Lots Going On
News about our 'Modem Connection' to China spread. Journalists called. The local Gazette Telegraph newspaper, besides doing a feature story on our unusual link up by personal computers and small modems, but also Ed's views, being caught up in the China government versus student troubles. A reporter actually reached him by telephone in his room, and did a story on his reactions to events..
Ed continued his work at the Trade School, though he became more and more frustrated with the incessent bureacracy.
The Consulate still pressed all Americans to leave the country - especially those in one academic situation or another while the Chinese government lobbied everyone to stay - including Dalian School officials (its all about money)
Even the Mayor of Dalian invited all remaining Americans In Dalien - including Edward - (perhaps 10) to a meeting, urging them all to stay. This very 'progressive' Mayor, who was a prime mover in getting the first Foreign Trade Zone in China established in Dalian, much later - 2010 - ran afoul of the Chinese Communist central committe. He was accused of crimes, tried, convicted, and jailed for life in 2013,
For his own reasons, Ed stayed - and at one time he was the only American left in that city of 4 million.
Below are three of what he called his 'Journal' entries that he composed and then sent very efficiently over the modem connection at quite low cost to me - LESS than $15 a 20-30 minute call, rather than his call to my phone. Which was $5 a minute.
Begin Section 1 of 3, file "JRL"
The following part of my journal entry for the week. It is
essentially my current opinion of the situation in China.
"Current Opinion"? What could that mean? It means that I
have only been in China for four months and the information that
I am dealing with is seldom complete and not always accurate.
Some that information includes my own infant knowledge of Chinese
histroy, recent and ancient. As the days quickly go by here in
China my ideas and opinions are constantly changing - hopefully growing. But none-the-less what I have written here is just an attempt by myself to put down "on paper" an alternative view as to the current situation in China as I see it today.
Just wait, tomorrow it will probably change; hopefully becoming
more clear and objective.
Maybe. Maybe not.
Saturday, July 8, 1989 © 07:52 am
The longer I am here the more frustrated I get. I get
angry when I read the China Daily, the official english
national newspaper for China. Many of my beliefs and values are
simple violated every time I look at the paper. As far as I
am concerned the paper is lying, printing the views of the
Chinese Government at this time.
I also get frustrated when I listen to my Shortwave Radio. I
listen to VOA (Voice of America) and the BBC. I am begining
to hear the view points of Western Governments and their
These view points sometimes show little understanding or
respect for another culture; to the extent that sometimes China
as a Country isn't recognized.
These two feelings tugging at me from two different
directions leaving me like a child lost from its mother in a
department store. I know where I am but I don't know how to
deal with my problems.
The China Daily will publish articles about the
offical happening in Tien An Men Square and Beijing in Early
June. The articles say that no students were killed in the
square and all the people left peacefully. That it was only a
'few ruffians'that caused the trouble... I ask, siliently, if it
was only a few ruffians then how could so many soldiers be killed
according to official reports; or how so many military vehicles
where disabled and destroyed?
Now the Government said that it recently passed a law which
it has been developing for ten years that establishes new
policies toward protests. Some of these: only one group can
protest (no multiple unions), no protesting near important
buildings, no one is allowed to speak out against the Communist
Party or the Central Commitee.
Ten Years in the making?
I'd bet the house that didn't take ten days...
I literally stand in the middle of all this control and
watch it descend over the people, and the people don't even
wince. Much of my upbringing is attacked as this happens. Sadly
it settles in. that this has been the way of life in this country
for thouands of years. This is normal, I'm the one with the
The government can install its plans beautifly. They
continually fall back to the line: '"China is in the primary
stage of socialism and class struggle still exists to a certain
extent, the construction of democratic politics can only be
carried out in an orderly fashion through legal channels."' (A
quote from the July 4, 1989 China Daily which quoted the Minister
Wang Fang) Essentially, the people who decide what is legal and
orderly is the Central Commitee and can make the rules as they go
along. There don't really exist any checks or balances. Things
get done by the Central Commitee as they need them. Whether it's
morally right or wrong; I mean they decide what's moral or not...
End Section 1 of 3, File "JRL"
Begin Section 2 of 3, File "JRL"
Don't think the Chinese people don't understand. More than
ever they do now. The have begun to see the outside world and
the way things can be done elsewhere. Their own sense of right
and wrong, or good and bad, etc., is being changed by outside
influences. But I am learning is if people stand up for those
rights or changing beliefs is dangerous. People get thrown in
jail with little explanation, sent to the country side, and even
killed or executed. All in the name of worker-class struggle.
Yesterday I was sitting in a garden park with a Chinese
friend. Actually all my firends here are Chinese, there aren't
any Americans or foreigners around. Anyway, the garden park is
located in the city's affulent section. I thought that in China
you weren't supposed to have "rich" parts of town, but who said
you had to follow the rules. My friend and I were talking about
the situation in China and in one of his replies he said that he
wanted to form a group of young men like himself to work to
eliminate the corruption in the government and to help develop a
democracy in his country. His words where simple, but quite
complete. And his one or two sentence statement could get him
arrested and possibly in jail for a long time.
No the people don't believe all the propaganda. But when
that becomes almost your entire source of information it becomes very difficult to sort out facts from fabrication from true opinions.
So whom do you follow if you don't follow your goverment? I think the people do what most people anywhere would do; they
surround themselves with friends and family to form their own
little empire and only deal with the government when they have
to. China and many developing countries are known for the
tightness of their families. This originally came about because
within a agricultural society usually familiy is all you have.
But this model works as well when you go into the city. Where
the city is just as uncertian as rural life.
There are times that I walk down the street and I feel like I
am living in a anarchial society where it is only the goodness and
basic nature of the people that keeps things going and under-
control. When I first got here the thousands of people seemed
like a hopeless mass of confusion. Actually as I integrate a
little in this society I realize that the movement of people is
well orchestrated and smooth. Again, I'm the one that's breaking
up that flow.
I am fascinated just by watching people cross one of the
major streets through Dalian. Cars, buses, and trucks are
traveling at about 30 km/hr and bicycles crusing along side att
here slightly more than leasurerly pace. All the while hundreds
of people are constantly crossing the street only using the
street lights as mild assistance. Usually vehicles and bicycles
don't even demonstrate a resemblence of slowing as they approach a crowd of dozens of people in the middle of the road.
The drivers needn't slow, they just maintain a straight path and a
steady pace and the mass pedestrians assure the drivers, all be
it, the smallest of lines for cars and buses or bicycles. The
crowd on foot gracefully weaves with all the traffic and gets
across the road as smooth and quick as anyone would in the US who uses the traffic lights as their guide.
So when westerners, including myself, are surprised by the
lack of action or reaction by the Chinese I don't think they realize
this has been a way of life for thousands of years.
As an outsider who believes that I care what happens here I
try to think of what I would do if I were the one making the
decisions affecting China, like that of President Bush.
This is when I get frustrated with western thinking. A lot
of people want to impress a lot of sanctions and give a lot of
political pressure on China. But to much of this pressure has
its roots only within western understanding and much western philosophy.
China is its own country. The have been a nation and culture a lot longer than most others. Especailly compared to industrial
nations. I keep hearing reports of what sanctions governments
are considering and what people think the Government here should do and think.
I, in no way, agree with the actions of the Chinese
Government starting June 3. The use of the military was brutal
and unprovolked. It was wrong.
But other countries seem to think they should tell China how to run their country. As if the 'other' country has a perfect
sense of right and wrong. What's right and wrong in America
isn't the same everywhere.
This is human life and the killing of people, not arguing
whether a man was borrowing or stealing. Let me ask how many
people have died in the name of the spread of democracy?
End Section 2 of 3, File "JRL"
Begin Section 3 of 3, File "JRL"
I feel that if people or nations want to work with this
country (or any other) they will have to develop their guide
lines and understand that not everything done is their way.
President Bush's action to prohibit importation of military and
other specific technology to China was appropriate. If we begin
to argue the philosophical details of everything coming here to
China then ultimately it could be argued that nothing should be
Countries, large or small, should voice the position and
very carefully decided what proper action they should take and
stand by that action. During that decsion respect has to be
maintained that China is its own country and has its own cultural
which drives its actions and reactions.
Some people seemed baffled that China doesn't swing it's
doors wide open to the goodness of the west and countries like
America. I ask these people to read a little history. It was
western countries that came to China, uninvited, and invaded it
in one way or another. The Shanghai Wars was over Tea rights and opium. The Boxer rebellion and China were trying to
maintain its country as a whole, not western countries
colonization. Or when America strongly backing the KMT, whom still oppose the mainland.
If you were in the Government of China would you trust
Everyday I struggle whether I should stay in China or not. I
get angry everytime I turn around and here what the government of China is doing. It is going to be used in one way or another by
the propaganda of Chinese Government.
The sanctions imposed towards China still take time to have
an effect. But the effects of the Governments cruel assault on
Tien An Men Square are being felt now and very hard.
I went to a trade fair being held in Dalian. It is the
second largest in China next to the one held in Guangzhou in the
late spring. I've walked through the fair twice now and I see
very few foreigners and have only seen two westerns other than
myself. A friend of mine at the fair said that there have been
very few foreingers this year compared to the past.
Actually, you are supposed to have a ticket to get into the
fair. The first time I went was with another Chinese friend who
didn't have a ticket. Unfortunatly, if your Chinese in China you
aren't allowed to go or do things that foreigners are. I thought
he would have trouble getting into the fair. Because he was with
me they allowed him in. The next time I went I had just come
from the hospital and I wasn't feeling well and I certainatly
didn't look like a businessman wearing old jeans, a common knit
shirt and two days beard growth. I tried to ask the man at the
gate if I could buy a ticket, we just waived me through, no
discussion needed -- I was a westerner, nothing else needed.
Inside, people looked at me either like a ghost or fresh
meat. Even after I tried to explain to them that I was teacher
and not a businessman they would still give me their card and
brochures. They would ask me to give them to my friends and many would ask if I knew anyone in America that would be interested in a joint venture.
I would expect the politeness by the business at the fair
that usually afforded to western foreigners, but even after I
explain who I am they still keep pressing. If told them that I
wasn't interested in anything but would like some lunch I fear
that they would set a banquet for me; just because I am an
American and just maybe I could bring them business.
Chinese businesses are hurting.
There is little that governments actually have to impose.
The natural order of things is creating enough pressure to be felt
by the businesses. They need to spend more of their time
discussing the issuses of human rights and the position of the
country; not the moral and philosophical points of an export.
I learned in high school one of Newtons Laws: for every
action there is an equal and opposite reaction. In college I had
economics teacher use that same concept in his class and it worked very well im China. People outside China need to appreciate that that laws are taking tremendous effect within China and without Government direct action. Also, people have to understand if they push too hard from the outside of China inward the same effect can happen to them. In other words, China could close its doors even further. Some say that could never happen, China would lose too much. That's easy to say if you not Chinese.
If China were to close its doors I would foresee great
economic trouble and even failure and possible fighting and civil
war. On a Chinese population scale. A lot of people would
probably die and a lot of suffering. But that has been a
constant throughout Chinese history.
So the reaction in and out of China is being felt by the
Chinese Central Commitee and by Li Peng and Deng Xiao Peng due to the bad decision made by the same. It is also being felt by millions of Chinese. And if we, the people who can have an
effect on China, are not careful we may fall prey to that same
law of action and reaction. You push an animal far enough into a
corner there's a very good chance you're going to get bit.
End Section 3 of 3, File "JRL"
Between Ed's description above, Ed was involved with many things. And so was I - for my Colorado Springs fame in telecommunications had even spread to Japan - which was just beginning to wake up to the potential in 'personal' (computer and modem) telecommunications riding on already existant national and international voice telephone communications networks.
I had been invited to become part of Lisa Karlson's and Frank Burns' 'Metanet Designs Group' out of Virginia, near Washington DC - which contracted to teach executives in companies and government agencies the professional value of 'modem connected individuals' inside large organizations. Collectively, a group of about 10 of us who could afford the trip agreed to fly to Sendai, Japan, whose local government invited us to make presentations and be queried by the Japanese Press, at the same time my son Ed was in nearby Dalian, China.
Ed was invited to play a bit part in a tourism movie about China.
A local Chinese bank heard about his being able to reach America by modem. They asked him to demonstrate - at the Bank. Which he did to the amazement of all. He was asked about 'joint ventures.' The impulse by China to start doing real international business was ramping up.
My largest formal audience presentation in Sendai was attended by at least 300 Japanese, including both businessmen and local governments officials. Several of the latter officials were especially interested in my BBS for 'Electronic Democracy.'
While I was coincidentally in Japan as part of the Metanet Gang. I was invited to be on NHK television. Which presentation interested Japanese print papers, one of which flew later to Colorado Springs to interview me in my 'network.
'While there I was also contacted by a Japanese man whose wife had travelled to a lodge of some sort north of Dalian, China on a vacation trip. But she forgot her wedding ring which was still at that Chinese Lodge. The lodge did not want to send it by flakey Chinese postal service to Japan They asked me to ask Ed if there was any way HE could retrieve the ring and get it to them somehow. He DID, and a Japanese businessman took it to Japan then got it to the couple.
I also had a chance to meet many Japanese who could converse in English. One memorable meeting was with a Japanese national who was an Episcopal minister, whose Japanese father had died in 1945 as a soldier on Guam.
Being more Episcopal than anything, I even attended his Sunday Church service, attended by pehaps 25 Japanese, and dined with his family at his home.
After the dinner he presented me with a large (18 inches high) Japanese figure in traditional costume inside a protective plastic box. Which still graces my home in Colorado Springs.
Just a month after the crises in Tianamen Square, when the Crises had calmed down a bit Ed took a train ride to Beijing from Dalian. A student went with him as his guide. This was NOT a tourist-class trip - but right the way Chinese people do it in crowded and open passenger cars. Very crowded and uncomfortable for a very tall American.
Ed wandered around Tienaman Square without being challenged. But he couldn't visit any of the tourist sites or enter the Great Hall.
Then, unbeknowst to us, Ed started spending time with one Chinese young woman who also taught at the Trade School. He even visited her parent's home, and they went all around Dalian together. And before we knew it, with NO warning, they took the train from Dalian to Shenyang and on March 24th, 1990, GOT MARRIED!
And when we learned about it, this is what WE sent out by email!
Col (Ret) and Mrs David R Hughes are happy to announce that
_____ ____ / |____
| | \ /\ | /
|___ | | &  /--\ ___
| | |  |
|____ |___/ \|
Ed & Ha Ning
were married at 4:15 PM, Saturday, March 24th in
Good wishes will have to be tendered by modem.
The father of the bride is retired Chinese Red Army officer (Colonel, doctor).
We served together - sort of - during the Korean War in the winter of 1950.
On opposite sides.
None of this would have occured had it not been for modem telecom.
We live in interesting times.
Patsy and I couldn't wait to meet my new daughter-in-law.