2 fwds from Scott Savitt

From Jonathan Lassen <jlassen@clarku.edu>
Date Tue, 27 Apr 2004 14:19:36 -0400 (EDT)
Cc scott savitt <scene@well.com>

(Scott's email program seems to be messing with his outgoing posts)

Dear Steve:

First and foremost is the statement: "In China during the Mao era, did released prisoners who stayed on to work have their freedom? One first 
must define what the term "freedom" means." This to me borders on obscene.

Second, "There can be no doubt that becoming a professional China basher has paid off handsomely for Wu." This is precisely the type of 
obfuscating smear tactic that the author purports to be criticizing. We all know the hallmarks of true official corruption: Mercedes sedans, 
Mistresses, Open Acceptance of Bribes, Abuse of Authority, Overseas Bank Accounts. None of these describe Wu.

I don't see the need to continue. As I have communicated to you privately, I do not agree with Harry's politics. I was just emphasizing that 
these articles do not even concede that: 1. 19 years in a prison camp can take an understandable physical and psychological toll on a person; 
and 2. Harry has done and continues to do much valuable work.

I see no need to beat this dead horse further. I am confident that we all have more constructive uses of our time than completely dismissing a 
man's life's work because we disagree with some of his more extreme statements/methods.


>I would want to ask for elaboration, what arguments that the author
>makes in this column that I cited is 'not calmly reasoned'. That seems
>like a cheap way out of a serious engagement with arguments made by the


On Tue, 27 Apr 2004 11:15 , scott savitt <scene@well.com> sent:

Dear Robert:

I appreciate your parenthetical "I mean this sympathetically." That 
is all I was trying to emphasize in playing Devil's Advocate. If 
Harry is an "evildoer," much responsibility lies with the laogai 
system he is a product of. That said, I know many young people in 
China who frequent his websites, and find them valuable.


>>I have only caught one side of what looks like a heated debate on 
>>Harry Wu. I can tell you this, when I worked for the U.S. Customs 
>>Agency in Beijing, part of our work was investigating claims of 
>>exports of products of prison labor from China to the U.S. (I even 
>>got to visit a Chinese prison once.) Although the Chinese government 
>>was, naturally, not very cooperative in helping us pursue our 
>>investigations, the allegations from the U.S. side were also 
>>ridiculously burdensome. In particular, the U.S. Congress swallowed 
>>whole Harry Wu's unbelievable report on exports of prison labor, 
>>which pretty much claimed that every prison in the country (and 
>>there are a lot) was producing goods for export. This could not 
>>possibly be true, however, and is just one more example of this 
>>rather pathetic individual (and I mean this sympathetically, the 
>>poor guy has been through a lot) attempting to take revenge on his 
>>tormentors by deluding whoever will listen to him.
>>Robert Cliver
>>Shanghai, 2004