‘Which Path: Democracy or Autocracy?’ Prominent Activists, Scholars Gather for China Panel, Human Rights Forum

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Electoral reform organization, Mandate Democracy®, to present July 29 panel on: China at ‘tipping point,’ global governance and human rights

Photo courtesy of Joseph Chan/Unsplash

The "Which Path?" webinar will touch upon China's democracy movement, political turmoil in Hong Kong and the legacy of Liu Xiaobo, on July 29, 2020 (2-4 p.m. EDT). (Courtesy of Joseph Chan/Unsplash.)

"Liu Xiaobo’s lifelong commitment to individual freedom and to nonviolent action as an agent of change inspires still and is cause for authoritarians to fear him even in death," said panelist and author/editor Joanne Leedom-Ackerman.

Some of the world’s leading democracy and human rights experts will gather virtually to discuss prospects for China’s democracy movement on Wednesday, July 29, 2020, as the nation combats repression via Beijing’s new controls over Hong Kong and political freedoms.

Mandate Democracy®, an independent, nonpartisan, civil democracy organization, will present the July 29 session, running from 2-4 p.m. EDT, from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. The panel – entitled “China: Democracy or Autocracy? What is the Path Ahead?” – will highlight the leadership, legacy and inspiration of Liu Xiaobo, China’s “Empty Chair” Nobel Peace Prize winner and an intellectual force, set against the nation’s current political turmoil. This month also marks three years since his death while serving an 11-year sentence in Chinese prison.

Featured panelists include Teng Biao, a leading, exiled spokesman for democracy advocates, Joanne Leedom-Ackerman, prominent author and editor of “The Journey of Liu Xiaobo: From Dark Horse to Nobel Laureate,” China Director of Human Rights Watch, Dr. Sophie Richardson, and lifelong China expert and University of California, Riverside, professor, Perry Link.

On the event, panelist and author/editor Leedom-Ackerman noted, “Liu Xiaobo’s lifelong commitment to individual freedom and to nonviolent action as an agent of change inspires still and is cause for authoritarians to fear him even in death.”

Fellow panelist Teng Biao has supported pro-democracy efforts in Hong Kong and continues to denounce legislative measures that strengthen China’s grip over the city. Because of his promotion of human rights and democratization in China, Teng Biao was kidnapped three times by Chinese secret police. He was detained and severely tortured in 2011 amid China’s pro-democracy protests and “Jasmine crackdown.” Teng Biao was eventually released by Chinese law enforcement.

Teng Biao noted, “Liu Xiaobo’s life will be an unstoppable inspiration for the fight for freedom and democracy in China. Yet his death is a huge symbol of suffering under the CCP’s brutal regime, and a symbol of the evil consequences of the West’s appeasement policy toward China.”

Richardson, co-panelist, is the author of “China, Cambodia, and the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence,” which includes information on China’s foreign policy since 1954’s Geneva Conference. As the China director at Human Rights Watch, she has penned numerous articles on domestic Chinese political reform, democratization and human rights.

“As abuses across China multiply, Liu’s charges to secure justice and the freedom of expression matter now more than ever,” she said.

Link, a professor of comparative literature and foreign languages and a contributor to “The Journey of Liu Xiaobo,” noted, “For a decade, Liu Xiaobo was the intellectual north star of China’s dissident movement, and he can still be that for us, today.”

Commenting on the event, Lester A. Fettig, founder and managing director of sponsor organization Mandate Democracy®, added, “China’s the ‘critical mass test’ for breakthrough governance mechanics, transcending party-based dysfunction and isolated authoritarianism. Our organization, Mandate Democracy®, creates independent, online i-Voting referenda to any cell phone, cyber-secure voting for universal access and suffrage.”

Responders to the panel will include Andrew Nathan, sinologist and professor of political science at Columbia University and Cui Weiping, a retired professor of the Beijing Film Academy. Nathan is co-editor of “The Tiananmen Papers” (along with Link) and a contributor to “The Journey of Liu Xiaobo.” Weiping is a Chinese visiting scholar in the U.S. and fellow contributor to “The Journey of Liu Xiaobo.”

The July program is hosted by Virginia-based Inter-Agency Seminar Group (IASG), which brings together members from government, academia and industry to learn about current issues often related to public policy.

About Mandate Democracy
The Mandate Democracy® Initiative builds a new, tech-based Democratic-Republic – using independent i-Voting referenda to command government actions: E Pluribus Unum edicts on national needs and aspirations, to surmount gridlocked, divisive and dysfunctional factional governance. You can find Mandate Democracy® on social media: @MandateUSA (Twitter), @mandate.democracy (Facebook), @mandate.democracy (Instagram) and Mandate Democracy® Foundation (LinkedIn). For tax- deductible donations to Mandate Democracy’s® cause, visit: http://www.mandatedemocracy.org/donate/. To get involved in the Mandate Democracy® organization, visit: http://www.mandatedemocracy.org/participate-jobs/.

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