America Top Secret Arouses China's Right-To-Know
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Uploaded on Dec 6, 2011
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The American drama Top Secret: the Battle for the Pentagon Papers
was recently shown in China, inspiring Chinese citizens.
The story describes a major lawsuit which took place
40 years ago in Washington,
where the U.S. government lost its case against
the Washington Post.
The drama highlights the public's right to know about
U.S. government』s top-secret documents,
The Pentagon Papers contain over two million words.
The papers detail Washington's decision making process
in the run-up to the 1960's Vietnam War and the secrets of the Nixon cabinet.
According to Voice of America reports,
the play, Top Secret, reproduces a landmark 1971 lawsuit.
After The New York Times had obtained and published the
first three series on the Pentagon Papers,
Nixon obtained a federal court injunction forcing the paper
to cease publication.
The Washington Post pitted against the injunction by publishing
more information --leading to the U.S. government also filing a lawsuit against them.
Top Secret provokes viewers to reflect:
"In what circumstances can a government exercise its right to protect state secrets?
When do a nation's citizens have the right to know that
their government has been misleading them?"
Executive producer, Susan Loewenberg, says she spent
over two years to bring the drama to China.
"It was wonderful the other night in Guangzhou when
Kay Graham ( president of Washington Post ) makes the decision to publish, they (viewers) broke out in applause,"
"And when the court, when the verdict came down from the judge
in favor of the Washington Post, they broke out in applause again."
Anonymous mainland Chinese: "We don't know
if we can see the day when free press becomes reality ."
Beijing resident Zhao Lianhai ---father to a kidney-stone baby—
expects the CCP regime to learn from democratic nations to return freedom of information to Chinese citizens.
[Zhao Lianhai, Beijing resident]: "On some occasions,
the U.S. government also kept secrets,
but in the end, under the pressure of civil society
which includes the media, it yielded.
This is in fact a very civilized action taken by
the U.S. government.
We expect the Chinese authorities to learn from other
governments』 civilized practices, to really return to us the rights that we should have."
Professor at the University of Southern California, Playwright Geoffrey Cowan,
says he is pleased to see Top Secret being staged in China.
Because the Chinese people are placing great importance in these aspects,
China is struggling with its own institutional base.
It is well known that anything defined by
the CCP regime as causing "disharmony" becomes a "state secret ".
Officials being involved with prostitution, mass protests,
pollution of the Songhua River and the tainted milk scandals have all fallen into the state secret category.
[Zhao Lianhai, Beijing Resident]: "In our country,
lots of information that we should have known about have never been made public by the government,
who uses many excuses to avoid revealing information.
For example, so much about the kidney stone babies are
unknown to the public.
The Chinese government classifies the issue as highly confidential.
The government does the same with other issues. "
In Shanghai and Beijing, the audience attended post-play
discussions, but similar discussions held in Peking University and Zhongshan University were canceled.
hao Lianhai is appealing for more civilians to come forward
to actively seek their own rights and interests.
Zhao also expects the international community to put
necessary pressure on the CCP,
helping to protect the Chinese people's legitimate rights
NTD reporters Li Yun and Xiao Yu
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