Article by Caleb Li Photo by Howard G. Fass September 14, 2011
Oh well, I guess an introduction is inevitable. Especially for such a bold newcomer who went out of his mind one day and decided, shamelessly, to join these amazing writers of the Snow Lion Foundation. But the first thing you'll learn about me is how much I hate writing introductions. There's nothing much you need to know about me. Really. All you need to know is that I'm from Taiwan and I love Taiwan.
Isn't that a good enough reason for me to be here... I mean, why should I even write... I could just lie in my bed and finish "Crime and Punishment" while listening to my favorite Hans Zimmer playlist on Youtube or go to the beach, enjoy the sun and my last few days of summer.
I write because I love human rights as much as I love my mother. I write because I want to share this love with more people. I write because I want more people to realize how fortunate that they get to enjoy the right of being human while there are still so many people around the world who suffer being one.
This is stupid. I remember how I used to always say that whenever people started talking about human rights, freedom… etc. I didn't care much about it; well actually, I didn't know anything. It is until I came to the U.S. And perhaps my life in the U.S really bored me. Especially when you live in the Yale community surrounded with bunch of…nerds; there's really nothing you could do except to THINK.
I recall once out of curiosity, I clicked on a Youtube video intriguingly titled "Real Chinese shame Warning Very Disturbing Video Animal Cruelty". I could not believe what I saw: a man striking several raccoons' head with a stick and banging their heads toward the ground. At first I thought it was just another very disturbing prank, hoping that someone jumps out the next second and laugh at how stupid I am. But what takes the place of this immature "pranker" shocks me even more. The man starts tearing a raccoon's skin. Alive. I couldn't finish the video. I sat there and stare into space, for quite a long time. The bloody image of the faceless raccoon and its horrifying moan just couldn't get out of my mind. It is a pain in the butt to bring back that image in my head. If at this point you are actually youtube-ing this video, I'd say you're sick. If you even finish the video, you should make an appointment with a psychiatrist, or I suppose you already have one.
Though the image brought me the next several painful hours, it also brought me curiosity, wanting to know why the man does that, wanting to know why people would ever want to wear fur coats, wanting to know why China allows it. It got me into doing research about animal rights in China and linking one to the other, I started to think about human rights, something I used to call stupid but now know better.
In my following years in the U.S, I was fortunate to meet some very inspiring people who tell inspiring stories of how they have survived the Chinese government's immense cruelty. One of these people is a political prisoner I met during the Tibetan Lobby Day held in this March in Washington, DC.
I remember very clearly how she said she was detained at the age of 13 and how she'd been tortured in a Chinese gulag for 23 years. "Thank God!" I thought. Thank God that I don't have to go through these terrible experiences myself to realize how great human rights really is, how freedom means so much. And I've become more grateful that I am still well-bodied to do something about it, to do something to fight for peace. After all, it was these people who fought for peace in the first place, for us, their children.