Archive for February 27th, 2013

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Obituary: Stéphane Hessel, 1917 – 2013

Main Links:

» Stéphane Hessel, gentleman indigné, Le Monde, December 23, 2011 / February 27, 2013
» 《愤怒吧!》: 93岁愤怒战士一夜爆红, Beijing News, April 11, 2011

Links within blockquotes added during translation.


Hessel was born German, grew up French, and became a French citizen in 1939. He took part in the formulation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, and never stopped promoting its values, Le Monde wrote in December 2011 (article updated on February 27, 2013).

He had joined the résistance in 1941. He had been arrested, tortured, and survived the Buchenwald concentration camp.

And his hope was contagious (Le gentleman indigné, dont l’espérance est contagieuse).

He was also a diplomat. Compromise was hardly something foreign to him. But to react to wrongs seems to have been second nature to him.

On October 20, 2010, on his 93rd birthday, his booklet “Indignez-vous”, Time for Outrage, was published in France, with more than two million copies sold in France, and almost two million more in the rest of the world. He published another edition soon after, describing his admiration for Eleanor and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Indignez-vous was followed by “Engagez-vous”, Get involved, came next.

Counter-espionage was Hessel’s job from 1941, when he followed General de Gaulle to London, a correspondent for Beijing News wrote  from Paris, in April 2011, six months after “Time for Anger” had been published:

In March 1944, he was assigned to organize the resistance network in Paris, and to gather intelligence for the allied troops as they prepared to enter continental Europe. Named “Ge Like”, he secretly entered France, but was soon betrayed and then arrested by the Gestapo. Neither punishment nor lure by promises led to the results [his captors] desired, and Hessel was then transferred to the Buchenwald concentration camp on August 8, 1944, only days before the liberaton of Paris. He later wrote a detailed description of these experiences, in “Danse avec le Siècle”.

His narrow escape from death – by obtaining the identity of a fellow inmate who had died of typhus – inspired him.

Just as Hessel said: “this kind of leap from death, back into life makes him the more determined to enter the enthusiasm of global politics” (正如埃塞尔自己所说的:“这种死里逃生经历更加坚定了他介入世界的政治热情”).

The article’s description of Hessel’s post-war life included his co-authorship of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

To help this document of tremendous historic value obtain acknowledgment as [a set of] universal values, Hessel and his colleagues went to great pains to make it suitable for East and West, for ideologies, and the different situations of countries and nations.

There was nothing new in the novel, “Time to get Angry”, and it provided neither a logical analysis of the problems faced by humankind today, nor practical methodology for dealing with them, the Beijing News author quoted Hessel, in 2011, and added that its fascination was to be found in the emotions it stirred, and the lesson it taught: not to allow evil to repeat itself.

An initially small, unobtrusive book, written without much preparation, of only some thirty pages including footnotes and a postscript, but inevitable content, unexpectedly led to this kind of reading, discussion and dissemination. (Frequently, customers went to a bookstore and bought ten or more copies for their families and friends). While many publishers call this a coincidence, many others explore the reasons for the book’s strong sales. There is this global upheaval, and worried people are seeking some relief. This small book is just right in its simplicity, legibility, its sentiment and excitement, and its catchiness. […] And secondly, the author’s personal charm adds an envelope of respectability and trustworthiness to this small book. It seems that only with the historical experience and the energetic and passionate involvement of this 93-year-old warrior, a man may be qualified to appeal to public enthusiasm.
一本事先毫不张扬,也无甚精心企划的小书;一本加上注释和后记才三十多页,内容无可避免的略显单薄的小册子,竟然引发了如此的阅读、讨论和传播(经常有顾客到书店一买十多册赠与身边的家人朋友)。在大多出版界人士大呼偶然的同时,也有不少人研究它畅销的必然所致。首先,世界局势的动荡,对未来的担忧让人们急需找到一个释放内心情绪的出口,而这本小册子正好简单、易懂,情绪激昂、朗朗上口。 […] 其次,作者的个人魅力无疑为这本小书笼罩了一层令人尊敬和信赖的气场。似乎,唯有这种经历过历史,并以自身全部的精力和激情投入其中的长者(93岁的老战士)才有资格以这种语气号召起大众的热情。



Hessel dies at 95, The Guardian, Febr 27, 2013
A Resistance Hero Fires up the French, NYT, March 9, 2011


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

“Greetings, and Nothing Particular to Say”: Lien Chan’s China Visit

Nanfang Weekly (南方周末), February 25, 2013 —

At nine a.m. on February 25, CCP central committee secretary general Xi Jinping met KMT honorary chairman Lien Chan in the Great Hall of the People. Lien Chan had come to Beijing on February 24 as head of a delegation and is scheduled to return to Taiwan on February 27. The visit’s theme is to enter spring and revisit the past (走春访旧 – apparently a variation of 走春迎新年 – to greet the new year. Another way of putting it might be a nostalgic, yet forward-looking journey). Taiwan regional leader Ma Ying-jeou had asked Lien Chan to greet secretary general Xi Jinping.


China News Service, on February 25, quoted Xi Jinping as saying that this was the first time since he took his new office that he met with Taiwanese friends. Xi Jinping said that when he worked in Fujian for many years, he had been in contact with Taiwanese issues almost every day, frequently met Taiwanese compatriots, and made many Taiwanese friends. It had been quite the same when he worked in Zhejiang Province and in Shanghai.


Xi Jinping particularly pointed out that “I and Chairman Lien got to know each other in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, when we met in April and in November 2006, and I vividly remember the circumstances and our conversations, and one can say that with this memory on mind, I and Chairman Lien are old friends. Ever since I left Fujian, I have paid attention to the situation in T the Taiwan Strait, hoping for continuously improving cross-strait relations.”


Xi Jinping also said that the new generation of collective CCP central committee leadership will continue to promote the peaceful development of cross-strait relations, and peaceful unification.


Quoting China News Service (中新网) and CCTV with reports of February 24, Nanfang Weekly mentions some members of Lien’s 30-plus member delegation1), such as KMT vice chairman Lin Fong-cheng (林豐正), John Chiang (蔣孝嚴), think-tank director Tsai Cheng-wen2), Radio Taiwan International  CEO Chang Jung-kung (張榮恭)3) and New Party chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明), plus representatives of public opinion (民意代表), business, farming and fishery, culture and education, the press, and religion.

Lien Chan said that this trip’s purpose was to enhance exchange, to exchange views with [people from] all walks of life, to look at the past and to look to the future. Lien Chan said that this was also the first time after the establishment of the new leadership by the 18th National Congress that he talked with mainland China’s leaders face to face, having the opportunity to listen to their views, thoughts and to the things they focused on. He could also exchange views with them about his understanding of the Taiwanese situation.


According to CCTV reports on February 25, Lien Chan met with KMT chairman and Taiwan regional leader Ma Ying-jeou on February 22, ahead of his trip. Local media said that Ma Ying-jeou had nothing special to say [or to account for, 交待], only that he asked Lien Chan to greet secretary general Xi Jinping. A speaker for Ma Ying-jeou’s office said that the key point of the coming three years was to broaden and deepen cross-strait exchanges, and that therefore, Lien Chan’s visit to the mainland, in his private capacity, was viewed with optimism.


Lien had declined to go into detail about his scheduled meeting with Xi before leaving Taipei on Sunday night, the South China Morning Post‘s (SCMP) Taipei correspondent wrote on Monday.

But the SCMP also quotes Su Chi (蘇起), a former Taiwan National Security Council secretary-general, as saying that the new mainland leadership is expected to touch on more sensitive issues like political dialogues with Taipei.

Lien’s delegation spokeswoman was quoted as saying that Lien would meet outgoing state chairman Hu Jintao on Tuesday (i. e. on February 26).

Lien Chan was accompanied by his wife, Lien Fang Yu, and his son, Sean Lien (连胜文).



1) According to the Taipei Times, Lien’s delegation included several business tycoons, such as Hon Hai Group chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) and Ruentex Group chairman Samuel Yin (尹衍樑).

2) Tsai Cheng-wen is the National Policy Foundation’s (NPF) president. The NPF is a KMT think-tank.

3) At an earlier trip to China, with a Taiwanese delegation to the Baoao Forum on Hainan in 2012, Chang Jung-kung was scheduled to be the delegation’s spokesman.



» Journey of Peace, SCMP, April 26, 2005
» United Front Doctrine (Democratization in Taiwan, ed. Steve Tsang, Houndmills, New York, 199


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