Archive for November 7th, 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

Zeng Jinyan: May the Almighty Buddha give me Faith

[The actual title of Ms Zeng’s post of November 4 apparently reads “My Confession”. If you are fluent in Chinese, please look at Ms Zeng’s original post. My translation isn’t necessarily accurate.]

[…] Today I took Baobao to Grandma and Grandpa, and in the afternoon, the state security wanted to talk with me. At the beginning of the meeting I said that I was quite tired, and on the verge of a nerveous breakdown, I said that “if the news is good, please tell me, and if it is bad news, there’s no need to tell me.”

State security said there was still something to talk…

On the Si Hui bus line, because of sort of a small thing, I was crying right in the middle of the crowd. I’m not sure when I cried last time. Maybe it was when Hu Jia got his jail sentence?

In the evening, I was back at Freedom City. When I entered the courtyard, plain-clothed police under bright headlights watched me vigilantly. There was also an ordinary infrared camera on the roof of the gate. Every time I raise my head I realize a blood flash in front of my eyes.

As I’m writing now, it is sort of a confession to the state security police. It’s also a confession to myself and to Hu Jia. In the future, when he can read it for himself, he will understand.

If you want to prolong Hu Jia’s prison term, or exacerbate his punishment, I’m certainly opposing it, but can still do nothing about it. If you release him ahead of schedule, I’m of course happy about it – I’m longing for his return. Maybe there were some aspects of our working methodology on environmental protection, AIDS, human rights which weren’t mature, and anyone may  criticize and make suggestions. But we have [or are] neither troups, nor a ruling party, and certainly no so-called conspiracy. Maybe we are too naive or simple, maybe we are too powerless; what we believe is that the one you save is the one you save – it is one at a time.

You want me to do Hu Jia’s ideological work and make him return to society soon – how should I not wish that he returns soon? But I have no opportunity – even when discussing society matters in letters with Hu Jia, he won’t receive them, so what can I do? I can only live half a life time after time and make my best efforts for the child. If you only want my shell but not my independent spirit and my will power, what should I do with this shell? If the disappearance of my spirit and will is a convenient method for you to solve your problem, to me the solution would be that my shell disappears, too. But only the divine has the right to do that. We have no right to abandon our lives. All kinds of wrongs, apart from a life depriving itself or the rights of another life also includes enslaving another life’s spirit and outward human being.

My spirit and strength are exhausted. Even looking after my child is difficult to do, she seems to feel deeply unsafe […], I’m not eating enough hot meals, [I’m not in a good state], I’m lacking sleep and I’m absent-minded. I can’t react to the matters that are happening in the world. When you dislike an organization, dislike a person, when you dislike someone’s statement, 直接找他们说去。I can’t tell people to say something or not to say something, and I have no right to do so. Who is doing good should get praise; who does bad will sooner or later be reviled; that’s common practice in China and the world.

I’m reading at New China Net [新华网] that the other day, the reporter learned from the State Council information office that the Chinese government has decided to establish a national human rights action plan to map out the development of the Chinese peoples’ human rights during the coming two years…

[Link:] China will take United Nations Human Rights Council’s universal periodic review

[Link:] Foreign ministry: Chinese government will continue to work for human rights

[Links to Chinese articles on Ms Zeng’s post]

To respect human rights, concern for humanity, respect for the dignity of humankind are the most basic things. Do you dare to look on what you have done? What you have done to us, the misery and sufferings, has been done on the foundations of abusing human rights.

I’m invoking the Almighty Buddha to give me faith, to guide my frozen hands, to give me his mercy, to end my tears and sorrow, to keep my humble heart from losing courage.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Trying to Translate

It’s a strange situation when you struggle with this kind of text. It tests my language skills to the limit, and beyond. Zeng Jinyan’s post of November 4 looks pure, simple and demanding at the same time, and it feels a bit unseeming for me to tackle it. I’m certainly no good Chinese-English translator.

But this is a blog. This is my personal battleground. And I’m realizing how fortunate I am that in so many cases, I can choose my battle grounds according to my own wishes.

Everyone should have this right of choice, with no other determiners than personal interest and conscience. Everyone, to begin with, must have the right to learn about these determinators. While translating Zeng Jinyan’s post, I’m realizing this in an almost painful way. I don’t feel her pain of course, because I’m not in her kind of situation.

But it sort of feels like looking into the palantír of Orthanc, into a sea of sadness.

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Friday, November 7, 2008

Chris Patten on RTHK Backchat

About Barack Obama

I’ve been passionately interested since early in the primaries. I started writing about Senator Obama and supporting him, I guess, quite early. Partly because he is such an intelligent and cool cucumber. I thought the way he responded early on to the Pastor Wright affair was quite extraordinary. Normally what happens with politicians these days when a disaster happens like that they are going to huddle with the focus group and decide what they should think about it. And then, when the focus group is decided, what they should think about it, they consult market research to decide what they should say about it. He did a very old-fashioned thing: he sat down himself and wrote an extremely intelligent speech about race in American politics. I just thought this was wonderfully refreshing and it reminded me a bit of somebody who alas used to lose elections but is one of my heroes, Adlai Stevenson, who used to argue that the average man, the average woman is a great deal better than average [?]. […]

About China

I think that if China offers a challenge to the model of welfare democracy and the combination of rule of law, of capitalism, of elections, of freedom of speech and so on […], I don’t think it’s a model which is going to get huge and sustainable support. The sort of people who have been finding that alternative an agreeable [exception?] are not on the whole people I’d want to spend my holidays with. I think that one of the most important debates in the world in the next few years will be the debate in China about how to bring its political system into line with what is happening economically and socially. I’m not so naive as to think that China is going to suddenly turn into a multi-party democracy overnight. But I think issues like accountability and transparency are going to be seen to matter more and more as has been the case for example in this melamine controversy.

About an unpublished Diary

I actually kept a diary when I was in Hong Kong. […] It’s long, and for the last year alone it must be 400,000 words or so, but I suspect that that will be for after I’m gone. […] It could be published now, it’s not full of tittle-tattle and nasty gossipy stories about people, but I just think that if you’ve been at the hearts of events, it is somehow disrespectful for the people you’ve been working with to publish a diary.

RTHK Backchat: Chris Patten, November 3


Related: Denis MacShane on What Next? Surviving in the 21st Century

Related: Adlai Stevenson interviewed by Mike Wallace, 1958

Friday, November 7, 2008

China Chief Negotiator Chen ends Taiwan visit, Singapore:

After a farewell ceremony led by the hosting Straits Exchange Foundation’s chairman Jiang Pin-kun (江丙坤), Chen Yunlin (陈云林) has returned to Beijing this morning. In the very much Chinese-style Yuanshan Hotel, they hugged each other. It’s the first time in history that the SEF and ARATS leaders came together in Taiwan, which marks a more institutionalized consultation process. (…)

Chen Yunlin thanked Jiang Pin-kun for seeing him off. He said that his trip had fulfilled what the compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait had long hoped for and that the two negotiating associations carried a glorious mission. Although the way would still be long and different kinds of problems could still be encountered, ARATS and SEF would continue working. They would live up to the expectations of the compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait and continue to do what was helped their cause.

Taipei Times:

Chen managed to leave the hotel after riot police eventually dispersed the more than 2,000 protesters venting their anger at his visit. He was escorted back to the Grand Hotel at 2am yesterday. (…)

Related: Chen Yunlin delegation, politicians and bankers

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