Activist Optimistic About Democracy In China Among those in the audience at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony Friday was Yang Jianli, a Chinese dissident, who first came to know Liu Xiaobo during the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations. Melissa Block talks to Yang about his reaction to the ceremony and his hopes for political change in China.
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Activist Optimistic About Democracy In China

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Activist Optimistic About Democracy In China

Activist Optimistic About Democracy In China

Activist Optimistic About Democracy In China

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Among those in the audience at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony Friday was Yang Jianli, a Chinese dissident, who first came to know Liu Xiaobo during the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations. Melissa Block talks to Yang about his reaction to the ceremony and his hopes for political change in China.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Yang Jianli is in Oslo also. He's a friend of Liu Xiaobo, also a former Tiananmen Square activist, now living in exile in the United States. Dr. Yang, welcome to the program.

Dr. YANG JIANLI (Founder, Foundation for China in the 21st Century): Thank you.

BLOCK: Tell me about being in that room there in Oslo today listening to your colleague, your friend and fellow activist win the Nobel Peace Prize. What was the emotion for you?

Dr. JIANLI: Yeah, I was very much humbled and very emotional. I was touched to tears, and I think the world is going to see how great this man is.

BLOCK: Liu Xiaobo expressed a view in a statement that was read there in Oslo that human rights will reign supreme in China. And I wonder if you share that conviction, that optimism.

Dr. JIANLI: Yes. I share his thoughts. Liu Xiaobo often said the future of free China lies in the people. People everywhere in the world demand for freedom, for human rights, for democracy. Chinese people are not exception. We will build up a civil force for that future.

BLOCK: When you hear about the fierce reaction from Chinese authorities to the awarding of this prize to Liu Xiaobo, do you worry that there will be more of a crackdown on dissidents, that the chance for democracy may be harmed?

Dr. JIANLI: No, not really. This prize actually helps China democratize. On the surface, we see Chinese government react hatefully. But on the ground, if you talk to the people there, you will see major change has taken place in the hearts of the people. So that is where our hope lies. The road is clear, but the stones are shot. So if we commit to our goal, we will achieve it.

BLOCK: I've been talking with Yang Jianli. He's a former Tiananmen Square activist and a friend of Liu Xiaobo. He's in Oslo for the Peace Prize ceremony. Mr. Yang, thanks very much.

Dr. JIANLI: Thank you.

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