So far, the biggest names to get behind the free-Ling–Lee movement are @aplusk (Ashton Kutcher) and @lisaling’s former @TheViewTV colleague @StarJonesEsq. The pair’s messages of outrage and heartfelt support have helped spread the word, and if North Korea was a country with actual Twitterers, might also have stoked local grassroots outrage.
Instead, Kutcher and Jones’ tweets, much like the family pleas, diplomatic entreaties and public vigils (the next ones are July 3rd in Denver and July 9th in Chicago-elsewhere), fell on deaf North Korean ears. Still, that doesn’t mean the tactic shouldn’t be tried with the larger country on the left.
Were China to urge its wonky neighbor to release a Chinese American (Ling) and Korean American (Lee) on purely humanitarian grounds, North Korea might pay a little more attention. Already, there is an Amnesty International letter template that people are using to urge China to do just that.
A collection of more famous Chinese Americans signing their names to a similar plea for Chinese help might not be the magic answer. But surely boldface such as Vera Wang, Jackie Chan, author Amy Tan, Yo-Yo Ma and Michelle Kwan couldn’t hurt.
Update – 07/05/09: Per follower @leon_fan, Michelle Kwan will be in South Korea next month for a gala with Kim YuNa. She is a State Department PR envoy, so it would be nice to see her make a humanitarian plea for Ling–Lee asap.