Huanqiu vs. “Rumors’ Republic”: no World outside the Current Framework

Hong Kong media reported on March 22 that from the afternoon to the night of March 20, military helicopters had been in the air over Beijing, and that tanks had been spotted in Beijing’s Fengtai District, Singapore’s United Morning News (Lianhe Zaobao) wrote on Tuesday1).

A Huanqiu Shibao editorial, also on Tuesday, March 27, on the negative effects of rumors, got a mention in Lianhe Zaobao’s report, too. The following is Huanqiu Shibao’s editorial in full.

Main Link: http://world.huanqiu.com/hot/2012-03/2559706.html

Stick to Society’s Line of Resistance against Rumors

坚守社会对谣言的抵御防线

During the recent number of days, some rumors spread over the internet and beyond, with rarely-seen vigor. Some of them even entangled Chang’an Street and Zhongnanhai which was strange, absurd, and which created confusion within public opinion. Chinese society should be vigilant, concerning these matters, and must not take a laisser-fair attitude towards the dissemination of rumors.

最近一段时间,一些谣言在互联网内外扩散,活跃度相当罕见。一些谣言甚至纠缠上了长安街和中南海,非常离奇、荒唐,形成了对舆论的纷扰。中国社会应对此有所警觉,不可对谣言的传播听之任之。

Admittedly, direct official information isn’t always in step with society’s demands, which makes it easier for rumors to emerge. From a communications perspective, the number and strength of rumors depends on a matter’s importance, and takes advantage on the degree to which the matter is “blurred”. The clearer official information is, the more it addresses public concern, the fewer opportunities there are for rumors.

诚然,中国官方的正面信息有时跟不上社会的需求,使得谣言出笼更容易找到机会。从传播学的角度看,谣言有多少、多强,大约相当于事件的重要性乘以事件的“模糊性”,官方信息越多越明确,越能针对公众的关切,谣言传播的机会就越少。

But while some of the recent days’ rumors were caused naturally, some were also amplified in an abnormal way. Besides official efforts against rumors, society, too, should build a reasonable and moral defense line against rumors. However, there are some people who preach the dismantlement of such a defense line and who openly tout2) the “adequacy” of rumors, claiming that “rumors make the truth emerge” or “enforces reform”. Apparently, their intention is to turn rumors into a “new political shaft” to break away from the current system’s control.

但最近一段时间的谣言,有些是自然发生的,有些则得到了不正常的强化。除了官方透明度对谣言的对冲外,社会还应对谣言有理性及道德层面的抵御防线。但现在有一些人在鼓吹拆掉这些防线,公开吹捧谣言的“正义性”,宣称“谣言倒逼真相”,“谣言倒逼改革”。他们似乎有意让谣言成为脱离现行体制控制的“新政治轴心”。

Publication of official Chinese information must continuously improve, but this improvement can’t be reached by ways of demolition. When it comes to some major issues, wariness is often very important. The dangers of quick release of information are sometimes greater than those from centrally clarified information. Many factors contribute to these risks, including the possibility of the public misreading temporary information. All these [factors] are real.

中国官方信息的发布体系的确需不断改进,但这种改进不可能是推倒式的。在一些重大问题上,谨慎常常很重要。快速发布信息的风险,有时的确大于搞清楚后集中发布的风险。这些风险由很多因素共同促成,包括社会有可能误读阶段性信息等,它们都是真实的。

When it comes to certain events of major importance, knowledge of the event and the building of a consensus take time. Correct, precise handling of issues is usually at the same time significant for the guidance of Chinese society. At some times, information must be allowed to be released with a bit of delay. This is China’s current national condition, and a refusal to face this is not the reasonable attitude of seeking truth from the facts.

对于一些关系特别重大的事,认识事件、营造共识都需要时间。正确、到位地处理好问题,往往同时具有引导中国社会的意义。一些时候信息不得不发布得稍慢一点,这是中国当前的真实国情,不正视它不是实事求是的理性态度。

Looking back on these years, official publication of information has always been moving forward, and the growing transparency of the entire Chinese society has been a constant trend. Objectively speaking, this is one of the most complicated fields of Chinese reform. Promotion of transparency continues to grow, it grants relaxation in core fields, and coordination and integration between the two is vital for China’s progress.

回头看这些年,中国官方在信息披露方面一直在向前走,整个中国社会的透明度呈明显不断增加趋势。客观而言,这是中国改革最复杂的领域之一。推动透明度继续不断增加,和给中国的核心领域留出必要宽松度,这两者之间的协调和统一,对中国的前进至关重要。

The “theories of rumors’ adequacy” ignore all of China’s realities; they are radicalism which tries to be seen as a grassroots [product]. They want to create a world outside the current political framework, in the minds of the public, and to constantly corrupt acknowledgment of the authority within the current system. The concept of “rumors being adequate” is a tool for disintegrating this country’s political framework, and it is a tool which comes at low costs [for those who are operating it].

“谣言合理论”无视中国各种现实,是激进主义经过草根打扮的表演。它实际要的是在现行政治框架外营造一个公众认知的另一个世界,不断腐蚀现行体制内的权威认同。“谣言合理”了,让这个国家在思想和政治上散架就有了相当廉价的工具。

In reality, there has been no country in human history which made progress thanks to rumors enforcing it. Rumors’ overall effect has been overwhelmingly negative. They have always complicated and confused reality, and corrupted public morals.

实际上,人类历史上没有一个国家的进步是靠谣言“倒逼”出来的。谣言在各国历史上的总体负面作用都是压倒性的。它们总是使真相更加扑朔迷离,败坏世风。

The boycott [or resistance against] rumors should be seen as a public service, to be carried out by everyone as a public service. China is in an imperfect development process, but if all the current rumors could be caught in one phrase, it would be that “China’s calamity has reached its utmost point”. These rumors stealthily harm the inner strength of Chinese society, and inserts the virus of bafflement into society’s system of reason.

应把抵制谣言看成中国社会当前人人都可践行的公益活动。中国在“有缺陷地”快速发展,但如果把当前各种谣言汇成一句话,它就是“中国糟糕到了极点”。这些谣言的流行在悄悄损害社会的内力,给社会的理性系统植入有迷惑力的病毒。

The removal of these viruses requires stronger rational coding. It requires, on the one hand, dealing with [the rumors] point by point, and systematic and comprehensive reinforcement and upgrading on the other. Many people have accidentally kept the bad company of the viruses and have suffered from it. Faced with the choice between the anti-virus and the virus, the vast majority of us is undoubtedly on the side of the former.

清除这些病毒需要更加强大的理性编程,既需要点对点地对付它们,也需要系统整体的不断强化和升级。很多人曾不经意与病毒有过交道,吃过它的亏。在“杀毒”和“病毒”之间,我们绝大多数人无疑是前者的同盟军。

Let us protect China’s progress and unity together. Every one of us has the right to encourage this country, and at the same time, every one of us is a determinant in China’s cohesive power. We live in this country, most clearly understand the need for reform in this country, and understand this country’s specific difficulties most clearly. But sure enough, China must not be a “Rumors’ Republic”.

让我们一起维护中国的进步和团结。我们每个人都有权利鞭策这个国家,同时我们每个人又是中国凝聚力的一个因子。我们就生活在这个国家里,最清楚这个国家改革的必要,也最了解这个国家特有的艰难。但毫无疑问,中国不应是“谣言共和国”。

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Notes

1) the link is unlikely to last for more than a few weeks:
http://www.zaobao.com/zg/zg120327_001.shtml
2) 吹捧 – to praise insincerely, frequently with the goal of (political) earnings on ones mind.

The editorial isn’t signed, but the China Digital Times attributes some of its central message to Huanqiu editor-in-chief Hu Xijin (胡锡进), as of March 25. It was apparently turned into this editorial about two days later, i. e. on Wednesday Tuesday.

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Related

» How the Horse broke itself in, March 22, 2012
» Advice to Dissidents, Shanghaiist, March 19, 2012
» Netizens should tolerate Censorship, March 26, 2011

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