China: Our right to be spared from fear

Blogger Lan Xiaohuan (兰小欢), in his post ‘Bitter Smile’, reflects on how a nation permeated with fear has muzzled people's voice. Lamenting that the cost to claim the rights of a citizen is getting higher today, he also lampooned the infusing fear that crushes people's courage and love, concluding that Chinese have never really stood up without fear.

He starts with an anecdote of his childhood:


I was very timid when I was about 5 years old. One day,back from school my sister told me a ghost story which is so scary that I was sleepless the entire night and thus kept my father awake, because I would shake him up once he fell asleep. Next day, my dad scolded my sister, ‘Look, you have scared him so much! I will beat you if you dare do this again!’

今天收到一封孩子的来信,信中写道:“我最近有件很担心的事情,请您帮帮忙。之前,我在百度BLOG上面发表有关学潮的文章被删除了,之后账号也被锁定。还有在学校校园网屡屡使用翻墙软件看国内禁止浏览的信息。那么,我会不会已经被当成黑名单记录在案了?这些事情会不会影响我出国?我早就计划出国啦…. 希望您能帮我解答下,谢谢啦。”

Today I received a letter from a kid, which writes, ‘I have been so worried recently. Could you please help me? Not long ago I have published an article about Tiananmen Square incident on my blog in It was deleted by the admins and my account was also locked. Moreover, I have often broken through the GFW (internet blockade) to read webpages that were censored in China. So, will I be put on some blacklist? Would this ruin my plan to study abroad? Please give me some advise, thanks a lot!


I broke into laugh after reading it, and comforted him almost in a tone of banter. But then I somewhat felt sad for him, recalling what my dad scolded my sister, ‘Look, you have scared him so much!’.


It doesn't have to rely on violence to create fear. It only needs to increase the cost of acting justice. Not even that is needed. As long as it is shown clearly that such cost can be raised at any time, we will be deterred. Look at the stories about people being ‘invited’ to talk with the public security agents; look at how citizen journalists were treated in Si-chuan (where 5.12 earthquake happened). Look at their anxiety and fear, you should know everything.


The cost is too heavy for our slim shoulders to take on.


If our a few slight complaints have to be silenced, if we have to worry about our words even when staying abroad, if we have to go through intense inner struggle before any speech, how can we face boldly the thug's fists and pistols? How could you complain that people no more stand up against the evil?

49 年的时候,有人说:“中国人民从此站起来了。”可从那以后,每隔一段时间,我们都要重新站起来一回。香港回归,站;卫星上天,站;奥运开幕,又站。外国人有时候不解:“你们不是早就站起来了么?怎么还反复站了又站,有完没完啊?”看到这样的误解我就很愤怒:“妈的,平时都爬着,怎么还不让人动不动站起来伸伸懒腰啦?我们对自己人忍气吞声,自然就要对你们外国人扬眉吐气,否则不他妈憋死啦!”

In 1949 Mao claimed that ‘Chinese people have now stood up!’ But since then, we had stood up again and again. When Hong Kong returned to China, we proclaimed we stood up. When our satellite was launched we stood up. When Olympics opened, we stood up again. Some foreigners wondered, ‘haven't you already stood up? Why now you still keep saying that you are standing up?’ I was angry with their question, ‘Damn it, we have never really stood up before. We have always been crawling on the ground so why can't we just stand up occasionally to take a break? We submit to humiliation to our countrymen at home so that we have to hold our heads high to you foreigners. Or we will be suffocated by our simmering fury!’


So, if we adults have to bend over on the ground with humiliation, how would we educate our children about ‘courage’ and ‘love'? What we can do is but to tell them fairy tales about courage and love when they are children, and at the time they are going to make it real, we will shout, ‘ No! Stay low!’


Maybe next time when I am back to China, I should visit the Tiananmen Square to talk with the dead bodies lying there, ‘Look, how much have they scared you!’.


  • xushi

    great content choices again Bob!
    keep on rocking for the free world!


  • Guangdong Foreigner

    The blogger wrote…

    “we have to hold our heads high to you foreigners…”

    I am a foreigner living in China. I see the resentment toward us by many locals. It is almost a kind of split-personality. On the one hand they envy our freedom and on the other hand they resent us for having it.

    I am worried for China.

  • New Yorker

    since 1/4 of world population is Chinese-華僑, and who is he talking about the foreigner? Tibetan people who submit to humiliation?

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