China: Touchy topics

BBS forums used to be the venue of choice to make oneself seen and heard in the Chinese blogsphere, until blogs came along and most of the biggest and best BBS names took their reputations and readers and set up their own spaces. While BBSes, some in blog+BBS hybrid form, are still running strong, though not as wild as in their heyday, they still do offer a quantity that blogs do not. Anonymity with a guaranteed profile probably remains the biggest draw, and many stories are broken there that can't be seen in mainstream Chinese media.

But it's not all for free. Of the thousands of posts coming into the bigger sites—most self-censoring just enough to keep themselves open but not so much as to bore readers—each day, undoubtedly many posts disappear with no-one the wiser. At KDNet, however, one of the biggest of the big, one strategy which seems to be working for them is to keep the offending post, but keep it on lockdown, available to read but closed to comments. Not blocked yet in some way not safe, what do these kinds of posts imply? A sensitive topic edge of mentionability? Fittingly, KDNet's locked links appear grey instead of the usual black. Here are those found posted Wednesday night, Beijing time:

Don't force yourself to take Mao Zedong for granted, posts Qin Xiaoying, stating first that most people are familiar with Mao Zedong's October 1, 1949 proclamation from the steps of Tiananmen square that ‘the people of China hereby rise up!’, then denouncing it as a myth.

毛泽东在那个时刻、那个地点真说过这句话吗?提出这个问题,也许有人会认为是多余。因为每逢国庆或一些重要场合,无论是媒体,还是文艺作品都会提到这句话。 然而,历史的真相是,在开国大典毛泽东宣读的那份关于中华人民共和国中央人民政府成立的公告中,完全没有那句话!而从文献档案资料上我们却可以看到:在1949年9月21 日举行的中国人民政治协商会议第一届全体会议开幕式上,毛泽东所致的开幕词中确有类似的表述。他的原话是这样的:”我们的工作将写在人类的历史上,它将表明:占人类总数四分之一的中国人从此站立起来了……我们的民族将再也不是一个被人侮辱的民族了,我们已经站起来了。”

Did Mao Zedong really say that, at that time, at that place? Asking this question, many people might find it nonsense, because come every National Day some major places, be they media or cultural works, all bear this line. However, the historical truth is that in the announcement Mao Zedong read at the founding ceremony of the nation regarding the establishment of the People's Republic of China and the Central People's Government, there is no this such line! Though documents do show that on September 12, 1949 at the opening ceremony for the first plenary session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, similar wording can be seen in Mao Zedong's opening address. What he originally said was, “our work will be written down in the history of mankind. It goes to show that a quarter of all Chinese hereby rise up……our people will never be a humiliated people again, as we've already risen up.”


My suggestion: starting from today, no matter whether it be normal conversation, media speech, or, especially, the writings of Mao Zedong's descendants, nothing that touches on Mao's speech at the founding ceremony of the nation should ever use the phrase, “Mao Zedong said: The Chinese people hereby rise up’. This line of course can be used, but not as one of Mao Zedong's selected quotes. If “Mao Zedong said” is used, then it should be attributed to his speech on September 21, 1949.

Interesting, but is it true? Does the Communist Party of China really spin its own history? No qualification as comments have been blocked, but the decision to let it stand gives a certain amount of authority. Others blocked tonight: reposting of Kuomingtang chairman and Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou‘s saying the future of cross-straits relations must be accepted by the people of Taiwan, more Mao in ‘The all-knowing, all-powerful Mao Zedong and all-ignorant, all-unselfish Washington‘, comparing the former leaders of the two world superpowers and even more comparing Mao with fellow mass-murderers Hitler and Stalin and some speculation on what China would have been like if Mao had never been:


Say Hitler never existed in history, then there wouldn't have been millions of Jews massacred and Europe wouldn't have have a second world war. Say Stalin never existed, then fascist Germany could very likely have occupied Russia, and after seizing the Caucasian oil fields, would have been too strong even for America. Say the Japanese monarchy didn't exist, then the people of Asia would never have had to suffer Japanese invasions.
So, say Mao Zedong never existed, how would history have played out?
The way I see it, first off the Communist Party of China would never have had the chance to take power. In fact, if the Communist Party had made just the slightest mistake during Mao Zedong's time, it would never have been victorious throughout the country…

A Communist-free China? The Democratic Party of China? In your BBSes, maybe, along with all of China's other political parties. Just how many are there? asks and answers ttttrr:


The Revolutionary Committee of Chinese Kuomintang, the China Democratic League, the China Democratic National Construction Association, the China Association for Promoting Democracy, the Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party, the China Public Interest Party, the September 3 Society, the Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League. The democratic parties support the leadership of the Communist Party; this is their long-term co-operation with The Party, a historical decision made in the process of the common struggle. Each democratic party has political freedom, organizational independence and legal status within the boundaries of the constitution. The basic agreement between the Communist Party of China and each democratic party is “long-term co-existence, mutual supervision and mutual devotion through honor or disgrace.”



Each of the eight democratic parties have developed into their own type of member. The Chinese Kuomintang is mainly for people with connections to Taiwan or the original Kuomintang, and is now expanding into other types of people. The China Democratic League is mostly university professors and lecturers. The National Construction Association is mainly people and researchers from the economic world. The Association for Promoting Democracy is mainly for people from the religious and publishing sectors. The Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party is mainly for healthcare professionals. The China Public Interest Party, returned overseas Chinese, their relatives as well as those related to them. The September 3 Society, mainly technocrats. the Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League, mainly for those with Taiwanese citizenship. Don't know which type you are? You can always apply to the government where you live, either at the district or municipal level. They just need to see if your employer is provincial or city jurisdiction, or private enterprise. You'll also need to be inspected by the in-house Party secretary, as well as go through many procedures. Quite troublesome. And the democratic parties have regulations: no expansion among students. The democratic parties mainly attract those with high education, intellectuals from the middle class or above, and those who fit the respective party's own requirements.

Nothing like a juicy diplomatic gaffe to get your post greylisted. Leading up to Chinese Chairman Hu Jintao‘s visit to India this coming Monday, a post about Chinese ambassador to India Sun Yuxi who in a recent interview with CNN said that the entire border province of Arunachal Pradesh is Chinese territory—a stance the poster says is in step with the Party line—giving rise to a huge controversy which has resulted in the Indian government asking for the diplomat to be immediately recalled.

Just back from India is winner of this year's Deutsche Welle Best of Blogs Bratwurst award, Zeng Jinyanthe bravest woman in China?—who this summer skipped grey and went straight to blocked, within China at least, on her MSN Spaces blog, hence the lack of comments on her latest post detailing her reception this past week at Beijing International airport:


I've safely returned to Beijing!


I was asked a few questions going through customs at Beijing airport:
Where are you from? Fujian;
Where are you coming from? India, with a transfer in Thailand;
What were you doing? Travelling (on a travel visa);
Why were you travelling for so long? I went to Thailand first to study, then to India for travel;
Did you go along or with others? There were a bunch of us;
Where are they? Over there (I pointed them out);
Then he called another officer over: “check to see if her visa is fake.”
The check took less than twenty minutes, then they let me go.


The next day I saw some local secret service police following me. How many I'm not sure, but they don't seem as intimidating as they did before I went travelling. Today I haven't seen any cars tailing me, I feel quite relaxed. I hope it lasts. The state doesn't need to waste time and energy following me, and doesn't need to be so indecent.
I heard that police who are tailing and keeping others under arrest began to retreat yesterday. Could it be a signal? [My husband] Hu Jia is still under house arrest, 121 days, I sure do wish he could walk free.

Guangzhou-based Southern Metropolis Daily editor, MSN Spaces blogger and recent Jefferson Fellowship for Journalists fellow Deng Zhixin, freshly back from his tour around the Pacific, just happened to be in Thailand and India at the same time as Zeng, here's a bit of what he had to say about the latter country:


When I first landed in India, my deepest impression was that there was nothing crazier than their infrastructure construction; from Delhi's Gandhi airport to downtown, there is no highway. And all over the sides of each road were men urinating, monkeys, cows and birds. Of course, the shanties sprawled along the sides of the roads and young and old beggars everywhere is a lot similar to China. Time was limited, I spent the last half of my day off in New Delhi's bookstores instead of going with the others to find Delhi's most “modern” side. Of course, the capitol Delhi is just a political center. Financial and business center Bombay had been planned into the itinerary, but we went to meet some officials instead. What's most worth saying is how arrogant all the Indians I met are, claiming India to be the world's largest democracy, with economics developing with great momentum……even when we brought how often India's bureaucracy is criticized, they would only just smile and dismiss you. Yeah, and they always want to waste a lot of time arguing, every side needs to make his point of view heard.

1 comment

  • 毛泽东没有说过?不会吧,我听过有原声录音的呀,文件上当然不会写了(以前我在同学里,模仿毛的这句讲话可是很像的)

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