Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A671-W413



Release Date: December 5, 2011



Topic: Noble Suffering, Fiery Soul -- Prize Dedication to Liu Di as Recipient of the Eighth Annual "Wei Jingsheng Chinese Democracy Champion Prize" by the Wei Jingsheng Foundation

标题:高贵的苦难,火炼的灵魂 -- 2011年第八届"魏京生民主斗士奖"给刘迪的颁奖词


Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)



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Noble Suffering, Fiery Soul

-- Prize Dedication to Liu Di as Recipient of the Eighth Annual "Wei Jingsheng Chinese Democracy Champion Prize" by the Wei Jingsheng Foundation


December 5, 2011



In Greece, there are three letters of the Greek alphabet with significant meaning -- OXI.  On October 28 of every year, these three letters are celebrated and paraded, as Oxi Day (Ohi Day).  These three letters mean "no", and represent supreme human dignity.


Ever since the word "no" has existed in Chinese, the Chinese have had such people who use their actions to announce "no" against authority, dictatorship, and tyranny.  Their actions prove that they are men and women living with faith, instead of tamed lambs.


While the current China full of mercenariness, apathy, corruption, and selfishness, while there is continuous abuse of human rights and suppression of freedom by the Chinese Communist regime, the people who practice this "no" in China have special difficulties.  A word of "no" brings years of harassment and suppression, loss of right to work and normal family, imprisonment, and even the sacrifice of precious lives.  However, there are people in China who, despite poverty, difficulty, and even misunderstanding,  keep their faith and say "no" to the authority and dictatorship.  They advocate non-cooperation with the dictators, they do not sell themselves, do not compromise, and do not bow to the dictatorship -- because this is their only way of life, a noble way of life.

  __  __  __


1. A Special Award


This year, before the arrival of the cold winter, we had another round of selection for this year's "Wei Jingsheng Chinese Democracy Champion Prize".  During the selection period, we learned some sad news: a low-key perennial champion for Chinese democracy was spending his last days on his deathbed.  He was Mr. Liu Di, a typical representative who used his actions to carry out "no" in his life, especially in the past 35 years.  He is also an unknown ordinary person who is near the bottom of the Chinese society.


Mr. Wei Jingsheng himself made a nomination to award our 2011 "Wei Jingsheng Chinese Democracy Champion Prize" to Liu Di.  Wei's proposal received unanimous support from members of the judging committee at the Wei Jingsheng Foundation  We all believed that giving the prize to Liu Di would be more than just a recognition of him and the generation he represents for years of persistence against the authoritarian regime, yet without seeking fame and fortune.  It will also inspire the generations following to struggle for Chinese democracy and freedom without giving up their faith.  It was heartbreaking to learn that before our announcement of this year's prizewinner, Mr. Liu Di passed away at age 61.  He did not even know the news that he was awarded this "Wei Jingsheng Democracy Champion Prize."


Indeed, this is a special prize.  It is the first time that the Wei Jingsheng Foundation officially awarded the "Wei Jingsheng Democracy Champion Prize" to a person who has already passed away.  It is also the first time for the prize to be awarded to a person due to his direct association with both the April 5th Tiananmen Movement of 1976 and the 1989 democracy movement 13 years later.   Regarding the significance of the April 5th Tiananmen Movement of 1976, the Democracy Wall Movement of 1978, and the democracy movement that ended with the June 4 Massacre in 1989, Mr. Wei Jingsheng made following insightful comments:


"This series of pro-democracy movements illustrates the gradual awakening of the Chinese people from the obscurantist policy of the Communist Party.  In 1976, people had already begun to disbelieve in the deception of the Communist Party.  However, at that time, extremely few people openly opposed the Communist Party.  People had to use the internal divisions within the Communist Party to put one faction against the other.  It was the strategy of that time to borrow from the mythological figure of Zhong Kui (who could command tens of thousands of demons) to against ghosts and evil beings.


The 1978 Democracy Wall Movement was a continuation from the 1976 movement.  People began to boldly blame the Communist Party and Mao Zedong.  But most people still held illusions of the Communist Party.  They believed in the philosophy of a clean government and were "against the corrupted officials instead of the emperor".  Many people thought that when corrupted Communist officials were replaced by the good guys, the fate of China would be changed for the better.  Only a small number of people were aware of the need to change the social system and did not have illusions about the one-party dictatorship and were willing to pay the price for such ideology.


In 1989, the Communist military used a bloody suppression against thousands of people who went to the streets to protest.  The massacre of Chinese brothers and sisters completely shattered people's illusions and awakened them to realize the truth, that only when the political system of one-party dictatorship is overthrown and democracy is established, then could people possibly be emancipated.


The Internet nowadays is expanding the scope of this awakening and makes people realize that everyone else's thoughts are similar.  This Internet movement is helping to prepare a new road for the democratic movement, to accelerate a new people's liberation movement. "

  __  __  __


2. "The Crew Cut" Liu Di


When the name of "Liu Di" is mentioned, many people do not even know who he is.  In my hand, there are two thin layers of paper about his life.  Yet, these two pages of trekking are spectacular.  It turns out that he has been a household name for a long time as people know him by the nickname of "the crew cut" without knowing his real name "Liu Di."  It turns out that Liu Di had been hardworking and did a lot for democratic progress in China, yet kept himself truly away from fame and fortune.  After all, for more than 30 years, he had been facing poverty and hard days day and night.


Liu Di is "the crew cut" well known in China from the 1976 April 5th Tiananmen Movement.  He was named "the crew cut" by the Communist newspaper People's Daily when he was leading the people and shouting slogans of protest against police suppression during that incident.  He was wanted in the whole country as an important fugitive and was later arrested and jailed.


-- After Liu Di was released from prison in 1977, he participated in activities requesting re-addresses on the April 5 Tiananmen incident and was a main person participating in editing "Tiananmen Poems" from that incident.

-- Liu Di was one of the founders of the well-known independent publication "Beijing Spring" during the 1978 Democracy Wall movement.

-- Liu Di was one of the strategists organizing the 1980 democratic campaign for election among the college students in Beijing.

-- Liu Di also helped to found the largest private independent entity of that time, the "Beijing Institute of Social Economic Science" Foundation.

-- Liu Di participated in the 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy movement.  As a consultant to the students, he was involved in the planning, organization, coordination, and made special contributions to help setup the command system for the Tiananmen Square, and to establish peace and order.

-- Liu Di was sent to jail the second time due to his involvement in the 1989 Tiananmen democracy movement.

-- After Liu Di was released from prison in 1990, he became one of the principal advisers to the relatives of political prisoners, and worked tirelessly to get the attention and aid of the international community, to stop the persecution and to defend human rights.

-- For years, Liu Di continued to organize commemorations of the June 4 Massacre, thus receiving long time beating from the police.

-- Liu Di suffered years of persecution, therefore had no fixed income and was always living in poverty.

  __  __  __


3. The Mainstay


The April 5th Movement of 1976, the Democracy Wall movement of 1978, and the democracy movement of 1989 are the most breath-taking movements in China since Chinese Communist Party rule.  During these movements, the Chinese people who were suppressed for decades suddenly took on colossal stature and indomitable spirit to bravely speak loud.  They were able to show spirit of courage, firmness, and unity, and were not afraid of death.


Even until now, whenever we think of that, we are moved to tears.  After the gunshots in the early morning of June 4, 1989, no one could clearly tell how many brave and innocent bodies lay on that wide and long Chang'an Avenue.  That year, the Chinese people both inside China and abroad, as well as people around the world, were immersed in profound shock and grief.  Many people dropped tears day by day.  These were days of a loud "no", a brilliant period left to generations for remembrance.


It is worthwhile mentioning that, although the protagonists of the 1989 democracy movement seemed to be students, in fact the average citizens of Beijing and other places were the mainstay.  These people had families to take care of with inherent difficulty in their lives.  They experienced the systematic Communist suppressions of the anti-rightist campaign and the Cultural Revolution, etc.  They saw the overwhelming disaster resistance could bring.  In comparison to the young students who were like "young cows do not afraid of tigers", those civilians had thousands of well-founded reasons to fear, to withdraw, and to keep silence.  But these civilians behaved incomparably bravely.  After the June 4 massacre that suppressed the 1989 democracy movement, these civilians were the group that suffered the most.


Liu Di was a typical representative of these civilians.  Liu Di belonged to the generation of "old youth" who were sent to the countryside by Mao Zedong's Communist regime.  He belonged to that generation who experienced the extraordinary waves of history, and thus had very turbulent lives.  That generation lost the normal education opportunities and job opportunities.  They experienced changes and suffering in their families.  They suffered much more ordeal than the several generations of people after them.  Yet, they are particularly strong, especially pure, and keep the spirit of lofty idealism.  They have a consistent hold on the faith, so in dealing with others they are very honorable, with generous love, and hard-working ethics.  We are not surprised that when Liu Di was in prison without knowing death or life for his own future, he would do everything possible to give his limited food ration to the young students who were in prison with him.


When the suffering of the students gradually abated, some student leaders went abroad, while some others went to do business, or even become company CEO's.  Almost none of them were as poor and unknown to the public as Liu Di.  Whenever we think of this, our hearts cannot be kept quiet.  We want to appeal loudly: Never Forget!  Without the support from the average people like Liu Di, the democracy movement would not have such a splendid brilliance.  We cannot remain indifferent to their situation, and let people like Liu Di left so quietly.

  __  __  __


4. Phototropism and "Content with One's Lot"


Liu Di left this world quietly.  When he was gone, only a few people knew that he was the well-known "crew cut".  However, Liu Di has left us many valuable things.


What Liu Di moved us was not only the courage and vision he had back in 1976, but more his consistency in later years and his silence of self-sacrifice.  We were surprised to find that Liu Di is the most low-key democratic activist we have seen.


His humbleness reminds me of the opposite adjective "photo-tropic" -- many kinds of biological creatures are photo-tropic: they instinctively lean towards or are willing to get close to the light source.  In our human world, "phototropism" also represents the longing for fame, status, and glory; the expectation to be discovered, understood, to be approved, and to be praised.  We fully understand this instinctive yearning.


However, Liu Di is an alternative.  He deliberately avoided the source of reputation.  He chose to face the darkness for a long time.  He did not try to let people know that he was that famous "crew cut."  He did not mind his own laurels.  Sometimes I wonder, with all the years of effort and sacrifice while facing that buried, misunderstood, and forgotten status, did Liu Di ever had inner sadness for his vicissitudes of life?  Even so, it is very reasonable, right?  However, we know that Liu Di was always in the same: he did not complain and was quiet.  He did not care if his deserved merits were credited, and he did not give up.


Once, when someone asked him about his bravery during the April 5th Movement, he replied: "At that time, I did not think much.  I knew that we were bound to fail and would not have a good outcome.  I am just one of the people, and I just did what I should do.  It is my duty to be content with my lot.  What is the content of my lot?  Learning for a student, farming for a peasant, working for a worker.  When we are faced with such a feudal fascist type of  'Cultural Revolution', rising to rebel is the duty of every Chinese with conscience."


In fact, although Liu Di was the field commander of the April 5th Movement, he became the leader as a "last resort," the "had to be a leader" figure.  In an effort to help an unknown youth escape, he rushed to the scene to be the commander.  With this mood of "content with one's lot", Liu Di had no greed, and willingly stayed alone to be poor without pessimistic sorrow.  He never gave up his battle for democracy, despite being suppressed to the very bottom of the society since 1976.  Friends know that Liu did a lot of things in private, or came forward in dangerous times, even to be punished on behalf of others, but never wanted public limelight.


Fyodor Dostoyevsky once asked when he was studying pain: Which is more worth it?  Having cheap happiness, or noble suffering?  I can hear Liu Di stand up and loudly said: Of course the noble suffering!  Liu Di instinctively chose the latter, to suffer for the Chinese people as his content for happiness.  From this selection, we see real courage and rare temperament.

  __  __  __


5. The Poorest, Yet the Wealthiest


In the days since Liu Di passed away, his friends and relatives have begun to write articles memorializing him.  Thus we are able to get a more comprehensive understanding of Liu Di's life.


Born in a family of intellectuals, Liu Di had the opportunity to apply for graduate study in history, but gave it up in order to be able to print and distribute "Beijing Spring" magazine.  Although he never again had access to higher education, people think of him as one of the "friends who know most."


His knowledge came from his insight and experience with the plight of the people when he was in the countryside at a young age, as well as from his tireless study and a deep grasp of the essence of traditional Chinese culture.  This background made Liu Di full of chivalry, warmth, love, and modesty in his personality.  Friends recalled: "He often accepted distressed strangers into his home to take care of them.  Some people lived with him for months or even longer."  "Liu Di's chivalrous nature with his kindness made him both caring and an honorable person.  He not only had the courage to sacrifice himself in maintaining social justice, but also would give a helping hand whenever friends had difficulties.  He helped many people a lot."  "Occasionally when friends were having a party, Liu Di would come in in a rush and leave in a rush.  I am envious that he lived like a 'god', living aloof, and doing his good deeds.  Later on, I heard that he was doing public service at the 'Friends of Nature', and also rescued small animals, raising more than a dozen stray cats... "


Because of his low-key nature, people even thought that he "lived okay."  But in fact, all his life he never had a formal job.  He made some income from the wages of temporary work and was a true "proletarian" till his death.  All of his "property" was an old bicycle.  He was a very restrained and always considerate man.  Yet, he did not tell others the grievances of his own difficulties, even the suffering of serious illness.


In this society of arguing for petty wealth and tiny material lives, there are many people with blind eyes, confused thinking, and manic mood.  They would be screaming in pain for personal gains and losses.  On the other side, there are the other kind of people who stand there quietly, just like Liu Di.  They do not care about fame and fortune.  They endure hunger and poverty.  They are unwilling to yield.  They strive relentlessly for the goal of freedom and democracy in China.  Even in solitude, they still dare to fight against the army of tens of millions.


Exactly such contrast makes us deeply touched by people like Liu Di -- they are poor, yet the wealthiest; they are of little means, yet the most generous; they are simple, yet the most intelligent.

  __  __  __


6. Life and Death, Salvation and Redemption


The April 5h Movement of 1976 has been gone for 35 years now.  The 1989 democracy movement has been gone for 22 years.  Tanks, smoke, blood, and anger seems to have faded.  Chang'an Avenue in Beijing is busy and crowded again.  This avenue has become the ladder for many people running toward honor, wealth, and happiness.  Younger generations even do not know what the April 5th Movement and the Democracy Wall movement were, nor do they remember which year it was that ended a pro-democracy movement with the June 4 massacre.  They could not understand why there were tens of thousands of people having the courage to use their own flesh and blood to resist guns and canons of the government.


Abroad, no less than 100,000 Chinese obtained long-term residence due to the June 4 massacre in China and thus are now able to enjoy all that the free world has to offer.  But every year on June 4, there are less and less coming for remembrance.  In China, personal interest even makes some people give up their rights and keep quiet, and pursuit those in power like a fashion.  When there are less and less brave people, there will be more cowardice, retreat, lying, betrayal, and treachery; then one will see more obsequiousness to power for the purpose of just to live.


I would like to remind everyone that all this misfortune has its roots.  Unfortunately, the real source of misfortune in China is not due to a natural disaster, plague, or an invasion of the aliens, but due to our own ignorance, cowardice, and abjection.  When everyone does not care about the collapse of the world, when everyone is unwilling to assume responsibility, the world will certainly collapse.  I want to repeat a sentence from a previous dedication: "Exactly because one understands the struggle to survive for most people, one has more respect for those brave people who have the courage of sacrifice.  They are a minority, but their spirit is our desire and pursuit."


A small number of this kind of people are still doing extraordinary efforts in China.  Because there are such groups of people, June 4 of every year becomes a fearful day for the Communist regime.  The Communist regime is heavily guarded, always guarded, for fear of triggering another mass movement.  The existence of the minority people like Liu Di is the pride of the Chinese people.  They are the backbone and true leaders of China.


This year, we award the "Wei Jingsheng Chinese Democracy Champion Prize" to Liu Di, as our way to encourage people who have insistent and consistent effort.  Although there is not too much money associated with this award, we still hope that it helps to offer some condolence and comfort to friends and relatives around Di Liu.  It represents the gratitude people carry toward Liu Di.


Although Liu Di passed away prematurely before he saw the result of his efforts, we sincerely hope that people will be proud of this compatriot with high moral character, and be moved for a person who kept such a chivalry from the essence of Chinese culture, along with his sense of justice.  We also hope that people will move away from their shame and realize their own responsibility from Liu Di's departure from this world.  This realization would not only be the best memorial of Liu Di, and not only a way to express noble respect to countless people who have already passed away or are making sacrifices as of now, but more a way of salvation of souls for themselves.


A fighter dedicated to the fight for democracy against autocracy once said: "A person who yields to autocracy and tyranny has already died once.  I should not die so.  I must die at the time of my death."


Life and death, salvation and redemption, often result in a split second -- especially often at the moment when people stand up and say "no".


To say "no" loudly to the dictators, is to choose the noble suffering, thus one must experience hell-like suffering for one's soul and body.  Such is the choice for justice, for democracy, and for freedom.  All the people who sacrifice their lives for justice, democracy, and freedom will never fall, just as the beautiful stars shining in the night sky.


Thank you for listening.



Ciping Huang (signed)

Executive Director

Wei Jingsheng Foundation



The eighth annual "Wei Jingsheng Chinese Democracy Champion Prize" announcement:



Photos related to Liu Di and the April 5th movement of 1976:





(The Wei Jingsheng Foundation is grateful to Yike CHENG for her great contribution of composing this dedication, and for her long time voluntary work and other contributions to this Foundation.)



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Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A671-W413



Release Date: December 5, 2011



Topic: Noble Suffering, Fiery Soul -- Prize Dedication to Liu Di as Recipient of the Eighth Annual "Wei Jingsheng Chinese Democracy Champion Prize" by the Wei Jingsheng Foundation

标题:高贵的苦难,火炼的灵魂 -- 2011年第八届"魏京生民主斗士奖"给刘迪的颁奖词


Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)









-- 2011年第八届"魏京生民主斗士奖"给刘迪的颁奖词



在希腊,有三个意义深刻的希腊字母 -- OXI。每年10月28日是OXI节,全希腊都为这三个字母游行纪念。这三个字母的意思是"不",它代表了人类至高无上的尊严。






























-- 刘迪1977年出狱后参与推动四五天安门事件平反活动,是参与编辑《天安门诗抄》的主要人物。

-- 刘迪是民主墙运动中著名独立刊物《北京之春》的创办人之一。

-- 刘迪也是1980年组织北京高校学生竞选运动的参与策划者之一。

-- 刘迪还协助创办了当时最大的民间独立实体,"北京社会经济科学研究所"基金会。

-- 刘迪参加了1989年天安门民主运动。作为学生顾问,参与策划、组织、协调,为天安门广场建立指挥系统和建立和平秩序,做出了特殊贡献。

-- 刘迪于1989年因六四天安门民主运动第二次被捕入狱。

-- 刘迪1990年出狱后成为政治犯亲属的主要顾问之一,为争取国际社会关注救援,停止迫害、维护人权等方面不懈地努力。

-- 刘迪多年来坚持为六四组织纪念活动,曾遭遇警察的长时间毒打。

-- 刘迪多年受迫害,因此而一直没有固定收入,生活于贫困之中。




















这让人不由想到了"向光性" -- 世界上众多生物都具有向光性,本能地趋向光线或愿意接近光源。在我们人类世界里,"向光性"也代表着向往名誉、地位、荣耀;期望被发现、被理解、被肯定、被赞扬。我们十分理解这个本能的向往。

















因为他的低调,大家甚至认为他"过得还好"。但事实上,他一辈子没有过一份正式工作,生活上靠自食其力做些临时工的工资 ,至死都是个无产者。他全部的财产就是一辆破旧的自行车。他十分克己,处处为人着想,而自己的苦处难处,甚至重病的疾苦,都不向人倾诉。


































魏京生基金会第八届 "魏京生中国民主斗士奖"颁发公告:

















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