Compared to other characters caught up in the black curtains of the Communist Party, we can’t be called real tough guys. After so many years of great tragedy, we still don’t have a moral giant, like Vaclav Havel. In order for everyone to have individual rights, there must be a moral giant who sacrifices selflessly. In order to win a “negative freedom” (without the arbitrary coercion of power), there must be a will to actively fight.
History has no inevitabilities. The emergence of a martyr will completely change the soul of a people and enhance the spiritual quality of a people. [Mahatma] Gandhi was an accident, and Havel was an accident. The farmer’s child born in the manger 2,000 years ago was even more of an accident.
The elevation of man is achieved by these accidentally born individuals. We cannot place our hopes in the collective conscience of the public, we can only rely on a great personal conscience to bring together the cowardly general public. And our people in particular needs a moral giant. The emotional appeal of such a model is endless. Such a symbol would evoke a flood of moral resources. For example, Fang Lizhi [a Tiananmen protest leader who fled arrest] would have walked out of the U.S. Embassy, Zhao Ziyang would still have taken the initiative to resist, and Bei Dao would not have gone abroad. The reason for the silence and forgetting after “June 4th” is that a moral giant has not appeared among us.
Human kindness and tenacity are imaginable, but human evil and cowardice are unimaginable. Whenever a major tragedy occurs, I am shocked by human evil and cowardice. Conversely, I am calm in the face of the lack of kindness and resolve. The reason writing can be beautiful is that it can cause the truth to shine out in the darkness, and beauty is the rallying point of truth.Excerpted from a letter written by Liu on Jan. 13, 2000