WHY XIAO QIANG IS EXTRAORDINARY
Xiao Qiang is an internet activist and professor who is most known for founding China Digital Times, an international Chinese news website that publishes more than one hundred articles and posts daily, including those that are being suppressed and blocked by the digital censors in China’s cyberspace. From time he began as a human rights activist after witnessing the Tiananmen Massacre, Xiao has become one of the most significant figures in the area of Chinese democracy and freedom of information.
For his efforts in helping his fellow countrymen, Xiao has been recognized by many institutions and has received a number of awards and honours for his work. This includes the MacArthur Fellowship, a prestigious honor that is given to people that greatly excel in their field of work; and being profiled in the “Soul Purpose: 40 People Who Are Changing the World for the Better”. These, among the other recognitions given to him prove just how significant Xiao’s work has been all these years.
A HEART FOR HIS COUNTRYMEN AND THE NEXT GENERATION
Xiao has always had a heart for helping his countrymen, and this has been proven in the numerous actions that he has taken to ensure that freedom and democracy prevail in his country in ways that he can. And even though he faces a tremendous amount of opposition from powerful authorities in the Chinese mainland, this does not keep Xiao from persistently publishing all the things that the Chinese people and the world needs to know about the situation in his country.
Xiao places a powerful emphasis on the next generation, and as such works passionately to ensure that the events of the infamous Tiananmen Massacre remain in the memories of the generations to come. The Tiananmen Massacre, for Xiao, represents the unyielding desire of the Chinese people for freedom, and once the young people learn its significance, they will become beacons of hope for a new China where democracy prevails.
As Xiao states in an interview:
“This generation will never forget the memory. It's deep inside their minds. I know it's still there, and it's still in a certain way a drive for a more open China in the coming years. Deep down I believe this generation of the Chinese people are the children of that hope, the hope for a democratic China. While this generation now is becoming more and more successful and important in China's political and economic life, I think that it's only increasing the chance for China to become a democratic country.”
A CYBERSPACE WITHOUT CENSORS: THE IMPACT OF XIAO’S WORK
Xiao has led several human rights organizations in the span of his career, including the New York-based Human Rights in China organization and the World Movement for Democracy. Xiao was also significant in the development and facilitation of the Open Net Consensus forum, which created the principles that most international internet companies adhere to today. Xiao’s involvement in promoting free information in the Chinese cyberspace has led to the establishment of the Global Network Initiative.
The impact of Xiao’s work in the lives of many people, not just his fellow countrymen, is truly extraordinary. His dedication to his work of promoting freedom and democracy, whether in cyberspace or in reality, is a true testament to what a person can accomplish when he puts his whole heart into it. Let Xiao be a powerful inspiration for many of us who want to see change, but do not know how to start – whatever is in your hands, whatever you know – when you have the desire, the ideas will follow.
“China has gone through rapid and profound changes. But you cannot understand the full scale of this change without understanding the impact of the Tiananmen massacre. After 1989 Tiananmen, the Chinese Communist Party had an ultimate fear that if the people know the truth and become involved in political activities, that will be the end of the Chinese Communist Party. What we see happening in China is all the business activity being encouraged, including the foreign investment and technologies. We see even Internet and the cell phones and satellite TVs are flourishing in China because that is a business imperative.”