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INTERVIEW: Former ‘little pink’ supporter of Beijing on what made him change! This is an article from RFA!

Ruohui Yang, founder of Assembly of Citizens and student at Humber College, Canada, holds up a medal that was issued to the members of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army who participated in military action against protestors in Tiananmen Square in 1989, during a Congressional-Executive Commission on China hearing titled “Tiananmen at 35 – The Ongoing Struggle for Human Rights and Democracy in China,” on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 4, 2024.

Yang Ruohui, a student who founded the Canada-based Assembly of Citizens activist group, recently testified to a U.S. Congressional hearing to mark the 35th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre in Washington. He spoke to RFA Mandarin about his political transformation from staunch “little pink” supporter of Beijing to a campaigner intent on bringing down the Chinese Communist Party.

RFA: Why did you become a “little pink” in the first place?

Yang Ruohui: It actually came from my father. He had told me ever since I was a child that I should serve my country and its people, and worry about the world before I worry about myself. I could be happy when the world was happy. He told me all of that in an environment where lots of information is blocked, a China rife with indoctrination by the Chinese Communist Party. 

Stuff like how foreign countries are in dire straits, and that only the Chinese Communist Party can save China, that the Chinese people only have the Chinese Communist Party to turn to, so they should be loyal “little pinks.” It’s only when people come to know what is really happening and learn its true history that they realize that the leadership in Zhongnanhai [the leaders’ official residences] is actually the biggest blight on the land and its people.

RFA: How about now?

Yang Ruohui: I still worry about the world before I worry about myself, and won’t be happy until the world is happy. The main difference is that I’ve realized that the Chinese Communist Party is the biggest obstacle to the happiness of the Chinese people. 

RFA: How did you change your view?

Yang Ruohui: I think you need to spend a long time away from party censorship and surveillance. Then, gradually, imperceptibly, you start to understand what’s really going on in China, and you naturally gravitate towards opposing the party.

RFA: Was learning about the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre a part of that process?

Yang Ruohui: What shocked me the most wasn’t that the Chinese Communist Party shot and killed people, because I had long known about the suppression of Tibetans, Uyghurs and Hong Kongers. What really moved me the most was the freedom and openness of society back in 1989. We all grew up under the dictatorship of Xi Jinping, or at least under the Hu Jintao era [before that], and we had never experienced a mass movement on that scale, and it was for freedom and democracy. Our country and its people were so united in seeking democracy. Even the army, police, judges and the official media, who are now Xi Jinping’s lackeys, stood up to support the students.

That moment was very moving, and made me feel as if there is actually hope for our country and its people. They may have tried before and failed. But their spirit hasn’t died, so we have to keep on going. One day, we will be able to retake Tiananmen Square.

RFA: Do you think others are going through a similar process?

Yang Ruohui: The Chinese Communist Party has been helping to create more anti-Communist activists by constantly hitting people with its iron fist. And once the genie is out of the bottle, you can’t put it back. 

RFA: What would you say to people who still support the Chinese leadership?

Yang Ruohui: The Chinese Communist Party has a lot of money, and sometimes gives you a lot; the problem is that you can’t rely on what it promises. Even if it does deliver on its promise, you may have to pay a higher price in the end. So I’d like to take this opportunity to say to people who have been led astray that they should turn back as soon as possible.

The Chinese Communist Party is an independent legal entity a bit like a corporation, that is kept alive only by intertwined vested interests. It’s like a runaway train that locks everyone aboard and keeps on going, out of control, until it blows up.

It’s dragging all party members and all of the Chinese people to doomsday. That’s why I often say that the entire population, including Xi Jinping, are its victims. We’re not just trying to oppose its thorns and tentacles; we want the total collapse of the entire system.

RFA: You’ve been targeted by Beijing’s transnational repression even in Canada. What keeps you going?

Yang Ruohui: It’s a matter of personal conscience and fundamental values. I think if someone with a conscience has access to information about what is really happening, proper news reports, and true history, then the question isn’t so much why you oppose the Chinese Communist Party. It’s why don’t you oppose it?

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