The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday November 29th

Letter: ​The 'barefoot lawyer' and what fairness is


Last Monday’s event with Chen Guangcheng, the “barefoot lawyer” from China, should have been attended by every student on the campus of UNC. Jointly sponsored by the Carolina Liberty Foundation and the Carolina Review, the prominent Chinese dissident’s words come at a particularly instructive time.

Chen Guangcheng was imprisoned for his work on women’s rights and the rights of the poor in his homeland. Miraculously he escaped and has since written the book “The Barefoot Lawyer: A Blind Man’s Fight for Justice and Freedom in China.”

He has received the Ramon Magsaysay award for emergent leadership.

Last year’s Washington Post cited several recent studies with one showing that 51 percent of millennials do not favor capitalism.

It is true that in their lifetimes, the financial crisis of 2007 to 2008 looms large and indeed “crony capitalism” gets a lot of mention as well.

Democrats in general, including President Obama and certainly candidate Bernie Sanders, put the word “fair” front and center in relation to our economy in 2016 election.

My question to Mr. Chen, having come from a country where the ruling Communist party IS the government, “How would you explain the Communist version of ‘fair’ to millennials?"

His response? A room of Communist Party leaders and citizens have a basket of apples. The Party takes 90 percent and the best of the apples. They then lecture the people on how to fairly distribute the remainder. Millennials take heed. Be careful when you know not what “fair” means.

Janie Wagstaff


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