Wei Jingsheng (age 28) reading his defense statement during his first trial. October 15, 1979 (Marie Holzman/MPA)

Although it would probably secure his freedom, Wei Jingsheng steadfastly refuses to surrender his outspoken belief in the right of the people of China to have a democracy and a free society.

In this letter, written in 1991, he refutes the arguments, common to apologists on both sides of the Pacific, that "different standards" apply to China and the Chinese because of their stage of economic development:

"It is abominable sophistry to try to argue that people can do without food because there are some people who have nothing to eat... It is similarly abominable to argue that people do not need human rights because they are able to adapt themselves to an animal-like existence or because there are people who consciously act in a servile manner; or that there is no such thing as objective human rights standards simply because dictatorial slave societies still exist..."

"If feeding the people and keeping them from starving or freezing to death constitutes the greatest respect for human rights (as the government claims), then consider the fedual lords and slave owners... The Nazi concentration camps were also responsible for feeding the Jews in captivity and keeping them from starving or freezing to death. Following this reasoning, are not the survivors of the Holocaust, like the ordinary Chinese people who survived numerous brutal and barbaric movements and "mistakes" by the Communist Party, proof that Nazi racism was one of "the greatest human rights" doctrines?"

"...You claim that "we have managed to feed one billion people" when it is actually you who are living off the labor of the people, and you claim that "we have met their subsistence needs" when it is the people themselves through their own wisdom, resourcefulness, and arduous labor under extremely difficult conditions that have been compounded by exploitation and oppression carried out by Party ruffians and bureaucrats."

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