In this interview, Wu Qiang says he feels it is extremely important to continue to observe and comment on Chinese politics, which is his profession. In hindsight, being forced out of school has earned him his freedom. He continues to question and feel that his dismissal was illegal, but he will continue his research and work in the field of political science.
Wu Qiang’s own account
Wu Qiang reveals that the police would sometimes invite him to “tea”. He said that the police were doing their job. He eventually stopped complaining. However, he was unable to pursue his career, and his family was under pressure. His wife was prevented from joining a foreign company. He worked for different foreign publications, but no longer had a steady income.
Wu Qiang believes that this is in fact a major purge. A silent purge started nine years ago and continues to this day. He has seen many of his friends disappear in the past few years. He even wrote a book about lawyers who had their licenses revoked. There are also intellectuals who have been deprived of their right to express themselves ˎ lecturers who can no longer teach, and even relatives of dissidents who have lost their business activities. Some were evicted from their homes. All of this fuels a sense of fear. A silent terror of which public opinion is not yet aware.
Wu Qiang said that in six years, no colleague had shown solidarity, no one had called him, and no support had been offered. He had done research on the Occupy Central movement in Hong Kong, and had also followed the Jasmine Revolution and other social movements.
Wu feels that on these and other issues, most Chinese intellectuals are faced with the choice of “voice” or “silence. He is aware that the level of political science, as in other fields, has declined over the past few years. Unfortunately, this is a fundamental and worrying trend. Many of his former colleagues in political science have lost their ability to analyze local or foreign policy. The thinking of the Chinese elite is in decline. The Chinese intellectual community has chosen to remain silent, except for a few, such as Xu Zhangrun (XU Zhangrun). As a result, his friends nicknamed him “the last warrior of Beijing” (le dernier samouraï à Pékin).
Wu Qiang mentioned that he has seen many friends disappear in the past few years. Some have left the country, others have been arrested, like Ilham Tohti. Civil society disappeared and now it is the entrepreneurs’ turn to be targeted. Chinese business leaders are panicking as they see the likes of Alibaba’s Jack MA taking early retirement. Chinese companies are facing a dilemma. If they cross the line, they will be punished in China; instead, they will be sanctioned by the US, as Huawei has been.
Wu Qiang’s background
Wu Qiang says his parents are part of the Chinese military’s medical team. Therefore, he enjoys a relatively tolerant freedom of expression. He participates in weekly debates with the media outside of China. In addition, he has the right to travel. Wu Qiang believes that the centennial of the birth of the Chinese Communist Party is of great personal importance to Xi Jinping. It is the key event that will enable him to be re-elected for a third term before the 20th Communist Party Congress. It is also a way to strengthen the party’s position, especially as the successor and new leader after the party’s centennial.
Wu Qiang’s view
Wu Qiang says the tensions between China and the West are working in Xi Jinping’s favor and could lead to a third term as a result. But if taken too far, such a strategy could backfire and lead to increased criticism from Chinese public opinion and the international community, for example, in the event of poor economic performance. The international conflict environment could be used for this purpose, but excessive tension could bring about a meritorious failure.