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:
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':
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:
Autocrats and dictators the world over, everything they say, what they emphasize and even their tone, it's all exactly the same
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:
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:
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?
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:
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 after midnight, Bulloger Huang Zhangjin, another journalist, wrote:
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:
Is also left on the aforementioned Wen Yunchao's second post on Myanmar: