The Sinosplice Correspondence
If you have not read that yet, you should read this Sinosplice post first. That post is titled: ESWN on Not Being Blocked. The substance of that correspondence is treated there and in the comments, and I do not wish to deal with much more than that.
Before I begin, let me state my correspondence policy -- you can ask me anything and I will respond. There are some exceptions -- if you start off with an accusation that I am a Communist shill or some such, I'll hit the DELETE key quickly because you are clearly not interested in any discourse. You'll have to ask a substantive question. Also, if you ask about subjects such as my former girlfriend, I'll ignore you too because she is already famous on the Internet via the linkage of the keywords LSD and CIA kidnapping, and there is no need to cause her any more grief! You will never ever get a response from me on that!
So let us assume that that you have a substantive question to ask me, just like the Sinosplice blogger.
Before I begin, I should tell you what I have learned from dealing with the Chinese people. I have actually had very few dealings with Chinese people as such. I represented my company (which is a major advertising/public relations/market research entity) in Shanghai and Beijing and I found that there was a general rejection of globalization by those contacts. They questioned why we did things in certain ways, and I responded that this was how we did it everywhere else in the world. With due respect, that did not impress them. They could not care less about what happens elsewhere in the world. They wanted to know why it should matter to what was happening then and there in China at that moment.
Therefore, as a result of that enlightening experience, I say that I will never have that condescending attitude about telling what the Chinese people must and will do. This is their project. They will have to work out for themselves what kind of society and polity will emerge out of this.
Thus, this stance shows in the recent imbroglio over the Beijing Times. In From Inside Beijing News - Part 1 and From Inside Beijing News - Part 2, I take my role as to translate what I read about how the Beijing News workers felt. I do not frame what their actions shall or must be. I suffer with the Beijing News workers, but I do not presume to say what they must do or condemn them about they failed to do.
During the past week, there has been a tremendous surge in traffic as well as significant links (from respected people inside China). I hope that my approach plus the fact that the EastSouthWestNorth blog was not blocked are the reasons. I am quintessentially Chinese, I have the advantage of blogging from outside of China and I write in English and therefore do not come to the attention of the censors. In this way, I can communicate what is happening in China to the English-reading-only world, as well as inform the English-reading world in China about what is going on. While I do not inject too much of my personal opinions or preferences, my choice of subjects and topics should make clear with whom I side with.
In that sense, I found myself resentful about the Reporters Without Borders statement on Beijing News.
Reporters Without Borders voiced shock and dismay at the dismissal yesterday of the editor-in-chief of the popular daily Xin Jing Bao (Beijing News) and his two deputies, in a move that caused an outcry at the newspaper and prompted some journalists to stop working.
“The Communist Party leaders have strange way of celebrating the end of the year,” the organization said. “After announcing that Zhao Yan and Ching Cheong are to be tried, the Beijing authorities have decided to kill off one of China’s most popular and liberal newspapers. We affirm our solidarity with the staff of the paper, already hit by Cheng Yizhong’s dismissal and arrest, and we call for the reinstatement of the three editors.”
Editor-in-chief Yang Bin and his deputies, Sun Xeudong and Li Duoyu, were notified of their dismissal by the executives of the newspaper Guangming Ribao (Daily Clarity), a direct offshoot of the Chinese Communist Party. Guangming Ribao supervises Xin Jing Bao, which it created in November 2003 jointly with Guangzhou-based popular daily Nanfang Dushi Bao.
The exact reason for the purge is unknown, but several Chinese intellectuals and journalists told Reporters Without Borders that the Communist Party publicity department had often criticized Xin Jing Bao’s editorial decisions, especially as regards its handling of social issues. An Agence France-Presse dispatch also cited its presentation and, in particular, its use of photos as one of the reasons.
This statement may read fine in the western world, but the Chinese do not need to be told by Reporters Without Borders about what is happening, or what they ought to be feeling or thinking. This is their fight and they know what is going on and how the fight is going on.
Meanwhile, all the options discussed in the Sinosplice post are unprovable and unverifiable -- until the day when EastSouthWestNorth is blocked by the Chinese firewall. As I said, I write because I believe in what I write and the prospect of being blocked is never within my calculation. Que sera, sera.
The Sinosplice post is important in the sense that we can say that at the beginning of year 2006, such a discussion was known to have taken place openly.