known to the government. Children from these families lose out because they will not get the attention that a single child would get in terms of school, sports, and other general functions.
Q: If china went from a communist to democratic society, do you think that it would take such a devastating turn for the worst like the Soviet Union?
Liu: I don't think it will. China has the ethnic diversity that the Soviet Union did not. China is also a very stable society with a strong agricultural base. We have seen what happened to the Soviet Union and that knowledge will help avoid the same thing happening to China. I guess there is no real way of knowing until it happens.
Liu Binyan. A Higher Kind of Loyalty. Translated by Zhu Hong. New York: Patheon Books, 1990.
Copyright © 1995 by the author. Information from this article should be attributed to the author.