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A lady called hope

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Read the article

A lady called hope

In my struggle for democracy in China, Aung San Suu Kyi has twice inspired me profoundly. The first time was in 2003. I was living in the U.S., where I was granted asylum after spending a total of nearly seven years in Chinese jails for my role as a leader of the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests in Beijing. Those demonstrations were crushed by the Chinese military, and hundreds of innocent people were killed. One year earlier, something similar had happened in Burma: soldiers had violently put down peaceful rallies for democracy by students and monks. There too, many died, but it was then that the world — and I — awakened to the moral power of Aung San Suu Kyi.

In the U.S I organized various campaigns to promote democracy in China, while I was studying the history of China and Taiwan at Harvard University. During this period in my life, I became confused about my ideals. As China's economy grew, people's passion for democracy seemed to wane — the drive for liberalization was losing momentum. Then I came across one of Suu Kyi's articles. Her main point was that perseverance is the most important asset for a protest movement. Suu Kyi's words recharged a belief I had long held but was temporarily questioning: that democracy is the best guarantee of a more equitable and a more durable prosperity.

The second time I have drawn inspiration from Suu Kyi is now, with her release from house arrest. After 21 years in and out of detention, Suu Kyi has become a symbol to those of us fighting for human rights against authoritarian regimes. The struggle between Suu Kyi and the junta is like a live historical drama in which the theme is the conflict between conviction and violence. Suu Kyi's release is the victory of conviction.

That victory is a great encouragement to all other human-rights advocates fighting for their convictions, especially Chinese dissidents. Her release offers hope for Liu Xiaobo, this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner. For his efforts to promote peaceful political change, Liu now languishes in a Chinese prison, serving an 11-year sentence for "inciting subversion of state power." True, Liu wants reform and he wants it gradually and nonviolently. The accusation against him is horribly wrong.

Suu Kyi's release also symbolizes a different kind of victory, which is that persistent pressure from abroad will eventually bear results. While most of the free world imposes sanctions on Burma, China has been getting a pass on human rights because of its growing economic power. The upshot is that though both are Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Suu Kyi is out, and Liu is still in prison. The rulers in Beijing are in no mood for concessions, not least because they are being allowed to get away with being harsh. Yet, real progress in human rights cannot be achieved without active and constant pressure, whether on Burma or on China.

Wang, now 41, was a leader of the 1989 Tiananmen Square student movement. He is currently a visiting assistant professor at Taiwan's National Tsing Hua University


Answer the following questions:

1 Who is the writer of this article?

2 Where was he living  in 2003?

3 Whose  articles helped him then?

4  Suu Kyi a symbol of people fighting for what?

5 How long was she detained?

6 What is Suu Kyi's release a victory of?

7 Who is Liu Xiaobo?

Find synonims for the following words

 1  Fight (par. 1) 

2 Puzzled (par. 2) 

3 Clash (par. 3)

4 Supporters (par. 4)

5 Leaders (par. 5)