A Beguiling Emissary From the Dictatorship Back Home

27 April, 2012 at 08:14 | Posted in China, Falun Dafa/Falun Gong, human rights, persecution | Leave a comment
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China’s regime sends messengers, wielding gifts and promises, to buy off dissidents

By Ariel Tian
Epoch Times Staff

Imagine that you are a dictatorship. You have dissidents in exile, overseas, who criticize you. It would be nice if they supported you instead. Why not send a few special representatives to buy them off?

That is what the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been doing for years, according to Tang Baiqiao, a prominent democracy activist and writer.

Tang says that over the years he has become the object of attention of a number of people, including relatives, acquaintances, and classmates, who suddenly want to become very good friends, and find out, in detail, what it is he does all day. Their roles have been government officials, professors, visiting scholars, or overseas students.

“I felt that they were very conflicted and complicated inside,” Tang said in a recent interview.

Enter Special Messenger “Mr. S.”

One day in 2007, a student who, like Tang, had been part of the Tiananmen Square student protests in 1989 and who was a friend of Tang, Hu Changxin brought a stranger, “Mr. S,” to visit Tang at his office in Flushing, New York. Mr. S was a visiting scholar at Columbia University, from a major university in Beijing. He was well spoken. He said he was a former student of the 1989 democracy movement.

Over time, Mr. S gained Tang’s trust. They would dine together, or attend pro-democracy activities. Later, Tang found out that Mr. S’s wife was a high-ranking CCP official. There is no way, he thought, that Mr. S would strike up a friendship with a prominent and harsh critic of the regime without the Party’s knowledge and blessing.

Mr. S often invited Tang to dinner, which he always paid for. He said that it was money from his “project,” and that it needed to be spent. As they dined together, their conversations became more intimate. Tang formed the view Mr. S was acting deliberately, that he was an agent sent by the CCP.

Nevertheless, as time went on, Tang took Mr. S as a friend, and shared with him his understandings about the overseas democracy movement, the Communist Party, and the prospects of democracy in China.

In late 2009 Tang was invited to a Beijing Dance Drama and Opera performance in Manhattan.  It was a performing troupe with close official ties. Tang found that many of the Party members, diplomats, and officials in the audience were not at all surprised to see him there with Mr. S. He felt that maybe they even expected him.

Other benefits were suggested or bestowed. He was offered an all expenses-paid trip to China in 2008 to see the Olympics, but this was withdrawn when Tang announced that he would hold a press conference about democracy in China if he went back.

He was offered the job as an “anonymous columnist” in a “very influential magazine.” The pay would be $3 per word. Mr. S explained it thus: “$3 per word! A 3,000-word article will make you almost $10,000 a month. That’s your wife’s salary.” Tang wasn’t convinced. “I don’t want anything to do with the Communist Party,” he said.

The offering of a sinecure (position requiring little or no work) like that is the first step in co-opting the target and bringing them over to the Party’s side, Tang indicated. Someone who used to be against the regime coming to sing its praises would make for powerful propaganda.

The most extraordinary offer that Mr. S made, according to Tang, was to suggest that Tang could be a secret adviser to Hu Jintao, the chief of the CCP. He would send his ideas to Hu’s office, and “do whatever you want the rest of the time,” in Mr. S’s words.

One topic Tang’s advice was sought on was how to handle the spiritual practice of Falun Gong, Tang said.

“The Falun Gong issue has been Hu’s biggest headache,” Mr. S told Tang. “Hu thinks that the Falun Gong issue is a difficult problem, he fears that Falun Gong are determined to see the Party’s demise.”

Tang said he suggested that Hu first release all of the innocent practitioners incarcerated for their beliefs, and then see what happens. “Hu can’t do it, the resistance is too big,” Mr. S said, according to Tang.

In the end Mr. S asked Tang to “think over carefully” the job as adviser, Tang said. He rejected it. Mr. S was visibly disappointed.

A number of Tang’s friends interviewed by The Epoch Times, including activist Li Dayong, and chairman of the Global Service Center for Quitting the Chinese Communist Party, Yi Rong, confirmed that Tang and Mr. S enjoyed an association. Zhi Sheng, secretary of the China Peace and Democracy Coalition, and Tang’s former colleague, also said he met Mr. S through Tang.

The Epoch Times has the name and identity of Mr. S, which Tang provided on condition that it would not be disclosed. Photographs of Mr. S are on the website for the Chinese university at which he works, and evidence of his time at Columbia is also available online.

In September 2010, Mr. S was preparing to leave Columbia University. He had been there for three years. Tang asked to keep in touch. Mr. S said, “Never contact me again.”

With research by Jane Lin, Sophia Fang, and Angela Wang.

via A Beguiling Emissary From the Dictatorship Back Home | Regime | China | Epoch Times

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