Close

Donate today to keep Global Voices strong!

Our global community of volunteers work hard every day to bring you the world's underreported stories -- but we can't do it without your help. Support our editors, technology, and advocacy campaigns with a donation to Global Voices!

Donate now

See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

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:

我小的时候非常胆小。记得五六岁那会儿,有一次姐姐放学回来给我讲了个她听到的鬼故事,非常恐怖。我吓得整晚上都睡不着,一直抱着父亲。他要睡过去,我就叫醒他,让他抱着我。第二天,被折腾了一夜的父亲怒斥我姐:“你看看,你都把他吓成什么样了?!以后再敢这样我就揍你!”

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 Baidu.com. 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!

看完之后我大笑,然后回信用几乎是谐谑的口气安慰了他。但紧接着便有些心酸,想起了我父亲责骂我姐的话:“你看看,你都把他吓成什么样了?!”

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!’.

制造恐惧并不一定需要暴力,只要处处加大行为的成本就够了,甚至都不用真的加大成本,只要展示一下行为的成本有随时被加大的可能便够了。….看看那些这些日子被请去喝茶的人们的故事,看看那些公民调查者们最近在四川的遭遇,看看这些人心里的担忧,便知道了。

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.

成本弄得那么重,瘦弱的肩膀实在是担不动啊。

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

如果只是匿名上网牢骚几句都被噤声,即便远渡重洋都还要为自己的“错误言论”惴惴不安,只是说几句话都要心头挣扎半天,又如何能抱怨面对恶徒的拳头和匕首时,人们不见义勇为呢?更别说我们还曾经真的把最容易站立的青春用坦克履带压成了扁平。

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!’

是啊,我们自己都要爬着活,又如何敢腆颜教育下一代“勇气”和“爱”呢?我们能做的,不过是在他们小时候讲讲勇气和爱的童话,然后在他们长大了真正要展示勇气和爱的时候,大喝一声:“快!趴下!”

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!’

也许下次回国的时候,我该去拜会一下那具广场上从未谋面的尸体,调侃着说:“你看看,你都把他吓成什么样了?”

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!

    -xs

  • 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?

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site