Obama-Xi summit: A Chinese dissident's views
- 7 June 2013
- From the section China
Li Tiantian, 47, a self-taught lawyer, was detained for 95 days in 2011 for retweeting a call for a public gathering in Shanghai. Following her release, she has continued to write blogs calling for political reform, although they are often shut down.
I don't feel Western governments care about Chinese human rights enough. I have spoken to some foreigners before and I don't think they know much about how it is in China.
On the one hand, it shows that the West doesn't care enough about it, and on the other, it shows that the Chinese government oppresses the people here so hard that we don't have the chance to expose it.
All the trade between the West and China has brought nothing beneficial to the people here. It has only helped this thuggish government to gain more power and become stronger financially.
There is no real connection between the people and the development of our economy. I think Chinese people who have their eyes open won't want the West to become a major trading partner with China because it makes the Chinese government stronger.
Beneath the surface
It is not doing any good to the people. If the gangsters who run this country get stronger, then the people will suffer more.
Any entrepreneur who has a conscience, even accepting the goal of making money, should not trade with a rogue government. It ruins the brand and its home country's reputation and image.
In China, on the surface, it looks like the people are getting richer. But I think that only some people are getting richer; most of the people are still living in a condition that is quite bad.
It looks like people are eating better and wearing better clothes, but the gap between the rich and poor is really getting bigger. Many people can't get married because they don't have a place to live, let alone dare to have children.
So I feel many people's lives haven't been improved. Only a very small group of people have a big improvement in their life, but the mistake is to think it means everyone, which is not true. From the perspective of freedom and human rights things are getting worse.
Because we now have access to internet, people know more about their human rights, such as freedom of publishing, freedom of speech and freedom of demonstration.
But while more people know about these rights, they find they cannot practice them. In that sense, their spiritual burden has increased and they are suffering more.
Poor human rights
As the president of a free and democratic country, for the sake of America's image and reputation, US President Barack Obama should criticise China.
China's poor human rights record is a threat to other countries. The lifestyles of rich people are threatened by the existence of extremely poor people, and so it is with rights too.
Mr Obama should point this out to the Chinese government. Government officials here know they are doing evil things but they are very good at putting on a performance and confusing people in other countries.
So the US government should see it and criticise this government. Then you can really help the 1.4 billion people here - 1.4 billion people who are under pressure from their government.
There is neither material nor spiritual happiness here, and even just for the honour of its own country, the US should criticise.
There is a saying, if you're silent in the face of evil, you become part of that evil. It's the same for countries. I don't think other governments want to be a part of that.
Li Tiantian was in conversation with the BBC's John Sudworth in Shanghai.