Chinese Party Paper Bashes Former Google China Chief Lee Kaifu

China’s Party magazine “Party Building” recently published a piece titled “Ten Questions for Lee Kaifu”[zh], questioning former Google China chief and online celebrity Lee Kaifu’s citizenship status, his motives, his public comments and political views.

The piece, written by Zhou Xiaoping,  a self-claimed macroeconomics analyst, criticizes Lee’s moral integrity and political views, including Lee’s advocacy of freedom of speech online and support for Chinese young liberals such as Han Han. He even questioned if Lee is really suffering from lymphoma.

With over 51 million followers on Weibo, Lee is an outspoken online celebrity who comments on various issues in China and interacts with China’s youth. Lee encourages independent thinking, which often challenges traditional Chinese values. He writes[zh] on Sina Weibo:

A screenshot of Lee Kaifu's Sina Weibo Page

A screenshot of Lee Kaifu's Sina Weibo Page

中国人总是把“乖” 、“听话”当作一个孩子的优点。但是我希望我的孩子不要只做听话的孩子,我要他们成为讲理的孩子。听话的孩子可能只是盲从,而不见得懂道理,而且以后这样盲从的人如何进入社会。讲理的孩子因为觉得你有理而“听话”,而不是畏惧你而“听话”。那不就是更好吗?

Chinese people always consider “obedience” as a good quality in a child. But I want my children to be reasonable children instead of obedient ones. The obedient child may blindly follow others, but not necessarily understand the truth, how can such children deal with the issues in society when they grow up. Reasonable children will listen to you because they think you are right, not because they are afraid of you, isn’t it better?

Lee was picked by Sina as China's most influential micro-blogger earlier this year. However, a shadow fell over the Chinese Web when Lee KaiFu announced that he was diagnosed with lymphoma in September, 2013.

Zhou, in his critique writes:


You often said you are spreading positive energy and guiding young people, but all the young people you endorsed have bad morality, spreading desperate emotion with extreme hatred for China.

The piece was soon picked up by Chinese media and spread on Sina Weibo. A search of Lee Kaifu’s Chinese name on Baidu yields articles and comments questioning his integrity and motives.

Although most Weibo users dismiss the criticism, there are a lot of comments demanding Lee’s response, which were believed to be paid for by the 50 Cent Party, an organization which some believe Zhou is a member of.

Blogger “GK Tongrenyuye” wrote[zh]:


I’m not Lee Kaifu’s follower, but the “Ten Questions for Lee Kaifu” is too much. I don’t believe Big Vs have any hidden agenda; in fact, it’s the users who have raised them up on their shoulders. You can’t deny that Lee’s comments radiate positive energy, which generates positive feedback. The more people read the posts of people like Lee, the bigger the conversation gets. Lee Kaifu’s microblogging leads readers on to the idea that individuals can become strong, while the state media says only the government is strong.

Some bloggers came up with a similar piece titled “Ten Questions for Zhou Xiaoping”[zh], further questioning Zhou’s motivation.

Lee didn’t respond online directly to the criticism. On Oct 14, he quoted a line from T.H. White's “The Once and Future King“:

治疗悲伤最有效的方法就是去学习一些东西。当你受到打击,经历挫折,从骨子里颤抖,看到你的世界被人摧毁,体验你的荣誉被踩进下水道,发生这些事情之后,你要学的只有一件事情。学习世事为何如此变化,发生了哪些变化。这是唯一可以让心永不疲惫,永不疏离,永不后悔的事情 – T.H. White

The best thing for being sad is to learn something. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honor trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting.

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