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China: Bloggers side with Burmese monks

While Chinese authorities remain weaselly in their diplomatic response to Myanmar's fatal clampdown on the tens of thousands of monks and citizens of Yangon who have come out to rally for an end to the military dictatorship, a number of influential Chinese bloggers have taken the radical move of going against all known truths regarding The Chinese Mind as of Sept. 17, 2007 with some throwing their weight squarely behind the Saffron Revolution and others even using this incident as an opportunity to reflect on the state of China's own democratic movement.

Wednesday morning when the Chinese blogsphere began to respond to news of the growing protest and subsequent crackdown was when the first Bullog—an independent blog portal home to many prominent Chinese journalists’ blogs—blogger Don Ma posted the first of his several updates on the situation with ‘different government, same old line,’ a response to the junta's claim of instigation from both domestic and foreign enemies. “All dictatorships think the same way,” writes one reader; “Li Hongzhi” jokingly (?) blurts another. A further update from Ma closer to noon that the Myanmar military had begun cracking down on the monks received no response.

Bullog blogger and historian Fu Guoyong posted not long before lunch on Wednesday an essay he'd written on Aung San Suu Kyi back in 2002 in which he puts forth some ethical guidelines for China's own democratic movement, and without naming names, perhaps referring to those currently (housebound and imprisoned parallels nonwithstanding) involved in it.

One of Fu's readers writes:

昂山淑姬……丧失理想的中国何时才能有这种“圣徒”般的人物?

Aung San Suu Kyi….when will ideal-less China ever have such a “saint” of her own?

Writes another:

为何不期待自己成为这样的人物?

Why do you rule out yourself becoming just such a figure?

Coincidentally, a search on YouTube for 缅甸 brings up two recent cellphone-shot clips from the streets of Yangon, the latter having been posted by a ‘yongfuguo’:

By noon Thursday, other Bullog bloggers began kicking in. Blog editor for major internet news portal NetEase Wen Yunchao posted two photos under the title borrowed from People's Daily: ‘two photos of anti-authoritarianism':

9月23日,缅甸仰光,大约2万名僧侣和市民走上街头,反对军事独裁。
人民网的报道称这场运动是“反对军事独裁”:

Yangon, Myanmar, September 23, roughly 20,000 monks and citizens walk through the streets in opposition to the military dictatorship. The People's Daily online report is referring to this movement as “anti-military dictatorship”.

Some comments:

我们物价上涨的时候……

When our commodity prices go up…..

follow monks

I'm with the monks

已经开枪了

They've already started shooting

震撼,感动!
啥也不说了……

Shocking! Exciting!
I'm not gonna say anything…..

Indispensable ProState inFlames blogger and The Beijing News reporter moogee made his first post of several just after lunch Thursday with a translation of a Myanmar Daily editorial which dismisses the protests as the actions of an extremely small rumor-spreading and reactionary minority instigated by reactionary Western forces, manipulating and encouraging people to violate the constitution and attack the government, the military and the whole of society with the aim of throwing the country into chaos; the editorial adds that the government also hopes to see an end to corruption, the promotion of democracy, that in fact it's these illegal groups out protesting who are working against such goals…

Two translatable comments from the many caustic and sarcastic others left on this post:

好熟悉的文字

Those are some familiar-looking words

真他妈比的有意思
全世界的独裁专制统治者,说起话来,强调和语气都完全一摸一样
日他娘的比

Really [bleep] interesting
Autocrats and dictators the world over, everything they say, what they emphasize and even their tone, it's all exactly the same
[bleep][bleep][bleep]

A few hours after another post from Don Ma responding to news that monks and citizens were being attacked—“sure enough, the Communist Party of China government won't interfere with another country's domestic politics”—moogee added that:

和尚情绪稳定,开枪的都是临时军人

The monks are keeping calm; those shooting are all temporary soldiers

Reader comments:

不知道仰光的路况能不能支持住坦克…..

I don't know if Yangon's roads can hold up to tanks…..

党太虚伪了,当年没有日本人干涉内政,他们有今天。对自己是自由主义,对别人是专职主义的垃圾。

The Party's too full of it. If the Japanese hadn't interfered in our domestic politics back in the day, the Party wouldn't even be here. Now it's liberalism for themselves, and autocracy for everyone else.

缅甸的和尚还算对得起自己的信仰
另一方面也反应缅甸的专制还不成熟
我们共产中国老早就专辟了一个“宗教事务局”,一网打尽佛道僧尼上帝安拉……
有时候我想,如果要我一边信仰一个神,一边服从宗教事务局的领导,我真会害怕自己下地狱。

At least Myanmar's monks are able to keep their own faith
But at the same time it just shows how unripe Myanmar's totalitarianism is
Here in Communist China we've had a “Religious Affairs Bureau” set up for ages, which rounds up the whole lot of various religions…..
Sometimes I think that if I was to believe in one god, but then obey the RAB's leaders as well, I'd be really scared of going to hell.

Later in the afternoon moogee reposted one netizen's strongly-worded demand for China to immediately dispatch troops to Myanmar and restore order, generating two pages of heated and fascinating debate in comments over this issue; Sina blogger Yan Nanfei put out a post at five pm that the authorities had begun using tear gas to stop the procession, and then the Paparazzi Brigade ycul blogger put out at just before nine:

会不会大开杀戒

Is there any way to stop the killing?

缅甸的局势如火如荼地进行着,全世界都在关注,
然而国内媒体确是静悄悄的,好象俺们的邻国什么都没发生一样.
最新局势的进展到处都有报道,但是深度报道却还一直没看到
僧侣集团和民主派是什么关系?为什么是僧侣们首先起来游行
后台是谁?
油价上涨是导火索,缅甸国内深层次的矛盾是什么?
< <经济学家>>还是比较靠谱,比较客观,而且把事情的来龙去脉说清了,
但是深层次的分析估计要等到下一期
< <经济学家>>好象对前景很悲观,

The Myanmar situation is spreading like wildfire, the whole world is watching
And now mainland media have clearly gone dead silent, like nothing were happening in our neighboring country at all.
There have been reports all over on the latest developments of the situation, but I've yet to see anything in-depth.
What's the connection between the monks and the democrats? Why were the monks the first to get out and start protesting?
Who's behind all this?
Rising oil prices ignited this, but what's the conflict at the lower levels in Myanmar society?

…..

中国在这中间起到什么作用?
各国都在关注.
中国也担心事件对自身的国际形象不利
对08年的奥运会有负面影响
就象苏丹达尔富尔人道危机中国的不作为
导致一些国家抵制俺们的奥运会

但是中国对缅甸军政府的警告好象并不起作用
和朝鲜核危机一样
中国的作用并不象西方想象的那么大
小弟弟并不很听老大哥的话

会不会大开杀戒呢?
心里有点寒

What's China, standing in the middle, doing about this?
Every country is watching to find out.
China's worried about the impact this will have on its international image
As well as negative impact on the '08 Olympics
Just like where China has fallen short in the Darfur humanitarian crisis
Leading some countries to boycott the Olympics

But China's warning to Myanmar's military government seems to have had no effect
Just like with the North Korean nuclear missile crisis
China's role isn't as great as the West seems to think it is
The little brothers don't seem to be listening so much to what Big Brother says

Is there any way to stop the killing?
I'm a little worried

Then Thursday night the Bullogers got wind of the Red Shirt Campaign worldwide protest scheduled for Friday, and support spread quickly. “Wear a red t-shirt!,” said journalist-blogger Priest Liu first at 11 p.m., “and support Myanmar's democracy movement!”

At eleven-thirty, Beijing-based journalist Taras the Arab Sohu blogger wrote:

据胡贲老师说,缅甸的游行,就是我们的19(8)(9),既然如此,那还是应当支持一下的。另外,全世界搞一搞,也是胡闹一把,好玩啊。
A world wide campain is going on now to support the people in Burma. There is a signifigant group at Facebook, discussion boards are buzzing and this sms-message is being sent to thousands right now: In support of our incredibly brave friends in Burma: May all people around the world wear a red t-shirt on friday, September 28. Please forward!

Just got word from Teacher Huben about the Myanmar protest; it's like our 1989, and with that being the case, we might as well support them. Also, the whole world's onto this, making some noise, sounds like fun.

Just after midnight, Bulloger Huang Zhangjin, another journalist, wrote:

明天请穿红T恤

Please wear a red t-shirt tomorrow

At 1:38 Friday morning, Beijing time, Bullog founder Luo Yonghao chimed in, posting the same image with a quote from Suu Kyi:
‘my existence is the best form of protest’, pledging to the red t-shirt protest five hours later.

The first comment left there:

怎么缅甸的事各大网站都没上头版!!!!!

Why is there nothing about Myanmar on any of the large internet portals????

Is also left on the aforementioned Wen Yunchao's second post on Myanmar:

“Glite革命”

“Glite Revolution”

缅甸僧侣9月23日在仰光发起了二万人的游行,展开近二十年来向军政府作出的最大挑战。此次群众运动因军政府上月取消官方补贴而导致燃油价格暴涨而引起。作为全球互联网管制最严厉的国家之一,缅甸经常封锁国外新闻网站和提供电子邮件服务的网站。然而,大批市民在仰光街头示威游行的消息和片断却恰恰是通过互联网传遍世界的。面对反网络封锁技术广泛传播而束手无策的缅甸政府,竟然一度切断了国内网与国际互联网的连接。有人认为,在这种境况之下,有关缅甸局势的详细报道依然能流向海外,这不能不说是一场打破政府对互联网封锁的全球性胜利,这场以信息主导的运动将来都很有可能被称为“Glite革命”(Glite,缅甸应用最广泛的代理网站)。9月27日,一则信息在包括中国大陆在内的国际互联网广为流传:“为声援缅甸民主运动,国际和解伙伴(International fellowsshipreconciliation)号召全球人民今天(9月28日)穿红T恤。”

Monks in Myanmar began a 20,000 person-strong demonstration in Yangon on September 23, presenting the largest challenge to the junta in nearly twenty years. This mass movement arose after violent surges in oil prices occurred following the government's cancellation of official subsidies. With some of the strictest controls of the internet in the world, Myanmar frequently blocks overseas news websites and e-mail providers. From this, news and photos of the massive citizen protests on the streets of Yangon slowly trickled out through the internet. At a loss of how to deal with the anti-censorship techniques and spreading information, the Myanmar government actually severed all domestic links to the overseas internet. Some feel that in this situation, with detailed reports on the situation in Myanmar still managing to trickle overseas, it has to be said for this to have been a global victory against government blocking of the internet; it's quite likely that this information-fueled movement might just end up being called the “Glite Revolution,” (Glite is Myanmar's largest proxy server website). On September 27, information began to spread into and through the Chinese internet: “support democracy in Myanmar…on September 28, the International Fellowship Reconciliation calls on the world to wear a red t-shirt.”

As of 8 am Beijing time on Friday, September 28, only two more Bullog bloggers have publicly announced their participation in today's protest.

30 comments

  • J Gyi

    Although wearing a red shirt is a good idea, it will not do much more than be a fashion statement while others die. I would recommend that you take the initiative to do something … maybe find the telephone number of the nearest Chinese counsulate (or Burmese embassy, or better yet – the cell phone numbers of any one of the family members of the thug generals) .. call … tell them ..leave a voice message… I believe that the volume of such messages will let China and Burma know with no uncertainty that the WORLD (and not politicians) means business!

    Here is the perfect opportunity for you to start a chain email with the number you found … ask people to make a call …. harass the government officials of Burma and China until they DO somehting about it and not just give the world more fluff!

  • Great suggestion, J Gyi. Here’s the address and contact info for the embassy in Beijing:

    Embassy of the Union of Myanmar in Beijing
    Ambassador: H.E. Mr. Thein Lwin
    Address: No. 6, Dong Zhi Men Wai Street, Chaoyang District, Beijing, 100600
    Tel: +86-10-65320351, 65320359
    Fax: +86-10-65320408
    Office Hours for visa: 09:00 – 11:30 (holidays excluded)
    E-mail: myanmarconsular@yahoo.com, info@myanmarembassy.com
    Website: http://www.myanmarembassy.com/

  • […] youtube clip was posted by a user with the Chinese-sounding name of Yongfuguo. Chinese bloggers have apparently got behind the monks and protesters, writes John Kennedy at Global […]

  • […] los bloggers chinos atacan a Pekín por no hacer algo por el pueblo de Birmania, internet ha servido para despertar la […]

  • The people of Maldives are with the people of Burma. As we are ruled by a dictatorship, we can understand the feelings in Burma quite well. We are also promoting Red Shirt for Burma campaign.
    http://idhikeeli.blogspot.com/2007/09/wear-red-today-to-show-support-for.html

  • buddhist nature

    Here’s the US information:

    Myanmar Embassy in the US:
    Tel : 202-332-3344, 202-332-4350, 202-332-4352
    FAX : 202-332-4351

    Postal address :
    Embassy of the Union of Myanmar
    2300 S Street NW, Washington D.C. – 20008

    ******I called the last of the phone numbers…option 8 gets you to the Ambassadors office!!!

    Chinese Embassy:

    VERY INTERESTIONG..
    Went to the China Embassy clicked on “contact us” and was redirected!!!!Seems like chinese Embassy is afriad of US citizens using their freedom of speech!

    Called directory Information for the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China: There are several numbers and NOT ONE gets through to anyone!
    1-202-234-0406
    1-202-332-8851
    1-202-338-0636
    1-202-237-1688
    1-202-518-7194
    FAX: 202-234-2034

    Consulate General of the PRC:
    1-212-244-1467
    1-212-244-9192
    1-212-244-9392

    Consulte General of Myanmar/Burma (website info was available yesterday – today it was GONE!)
    1-212-744-1271

    Always be respecful…

  • Free Burma from these Corrupted dictator. Freedom will uprise.

  • mahathir_fan

    Highly agree with the other bloggers that DEMOCRACY and power must be returned to the PEOPLE. End military rule! Let the era of the DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF MYANMAR (DPRM) begin!

  • […] Global Voices Online » China: Bloggers side with Burmese monks ..a number of influential Chinese blogger…going against all known truths regarding The Chinese Mind as of Sept. 17, 2007 with some throwing their weight squarely behind the Saffron Revolution (tags: burma china activism cyberactivism online technology crossborder) […]

  • MAC

    I really need to find some better, smarter websites to kill time at… while I saw a few pro-democracy/pro-“miandian renmin” stuff in comments on the (meager) coverage on Sina, I would guess that at least 70% of the responses considered it blatantly obvious that this is yet another US-fomented uprising, just like all such movements against nasty regimes in China’s hemisphere clearly are.

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