My Post-"Anti-Central Propaganda Department" Era

Early this year, Jiao Guobiao published the Declaration of the Campaign against The Central Propaganda Department (討伐中宣部) document (see previous post).  The following is a translated extract from his introduction to a book of his work soon to be published in Japan.

My Post-"Anti-Central Propaganda Department" Era

Initially, I e-mailed Declaration of the Campaign against The Central Propaganda Department to just a few friends.  Unexpectedly, some of those friends posted the document on the Internet without telling me.  This became an irreversible phenomenon as the article spread first around the Chinese-language Internet and then it became quickly translated into foreign languages and appeared on the international internet too.  A student who returned from the United States told me that many university websites such as those at Harvard University and Stanford University have posted English-language translations of the Declaration of the Campaign against The Central Propaganda Department.

Among the traditional media, the first to publish and report was Hong Kong's Yazhou Zhoukan, and then the western media also reported.  Sat 1 in Germany and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation both showed interviews with me.  But within mainland China, not a single major media reported this, and it was also quickly banned on the Internet.

Yet almost everyone one that I came into contact with have heard about this or seen a copy of the document.  People who lived in the cities found it mostly through the Internet including via e-mail.  Those people in remote areas basically heard about it through foreign radio services.  A friend in the Municipal Management Bureau in Hui-an City, Jiangsu Province sent me a postcard saying: "Gravedigger of the Central Propaganda Department; China's road guide; in support of Professor Jiao Guobiao" and this was the first reader response that I received.

Afterwards, I continued to receive more letters and telephone calls that supported and praised me.  A 69-year-old man read the article in Yazhou Zhoukan and wrote: "I agree with your viewpoints.  I admire the fact that you disregarded your own personal safety and your spirit to fight for the good of the country and the welfare of the people."  Another old man from Yung-an County in Guangxi Province heard it on the radio and wrote: "Last month, I heard about your Declaration.  More recently I heard you speaking me with the reporters.  Both times, it was not too clear due to the interference, so it was disappointing.  But I am gratified to hear that your voice was steady ... Unfortunately, the Declaration was only excerpted, and that was regrettable.  I would appreciate it if you can send me a copy.  Please bear in mind that no matter where you are, you just remember that I am someone on this earth and I want to be your reader and to read what you will continue to write."  There were also some helpless petitioners, including a blind person who heard it on international radio, who came to my home to visit me.

My students offered me their respect and support via telephone, e-mail and notes.  "Teacher Jiao, you have to endure!"  "Teacher Jiao, we all support you!"  "Teacher Jiao, do you need the public support of the students?"  "There is no lack of intelligent people in the history of China and there is no lack of brave people, but there are very few brave intelligent people like you, teacher!"

A female reporter from Shanghai's Morning News who had just graduated with a journalism degree from Fudan University sent an e-mail: "I am embarrassed to have come across your Declaration of the Campaign against The Central Propaganda Department only today.  It was a pleasure to read something that expresses the feeling of media workers.  The spirit of righteousness and the eloquence of your document are admirable as well as inspiring.  If there should ever be a huge reform in Chinese journalism some day, this document will be considered a milestone to be remembered by everyone ... I will remember your lesson and become a leader."

I even received a letter from a Finnish citizen all the way over in Scandinavia, together with a clipping from Helsinki News with a report and my photograph.  A diplomat at the Greek Consulate in Beijing came to see me at Beijing University and offered to help me become a visiting university scholar in Greece.  A publishing company in New Jersey wrote me to say that they want to publish my works.  A Chinese professor  at Yale University went through some friends to invite me to visit.  A Korean girl who is a student in my class told me after school: "In the Central Daily News in Korea, I saw your photograph.  I didn't know that you are so famous!"  These friendly gestures from inside and outside of China were quite unanticipated.

A letter that was signed "A group of patriots at the Humanities Department at Wenzhou University" said: "After we finished applauding your letter, we cannot help but contemplate this problem: out of several hundred thousand media workers and several million intellectuals, how come nobody said that anything directly during the decades of lawlessness and recklessness by the Central Propaganda Department?  Today, you have stood up to express the suppressed anger that they have felt for so long.  Everyone is applauding and giving your respect in the backstage, but how many of them dare to stand up to identify themselves and voice their support?"

To be sure, at the same time that previously unknown readers expressed their support, I have other old acquaintances who do not dare to call me.  One day, a literary friend told me over the telephone in a half-serious manner: "Jiao Guobiao, you must give me a sum of money."  "What money?"  "Agent service fee."  "What agent service fee?"  "A lot of people called me to send their regards to you.  Am I not serving as your agent?"  I was confused: "Why can't they call me directly?"  "They say that their telephone must be under surveillance and so they don't dare call you."  When I heard that, I felt immensely sad.  It showed the terrible sense of personal safety that the people of China have.  It also shows the depth of the slavish attitude of the Chinese people.  To use a vulgar phrase: "So what if they listen in?  If you call me, is anyone going to bite your testicles off?"  But they are afraid in this manner.

One of my secondary school teachers is more than 80 years old now and he lives in a remote area in Henan province.  He has the habit of listening to foreign radio services.  When he heard about my article on Voice of America, he wanted to call his former student but he was afraid because he was worried about the surveillance.  His logic is this: sooner or later, Jiang Zemin is going to move against Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao.  When Jiang pulls his military coup, Hu and Wen as well as any other vocal democracy supporters will be arrested.  His student who wrote the Declaration of the Campaign against The Central Propaganda Department will obviously be at the top of the list and the old man might be dragged in too because this was his favorite student.  That was why he could not call.  I felt sad when I heard that.  What kind of logic is that?  You think about it!  Even an old man who is about to enter the grave is so afraid.  You can imagine what the evil politics of the past few decades have wrought to the spiritual well-being of the Chinese people!

Before the Declaration of the Campaign against The Central Propaganda Department came out, a Shanghai publishing company wanted to publish my collection "Looking Back At The Home Soil".  They even sent me the contract with the editor's letter: "Elder Brother Guobiao, I have read the draft and I am very satisfied.  Please send me your address so that I can sent you the publishing contract."  After the Declaration of the Campaign against The Central Propaganda Department came out, the editor called: "The book cannot be published anymore.  Who can afford to cross the Central Propaganda Department?"

A Beijing monthly magazine was all set to get me to write a column for them.  Everything was set to go, and then the editor wrote me: "The leadership has withdrawn the article.  They say that you have been noticed by the Central Propaganda Department.  They say that it has been banned.  We can't publish it."

A "Beijing Daily" deputy editor-in-chief instructed his editors: "You shall not solicit any more articles from Jiao Guobiao."  A Guangming Daily leader told his workers in a joking manner: "Is this Jiao Guobiao tired of living?"  A friend who worked at a website told me: They have received orders from above to ban my article as well as any other posts that praise and affirm it; they were also going to organize web pages to criticize me.  A deputy editor-in-chief at the weekly magazine sent me an e-mail: "Elder Brother Guobiao:  How are you?  Like many people, I am concerned about your situation.  Getting an article from you has now come a very [...] matter now.  But I still want to ask you if you are interested in writing something?  We are going to have a new magazine section called Viewpoints.  Each article should be between 3,500 to 4,000 words; they should represent unique viewpoints; they must be interesting.  If you have the time and interest, please send something over.  But you can't use your own name.  Sigh!"  I wrote back to thank him and said; "I don't feel like writing right now.  If I do, I will definitely send it over."  What I did not say was this: A real man uses his own name.  The freedom to use one's own name is a constitutionally guaranteed civil right.  Even if I feel like writing, I am not going to be forced to use a pen name.

During this same period, my home telephone and my mobile phone were subject to nuisance calls.  During one class, I received 18 nuisance calls.  The students were angry: "Where is the sense of personal safety in China?"  Even my 10-year-old son told me: "Dad, who is calling you?  When I say that you are not home, they hang up the telephone.  When I say that  you are home, they still hang up the telephone!"  

While all coverage about the Declaration of the Campaign against The Central Propaganda Department have disappeared from mainland Chinese websites, XinhuaNet has been systematically campaigning again me.  On April 15, 2003, I wrote a poem "To American Soldiers" and posted that on the Internet.  It has now been resurrected and criticized: "Be wary of these kinds of elite elements!"  "Chase Jiao Guobiao out of the educational field!"  "Chase Jiao Guobiao out of China!"  "Chinese traitor" "Teacher-brute" "Sham!"  "The new-age Wang Jingwei and Zhou Jouyan" "The shame of Beijing University" "With professors like these, don't send your children to Beijing University!"  Do I deserve less to be a Chinese citizen than those corrupt officials?  I don't hear them being chased out of China.

Many people advised me not to accept interviews from overseas media.  This is a big pressure for me.  This could be the biggest pressure for me, even worse than those nuisance telephone calls.  This is because the Chinese people are heavy on emotions and light on principles.  I am not worried about being pressured not to speak out, but I don't like being begged.  "The International Declaration of Human Rights" and the "International Human Rights Treaty" guarantee freedom of speech.  The Constitution of the People's Republic of China guarantees the freedom of speech.  The Constitution does not have an article that says Chinese citizens must not be interviewed by foreign journalists.  Since the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs permit foreign journalists to come to China, it implies that there is a contract: the foreign journalist may interview Chinese citizens and, conversely, Chinese citizens may be interviewed by foreign journalists.  Freedom of the press should not be restricted only to journalism classes and freedom of speech should not be the sole possession of foreigners, for it should be practiced everywhere in the world.  And I want to practice freedom of the press.

In a letter sent to a professor at the Beijing Film Academy, I wrote: "I am willing to use my immature acts and my tiny biological being to fertilize the fields of Beijing University for fifty years."  But I now realized that the violators of freedom of press and freedom of speech are not just the Central Propaganda Department.  There is also the entire administrative body.  Intentionally or otherwise, they have unwittingly become the co-conspirator with the Central Propaganda Department in controlling what comes out of the mouths of the Chinese people and thus worsening the freedom of speech in Chinese society.  The forces that control the freedom of speech are like the air that pervades in every bit of space.


我的後討伐中宣部時代

起初我只是通過電子郵件,把《討伐中宣部》發送給幾個朋友傳閱,想不到有朋友未與我打招呼,竟然徑直將其粘貼到互聯網上。這下一發不可收,該文不是呈風行之勢,而呈爆炸之勢,在互聯網上迅速擴散開來。先是中文網站,很快被翻譯成外文,登上國際網站。有學生從美國歸來,告訴我說,美國許多大學,如哈佛大學和史丹福大學網站上都貼上了翻譯成英文的《討伐中宣部》。

傳統媒體裡面,最早刊登和報道的是香港亞洲週刊。接下來是西方國家廣播媒體也都做了報道。德國電視一台和加拿大國家電視台錄製了我的專訪節目。但中國大陸,沒有一家傳統媒體報道此事,互聯網上也迅速封殺,但是幾乎我所接觸到的每個人,都陸續讀到或聽到此文廣播。其中城市文化人多半通過網絡,包括電子郵件,窮鄉僻壤關懷時事的人們基本上是通過收聽外國電台。江蘇省淮安市級機關管理局的一位朋友,給我寄來一張明信片,上面寫有「中宣部的掘墓人 中國人的引路人聲援焦國標教授」這些字。這是我最早收到的一份讀者來信。

此後不斷收到素不相識的人們發來的聲援性或讚賞性的信函和電話。廈門一位六十九歲老人看了亞洲週刊的文章,來信表示﹕「我很贊同您的觀點,並敬佩您不顧個人安危,為國家的利益和人民福祉大聲疾呼的精神。」廣西融安縣一位自稱年過花甲的廣播聽眾來信說﹕「上月收聽到你的《討伐》,近日又聽到你跟記者的訪談,兩次都因干擾聽得不清不楚,很是失落。但你聲音鎮定自如,甚感快慰唯《討伐》不得全貌,於心不忍,望你不加嫌意,檢寄一份給我。無論你到什麼地方,都不要忘記釘在地球某處的我,渴望做你的讀者,繼續讀到你的文章。」一些可憐無告的上訪者,還有一位收聽到外台的山東盲人朋友,輾轉來到我家探望我。

我的學生們通過電話、電子郵件、字條等多種形式,表達對我的支持和敬意。「焦老師,你要頂住﹗」「焦老師,我們都支持你﹗」「焦老師,需要不需要同學們聲援﹖」「中國歷史上不缺乏有智慧的人,也不缺乏有勇氣的人,像老師這樣既有智慧,又有勇氣的人,實在罕見﹗」

上海《新聞晨報》的一位女記者,剛從復旦大學新聞系畢業,發來一封電子郵件﹕「很慚愧,今天才看了您那篇《討伐中宣部》的檄文,真的是酣暢淋漓,道出了媒體人的心聲。您在文中所表現出來的才情和血性,也令人折服和熱血沸騰。若將來中國新聞真有大改革,這篇文章一定會成為一個里程碑式的開端,被人們記住的我會謹記教誨,爭做精英。」

我甚至收到來自遙遠北歐的一位芬蘭詩人的來信,隨信還寄來一份《赫爾辛基新聞》剪報,上面載有關於我的文章和我的照片。希臘駐華使館一位外交官,專程到北京大學拜訪我,並熱心為我聯繫去希臘大學做訪問學者。美國新澤西州一家出版社,來信表示要出版我的著作。美國耶魯大學一位華裔教授,通過友人與我取得聯繫,表示邀請我前往訪學。一位韓國女孩,是我班上的留學生,有一天下課後告訴我﹕「我在我們韓國的《中央日報》上看到老師的照片了,想不到老師這麼有名﹗」這些來自國內外的寶貴情誼,都是我完全沒有想到的。

落款是「溫州大學人文學院一群愛國者」的一封信裡寫道﹕「我們讀您的文章拍手稱快之餘,不能不反思一個問題﹕為什麼幾十萬新聞人,幾百萬人文知識分子,面對如此勢焰熏天、橫行不法、禍國殃民的中宣部,竟然幾十年沒有人正面抗爭,哪怕半句話﹖您今天挺身而出,發出他們心中積壓已久的義憤,大家在背後都在拍手叫好,對您滿懷敬意。但是有幾個敢公開站出來,亮出真姓名表示支持和聲援呢﹖」

的確,在一些陌生的讀者朋友表示聲援的同時,我的一些老熟人卻不敢再打電話與我聯絡。有一天,一位文友在電話裡半真半假地說﹕「焦國標你要付我一筆錢。」「什麼錢﹖」「代理服務費。」「什麼代理服務費﹖」「好多人給我打電話,讓我代他們向你表示問候。我這不是代理服務嗎﹖」我莫名其妙﹕「為什麼他們不直接打電話給我﹖」「他們說你的電話肯定被監聽,不敢打。」聽了這話,我的心裡悲哀極了。中國人的安全感程度之低,由此可見一斑。中國人的奴性之深,也由此可見一斑。用一句粗鄙的話說﹕「監聽怎麼的﹖給我打個電話,誰能把你蛋咬了﹖」可他們就是這麼怕。

我中學時代的一位老師,八十多歲了,住在偏僻的河南鄉下,多年收聽外台廣播。從美國之音聽到我這篇文章以後,老人想給他的學生打個電話,卻不敢,怕監聽。有同學自老家告訴我,老人的邏輯是這樣的﹕江澤民遲早要對胡錦濤、溫家寶不客氣。等到江發動兵變,不僅收拾胡、溫,連平時大呼小叫的民主分子都難逃、被捉拿。毫無疑問,他的寫《討伐中宣部》的學生必然首當其衝。老人怕受牽連,因而雖為最得意弟子,電話卻是不能打的。我聽了只有難過﹕這都是什麼邏輯呀﹗你想,黃土埋到脖子的老人,尚且如此恐懼,足見過去幾十年的邪惡政治把中國人的精神狀態戕害到怎樣可怕的程度﹗

《討伐中宣部》出籠以前,上海一家出版社要出版我的一部文集《鄉土回望》,出版合同都寄給我了。責任編輯來信說﹕「國標兄,書稿我已經看了,十分滿意。請把你的住址告訴我,我可以寄出版合同給你。」《討伐中宣部》面世之後,編輯來電告知﹕「書出不成了,中宣部得罪不起呀,誰敢惹它不高興﹖」北京一家月刊約我寫專欄,一切都準備好了,編輯突然來信說﹕「領導把稿子都撤了,說你被中宣部注意到了,說已被封殺了,不能發。」

北京日報》一位副總編輯曉諭他的編輯﹕「你們不要再約焦國標的稿子了。」光明日報出版社一位領導也給同事開玩笑似的說﹕「這個焦國標是不想活了吧﹖」一位在網站供職的朋友告訴我﹕他們已經接到上面的命令,要封掉我這篇文章,也封掉一切讚美和肯定的跟貼,還要組織批我的文章上頁面。一家週刊的副總編朋友寫來電子郵件﹕「國標兄﹕好﹗和許多人一樣,非常惦記您的處境。如今約您寫稿已是很的事,但還是忍不住想問問﹕您還有無興趣寫點東西﹖我們現在新開一個欄目,叫觀點。每次一篇文章,三千五至四千字。刊有獨到見解、有一定深度的東西。您若有時間、興趣,請隨手發點東西過來。不過可能只能署筆名了。唉﹗」我回信表示感謝,說﹕「我現在沒有心情寫文章,寫了一定奉寄。」我沒有寫出的話則是﹕大丈夫行不更名,坐不改姓,自由使用自己的名字是憲法規定的公民權利,即便有心情寫文章,也決不被迫使用筆名。

與此同時,我家裡的電話和手機常常被騷擾。有一次我在上課,竟一連接到十八個騷擾電話,學生們很憤慨,說「中國人安全感何在﹖」我十歲的兒子也向我抱怨﹕「爸爸,這都是什麼人給你打電話呀﹖我說你不在家,他把電話掛了﹔我說你在家,他還把電話掛了﹗」中國大陸網站上有關《討伐中宣部》的任何信息都看不到了,新華網卻在有組織地討伐我。二零零三年四月十五日,我寫了一首詩《致美國兵》,貼在網上。現在被翻騰出來,大加撻伐﹕「這樣的精英要警惕﹗」「把焦國標趕出教育界﹗」「把焦國標趕出中國﹗」「漢奸」,「教獸」,「沽名釣譽」,「新時代的汪精衛、周作人」,「北大的恥辱」,「這樣的教授,不敢把孩子送北大了﹗」我難道比貪官污吏還不配做中國人嗎﹖沒聽說誰把他們趕出中國。許多忠告拜託我不要接受海外媒體採訪。這對我也是很大的壓力,甚至是最大的壓力,比騷擾電話壓力還大,因為中國人重人情,輕原則。我不怕不許我說話,我怕拜託別再說話。《國際人權宣言》和《國際人權公約》保障言論自由,中華人民共和國憲法保障言論自由,憲法義務裡面沒有中國公民不得接受外國記者採訪這一條,北京大學教職員工行為守則裡也沒有不得接受外國記者採訪這一款。中國外交部既然允許外國媒體進駐中國,即意味著這樣一個契約關係的形成﹕外國駐華記者可以採訪中國公民,中國公民可以接受外國記者採訪。新聞自由不應該停留在新聞學課堂上,言論自由不應只是外國人的福利,而是現實的、全人類的權利,我要做新聞自由的行為主義者。

在給北京電影學院一位教授的信中,我寫道﹕「我願以我稚嫩的行為和微不足道的一點生物量為北大肥田,再滋養她五十年。北大地力將盡。」由此我還領悟到,新聞自由、言論自由的摧折者,不只是中宣部,還有中國一個個具體的行政部門。有意無意之間,他們做了中宣部控制中國人嘴巴的同謀,惡化著中國社會言論自由的環境。控制中國公民言論自由的勢力像空氣一樣遍及每一個空間。