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Chinese Dissident's Suspicious Death Prompts 'I Will Not Commit Suicide' Campaign



TAIPEI – These are not the kind of words that typically go "viral."

Following the mysterious June 6 death in China of prominent dissident Li Wangyang, a growing number of Chinese human rights activists in China have been using Twitter and other microblog services to personally declare: "I will not commit suicide." The movement comes as suspicion swirls that Li was "made to commit suicide" by the Chinese authorities, reports the Taiwanese Central News Agency.

Li, a Tiananmen Square dissident, who had been jailed for 22 years before his release last year, died in a local hospital in Shaoyang City only a few days after he had accepted an interview with a Hong Kong journalist. Shaoyang Public Security said that Li had committed suicide by hanging, and quickly cremated his body on Saturday. This has provoked a huge outcry in particular in Hong Kong where 25,000 people took to the street Monday to protest and demand an investigation.

At the same time, the Chinese dissidents have promoted a movement around the online statement "I will not commit suicide," reports the China bureau of the Voice of America (VOA). Though it has spread on burgeoning Chinese social networks, the movement is getting scant attention in China's mainstream press.

According to the Central News Agency report, Xia Yieliang, a Chinese economist responded to the call immediately and posted his statement on Twitter and on other microblogs as follows, "My name is Xia Yieliang, I am cautious by nature and am optimistic. I am healthy and I have a strong faith. In the past, now or in the future, whatever I encounter, any disease, political persecution or hardship, I have never and will never resort to committing suicide as a solution. If I ever die in an unexpected way, it must have been arranged for me, this includes a car accident or drowning. Apart from this tyrannical regime, I have no enemy in this world. I hereby make this statement as proof."

The latest term "made to commit suicide" is a variation on the oft-cited concept of "made mad," where Chinese officials are suspected of silencing dissidents by sending them to psychiatric wards.

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

Why The U.S. Lost Its Leverage In The Middle East — And May Never Get It Back

In the Israel-Hamas war, Qatar now plays the key role in negotiations, while the United States appears increasingly disengaged. Shifts in the region and beyond require that Washington move quickly or risk ceding influence to China and others for the long term.

Photograph of U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken  shaking hands with sraeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

November 30, 2023, Tel Aviv, Israel: U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken shakes hands with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

Chuck Kennedy/U.S State/ZUMA
Sébastien Boussois


PARIS — Upon assuming office in 2008, then-President Barack Obama declared that United States would gradually begin withdrawing from various conflict zones across the globe, initiating a complex process that has had a major impact on the international landscape ever since.

This started with the American departure from Iraq in 2010, and was followed by Donald Trump's presidency, during which the "Make America Great Again" policy redirected attention to America's domestic interests.

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The withdrawal trend resumed under Joe Biden, who ordered the exit of U.S. forces from Afghanistan in 2021. To maintain a foothold in all intricate regions to the east, America requires secure and stable partnerships. The recent struggle in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict demonstrates that Washington increasingly relies on the allied Gulf states for any enduring influence.

Since the collapse of the Camp David Accords in 1999 during Bill Clinton's tenure, Washington has consistently supported Israel without pursuing renewed peace talks that could have led to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

While President Joe Biden's recent challenges in pushing for a Gaza ceasefire met with resistance from an unyielding Benjamin Netanyahu, they also stem from the United States' overall disengagement from the issue over the past two decades. Biden now is seeking to re-engage in the Israel-Palestine matter, yet it is Qatar that is the primary broker for significant negotiations such as the release of hostages in exchange for a ceasefire —a situation the United States lacks the leverage to enforce.

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