就《冰点》周刊被非法停刊的公开抗议

Note: I don’t read Chinese well enough to know what this means (yet), but it was sent to me from a blogger whom I trust who asked me to post it. Anyone who wishes to leave an English synopsis in the comments is welcome.

就《冰点》周刊被非法停刊的公开抗议

新闻界的同行们、知识界、法律界的朋友们、《冰点》周刊海内外的热心读者们:
2006 年1月24日,星期二,是《冰点》周刊的发稿日,《冰点》在京编采如往日一样,齐集编辑部,认真校对将于1月25日出版的新的一期周刊。下午4点多,版样全部出齐,送总编辑审阅付印。然而反常的是,迟迟没有回音。我们听到,报社领导层被全部召到团中央开紧急会议,没有人看大样了。这意味着将有不同寻常的事情要发生。

天塌下来,报纸也是要正常出版的,这是对所有订户、所有读者负责。我们将大样中所有发现的错漏改定,静等事变的发生。鉴于中宣部对《冰点》的批评指责从来就没有断过,星期一还刚刚见到中宣部阅评小组对《冰点》刊发的袁伟时教授的文章《现代化与历史教科书》作出的文革式上纲上线的蛮横指责,作为主编,我估计,撤销我职务的时刻来到了。

然而卑鄙所能达到的程度,总是超出常人的想像。大约5点多钟,全国各个媒体朋友们的电话纷至沓来,告诉我他们已接到中宣部、国务院新闻办、北京市新闻局的通知,”不许刊登任何冰点停刊整顿的消息和评论”、”不许参加冰点编采召开的新闻发布会”、”不许炒作”、”要保持距离”等等。继而,各个海外媒体记者的电话也络绎不绝,要求我证实这件事。然而直到7点,还没有人正式通知我,报社领导层从团中央回来,还在开会商量。我反倒成了最后一个知道这件事的人。所有信息证明,这是一个党内高层某些人甘冒天下之大不讳,蓄谋已久、精心策划的行动。这个行动,不仅没有任何宪法和法律的依据,也严重违反、践踏了党章与党内政治生活准则。

作为一个职业报人,《冰点》停刊是我最不能理解、最不能接受的事情。因为报纸是社会公器,报社与订户、读者有契约,是读者付款购买的信息产品,报社必须履约,不管个人的命运如何,《冰点》周刊应该如期送到订户手中。然而在作出这个决定的人那里,社会影响算什么?广大读者算什么?主流大报的声誉算什么?党章国法算什么?中国改革开放的形象算什么?执政党的形象又算什么?他们将社会公器视为个人的家产,认为可以随意处置。

晚上7点30分,我接到社长、总编辑叫我上去谈话的电话。对我宣布的决定,是团中央宣传部作出的。”决定”将袁伟时先生的文章冠以若干莫须有的大帽子,然后宣布《冰点》周刊”停刊整顿”;除对总编辑和我本人通报批评外,还要作”经济处罚”,谁给了他们这种权力!心态如此之龌龊,令人哭笑不得。

自然,这场谈话在前述种种背景之下,已经成了一场滑稽剧。很明显,这是”上面”少数人在背后操纵,团中央在前台扮演丑角。我据理向社长、总编辑痛斥这份” 决定” 和中宣部《新闻阅评》的荒唐,并向他们宣告:我将正式向党中央纪律检查委员会控告这次非法行为。

就在《冰点》周刊被停刊的今天,报社接到大量读者的询问电话,已有读者在得知《冰点》停刊后愤而去邮局退订本报。

” 上面”少数人对《冰点》周刊的扼杀,蓄谋已久。2005年6月1日,在反法西斯战争胜利60周年纪念日前夕,《冰点》刊发了《平型关战役与平型关大捷》一文,真实记录了面对民族危亡,国共两党两军密切合作、相互配合、浴血奋战的真实历史场景。与传统宣传不同的是,《冰点》首次在主流媒体上客观真实地报道了国民党将士在这场战斗中牺牲数万人的战斗历程。

这样一篇真实的历史描述,却遭到中宣部阅评组的蛮横批评。他们批评的根据是什么呢?没有任何事实,而是根据”××年××出版社的中共党史××页关于平型关大捷的记述”,《冰点》的报道是”美化国民党,贬低共产党”。结果,在纪念中国反法西斯战争胜利60周年的大会上,党中央总书记胡锦涛同志,在纪念讲话中全面肯定了国民党将士在抗日战争主战场上的功绩。谁对谁错,不言自明。

在连、宋访问大陆结束之际,台湾著名作家龙应台女士在《冰点》发表长篇文章《你可能不知道的台湾》。文章用丰富的材料,首次客观真实地向大陆人民介绍了台湾几十年来的变化和发展,在读者中引起了强烈的反响和好评,对沟通两岸民众起到了极为重要的作用。而这样一篇文章,竟被中宣部某些人指责为”处处针对共产党”,其眼界和心胸之狭隘令人惊诧。

去年11月18日,党中央隆重召开了伟大的无产阶级革命家胡耀邦同志诞辰90周年的纪念会,曾庆红同志代表党中央对耀邦同志一生的光辉业迹、伟大人格作了充分阐述,受到人民群众的热烈欢迎。而中宣部的某些人却禁止媒体发表纪念耀邦同志的回忆文章,规定只许发表新华社通稿,各媒体不允许有自选动作。

2005 年12月7日,《冰点》刊发胡启立同志的长篇回忆文章《我心中的耀邦》,引起强烈反响,海内外中文媒体纷纷转载,无数网友发帖说被文章感动得热泪盈眶。对这样一篇起到极好社会反响的文章,中宣部竟打电话到报社来问罪,称报社违反了”没有自选动作”的规定!在这些人那里,哪有一点对胡耀邦同志的真感情、真悼念啊!

中宣部少数人对《冰点》的无理指责和批评还有很多。譬如,2005年11月30日《冰点》刊发记者调查,披露了武汉大学法学教授周叶中在学术著作中的剽窃行为。这位周教授在《冰点》记者采访他时,竟有恃无恐地劝告道:你就不要管这事儿了,晚上中宣部就要找你的!你们总编辑会找你的!报道刊发后,果然遭到了中宣部某些人气势汹汹地问罪,蛮横地指责这篇报道有严重的舆论导向问题。

正是在这种压力下,《冰点》对此事的后续报道被撤版。2005年12月28日,《冰点》历史性地出了一期只有三块版的周刊。试问,中宣部的少数人究竟在保护什么行为?

现在,他们终于要跟《冰点》算总帐了!用袁伟时先生的文章为发难对象不过是个幌子。袁伟时教授在近代史的研究上著述颇多,在知识界影响很大。袁教授写的这篇文章依据的是史料,立论基础是开放的理性。文章发表后,亦引起很大反响。本来,对历史问题的讨论,需要对材料和观点有平等的、心平气和地交流,才能逐渐达到共识。诸多网上评论中,即便是不赞同袁先生文章的网友,也有态度十分认真、考据十分扎实的反驳文章。我本人曾将这些帖子转给袁先生参考,袁先生看后对我回复说:这些文章态度确实十分严谨,我将会认真考虑他们的观点,作出相应的回复。这正是一种健康的、正常的学术交流。而中宣部的阅评除了文革式的詈骂和扣帽子、打棍子,还有什么?!

这次事件再次集中暴露出我国新闻管理体制的根本性弊端,那就是中宣部少数人以其狭隘的眼界、逼仄的心胸、专制蛮横的工作方法,将本应该百花齐放、百家争鸣的活跃政治局面,管制得万马齐喑、一片死气沉沉。这些人要的是顺从,而不是平等。这种专权,中国共产党党章的哪一条授予过他们?!

对我国新闻管理体制的弊端,我们将另文论述。在这封信里,我们只是想告诉同行们、读者们、朋友们,到底发生了什么,为什么会发生。没有真理害怕辩论,没有真相惧怕公开。尽管中宣部的某些人动用权力,封锁所有媒介和网络,但我们相信,你们一定会看到这封信!你们有知道真相的权力!

衷心地感谢你们!

中国青年报《冰点》周刊主编 李大同
2006年1月25日

______________

Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 74 Comments

Care of ESNW (http://www.zonaeuropa.com/20060126_3.htm)

Dear news media colleagues, intellectuals, legal professional friends and devoted readers of Freezing Point inside and outside of China:

On January 24, 2006, Tuesday, which the deadline for the Freezing Point weekly magazine, the Beijing editorial staff of Freezing Point worked as usual to edit and proof-read the weekly edition scheduled for January 25. At just after 4pm, we were ready with everything and the pages were forwarded to the editor-in-chief for review and print. The unusual aspect was that there was no reaction for a long while. We gathered that all the newspaper leadership had been called to the League Central Office for an emergency meeting and nobody was minding the store. This meant that something extraordinary was about to happen.

Then the skies fell down. The newspaper will be published as usual, because this is our obligation to our subscribers and readers. We looked for any possible errors and we patiently waited for the breaking event. Based on the fact that the Central Propaganda Department never ceased in their criticisms of Freezing Point and most recently the Central Propaganda Department criticism group issued an Cultural Revolution-style critique of Yuan Weishi’s essay on “Modernization and Historical Textbooks” on the Internet, I suspected that it was my moment to be dismissed as the editor-in-chief.

But the contemptible level was beyond the imagination of ordinary person. At just after 5pm, the telephone calls from various media friends around the country began to arrive. They told us that they have received the notice from the Central Propaganda Department, the State Council and the Beijing News Office to “not report or comment on the stoppage of Freezing Point,” “not attend any press conference given by the editorial and reporting staff of Freezing Point,” “not hype,” “maintain the distance” and so on. Thereafter, the overseas media reporters called non-stop to ask me to confirm the facts. But until 7pm, nobody had notified me formally. When the newspaper leadership returned from the meeting the League Central, they went into a meeting to discuss matters. I was the last person to know about this affair. All the information proved that this was something certain persons in the upper level of the party dared to risk public contempt and plotted carefully to take this action. This action had no legal or constitutional basis, and seriously violated and trampled upon the party constitution and political standards of the party.

As a professional media worker, I cannot understand the stoppage of Freezing Pont. I cannot accept this. A newspapers is a public instrument. The newspaper has a social contract with the subscribes and the readers, and it is a source of information that the readers pay money for and therefore the newspaper must fulfill its contract no matter what. Therefore, the Freezing Point weekly magazine should be delivered into the hands of the subscribers. Yet for the person who made this decision, what did the social impact mean? What does the broad readership mean? What does the reputation of a mainstream newspaper mean? What do the party constitution and the national constitution mean? What does the image of Chinese reform mean? What does the image of the governing party mean? They regard the social instrument as a personal property to be disposed of at their own will.

At 730pm in the evening, I received a call from the publisher and editor-in-chief to go and speak to them. The decision about me was made by the League Central Propaganda Department. The “decision” gave Mr. Yuan Weishi an uncalled-for label and then announced that Freezing Point will be stopped for reorganization. Apart from the personal attacks against the editor-in-chief and myself, there were also “economic sanctions.” Who gave them that kind of power? They are so disgusting that I don’t know whether to cry or laugh.

Of course, with the aforementioned background, this conversation was a farce. Obviously, this was controlled by a small number of people “above” in the background and the League Central was just playing the role of the fools. I used reasoning to condemn the “decision” as well as the absurdity of the Central Propaganda Department’s News Criticisms. I told the publisher and editor-in-chief that I will formally complain to the party central disciplinary committee about this illegal act.

On the day when Freezing Point weekly magazine stopped publication, the newspaper received a large number of telephone inquiries from readers. I learned that readers are angrily terminating their subscriptions at the postal offices on account of the stoppage of Freezing Point.

A small number of people “above” have plotted for a long time to strangle Freezing Point. On June 1, 2005, on the 60th anniversary of the victory of the anti-Fascist war, Freezing Point published the essay on “Pingyingguan battle and Pingyingguan victory”, in which we recorded the historical truth about how the Kuomintang and Communist Party worked together in the face of national survival to win the battle with their blood. This was different from the unification propaganda, because Freezing Point was the first in mainstream media to objectively report on how the Kuomintang army sacrificed tens of thousands of warriors in this battle.

This true historical account attracted the brutal criticism by the Central Propaganda Department’s Criticism Group. What is the basis of their criticism? It was based upon the “XX year XX publisher’s Chinese Communist Party history about the Pingyuanguan victory.” The Freezing Point report “glorified the Kuomintang and debased the Communist Party.” In the end, at the memorial meeting of the 60th anniversary of the victory in the anti-Fascist war, Communist Party General Secretary comrade Hu Jintao said in his memorial speech that he affirmed the contribution of the Kuomintang solders in the war of resistance against the Japanese. It was clear that who was right and who was wrong in this case.

When Lian and Soong completed their visits to Taiwan, the renowned Taiwan writer Ms. Lung Yingtai published a long essay at Freezing Point titled “The Taiwan That You May Not Know.” The essay used a rich content to objectively and truthfully present to the people of China for the first time the changes and developments in Taiwan over the past few decades. It created a tremendous response and approval among readers and had an important impact on communication between the people on the two sides of the Taiwan strait. But this essay was accused by certain people within the Central Propaganda Department as being “against the Communist Party at every step” and their narrow-mindedness was truly astonishing.

On November 18, the party central held a solemn memorial for the great proletariat revolutionary Hu Yaobang’s 90th birthday. Comrade Zeng Qinghong represented the Party Central Committee to pay tribute to Comrade Hu Yaobang’s glorious accomplishments and he was warmly received by the people. But certain members in the Central Propaganda Department forbade the media to publish memorial articles of Comrade Hu Yaobang and required that all media can only publish the Xinhua release and nothing of their own creation.

On December 7, 2005, Freezing Point published Comrade Hu Qili’s long memorial essay “The Yaobang of My Heart” and drew a tremendous response. The media inside and outside of China carried that essay. Numerous netizens posted comments to say how they had been moved to tears. About that well-received essay, the Central Propaganda Department called the newspaper to complain and claimed that the newspaper had violated rule of “not having any voluntary choice.”! For those people, they felt no genuine emotion or grief over Comrade Hu Yaobang!

A small number at the Central Propaganda Department had numerous unreasonable complaints and criticisms against Freezing Point. For example, on November 30, 2005, Freezing Point published a reporter’s investigation about the academic plagiarism by Wuhan law professor Zhou Yezhong. When professor Zhou was interviewed by the Freezing Point reporter, he said: “You better not mind this matter! Sooner or later, the Central Propaganda Department is going to come after you! Your editor-in-chief will come after you!” When the report was published, certain people at the Central Propaganda Department came after us and complained that the essay had major problems with editorial directions.

Under these pressures, Freezing Pont withdrew its follow-up report. On December 28, 2005, Freezing Point published a historical first weekly edition of only three pages. We ask just who the small number of people at the Central Propaganda Department were protecting?

Now, they are looking for a final accounting with Freezing Point! The essay of Mr. Yuan Weishi is just an excuse. Professor Yuan Weishi has published numerous works on contemporary history and he has great influence among intellectuals. When Professor Yuan wrote this article, it was based upon historical materials and his theoretical basis is about the rationality of openness. After the essay was published, it generated a great response. On any discussion of historical issues, it is necessary to have materials as well as viewpoints and to exchange ideas in a calm and peaceful manner in order to reach agreement. Of the many Internet commentary, even those netizens who disagreed with Mr. Yuan were very serious and their rebuttals were very solid. I have personally forwarded some of these comments to Mr. Yuan and he replied afterwards that these essays were very rigorous and he would seriously consider their viewpoints and make the appropriate responses. This is a healthy and normal kind of academic exchange. But the Central Propaganda Department Criticism Group used insults and characterizations in the style of the Cultural Revolution and then nothing else!?

This incident exposes the basic flaws in the news control system of our country. A small number of people in the Central Propaganda Department have a narrow worldview and mind and used dictatorial methods to impose controls that deaden what should be a lively political scene in which a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools speak out. These people want obedience and not equality. Which item in the party constitution of the Communist Party lets them do that?

We will write elsewhere about the flaws of our national news control system. Here, we just want to tell our colleagues, readers and friends just what had happened and why it happened. When one does not have the truth, one is afraid of debates; when one does not have the truth, one is afraid of openness. Although certain people in the Central Propaganda Department used their power to lock up all the media and websites, we believe that you will see this letter! You will know the power of truth!

We thank you sincerely!

China Youth Daily Freezing Point weekly magazine editor Li Datong
January 25, 2006

January 27, 2006 @ 7:51 am | Comment

PS

I wouldn’t have translated it exactly like this, but its a good servicable translation none the less.

January 27, 2006 @ 7:52 am | Comment

Sad – One after another they get toppled over.

January 27, 2006 @ 9:22 am | Comment

Happy – After one topples over another stands!

January 27, 2006 @ 11:30 am | Comment

If you put a bit of perspective on this: would this Freezing Point magazine be allowed to even exist just 5 or 10 years ago? Would the editor in chief of this magazine been let go with only a fine just 5 or 10 years ago? In other words, China has changed something that was a “jailable offense” to a “monetary fine” in only 5 years time. Let me ask you, which other country in this world has made this kind of progress in only a 5 year window?

How many years did it take the US to let blacks sit on the bus and go to the same schools as whites? How many years did it take the US to give women the rights to vote? Let’s see, the US was founded on 1776, and it wasn’t until the 1960′s did the Jim Crow Laws get abolished. 1776-1960 = How many years?

If you define “speed of social progress” as “The amount of progress made/Number of years”, then I am willing to claim that China’s “speed of progress” is much higher than the US’s. Wouldn’t you agree with that?

I mean China was founded on 1949, and it is now year 2006. In 1949, if you even insinuate privately that Mao is bad, you get shot. In 2006, if you openly publish an article and criticze Hu Jintao, your magazine gets suspended (sometimes just a warning) and you get a monteary fine. In 57 years, is that not a great progress? The US was founded in 1776, 1776+57=1833. Did the US made any advances in its treatment of blacks/women from 1776 to 1833? Hehehehe.

My point is: you need to take a more macroscopic instead of microscopic perspective. Looking at a picture at 1 feet away and looking at it at 10 feet away gives you vastly different views. I think this is something many Western scholars/historians lack. They focus too much on the events at hand, without looking at the historical/grander background of things.

There was recently an experiment in which a group of Asian kids and Caucasian kids were presented a variety of paintings and asked to talk about the first thing they focused on the painting. Statistically, the Asian kids were more likely to focus on the background scenery of the paintings, while the Caucasian kids focused more on the individual objects on the foreground.

January 27, 2006 @ 1:37 pm | Comment

“you need to take a more macroscopic instead of microscopic perspective”

I couldn’t agree more, except that your point of reference is off by a long way, and your scale factors in trends only in local terms, not in human terms.

China’s treatment of journalists shouldn’t be scaled against the rise of communisim, it should be scaled against the fall of the last dsynasty and the rise of nationalists, a couple of decades earlier. And that’s just on the microscopic level.

On the Macroscopic level, (if you insist scaling civil rights against the birth of America) you should rightfully scale Press freedoms in China against the time that the very first newspaper was released in China.

In the case of the US America’s treatment of blacks on the Macroscopic level shouldn’t be scaled against the existance of America, it should be scaled against the banning of slavery in the US, which in itself should be scaled against the banning of slavery in Britain.

January 27, 2006 @ 2:12 pm | Comment

Ahh yes the old lie. How many times do we have to go through this here? Chinese media was clearly freer and more interesting in the late 1980s than it has been for the last fifteen years. Under Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang the media became freer and freer leading up to the ultimate expression in early 1989 when for a brief shining moment the Central Propaganda Department was called to heel and papers could print what they liked. Shills for the CPC will deny this, ignore it, desperately look to change the subject onto media elsewhere or the evil Japanese, but these are the facts.

January 27, 2006 @ 2:29 pm | Comment

I don’t see the rationale of scaling the treatment of blacks to the banning of slavery. The US still was operated based on the same Constitutionn and the same Declaration of Independence and the same principles of Democracy before and after the banning of slavery. If the US was overthrown at that point, and had a completely new Constitution and a new set of principles, and a new group of government, then we can scale it to that point.

The US today operates based on the Constitution and the declaration of Independence that was written at its founding in 1776. It worships Washington as its founding father. So clearly it has had a 230 years of continuous and uninterrupted governing by the same “team”. In China, it has been governed by the same “team” for 57 interrupted years. In other words, China’s “team” had only 57 years to work on its project. While the US team had 230 years to work on its project. So isn’t it a bit unfair to demand China to make its project as perfect as the US’s? (Not that the US’s is in any way perfect).

January 27, 2006 @ 2:33 pm | Comment

I disagree ACB. You seem to be basing what you write on the idea that things in the long run ought to improve. But I think this is just an act of faith. Why should things be better than 60, 70 or whatever years ago?
Short term’s what you want to be worrying about — ie is now better than 10 years ago? that’s a practical timeframe to be worrying about.

January 27, 2006 @ 2:42 pm | Comment

Oh and when I say ought to improve I mean ought to improve, in China, in anywhere, whatever; in general.

January 27, 2006 @ 2:44 pm | Comment

@China_hand:

Depending on your point of reference, taking the founding year of my “team” and adding 57 years to it leads me into the restless period leading into the US Civil War. Following that logic, if I give China’s “team” another 15 years, your “team” will schism and fight yet another civil war?

Sounds like an interesting proposition to me.

January 27, 2006 @ 2:55 pm | Comment

No that is not what I’m saying at all. I’m saying that if you look at the progress China made given the time it had, it performed much better than the US back in its days. What social progress did the US make at the 57th anniversary of its founding? Even if we do take the abolition of slavery as the reference point, then 57 years after that, what progress did it make? See my point?

January 27, 2006 @ 6:10 pm | Comment

Let me remind you guys, the Chinese Youth Daily Freezing Point is a publication by Chinese Youth League, which is a youth and peripheral organization by Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and fully owned and operated by CCP (through hierarchies of Party organizations). The editor editor Li Datong, be or not be a party member, is an employee of Chinese Youth Daily and hence CCP. His full salary, pension, housing, health insurance and other benifit come from his employer, CCP. His grief and you guys sympathy are really funny given that he did a poor job in his position and offended his boss. Isn’t this capitalism supposed to be: doing what you are paid for? I am sure CCP will show more mercy than most capitalist though: Li Datong will not lose his pension or housing. He will just be moved to a less visible position in another organization.

January 27, 2006 @ 6:23 pm | Comment

Exactly. Mr. Li Datong will not lose his salary, his pension, his medicare, and his luxurious gov’t paid house. In fact, the only thing that’ll happen to him is a change of Title. His political career may be over, but his life is totally unchanged.

In fact, let’s take Zhao Ziyang for example. He pissed of his bosses so much that they put him under “house arrest”. The so-called house arrest is simply making sure he’ll not go to the public and say things about the CCP and that he’ll not work in the gov’t again. Other than that, he’s free to do whatever he wants. And the house he lived in was an upper class luxurious house. Deng Xiaoping even privately offered to erase his past and invite him back to the central government if he publicly denounced his position. Of course he refused.

And when he passed away. The gov’t official evaluation of him still recognized his great contributions to the Chinese economy, and at the end still called him a great Comrade. And Hu Jintao sent representatives to his house to privately offer their condolenscenes. And his ashes were buried in Ba Bao Shan, an official Party burial place for honored officials/soldiers.

In the US, If you pissed off the Republican party and they kick you out of the party. What would happen? All right-wing radio talkshow hosts would smear you 24/7. You’ll be portrayed as an utterly bad person. Would they offer you housing? Would they send people to offer their condolescenes when you die? Would they honor you and help you bury your ashes?

January 27, 2006 @ 6:35 pm | Comment

While it is uncomfortable to hear criticism of one’s own country, it is intended to make the country better. And it is understood if a hand is quick to defend the body when being reproached. But do not fear to listen, for China’s leaders and people are wiser than before – but at the same time face more challenging problems. But, furthermore, do not fear to speak, for America’s leaders and people are meeker than before – but at the same time face even more challenges. It is true that on both sides our peoples have once lived in ‘free-er’ lands. While America’s greatest challenges will come from the world, China’s greatest challenges will come – as it has been for thousands of years –from within.

January 27, 2006 @ 6:35 pm | Comment

Well, the fact is that China Government is getting more and more nervous about the “free speech” of the press, and that’s why China Government is giving more and more pressure on that.

Pls remember the fact that China Government is no longer the “Communist” believer anymore, Money is what they look for.

If you have confidence on what you believe, you won’t tell a lie and you’re not afraid of other people’s attack.

January 27, 2006 @ 6:42 pm | Comment

Nice to meet you, China’s Other Hand. Please visit more often.

January 27, 2006 @ 6:45 pm | Comment

The so-called house arrest is simply making sure he’ll not go to the public and say things about
the CCP and that he’ll not work in the gov’t again. Other than that, he’s free to do whatever he wants. And the house he lived in was an upper class luxurious house.

And every night the police would padlock his house so he cound’t escape. If his lifestyle was so enviable, why would they bother doing that? Freedom with Chinese characteristics?

January 27, 2006 @ 6:47 pm | Comment

“Real communist never tries to hide her opinions”. Chinese Youth Daily (Freezing Point) is supposed to educate young people and prepare them as responsible citizen of new China. This newspaper is not a tabloid or academic one for somebody to throw his “alternative ideas”.

ps. if you want to know what the “alternative ideas” are, learn Chinese history and read Yuan Weishi’s article. Don’t give a shit about What Li Datong said. It is all about Yuan’s article.

ps2. to give you a sense, Yuan’s article on Freezing Point is (roughly) like saying, American Indians are responsible for their (almost) extinction as a race/nation because they fighted white (Europeans) against their(whites’) expansion instead of obeying whites like blacks which survive as a race, on New York Times, or, preaching legalizing pedaphilia acts on Washington Post.

January 27, 2006 @ 6:51 pm | Comment

Chinese Youth Daily is simply a CCP’s mouthpiece and is supposed to say what CCP likes it to say and prepares youths as obeyers and slaves of CCP’s dictatorship.

January 27, 2006 @ 7:08 pm | Comment

>>is supposed to educate young people

Do you know what “educate” means? Because it doesn’t mean “indoctrinate.” It means examinging and debating “alternative ideas” in a rational and open manner. If you don’t like someone’s ideas, then counter them with rational arguments.

The only way the CCP can “win” any argument is by bullets, prison, and censorship. Maybe you should consider why. Why? Because they have no ideas that can stand on their own without being propped up by guns.

January 27, 2006 @ 7:19 pm | Comment

>>It means examinging and debating “alternative ideas”

Will you debate merit of Facism and Holocaust on New York Times? Will you debate pedaphilia legalization on Washington Post?
“alternative ideas” is just my polite way of calling Yuan’s opinion.

January 27, 2006 @ 7:26 pm | Comment

Do you know what “educate” means? Because it doesn’t mean “indoctrinate.” It means examinging and debating “alternative ideas” in a rational and open manner. If you don’t like someone’s ideas, then counter them with rational arguments.

Perhaps you were confused. Freezing Point is a publication owned by the Communist Youth League. The whole point of its existence is to be the mouthpiece of the Party. The CCP pays for its printing, its funding, its reporters, its editors. So why can’t the CCP fire anyone it wishes? I mean it could shut down the Newspaper just because it has no money to support it. The author of that “opposition essay” is PAID by the CCP to run that magazine. So I don’t know why he’s complaining when he gets fired for not doing his job. You may talk about the freedom of the media. But that magazine is CCP property. So that’s irrelevant here.

January 27, 2006 @ 7:35 pm | Comment

Everything can be declared CCP property. That’s how one-party systems always work. So in effect the CCP can treat everyone however it chooses – is that what you’re saying? Every TV station is the CCP’s property. So the media have to bend to the whim of the party and exist to regurgitate its lies? Brilliant. Then they are not the “media” anymore, they are stenographers.

Your “logic” lends strong argument to the CCP’s enemies. Any dictatorship with total authority over its people, accountable to no one but itself, is bad news for the people.

January 27, 2006 @ 7:41 pm | Comment

Everything can be declared CCP property. That’s how one-party systems always work. So in effect the CCP can treat everyone however it chooses – is that what you’re saying? Every TV station is the CCP’s property. So the media have to bend to the whim of the party and exist to regurgitate its lies? Brilliant. Then they are not the “media” anymore, they are stenographers.

But there’s a strong distinction. That particular magazine to CCP is like “GOP.org” is to the republican party. It DOES NOT report news like the People’s Daily. It runs selected editorials to sing praises for the CCP. That is its purpose!

Imagine if GM’s marketing dept hires an ad executive to design an ad that highlights GM car’s features and belittles Toyota. And the ad produced was not particularly effect, and the GM executives did not like it, and fires the designer. Does the desinger have a right to complain that GM was being unfair to Toyota in its ad? The point of an ad is to spin things in your favor. And if the ad executive does not do that, then he should be fired, clear and simple. Even if you hate GM, you still have no logical reason to sympathize with that decision.

You may like Li Datong as a person, and you may hate the CCP in general. But on this particular incident, there’s no logical reason to blame the CCP. If Mr. Li does not want to be the mouthpiece of the CCP, then don’t take the job of editor in chief of a Communist Youth League publication! If he did take the job as he did, then do a good job of it!

January 27, 2006 @ 7:48 pm | Comment

By the way, I have not read Yuan Weishi’s article that started this whole thing. I was just saying that the closing of this magazine is justified no matter what the original article was.

January 27, 2006 @ 7:50 pm | Comment

>>Everything can be declared CCP property.

Goldman Group buys Chinese bank ICBC.
linky

January 27, 2006 @ 7:53 pm | Comment

Neil, you’re new here, so I’ll give you a warning. Stop being an idiot. Argue with at least a bit of substrance and thought and you can stay. But don’t be a jerk. I said “Everything can be declared CCP property” and you idiotically point out that an American company bought a Chinese bank. What does one thing have to do with the other? The CCP can declare anything in China that it wishes its own. It does so with people’s land all the time. And we were discussing the media here. Let’s see what happened if an American company tried to buy CCTV so they could broadcast US news all over China uncensored. Do you think the CCP would allow it? No. And it is their choice, because they control all the media. They can close down any media it chooses, and they can silence any voice at whim. Period.

I’m getting shorter patience with stupidity and am increasingly inclined not to tolerate it.

January 27, 2006 @ 8:07 pm | Comment

>>Will you debate merit of Facism and Holocaust on New York Times?

Well, equating arguments about history textbooks and the Boxers to the meirts of facism and pedophila reveals how warped your thinking is.

Would the NYT be shut down by the government if someone published an article in it debating the merits of facism? Sorry, no. Next.

Now to MAJ, er, Math — oh, sorry, China_hand — Perhaps you like to use straw men.
All of the media in China are under the control of the CCP. Did you get that memo in between pastings (oh, sorry, “postings”)? Are you really trying to use a “legal” argument on behalf of the CCP? Hilarious. We know how they love to follow the law.

Your attempt to shift the debate to whether or not the CCP has the “legal right” to do this or that is both obvious and sophomoric. The issue is whether the CCP will continue to strangle the media, using neat little justifications like the ones you and Neil put forth (assuming you are two different people).

January 27, 2006 @ 8:12 pm | Comment

Jim, thank you so much. Of course, he’ll weasel away around your arguments and stick to his “legal basis” non-argument. He has no choice; he can’t acknowledge that his beloved party strangles the media and treats it like a battered housewife.

January 27, 2006 @ 8:20 pm | Comment

You guys are confounding one concept to another. You posted this incident because you think the CCP is wrong to shut down the Freezing Point magazine, and you think the CCP is suppressing freedom of speech in doing so. But there are actually two issues here: 1) Given the background of this magazine and its origin, is it normal for the CCP to do what it pleases with it? 2) Is CCP suppressing freedom of media in China.

I am only talking about the first issue, which is a SPECIFIC ISSUE. And it has NOTHING to do with the second issue. The second issue is a general issue that warrants a totally different discussion. I was simply talking about how in that SPECIFIC issue the CCP is warranted in doing what it did. I said NOTHING about what I thought about the second issue. But you intentionally mix them together without any logic or analysis whatsoever. For the sake of this argument, I would agree that the CCP is suppressing media freedom in China, and I still think it’s warranted in shutting down Freezing Point.

For example, let’s say that you posted an article saying that the GOP fired the chief writer of its GOP Daily publication, and use that to show how bad the GOP is. Now I hate the GOP and I think it’s a sham that they are running GOP Daily in the first place. But I think the GOP has every right to fire a writer of publication which was established for the sole purpose of propaganda. You say “THe GOP is a corrupt party, it does not want to engage in real debates!….”. Well yea, what’s your point? The fact that the GOP is a corrupt party HAS NOTHING to do this that incident itself.

I wish you could analyze things formalistically, and not bringing irrelevent things and muddle the discussion.

Anyway, I am off to watch this movie called “Duplex”, starring Drew Barrymore and Ben Stiller.

January 27, 2006 @ 8:30 pm | Comment

CH, we all know your game by now. Sorry, but your reputration precedes you. You are always trying to justify the CCP in whatever it does. Maybe they do have good grounds for firing this guy and closing down the paper – I never said otherwise. (I won;t make such claims until I understand the situation better.) But you look rather quaint when you try to take up the legal argument, as though the CCP only acts in accordance with the law. You’re just playng your usual role as apologist, maybe with a little more justication in this instance, and maybe not.

January 27, 2006 @ 8:34 pm | Comment

Maybe they do have good grounds for firing this guy and closing down the paper – I never said otherwise.

Good, that is the only point I wanted to make. Thread closed. I’m off to my movie.

January 27, 2006 @ 8:37 pm | Comment

Well, Richard, since it is your blog, I go with your rules. I was just trying to say, when you are trying to redicule CCP, do it in a serious and logic way. It is not as simple as you claimed “Everything can be declared CCP property” and I believe you know better. But your readers may not. I don’t hope they get a wrong impression about China from you because you made the quick claim just to win a debate. After all, it is very easy and irresponsible to make a quick declaration that somebody is wrong or evil just as I did to you.
CCP may not be elected to power, but they are elite. They may be corrupted, but they are not just successful gangsters. It takes much more to run a country than to run a mafia in NYC.
BTW, under Chinese law, all lands are owned by the country/government. What may be sold on the market is just the right to use land for a limited time. And, US Supreme court decided not long ago that private land can be taken by government (and sold to private developers) for “public good”, as long as the owner is compensated with “fair value”, not “market value”. Again, it is not as simple as it looks.

January 27, 2006 @ 8:42 pm | Comment

Neil, I know all about the “laws.” Free speech is guaranteed by China’s constitution, too. And don’t go comparing the Supreme Court Kelo decision to China’s policy of taking away people’s land at will. There aren’t 84,000 demonstrations a year in the US over the government’s taking away people’s land (whether it was leased to them or sold or borrowed). How many people in America are demonstrating about their land being taken away? The Supremem Court made its decision only because by US law such issues are a matter of state’s rights. Again, I’m not putting up with much more stupidity.

January 27, 2006 @ 8:50 pm | Comment

MAJ,

You can pretend all you want that this is some sort of “property” issue (the irony here is off the charts), but try to comprehend this:

1) ALL OF THE MEDIA in China are controlled by the CCP, not just Freezing Point.

2) Given #1, you obviously think that the CCP would be justified in firing/closing/censoring ANY or ALL media in China.

The rest is pointless.

1,000 different SPECIFIC cases of the CCP muzzling the media per day could use your same justification, therefore the two issues are directly related.

Lastly, your GOP analogy only works if the GOP controls ALL of the media in the entire country and not just The GOP Daily. See, when you control all of the media, it is convenient to invent excuses for each particular case like “we have the legal right to fire someone who works for us.” Try some context.

January 27, 2006 @ 8:51 pm | Comment

>>CCP may not be elected to power, but they are elite.

And? The “elite” is by definition good?

>>They may be corrupted, but they are not just successful gangsters.

No, they aren’t. They are VERY successful gangsters. There are good party members. I know some of them. The problem is that the system is so corrupt that the worst rise to the top.

>>It takes much more to run a country than to run a mafia in NYC.

“Political power comes from the barrel of a gun.” Some guy said that.
Another guy said, “Political power comes from the consent of the governed.” You pick the one closer to the mafia.

January 27, 2006 @ 9:01 pm | Comment

dick,

“Free press” does not mean “objective press.” It doesn’t mean “bias-free press,” either. It means YOU have the right to say the press is biased or misleading. It means you have the right to try to correct the biases you see. It means you have the right to publish an article or blog or anything else criticizing the media, the government, or anything else.

January 27, 2006 @ 9:15 pm | Comment

CH -

1. america’s ‘team’ lasted 8 years. then with the second president came the second party to controld the government. it must have been hard for the first party to let go, but they did.

2. Even if there was good reason for this paper to be shut down you haven’t addressed the media blackout ordered forbidding people to talk about this. if it was legit, why not come out and say why it was shut down, and then it wouldn’t be such a big deal. or, perhaps you might say they have their reasons and choose not to share. ok, then why prevent any public discussion over the matter?

January 27, 2006 @ 9:48 pm | Comment

>>i did not see that journal been shut down, surpise!?

Do you know how many cases there have been of academics who have gone to jail in China? and not for publishing in the mainstream media.

>>at china, you can read NY times in university library but definitely not in street, surpise!?

Why is that a surprise? 99% of Chinese don’t read English and 99.9% of Chinese don’t read academic journals.

>>if you said chinese media are not justice, are bias, even you said they are liar, i agree with you, but as a chinese,west media make me sick.

What is your point? Because the western media is biased, China shouldn’t have a free press?? No idea what you are talking about. Of course the western media are biased. ALL MEDIA ARE BIASED. That has nothing to do with a free press. That is a separate issue.

>>what you said is not important,

Well, wrong. Can i write an aritcle in an academic journal in China calling the CCP traitors to China and liars? Hmm, don’t think so.

>>whom you said to IS important.

Yes, if you print something in China that almost no one will actually read (like in an academic journal or in English), yes, the CCP won’t care so much. Why not? Because the whole point of media is to communicate to the MASSES — so if you aren’t doing that, of course they won’t care (as much — they still care.)

>>that is the political issue

Of course it is political. The whole point of having a free press is political. It is so the government can be held accountable to the people and not become so corrupt.

January 27, 2006 @ 10:06 pm | Comment

I personally happen to like and respect the Youth Daily so let’s get the facts straight.

The Paper is good for China.
China Youth Daily or, in a direct translation, commonly refer to as Youth Paper is considered to be the pride and honor of China’s fledging news service. The third largest newspaper in China has an impressive history of reporting service to its citizens – anyone who has picked up a newspaper in China since 1950 knows of the examples which I, for my own selfish reasons, will only refrain to the Sichuan corruption example. The Chinese people have and will always hope for great reporting from this paper.

The Paper is directly managed by Party Assistant Secretary Li Erliang.
Interestingly, Youth is the official organization publication of the Chinese Communist Youth Party and hence this editor’s and the former Chief Editor Li Xueqian’s legal distraught. Before September 1, 2005, the paper was technically the subsidiary of a LLC company listed in Beijing for a year but commercialization proved to be too ‘incompatible’. While Youth Paper was originally entirely funded by the government, like many former SOE that is cut loose since privatization, it now depends on advertising to pay its bills.

Again, this Hand will carry the carrot by comforting the non-Youth-readers to the fact that Youth Paper was doing a great job ‘improving’ the party: a key mission objective of the paper and party. Furthermore, while this Red Herring interpretation of another country’s past is amusing, the love of ones country is measured in the effort of one’s attempt to improving his or her nation. And while the U.S. has its share of issues, and there are many, it does not lack critics, public or private. The same cannot be said of China and even Mao, in his Selected Essays, valued the importance of criticism. Finally, we have to agree that Hu is no Mao in many ways, and lacking the latter’s charisma and power, progress must be a slow and long game of Go.

January 27, 2006 @ 10:22 pm | Comment

It looks as if China_Hand and his compatriots are doing a wonderful job here hijacking the debate. He did that by focusing on trivialities so that all of us are bored to death and no one will go further to explore other major issues spinning out of this incident. Good tactics. Richard, you better watch out for these trolls. Otherwise some serious commentators will decide to move elsewhere.

January 28, 2006 @ 1:38 am | Comment

“The whole point of its existence is to be the mouthpiece of the Party. The CCP pays for its printing, its funding, its reporters, its editors.”

In a just and equitable society a newspaper’s first responsibility is to the truth, regardless of who’s paying the bills.

If China wants the respect of the international community then it must allow its press to lend a voice not only to historical fact, but also to the millions presently suffering exploitation and abuse with the government’s blessing.

Whenever I hear “China will not tolerate interference…”, I’m reminded how insidious the Chinese concept of ownership is. The CCP believe that they own Taiwan and any talk of independence will be brutally punished. They also believe that they own the voices of all Chinese people, and any hint of freedom of expression is suppressed. The extent of this ‘mind control with a big stick’ is demonstrated all too often with the utterance, “The will of all Chinese people.”

A microcosm of this concept is played out daily in villages and homes across China, where corrupt officials enforce their own laws of ownership. And if a wife is beaten publicly (or otherwise) by her husband then so be it; he’s the owner and is therefore entitled to do as he pleases, so we don’t interfere.

Until China Hand can learn to write in advocacy of pluralism, my recommendation is that the said hand is put to a more constructive use. Suggestions welcome.

January 28, 2006 @ 2:00 am | Comment

Stuart, well said. I don’t want to be rude. So I better not making any suggestions about the “constructive use”.

Instead, I have just written up the following as a way of moving the discussion forward:

The Freezing Point is the third publications being banned by the Chinese Authorities in the past month. Other internet based publications and search engines are also forced to submit their operations to Chinese Government’s censorship compliance demands. In the light of these events, I would like to put forward to you some questions that China_Hand and his likes are so desperately trying to stop you from discussing:

1. What messages are these moves to tighten media control told us about the leadership style of the Hu and Wen regime? What kind of challenges and threats are they possibly facing at the moment?

2. The editors of the Freezing Point are fighting back quite courageously against the ban. Would their display of courage an indication that someone from high up are in support of what they are doing? If this is the case, again, what kind of challenges and threats are the Chinese leadership possibly facing at the moment?

January 28, 2006 @ 2:18 am | Comment

Replying to Fat Cat’s question one:

Actually I don’t think the Hu/Wen have really thought out any particular “style” of leadership. Very few leaders of ANY country EVER think in original or innovative ways. Most of history is driven by sheer stupidity, rather than by planning.

I think they’re just in a panic and reacting reflexively. When American leaders are in a panic, they have press conferences and pretend to have a plan. When British leaders are in a panic, they concoct some kind of public scandal for their opponents. And when Chinese leaders are in a panic they tell everyone to shut up.

January 28, 2006 @ 2:48 am | Comment

Stuart you just said:
“In a just and equitable society a newspaper’s first responsibility is to the truth, regardless of who’s paying the bills.”

at the risk of sounding patronising, this is dreadfully naive and, frankly, incorrect (although doubtless desirable).

January 28, 2006 @ 3:07 am | Comment

And if some people decide not to shut up, then shoot them, run a tank over them ….. now I can see Chinese history repeating itself here.

By the way in Australia, when our prime minister is in a panic, he’ll call his best mate, George W Bush and George will sort it out for him.

January 28, 2006 @ 3:11 am | Comment

Also, scrolling up to “Neil’s” comment (way up), where he characterised the historian Yuan Weishi’s article as being comparable to advocating legalised pedophilia in the Washington Post:

…um, I’ve read that article in translation (via ESWN), and it was absolutely nothing like what “Neil” said. All it did was call into question the rabidly nationalistic official PRC histories of the Opium Wars and the Boxer Rebellion. Nothing comparable to “pedophilia” – and thus Neil’s foaming-at-the-mouth distortion of what the historian REALLY said, was in the great tradition of Mao’s Red Guards blackening the names of real scholars.

January 28, 2006 @ 3:16 am | Comment

KLS, what Stuart said is precisely, 100 percent accurater. It is the newspaper’s responsibility the be as Stuart says. However, it is naive to believe that many live up to this responsibility. Some do better than others; the NYT, for example, for all its warts and problems, has a better track record than most.

January 28, 2006 @ 3:17 am | Comment

I’d also like to suggest that regarding this particular thread most of us (certainly including me) are speaking from a position of considerable ignorance.

I had never heard of Freezing Point until recently — had many of you? I have zero first hand knowledge of how often similarly challenging (to the CCP) articles appear in the Chinese press, and particularly in publications so close to the CCP.

Just for a second think logically. The government seems to be closing more publications down than before. If true, there are two reasons for this. First, because they’re taking a tougher line than in the past (this is the view that most people here have jumpted to, and I guess is the more likely reason).

But the second reason deserves consideration: they’re closing more things down because more things are publishing challenging stuff, more people are pushing the envelope. I’m a pessimist so I go with reason one by default, but I still think it’s worth paying attention to reason 2!

January 28, 2006 @ 3:19 am | Comment

Fat Cat, I’ve banned at least one mischievous commenter today, but I need to be fair – I think we all see what China Hand is doing, and despite his strenuous effort his machinations actually help us understand the deceitfulness of the CCP even better. He has to really display mischievousness for me to ban/delete.

January 28, 2006 @ 3:22 am | Comment

Richard that’s just semantics. This “ought” of yours does not apply to reality, just aspiration. If Stuart had written: “Although an unrealised ideal, newspapers’ first responsibility ought to be …” then I’d have had no problem. But he wouldn’t have written that.

January 28, 2006 @ 3:28 am | Comment

I thought it might be useful to post Prof. Yuan’s article here. I was a history major in college in the early 80′s. I can say these views were already openly expressed by my professors at that time, though only in classrooms. Since then, academic freedom has greatly expanded in China and such views are by no means heresy anymore. Therefore closing down a magazine for publishing this article shows how anachronistic the party propaganda department is. From the communist/nationalist point of view, many of the official economic policy pronouncements, from WTO to privatization, are indeed heresy. This shows just how out of step the propaganda department is with reality of China. And that is why the Chinese despise this agency so much. It is obvious Zhongxuanbu is not doing this to defend the communist doctrine or national pride or historical truth. They did it simply because they can. But I think time is not on their side, the Chinese reality has moved beyond the warped minds of these party cadres (only third rate college gradautes would want to work for these agencies in today’s China–doing the dirty job for litlte money). So on the one hand this is upsetting, on the other hand it probably doesn’t matter that much.
现代化与历史教科书
作者:袁伟时(中山大学教授)
21世纪的中国人,面对的是顺之者昌、逆之者困的全球化趋势。与此同时,中国的现代化事业进入了关键时刻。在这个年代,决定公民和国家发展成败的最重要条件是制度环境,但公民的心智状态对自己乃至国家和社会发展的影响也十分巨大。

  20世纪70年代末,在经历了反右派、大跃进和文化大革命三大灾难后,人们沉痛地发觉,这些灾难的根源之一是:“我们是吃狼奶长大的。”20多年过去了,偶然翻阅一下我们的中学历史教科书,令我大吃一惊的是:我们的青少年还在继续吃狼奶!

  “以史为鉴”、“前事不忘,后事之师”,这是中国人耳熟能详的名言。屈辱、挫折、兵连祸结、前仆后继,一部中国近代史蕴藏着多少血泪和经验教训!我们有责任将历史真实告诉我们的青少年,让他们永志不忘。这是帮助他们成为现代公民的必由之路。如果天真纯洁的孩子吞食的竟是变味乃至有意无意假造的丸丹,只能让偏见伴随终生,甚至因而误入歧途。

  现在是正视我们自己的历史教科书问题的时候了。现从几个具体的历史事件谈起。

  火烧圆明园是不是无法避免的?

  火烧圆明园是英法侵略军犯下的不可饶恕的罪行。事情为什么会弄到如此地步?140多年过去了,我们理应冷静地考察双方的应对得失,吸取教训,让各国人民更好地共处。这一事件是“第二次鸦片战争”的恶果之一。人民教育出版社历史室编著的《中国历史》第三册,是被普遍采用的九年义务教育三年制初级中学教科书。它是这样评述这次战争的:

  一、关于战争起因

  这部教科书写道:“1856年3月,法国天主教神甫马赖,潜入广西西林地区胡作非为,被当地官吏处死。这就是所谓的‘马神甫事件’。后来,法国以此为借口,伙同英国发动侵略战争。同年10月,广州水师在中国商船‘亚罗号’上,缉捕了海盗和水手。英国领事无端干涉,硬说‘亚罗号’是英国船要求中国方面释放被捕的人,并向英方赔礼道歉。两广总督叶名琛怕事态扩大,释放了被捕的水手,但拒绝道歉。这就是所谓的‘亚罗号事件’。1856年10月,英国首先挑起战争,炮轰广州,第二次鸦片战争开始。”

  这里说的亚罗号事件大体符合历史事实。至于杀法国天主教神甫马赖(auguste chapdelaine),至今仍是一笔糊涂账。马氏是1856年2月29日被广西西林代理知县张鸣凤所杀的。直至法国公使查问,张鸣凤仍然矢口否认,说根本没有这回事。致使广西按察使和两广总督到了1858年初还信以为真,据此回答法国公使和上奏朝廷。

  1844年10月订立的中法《黄埔条约》规定,法国人只准在五口通商的双方“议定界址内”活动,“法兰西无论何人,如有犯此例禁,或越界,或远入内地,听凭中国官查拿,但应解送近口法兰西领事官收管;中国官民均不得殴打、伤害、虐待所获法兰西人,以伤两国和好。”

  马氏1842年起,便到西林传教,《黄埔条约》订立后仍不离开,这是违反条约的错误行为。但把他处死,显然是西林地方官员的行为,违反了应把拘捕的法国人解送领事的条约义务。直至现在人们仍无法确定马氏确有该处死刑的哪些罪。按照程序正义优先的法学观点,中方无疑理亏。教科书对此事的评述是不准确的。

  还要指出,教科书只字不提引发这次战争的两条根本原因:一是英国政府要求清政府忠实履行《江宁条约》的规定,其中重要一点是让英国官员和商人可以自由进入广州城。让洋人进城,现在看来,完全是不值一提的小事,当时在五口通商的其他四口尽管也有过大小不一的纠纷,但都一一化解,没有酿成巨祸。惟独在广州,却惊动朝野上下,闹得天翻地覆,开各地反入城斗争的先河,历时十多年无法解决,直至兵戎相见。

  二是《望厦条约》规定:“所有贸易及海关各款恐不无稍有变通之处,应俟十二年后,两国派员公平酌办。”《黄埔条约》亦规定:“若有应行更易章程条款之处……核计满十二年之数,方可与中国再行筹议。”修改有关的通商条款,本属平常外交事务,清政府也一再拖延,加深了双方的矛盾。

  关于挑起这次战争的原因,当时的有识之士就有所反思。深悉内情的薛福成沉痛地说:“英人初志在得入城见大吏,借以通隔阂、驭商民,乃粤民一激再激,叶相(叶名琛)复一误再误,使拱手而有粤城……益知中国易与,遂纠法、俄、美三国兵船北上,驶入大沽,阻我海运,立约而还……粤民激于前此大府议和之愤,万众一辞,牢不可破,必阻其入城一事以为快,屡请屡拒,纷纭者二十年,而大沽之失,天津之约,皆成于此,由今观之,甚无谓也。”晚清曾国藩、李鸿章、冯桂芬、郭嵩焘等人屡以“勿以小嫌酿大舋”相告诫,其中就包含了以广州反入城斗争为开端的惨痛教训。

  同属中华人民共和国,香港的中学历史教科书就比大陆编得高明。它把这次战争的起因归结为四点:1.外人入城问题。2.续修条约问题。3.阿罗号船事件。4.马赖神父事件。这样说符合历史实际,无损中国国家利益,有利于年轻一代学会冷静地分析历史问题,显示出编者是合格的历史学家。令人不解的是:为什么不向这些本国的同行学习呢?

  二、关于战争过程

  1858年,大沽被占,英法侵略者兵临天津城下,英法俄美等国先后迫使清政府签订了《天津条约》。虽然丧失了不少权利,问题总算有个着落,双方还议定翌年在北京互换批准书,彻底完成法定程序。如果照双方的协议办理,导致火烧圆明园的英法联军再一次入侵是有可能避免。

  可是,谁也没有料到纯属程序性的最后一步还会节外生枝,招来更大灾祸!教科书是这样写的:“1859年,英国公使和法国公使各率一支舰队北上大沽口,准备进京换约。清政府指定换约代表由北塘登陆,经天津至北京,并要求各兵船武装人员不得登岸。英法公使却仗恃武力,坚持要从大沽口溯白河进京。他们蛮横地率舰队闯入大沽口。防守大沽炮台的士兵开炮打击入侵者。炮弹准确地落在侵略军的军舰上,打沉了四艘,打坏了六艘,其余三艘挂起白旗逃跑了。在炮战的同时,侵略军900人企图登陆,也被打退。侵略军死伤几百人。大沽一带人民冒着枪林弹雨,给战士送饼送面,表现了高度的爱国热情。”在编者笔下,这是一曲爱国英雄进行曲,主角是士兵和普通百姓。可是,稍加推敲,便有很多疑问。

  从后果看,这一仗显然打错了。翌年,英法联军再次入侵,招致北京被占,圆明园被烧。续订《北京条约》,不但规定原订的《天津条约》继续有效,还招来其他新损失:对英法的赔款分别由四百万两和二百万两一律增至各八百万两;割让九龙司;允许法籍传教士在中国自由传教,“并任法国传教士在各省租买田地,建造自便”,为日后连绵不断的教案种下祸根。如果不打,不是对中国更有利吗?

  人们理所当然应该追问:公使走哪条路进京,真有那么重要,乃至不惜一战?双方意见分歧有没有认真交涉?真的是士兵自行开炮还是奉命行事?如果是前者,这是触犯军纪造成严重后果的大错,能算是爱国英雄的义举吗?如属后者,是奉了什么样的命令?

  复查史实,这根本不是什么爱国英雄的壮举,而是愚昧的咸丰皇帝和僧格林沁亲王犯下的大罪。而且分歧不是教科书说的走哪条路进京,而是要英法使者绕个大弯进天津。当时在僧王幕下的郭嵩焘在日记中留下这样的记录:1859年4月10日“怡亲王至营……言奉旨密商一语:如夷人入口不依规矩,可悄悄击之,只说是乡勇,不是官兵。予曰:凡事须是名正言顺,须缓缓商之。怡邸愦愦可笑。僧邸商酌再三,欲令其由北塘入口,绕道至天津……辩论再三始定局,附片奏明。”

  《北京条约》订立后,他更具体叙述了当时的情况:“夷祸成于僧邸之诱击。去岁之役,先后奉诏旨十余,饬令迎出拦江沙外晓谕。洎夷船入内河九日,僧邸不一遣使往谕。去衣冠自称乡勇,薄而击之。仆陈谏再四,又虑语言不能通晓,两上书力争。”曾国藩对他的幕僚说过:“咸丰九年,洋人来换和约,僧忠亲王诱而击沉其船,天下称快。十年,夷人复至……京师不守,几丧天下。某谓僧邸此败,义当杀身以谢天下矣。”他们说的情况,同当时在现场的英国公使卜鲁斯的报告如出一辙。英法军舰6月16日已经到达,直到25日早晨才接到直隶总督恒福的照会,而当时军事行动已经开始。这些史料可以归纳为这么几点:

  1.咸丰皇帝决定在一定条件下,可以让官兵假扮乡勇,“悄悄”袭击洋鬼子。同时,他又十余次下令,要先“晓谕”洋人,先礼后兵。

  2.僧格林沁忠实执行了“悄悄击之”的旨意,但没有事先晓谕;也坚决拒绝手下大臣的劝阻;并且是要洋人从北塘登陆,绕道至天津的设计者。

  3.对这一丧权辱国的横祸,以曾国藩、郭嵩焘、吴汝纶等为代表(还包括李鸿章、冯桂芬等人)的比较清醒的官僚和士绅,已经有过严厉的批评和讽喻。

  令人震惊的是:时至20世纪90年代,我们的教科书,仍然按咸丰皇帝和僧格林沁的调子唱歌,不同之处仅在把“乡勇”换成“士兵”!

  说到这里,我们可以回答火烧圆明园是不是可以避免的问题了。面对咄咄逼人的强敌,作为弱势的大清帝国一方,明智的选择是严格执行现有条约,避免与之正面冲突,争取时间,改革和发展自己。而当时的政府和士绅,完全被极端的情绪支配,在小事上制造违约的蠢行,结果酿成大祸。如果清政府决策层和有关的地方督抚不是那么愚昧,这场灾祸是有可能避免的。可是,朝野上下的认识水平和专制的决策程序,是历史的积淀,不是朝夕所能改变;侵略的本性又决定了他们不可能成为文明之师;于是,这场灾祸又是难以避免的。

  是爱国壮举还是有悖文明行为

  再来看看教科书的作者对义和团事件的评述吧。

  教科书正确揭露了“八国联军侵占北京以后,烧杀抢掠,无恶不作”;“在八国联军进攻天津的时候……(俄国)制造了骇人听闻的海兰泡大屠杀惨案。俄国军队还强占了中国江东六十四屯,残酷屠杀当地居民。”此外的论述只能说是错误连篇。

  一、教科书没有只字提及义和团敌视现代文明和盲目排斥外国人以及外来文化的极端愚昧的行为。

  义和团毁电线、毁学校、拆铁路、烧洋货、杀洋人和与外国人及外国文化有点关系的中国人……凡沾点洋气的物和人,必彻底消灭而后快。即使义和团真的立下了“扶清灭洋”的伟大功勋,也不能回避它的这些反文明、反人类的错误,何况正是这些罪恶行径给国家和人民带来莫大的灾难!这些都是众所周知的史实,也是中国人不能忘记的国耻,而我们的少年儿童必读的教科书却偏偏闭口不谈。

  教科书也谈到拆毁铁路。它是怎么说的呢?“1900年6月……八国侵略军2000多人,由英国海军司令西摩尔率领,从大沽经天津向北京进犯。义和团拆毁从天津到北京的铁道,奋起狙击侵略军。侵略军在廊坊一带被义和团包围,死伤多人,狼狈逃回天津。”如此说来,拆毁铁路不过是抵抗侵略者迫不得已的措施。实际情况怎样?

  1900年5月28日(阴历五月初一),直隶总督裕禄致电总理各国事务衙门:“二十九夜(5月27日)先闻涿州至琉璃河一带猝被拳匪将铁路焚毁,讵今早由琉璃河至长辛店一百余里沿途铁道车站桥梁并局所洋房,均有拳匪蜂起焚烧”。与此同时,各地纷纷告急:“刻下电线又阻……至长辛店线阻,由琉璃河至涿州线,被匪徒砍断,所有电均被阻滞。”他们破坏这些设施完全出于对外来事物的敌视,而不是为了抵抗侵略者不得不采取的应急行动。同时,这类行动波及各地,不是局部性的偶发现象。也就是说,这是蓄意破坏财产的罪行,而不是某些史家说的抵抗侵略者的功勋。从时间看,西摩尔军从出发到被迫撤回天津是6月 10日至26日之间的事,而在此之前拆毁铁路、电线,焚烧车站、抢掠财产的急报,已纷至沓来。义和团烧杀抢掠、敌视和肆意摧毁现代文明在前,八国联军进军在后,这个次序是历史事实,无法也不应修改。

  二、教科书也没有谴责清政府高级官员及义和团乱杀无辜,烧杀抢掠的野蛮、残忍的罪行。

  最有代表性的是山西巡抚毓贤的作为。六月初一(6月27日),他将太原洋人办的医院烧掉,同时“将省中洋人,诱令迁居一处。当于教堂内搜出妇女二百一十一口,年老者数人,而五六岁十余岁至二三十岁者居多……于六月十三日,不动声色,带领兵勇,前赴洋人聚居之处,亲自兜拿。该洋人等尤敢拼力抗拒,奴才麾令勇敢数人,冒死突进,将洋人大小男女四十四口,及同恶相济的教民十七名,一齐擒获,立即绑赴市曹,同时正法”;“寿阳县秦锡圭获滋事之洋人七名口,押解前来,一并将其立正典刑。是晚北门教堂亦为拳民焚烧,省城洋人教堂已无遗迹”。当时的报刊还报道:“寓晋西人,得京师乱耗。群求毓贤保护。不料竟诱聚而歼之,且手刃数人焉。”

  

  毓贤的行为不是孤立的。所有不思进取的顽固分子,都是传统文化中最落后、野蛮的成分的继承者,这类顽固官僚趁机为非作歹的事例不胜枚举。例如,辅国公载澜是奉旨会同载勋、刚毅“统率”京津义和团的宗室,其残暴就不让毓贤:“京师乱起,载澜从拳匪入人家,大索,得毡布及他物,皆以教民论,扑杀之,虽宗室大臣不免”。

  再看看义和团的所作所为吧。前人早已指出,不能把所有参加义和团的民众都视为匪徒,他们不少是盲从的愚民,但混迹其间的确实不少是土匪和流氓。总计在义和团事件中,全国各地1900年6月24日~7月24日期间,被杀外国人231名,其中儿童53名。他们大都死于义和团之手。至于中国的教徒(教民)和所谓“二毛子”被杀的,更是没有算清的糊涂账,其中绝大部分是被义和团杀死的,官兵也杀了一些。仅山西一省,就有中国天主教徒5700余人被杀。奉天(辽宁)全省“教民人命千余”。“而直隶(河北)全省杀人焚屋之案,几于无县无之。其杀人多者,一县竟至一二千名口”。甚至浙江亦“抢劫、焚毁教民家室至一千余家之众”。

  “受害最烈”的北京,当时有关人士留下不少实录:1900年6月18日“城中日焚劫,火光连日夜……夙所不快者,即指为教民,全家皆尽,死者十数万人。其杀人则刀矛并下,肌体分裂,婴儿生未匝月者,亦杀之残酷无复人理”。“法国天主堂在西安门内西什库,刚相(刚毅)尝督兵攻之,亦不能破,拳实不敢前,哗噪而已。拳匪既不得志,无以塞后意,乃噪而出永定门。乡民适趋市集,七十余人悉絷以来;伪饰优伶冠服儿童戏物,指为白莲教;下刑部一夕,未讯供,骈斩西市。有妇人宁家,亦陷其中,杂诛之,儿犹在抱也……毓鼎上疏力争之,谓:‘谋乱当有据,羸翁弱妇,非谋乱之人;优装玩具,非谋乱之物……’疏入,狱已具”。

  6月16日,“是日九点中,团匪烧大栅栏德记药房,延烧粮食店、灯市街、观音寺、珠宝市……共计店铺四千余家,火至天明未息。匪禁水会救火”。这个京师最繁华的地区于是毁于一旦。总的说来,“京师盛时,居人殆四百万。自拳匪暴军之乱,劫盗乘之,卤掠一空,无得免者。坊市萧条,狐狸昼出,向之摩肩击毂者,如行墟墓间矣。”这是所谓义和团“革命”的后果之一。

  开头,民众与传教士和教民的矛盾令人同情;可是,他们后来的作为远远超过与外来宗教矛盾的界线。事件过后直至民国初年,朝野各界将这个组织定性为拳匪是有足够根据的。

  三、令人无法理解的是它对慈禧的专制淫威惹来滔天大祸竟只字不提!

  义和团兴起之初,袁世凯就上奏“其用以惑人者,谓能避枪炮。然迭与乡团、教民、兵役格斗,一遇枪炮,辄伤毙多人,瓦解鼠窜……其藉以动人者,谓图灭洋教。然上年春夏间,在曹州、济宁各属,掠教民一千一百余家,并掠及平民二百余家。秋冬间在东阳、济南各属,掠教民六百余家,亦掠及平民百余家。内多掳架勒赎之案,直与盗匪无异。故教民既被其殃,而平民亦多受其害。”而且有些地位比袁世凯更高的大臣(如北洋大臣、直隶总督裕禄等等)也提出了类似的意见。慈禧充耳不闻,比较清醒的众多大臣只好保持缄默,品质不良之辈则乘风转舵,谄上邀宠(如裕禄)。

  一个在六年前连一个“敢于犯上”的“蕞尔小国”───日本都无法招架的弱国,居然要同时向包括日本在内的11国宣战!《国际法》传入中国60年后,竟要派兵围攻驻华使馆!

  为了决定和战大计,从1900年6月16日开始,慈禧一连四天召集王公大臣六部九卿开御前会议。在会上吏部侍郎许景澄、兵部尚书徐用仪、户部尚书立山、内阁学士联元等人先后提出不能听信邪术、不可围攻使馆、不能主动对外宣战。总理各国事务衙门大臣袁昶和许景澄在两人联名的奏折中写道:“伏以春秋之义,两国兵,不戮行人,泰西公法,尤以公使为国之重臣,蔑视其公使,即蔑视其国。兹若任令该匪攻毁使馆,尽杀使臣,各国引为大耻,联合一气,致死报复……以一国而敌各国,臣愚以谓不独胜负攸关,实存亡攸关也。”慈禧不但不接纳这些浅显的常识,而且大发专制淫威,把他们的脑袋砍掉!

  同时,包括毓贤杀洋人在内的罪行,大都发生在6月21日下诏与各国宣战、6月24日命各省督抚杀洋人以后。首犯是慈禧,毓贤、载漪等人不过是凶狠的执行者。

  

  四、教科书对一些史料的运用也很不严肃。

  “义和团,起山东,不到三月遍地红。孩童个个拿起刀,保国逞英雄。”教科书以突出位置刊载了这一歌谣,说是“义和团歌谣”。可是,笔者孤陋寡闻,读过的现存义和团传单、揭帖等书面材料中找不到可以作为根据的史料。而后来调查的所谓口头传说,往往是后人加工乃至创造的,根本不足为凭。

  教科书又说:“北京东单西裱胡同有座于谦庙。为了学习于谦的爱国精神,1900年4月,义和团进城后,把神坛设在这里。”一切学术观点都应拒绝牵强附会,要经得起反驳。载漪、载澜等祸国殃民的满清权贵家里都设有义和团神坛,这又是向他们学习什么?

  在我国,除了上述人民教育出版社出版的教科书外,还有一套可供选用的沿海地区教材。号称沿海版,有的地方史实错误更严重,是非观念更加糊涂。

  例如,对义和团事件的论述,它增加了这么两句话:“6月中旬以后,义和团群众开始围攻侵略者据点西什库教堂和外国使馆区。清政府却暗中派人给被围困的侵略者送去粮食、蔬菜、酒、水果等,表示慰问。”每句话都错得一塌糊涂!

  首先要问:西什库教堂是“侵略者据点”吗?在义和团事件前,这不过是普通的法国天主教堂,没有材料足以证明它是“侵略者据点”。义和团期间,从1900年6月13日起几天内就将北京大部分教堂和洋楼烧毁,连带烧掉数千家民居和商店,劫余的西什库教堂和东交民巷使馆区聚集了大批逃生的外国人和中国教民。这个教堂的逃生者,在清政府不能维持正常社会秩序的情况下,固守反抗屠杀,于理于法都无可指责。说这个教堂是“侵略者据点”,完全是信口开河。

  其次,围攻东交民巷是奉慈禧的旨意,主力是董福祥的甘军和荣禄的武卫中军,是他们犯下的罪行,义和团则是助纣为虐。含糊其词,仿佛此举是义和团自发的爱国义举,不但歪曲了历史真相,也掩盖了清政府践踏国际法的罪行。再次,对西什库教堂和使馆区的进攻,充分体现了专制统治者极端愚昧无知和残暴;时至20世纪90年代仍然正面予以肯定,这是对国际法的无知,已经沦为对国耻的颂扬,也忘记了“反对封建专制”的责任!

  再看第二句。清政府确实曾派人给被围困的外国使馆送过生活日用品,这是奉旨公开进行的,说是“暗中”于史无据。当时,清政府内部比较清醒的大臣一再上奏,要求按照国际惯例保护外国外交人员和外国人;东南各省的督抚甚至公开声明不再承认6月21日宣战后的“伪诏”。迫于这些压力,加上她色厉内荏,要预留“转圜”余地,不得不作出这样的姿态。不管是真是假,这是清政府内部理性尚未完全泯灭的表现。把它与义和团的行动对举而意含贬损,显然是很不恰当的。

  对义和团事件和八国联军评述比较全面的同样是香港的教科书。它既谴责义和团“大肆排外,杀教士、教民,连藏洋书、戴眼镜的人都不放过,且到处破坏,烧教堂、拆电线、毁铁路。”“日本使馆书记杉山彬、德国公使克林德先后被杀”;也指出“当时联军纪律极坏,任意焚掠屠杀,其中以俄、德两国军队及英国的印度兵最为残暴。”细致分析了义和团产生的背景:1.民族情绪。2.民生困苦。3.列强侵略。4.教案频生。还全面论述了辛丑条约的内容及它对当时和日后中国的深远影响。任何不抱偏见的人都会承认,这部教科书说的是真实的历史。

  如何面对被侮辱和被损害的状况

  出现这些现象与中国长期处于被侮辱和被损害的境遇息息相关。面对如是现实,可以有不同的心态。

  西方的入侵彻底改变了中国历史的行程。伴之而生的是天朝大国的表象破裂,大量民众在生死线上挣扎。人们顺理成章把这种状况归罪于“洋鬼子”;也谴责统治者腐朽、愚昧、软弱。一个辩论不休难于取得共识的问题是:内因还是外因是导致这个状况的主要根源?

  其实,完全可以从另外一个角度提出问题:这个状况迟迟不能改变的原因何在?如果有人说这是因为帝国主义者太凶狠了,这等于什么都没有说。经过长期、复杂、反复的博弈过程,在国际关系中可&

January 28, 2006 @ 3:28 am | Comment

Richard that’s just semantics. This “ought” of yours does not apply to reality, just aspiration. If Stuart had written: “Although an unrealised and naive ideal, newspapers’ first responsibility ought to be …” then I’d have had no problem.

January 28, 2006 @ 3:28 am | Comment

Richard,

I’m not suggesting banning them. Just keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t suffocate debates.

January 28, 2006 @ 3:35 am | Comment

Ivan: Also, scrolling up to “Neil’s” comment (way up), where he characterised the historian Yuan Weishi’s article as being comparable to advocating
legalised pedophilia in the Washington Post

“Neill” is the one I banned today. At least China Hand and Math make it appear they can conduct a semi-rational discussion. When a commenter just tosses out over-the-top, unsupported, inane “thoughts’ they drag everything down, and I have to draw the line. I warned him first, to no avail. (I deleted his last utterly asinine drivel; trust me, it contributed very little to the dialogue.)

January 28, 2006 @ 3:57 am | Comment

The letter really demonstrates very well that stage China is in at the moment … it’s the “Robin Hood” syndrome. Not the part about robbing rich and giving to poor, but the “good King Richard” part. You have evil Prince John and evil Sheriff of Nottingham … and all the bad things are done by them. At the top, however, the king himself is a good man. If only we can get word to the king, then he will put a stop to all the abuses.

As long as it stays like this, the CCP is in no danger … because people still basically trust in them. They have faith that the party can rectify itself. BUT … watch out for the time when more and more people start having a revelation … that good King Richard knows about all the abuses … and is just as bad as the rest of them. That’s the time things will get very “interesting” in China.

January 28, 2006 @ 5:05 am | Comment

FSN9,

Yep, and it’s even MORE similar to the old Russian peasants’ belief that “If only the Tsar knew how the local lords (Boyars) are exploiting us, he would help us! If only the Tsar knew!”

Stalin exploited this old fairy tale notion in his propaganda, most notably in Sergei Eisenstein’s two movies “Ivan the Terrible, parts one and two”. (No relation to me. “Ivan is just a common Russian name similar to “Tommy” or “Joe”)

In those movies, Tsar Ivan (whose epithet, “Terrible” is really a mistranslation of the Russian word for “formidable”) is surrounded by evil, scheming Boyars (local officials), and Tsar Ivan (ie, Stalin) defends “the People” against the “local officials”.

All of which – come to think of it – suddenly frightens me a bit, considering how Stalin used that kind of propaganda to justify his Great Purge.

January 28, 2006 @ 5:12 am | Comment

And more about “Good Tsar, Bad Boyars” (analagous to “Good Beijing leaders, Bad local officials”)

Here’s an example of what I’ve just said about Stalin and Eisenstein’s movie “Ivan the Terrible, Part Two”.
Just put on the DVD and found this major scene (and it’s really a GREAT movie, regardless of its propaganda purpose):

Tsar Ivan Groznuy (= Stalin) has just finished purging and executing the Boyars (local officials), through the aid of his personal spies (the Oprichnikii, or later the KGB), and now all of the “KGB” are feasting and drinking and dancing around wildly, singing triumphantly about how they purged the “Local officials”:

To the Boyars (the local officials)
Came dreaded guests (the secret police, the KGB)
Axes danced on the Boyars’ heads,
Hippity Hoppity (like a rabbit)
Let the axes fall! (someone whistles)
And the gates fell to the ground
Golden goblets went all around
Let the axes drop!
And when the guests (the KGB)
All tipsy, homeward turned,
The house they had just left
Was burned.

Eisenstein was a genius – you had to be, to make great movies in Stalin’s time. But still, a warning and a metaphor there, for China in these times….

January 28, 2006 @ 5:30 am | Comment

“at the risk of sounding patronising, this is dreadfully naive and, frankly, incorrect (although doubtless desirable).”
Posted by KLS at January 28, 2006 03:07 AM

I try desperately to suppress my idealistic better angel, but he refuses to be silenced. I also believe that Hu Jintao should swap places with the guy who sweeps the gutter for three months a year.

January 28, 2006 @ 6:11 am | Comment

but not send the intellectuals out to the farms I hope?

January 28, 2006 @ 6:50 am | Comment

KLS,

Actually, the ONLY idea of Mao’s for which I have ever had any empathy, was his idea of sending “Intellectuals” to the farms to shock them out of their abstract bullshit.

I think Mao’s idea of forcing “Intellectuals” to learn what manual labour is really like, was a brilliant idea in principle – poorly executed, but in principle, Mao had the right idea about this.

January 28, 2006 @ 7:56 am | Comment

unlike you and Mao I’m not a big fan of forcing people to do what I want.

January 28, 2006 @ 8:13 am | Comment

KLS,

As I’m a friend of Richard and I don’t want to turn his blog into a battlefield of petty personal feuds, I don’t want to get personal with you.

HOWEVER, KLS: your last remark was nonsense, when you suggested that I believe in “forcing people to do what I want.”

On this blog, I always defer to Richard and his rules. Thus, on this blog I never attempt to “force” anyone to do anything. So what the hell are you talking about?

AND, KLS, I think what you are really talking about, is how I have a mind of my own and I resist compromising with any received opinions – quite unlike you, KLS, who strike me as a typical conventional intellectual who gets freaked out by anyone who plays around outside the box of conventional “academic discourse”

But enough of that. KLS, as a matter of fairness, I think you have a right to send just one response to this comment, if you want to. But for Richard’s sake I don’t want to carry on any feud with you on Richard’s personal space. So if you want to reply to what I said, here, please do it just once and then I suggest that you and I should just avoid each other. Deal?

January 28, 2006 @ 8:40 am | Comment

Ivan my comment had nothing to do with your general behaviour on TPD, it was merely in response to your preceding comment: calm down and think about it: you said:

” I think Mao’s idea of forcing “Intellectuals” to learn what manual labour is really like, was a brilliant idea in principle… ”

hence my subsequent remark: that I’m no fan of forcing people to do what I want them to do — something fundamental to the idea of Mao which you think was brilliant in principle. I don’t want to force people to go work where I want them to work.

simple, really.

as for received opinions, it’s true you sometimes enjoy challenging some such, and good for you. but your remarks upon China are entirely conventional and predictable. I don’t see why this has to be so.

January 28, 2006 @ 8:53 am | Comment

KLS,

If you say my remarks about China are “predictable”, then you just prove yourself to be a conventional, boilerplate Atlantic Intellectual, as I said you were.

I think the reason why you cannot imagine any original comments about China, because your own mind is confined by the boundaries of conventional discourse. So, even when you hear original comments about China, your brain interprets them in the only way you know how to do. And of course you are one of the typical “anti-American” commenters here, so you reflexively assume that any criticism of “socialism” coming from me or from my compatriots, is just a repetition of old conventional ideas. Or so I perceive, based on what you have written here over the past year.

But still, I will say: Thanks, KLS, for switching all of our arguments into fair intellectual ones, and getting away from personal insults. Let’s keep it this way! You and I, KLS, we will never like each other – but I do think we can co-exist peacefully in the Duck Pond. :-)

January 28, 2006 @ 9:33 am | Comment

let’s disagree to disagree!

I think you need a hefty taste of your own baijiu now and again Ivan to keep you on the straight and narrow, not everyone you lambast will stand up to you, not all those you invective-insult will return the favour.

I’m delighted at your description of me as a boilerplate Atlantic Intellectual, nothing could be wronger but I’m proud nevertheless.

And will henceforth endeavour to notice anything you write here about the PRC that pushes the envelope or strays from the herd (should it be a flock of ducks? or maybe platter?).

January 28, 2006 @ 9:56 am | Comment

KLS,

In the ways of old Chivalry, all I will say is that you and I agree to coexist peacefully here.

So, KLS, we agree to disagree, and we agree that we will not attack each other personally here. We have a truce, for our friend Richard’s sake.

January 28, 2006 @ 10:19 am | Comment

Don’t give me no Chivalry talk Ivan — I come from the country that won at Crecy:

‘When the English knights advanced on foot, they were preceded by archers and supported by pikemen and Welshmen with long knives, who went among the fallen [armoured French chivalric knights] and slew them on the ground.

As Tuchman observes: “England’s advantage lay in combining the use of those excluded from chivalry—the Welsh knifemen, the pikemen, and, above all, the trained yeomen who pulled the long-bow—with the action of the armored knight.”’

(from http://tinyurl.com/9qns5)

January 28, 2006 @ 12:28 pm | Comment

KLS,

I met Barbra Tuchman in person.
And your (my) country which won at Crecy, is the same!!!

I literally descend (through a bastard line) from Prince Lionel, one of the sons of King Edward the Third, and my remote Uncle was Edward the Black Prince (Whose coffin is now open for all to see at Canterbury Cathedral – my remote Uncle Edward the Black Prince – and if ANYone insults Canterbury Cathdral, they will be asking me for a duel. But I know that you, KLS, are a man of SOME honour…. :-)

So, KLS, I suppose you and I are distant cousins. But anyway, I am glad to see that you are keeping our truce, for our friend Richard’s sake. There IS some chivalry in you after all, KLS, I can see…. :-)

January 28, 2006 @ 1:20 pm | Comment

You know, it’s one of the real strengths of the Peking Duck. Unlike most blogs, it has consistently failed to become a gathering ground for people who agree with eachother. Too much “debate” and “discussion” these days goes like this: “I think this” with the reply “Yes, you’re right, and what about this too.” And … everyone feels terribly good about themselves, and convinced that they are right … but all that has happened is that you’ve convinced someone who already agrees with you.

It really makes Peking Duck a rare gem to have the consistent ongoing debates, which are filled with fire … even the occasional personal attack (speedily restrained by Richard). I think it’s a real tribute to Richard himself that he’s managed the difficult task of moderating and maintaining such a volatile lot … and it just goes from strenght to strength.

It’s a pity I haven’t had time to participate more often in recent months. Life got in the way, damn it.

January 28, 2006 @ 6:40 pm | Comment

Thanks for that analysis of Ivan the Terrible, Ivan. I’m definitely going to buy a copy when I have to return to Beijing; don’t know why I didn’t when I saw it there and then.

January 28, 2006 @ 8:14 pm | Comment

FSN9, thanks; now let’s work on de-programming your Republican brainwashing. (Kidding!)

January 28, 2006 @ 9:51 pm | Comment

bless……….my faverat newapaper………..
and my motherland……………………………………………………………….:(…..

February 19, 2006 @ 2:01 am | Comment

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