Maria Holland

Freedom of the Blogger, But Not The Copy Machine

In Uncategorized on May 31, 2010 at 11:17 pm

Last night’s flight, once it got off the ground, was very normal.  We arrived back home in Xiamen just before 2, I asleep by 3, and in class by 8.  I spent the afternoon and evening unpacking, evening, and catching up before dinner with friends. 

There’s been a lot of news recently.  Obviously I’ve been following the Gulf oil spill and the tensions on the Korean peninsula as much as I can (by the way, this is the best article I’ve read on the situation), but there’s been some stuff of local interest in China, too. 


China has forbidden the copying of Tibetan-language documents unless their content can be determined as harmless – which, like the requirement of a Chinese identity card for use of internet bars, has broader implications than stated.  See, just as the ID requirement basically translates into a ban on foreigners using internet bars because foreigners can’t get this form of ID, this new regulation basically means that Tibetans can’t copy anything in their own language because the average copy center doesn’t have a translator. 

China’s leaders contend that their only goal is to guarantee stability, ethnic unity and better living standards for Tibetans. Officials say that as long as separatist leaders are kept firmly in check, continued economic development will win Tibetans over to Chinese rule.

I wonder.  Maybe the Tibetans, unlike the Hans, acknowledge a greater good than economic development? 


I was devastated to learn that Han Han (high school drop-out, heartthrob, racecar driver, novelist, most popular Chinese blogger, and one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People) recently gave a speech at XiaDa, and I didn’t know about it at the time.  Luckily, I found a copy of his speech translated into English:

The constitution bestows us with the freedom of the press, but on the other hand our laws bestow our leaders with the freedom of preventing you from exercising the freedom of the press.  Something in [my] magazine couldn’t pass censorship — a cartoon about a man who doesn’t wear any clothes.  Of course this is unacceptable, because relevant laws and regulations specify that we cannot put private parts in public magazines.  I understand this, so I cover the illegitimate part with a super big logo of the magazine.  Suddenly the publisher and people from the censoring team say that’s not okay either.  They say “Now you covered the middle part of the person, which is an allusion to the party central committee (as 挡中央 or ‘covering the middle’, and 党中央 or ‘party central committee’ are both pronounced the same).  My reaction was the same as you guys – dumbstruck. I thought to myself: my friend, it would be so much better if you invested such brilliant imagination into literary and artistic creation instead of censoring.

Haha.  I take comfort in knowing that, had I been in attendance, I wouldn’t have understood what he was saying. 


I also finally finished up the post I started last Monday, about the three-year anniversary of both my first arrival in China and the establishment of an International Day of Prayer for the Church in China. 

  1. Now that I know about Han Han’s blog, I may not be reading your quite as diligently from now on…

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