First Be Human

Paradox of tolerance quote.

In my world there’s always a place for you; you can disagree with me; you can even insult me; I will not fire back because that is your freedom of expression, however

In your world there’s no place for me; you want to eliminate me and even my family from the world just because I disagree with your government or your ideology; this is puzzling isn’t it?

Please, my fellow Chinese, first be a human, then a Chinese, finally a CCP member (if you want).

Best Wishes.

This is the excerpt from a reddit post by Purdue student Zhihao Kong addressing the current issue he is presently embroiled in. The student was allegedly harassed and threatened by other students from China after writing a post commending the heroism of the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. The issue blew up after the Purdue University president addressed the original offense in an email, with him declaring a more sweeping ideal:

… International students are nothing new at Purdue University, which welcomes its first Asian admittees well over a century ago. We are proud that several hundred international students, nearly 200 of them Chinese, enrolled again this fall.

But joining the Purdue community requires acceptance of its rules and values, and no value is more central to our institution or to higher education generally than the freedom of inquiry and expression. Those seeking to deny those rights to others, let alone to collude with foreign governments in repressing them, will need to pursue their education elsewhere.

Do laws and policies of a foreign country apply beyond its geographical boundaries? This is an interesting question because on the surface, I don’t think it does. It’s a sensitive topic because the ruling Chinese Communist Party is very sensitive in how it is perceived and discussed in other parts of the world, even using censorship and harassment without reservations.

And with them (CCP/China) trying to influence foreign countries through high-interest loans and other economic leverage, it’s no wonder people are noticing:

The China problem sadly isn’t being highlighted enough everywhere, especially in the Philippines. The Marcos-Duterte tandem wouldn’t say anything negative and are in fact more open to extensive cooperation with communist China, at the behest of us Filipinos. It’s not hard to see that the CCP/China interest deserves to be a major reason for every Filipino not to vote for Bongbong Marcos and his slate.

But back to Zhihao Kong’s reply above; I find it thought-provoking because it describes not only the democracy problem in China, but also everywhere else where authoritarian leaders are rising to power. Because despots are intolerant, it’s not surprising that their followers are equally intolerant. Up to what point should democratic societies tolerate intolerance, when the endgame may spell the demise of democracy and tolerance itself?