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China: ‘Anti-American Warrior’ Gets Head Stuck in DC Airport Escalator

“America is the enemy of all the people in the world.”

So wrote Sima Nan, one of China's most vocal opponents of Western liberal values, before he boarded a plane to Washington, DC, on January 20, 2012. At some point after arriving at Dulles International Airport, Sima leaned over the handrail of an escalator and wound up getting his head pinched between the handrail and an approaching section of wall.

Sima was put in a neck brace and taken to a hospital where he remains today, partially mobile and busy updating his microblog [zh].

The news that the media figure, who has made a career out of bashing the United States, quietly traveled there on the eve of Chinese New Year broke first online and, among other things, led to rumors that Sima had gone stateside to reunite with his wife and daughter. Sima has claimed that no warning sign was posted on the escalator and has said that he will sue the airport.

Sima, who was on his way to a conference, has been mocked to no end over the past week, as dragonwell summarizeshere at the Tea Leaf Nation blog, along with some of what he has written since confirming the news of his injury on January 24.

Image from Rebel Pepper

Image from Rebel Pepper

On the Phoenix TV blog portal, Canada-based blogger Yu Xiaoping has written on the hypocrisy [zh] of Sima's position, regardless of the nature of the conference he had been invited to attend:

刚刚听说反美斗士司马南在美国机场被人认出来还以为是有人在造谣呢,结果网上登出来伤者的照片。而他也在自己的微博当中证实,的确他在美国的机场被滚梯卡住了脑袋。乘坐滚梯不要将脑袋伸到外面,这是正常人都能知道的道理。每天都有成千上万的人往返于这个华盛顿机场,能把个强烈反美的人脑袋卡住,这显得特别不可思议。

Just heard that the anti-American warrior Sima Nan was spotted at an American airport and I thought it must have been a rumor, but then photos of the person injured appeared online. He's confirmed this on his own Weibo, that he did in fact get his head stuck on an escalator in an American airport. You don't stick your head out when you're riding an escalator, this is something all normal people know. Tens of thousands of people pass through this Washington, DC, airport each day, which makes it all the more hard to believe that someone as fiercely opposed to the US as this could get his head stuck there.

对伤者我深表同情,我觉得不宜在这种时候讽刺人家。对网上流传的他是与家人团聚,在未经证实的情况下也不好传播。不可否认的是,很多当年反美的斗士在中国赚足了稿费,然后一家人移民到了美国。

倒是有一点,大家不知是否注意到了。经此人个人微博的表述是去美国开会,而不是与家人团聚。虽然无法证实真假,我觉得这比他的家人在美国更发人深省,一个强烈反美的人,能够得到美国的签证,以工作的理由进入美国,而不是由于家庭团聚人道的理由拿到签证。这在天朝,你能想象吗?

I deeply sympathize with the injured person, and I don't think this is the time to be ridiculing him. As for the rumors online that he'd gone to see his family, it's best not to spread that sort of thing until the situation has been clarified. What is undeniable, however, is that many people who once spent years fighting America from China, have immigrated to the US with their families after having saved up enough through writing earnings.

There's one point, though, I don't know if people have noticed, that he's written on his personal Weibo account that he went to the US for a conference, and not to reunite with his family. Although it's impossible to confirm either way, what's far more telling I think is to know that someone so fiercely opposed to the United States can still receive a visa to go there, for work purposes in particular, rather than obtaining a visa for the humane reason of going to join his family. Can you imagine China doing the same thing?

龙年新气象。认同美国价值的人往美国跑,因为在国内受到了迫害。反对美国价值的人也往美国跑,不是因为在国内受到迫害,而是至少受到美国方面的邀请,这是所有以开会的理由取得签证的人都可以证明的常识。

一个国家是不是强大,到底怎样才能变得强大?就要看他是否能够包容反对自己的人。我们回顾中国历史,真正盛世的时期都是从大臣到老百姓能够胡说八道的环境。为什么?因为皇帝不怕有人谋反,因为你没那个本事,没那个能力,想胡说八道就说吧,变不了天。一朝皇帝只要是根基不稳,则会严格控制老百姓的言论,特别是控制大臣们的言论,采取酷刑政策,怕是有人谋反,每天惶惶不可终日。

Fresh into the Year of the Dragon. Those who accept American values have run off to America, because staying in China they just endure persecution. Those against American values are also running off to America, not for fear of facing persecution at home, but at the very least due to an invitation from the US, which as everyone knows is necessary to obtain a visa to go take part in a conference.

What is it that allows a country to grow to become great? You need only look at whether it can tolerate those who oppose it. If we look back at Chinese history, the truly prosperous periods were all times in which everyone from top officials down to common folk could all say whatever they wanted. Why is that? The emperors weren't afraid of anyone rebelling because no one was capable of pulling something like that off, and knowing that it wouldn't change anything, people could speak whatever nonsense they chose. Only the emperor of an unstable dynasty, meanwhile, will strictly control what people can say, exercising the most control over what top officials say, even employing torture out of fear of a rebellion, spending each day in a panic.

这位司马南到底去参加颂美的会议准备只身去舌战群儒,还是去参加反美的会议,去锦上添花,都代表美国社会的包容。前者是这个会议包容他这个人,后者是美国政府包容这个会议。只有包容才能使一个国家强大,美国不用担心什么,只有虚弱的政府才会担心,不敢让反对者进来。很多异见人士因为不堪在国内的迫害逃到国外,结果中国的护照不能更新,取得国外护照以后拿不到中国的签证,导致再也无法见到国内的亲友,其实这就是一种流放,天朝连文弱的书生都怕,你就可想而知了。

很好奇想知道这位反美的斗士到底去参加什么性质的会议,成果能否和大家分享一下,所以希望伤者早日康复,给大家一个真相。这一现象难道不令人深思吗?

This Sima Nan, was he on his way to a verbal showdown at a pro-US conference, or was he going to take part in an anti-American conference, like the frosting on a cake, a representation of the tolerance within America's society. In the case of the former, it would have been the conference tolerating this individual, and in the latter, the US government tolerating such a conference. Only tolerance can make a nation great, and America has nothing to worry about. Only a weak government would worry about something like this and not let its opponents in. Many dissidents, unable to bear the persecution at home, have fled overseas and found themselves unable to renew their Chinese passports. Similarly, once they receive foreign passports, they can't obtain visas to China, leaving them unable to see their friends and family in the country. What this actually is is a form of exile, and for China to fear even frail intellectuals, you can figure out the rest yourself.

I'm curious to know just what sort of conference this anti-American warrior was on his way to attend, so I hope the injured person recovers soon to share the truth with everyone. Either way, it's gotta make you wonder.

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