The leading human rights activist, Zeng Jinyan, had the following to say about the dilemmas that educated Chinese face under one-party rule:
In today’s China, ‘speaking the truth’ first of all means giving up the benefits to be gained from being ambiguous. First, becoming a Communist Party member brings benefits: you get opportunities for promotion, if you’re at fault your punishment is mitigated, and you also receive financial benefits. But you don’t believe in Communism. So do you join the
Party or not?
Second, in Chinese society, relationships and connections are important. They bring all kinds of little advantages and conveniences. Can you forego these rewards and be independent of all these ‘mutually beneficial’ social relations?
Third, there is the situation of bearing witness. It is often costly for you to speak out about what you have witnessed. The extent to which you tell the truth depends on the cost you are willing to bear. At the very least, you should keep silent and adopt a stance of passive resistance when you are unable to speak the truth. One can only ask oneself how one would behave in these three situations.