|Residence United States|
Occupation Author, commentator
|Name Chen Pokong|
|Born December 1963 (age 51–52)Santai, Sichuan, China|
Other names Chen Jinsong (birth name)
Known for Chinese political and current affairs commentary
Education Tongji University, Columbia University
Bringing down the great firewall of china chen pokong
Chen Pokong (born 20 December 1963) is the pen name of Chen Jinsong, a Chinese author and political commentator based in the United States. Born in Sichuan Province, Santai County, Chen is a graduate of Hunan University and Tongji University in China, and Columbia University. As a postgraduate student in 1985, he submitted a joint letter calling for political reform to former Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Hu Yaobang.
In 1989, he initiated, organized and participated in a student movement in Guangzhou, and also established a "democracy salon" in Sun Yat-sen University in January. On April 22, 1989, he joined Chen Wei, Yu Shiwen and other student leaders in launching a democracy movement in Guangzhou Province in support of the student protests in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. He was arrested for his activism and spent the years between 1989 and 1993 in prison and forced labor. In 1994, he furnished evidence to the United Nations and other international bodies that China was exporting goods produced in labor camps for sale, a contravention of international law and a breach of human rights. Chen came to the United States in 1996, where he attended Columbia University as a visiting scholar and later obtained a master's degree.
In the U.S., Chen Pokong regularly appears as an analyst on Chinese current affair programs, including Voice of America, Radio Free Asia, New Tang Dynasty Television, BBC Chinese, and others. He frequently writes political columns for Radio Free Asia, Hong Kong's Open Magazine, and other publications. He is also an author of several books on Chinese political culture, including "The Unwelcome Chinese," “A Hundred Points of Common Sense on China," "A Thick Black Theory of Zhongnanhai," and others. In 2007, Chen was awarded the "Prominent News and Culture Award."
Chen Pokong was invited by The Oxford Union to join a debate on June 1, 2017. The subject of the debate was This House Welcomes China's Impact Overseas. As a speaker in opposition, Chen Pokong pointed out: "While China exerts influence beyond its borders, I do not believe that China is interested in benefiting the world, but instead in China’s own self-interest, especially that of the Red Elite. ""As the world’s second-largest economy and newest superpower, China’s overseas impact is growing by the day. However, its methods, processes, and results all show that, generally, China’s overseas impact is not constructive, but rather destructive; and that China is not contributing to world peace, but rather introducing danger and risk to the world. "Oxford Union
Chen Pokong currently resides in New York City.
Chen Pokong was an assistant professor of economics at Zhongshan University in Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province, when the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations began in China. He co-organized the protests and was arrested in 1989. After nearly five years in prison on two separate occasions, Chen was exiled to the United States in 1996. There, he became a visiting scholar at Columbia University, and then obtained MPA from there. Chen later built a career in the United States as a principal of a business school located in Manhattan, New York.
At the same time, he has been writing for Chinese pro-reform or pro-democracy publications, As a talented writer, he has published a number of influential books in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan:
Power Struggle behind Red Wall, 2014,; Japan, US and China, Coming War in Asia, 2014 ;Inside Story of Red Paper Tiger, 2013 ; If U.S., Japan, and China Go to War, 2013 ; Zhongnanhai's Thick Black Theory, 2010,; One hundred points of common sense about China,2007,.
As a prominent critic and writer, Chen has been writing and speaking on a number of media, including Radio Free Asia, Voice of America, Hong Kong Open Magazine, Beijing Spring, and others; speaking at news conferences, panel discussions, and other events; writing books; and offering commentary to media.
Topics of Chen's analysis include a range of contemporary topics involving the People's Republic of China and its political system, including: democracy, freedom of speech, instability, corruption, economic affairs, military affairs, foreign relations, cross-Strait affairs, political reform, and strategic affairs.
Chen Pokong was sent to prison or forced labor on two occasions:
Chen had resumed political activities after his release from prison in July 1992, and was wanted by the government by 1993. He fled to Hong Kong and applied for political asylum, but was rejected. After being repatriated he was sent to forced labor.
In a letter to the international community in 1994, Chen alleged that prisoners in the Guangzhou No. 1 Reeducation-Through-Labor-Center were often beaten and "subjected to conditions which amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment." Chen had the letter was smuggled out of the camp in the latter half of 1994, when it was reported on by international human rights groups. He said that production quotas force prisoners to work over 14 hours a day, 7 days a week, with only 3 days of holiday per year. Heavy labor is done during the daytime, including transporting and loading stones from a quarry to a boat. At night, prisoners were forced to make artificial flowers for export, according to Chen's letter. The food supplied by camp authorities was often insufficient and consisted of "coarse rice and rotten vegetables," according to Amnesty International.
Part of Chen's letter said: "Inmates who labour slightly slower are brutally beaten and misused by supervisors and team leaders (themselves inmates). Inmates are often beaten until they are blood-stained all over, collapse or lose consciousness (shortly before I was sent here, one inmate was beaten to death.)... Many inmates, including myself, their hands and feet squashed by big stones, stained with blood and pus, have to labour as usual. As a consequence, many inmates were crippled for life." In his letter, he said the Guangdong No. 1 Reform Through Labor, Quarry 1, Company 9 in Chini Town, Hua County, Guangdong was the "most vicious," and that he was sent there so the Guangdong authorities could "vent their bitter hatred on me."
In a House Congressional testimony on the subject of Chinese forced labor, Nancy Pelosi characterized Chen's letter as "a compelling appeal for help, relating the terrible tale of ill treatment and slave labor" in Chinese prison camps. Chen was reportedly the first person to provide the United Nations with evidence that the Chinese government and its agencies used forced labor to manufacture products for sale overseas.
Books, monographs, and studies which Chen has authored or contributed authorship of include: