Heaven or Hell: the Story of Su Yutong’s Dismissal as told by VoA

The following is a translation from a Voice of America (VoA) article published on August 21 and apparently updated early today. Some English terms used in this translation may not match the labor-law meaning accurately.

Corrections are welcome.

Links and footnotes within blockquotes added during translation.

Washington – The sudden dismissal of Deutsche Welle Chinese department reporter Su Yutong (pen name Wu Yu) on August 19 is attracting much attention. According to reports, the prolific journalist was dismissed is related to criticism of a column that whitewashed the 6-4 massacre [i. e. the Tian-An-Men massacre]. There are also reports believing that changes in Deutsche Welle’s guidelines on covering China le d to the dismissal of Su Yutong who was originally a dissident. Deutsche Welle denied such questions posed by reports and on social media.

华盛顿—德国之声电台中文部女记者苏雨桐(笔名吴雨)8月19日突然遭解雇的事件引起多方关注。有报道称,该多产记者遭辞退与德国之声一篇被批评粉饰六四屠杀的专栏文章有关。也有报道认为,德国之声的中国报道政策的变化是导致原为异议人士的苏雨桐离职的原因。德国之声否认有关报道和社交媒体上出现的质疑
Su Yutong’s sudden dismissal had first been disclosed on Twitter by internet commentator Bei Feng (actual name Wen Yunchao) on 19th of August.
苏雨桐被突然解雇的消息是现在美国的网络评论人士北风(本名温云超)8月19日首先在社交网站推特上披露的。。

One day before, Wu’er Kaixi, a former leader oft he Beijing student movement [of 1989] came to Deutsche Welle headquarters in Bonn to protest against the article published on June 4 which was seen as beautifying the CCP’s opening fire to suppress the citizens and students of Beijing. This article, titled “From Tian An Men to Leipzig”, diluted the 6-4 incident to “a momentary mistake in the history of New China”1).

此前一天,来自台湾的前北京学运领袖吾尔开希到位于波恩的德国之声总部,抗议该媒体今年六四期间发表的一篇被认为美化中共开枪镇压北京市民和学生的文章。这篇题为“从天安门到莱比锡”的文章把六四事件淡化为“新中国历史上一时的失足。”

This article, written by Deutsche Welle commenator Frank Sieren in Beijing, led to strong rebounds from the organization “Tian An Men Mothers“ and from 89 participants in [the 1989] movement.

这篇文章由德国之声新雇用的驻北京特约评论员泽林(Frank Sieren) 撰写,引起了六四难属团体“天安门母亲”和众多89民运参与者的强烈反弹。

Frank Sieren, who says that he has lived in Beijing for twenty years, allegedly owns a media company. Some critics who started joint protests demand that Deutsche Welle drop Sieren’s controversial article. Su Yutong and another contributing Deutsche Welle commentator, former “Southern Weekend” news department director Chang Ping, took part in the joint protests. Chang Ping also published articles on Deutsche Welle’s website, in a debate with Sieren.

自称在北京居住了20年的泽林被指在中国拥有一家媒体公司。一些批评者曾发起联署抗议行动,要求德国之声撤下泽林这篇有争议文章。苏雨桐和德国之声另一位特约评论员、原《南方周末》新闻部主任长平参与了联署抗议。长平曾在德国之声网站刊文,与泽林展开争论。

Deutsche Welle spokesman Johannes Hoffmann issued a statement2) confirming that the freelance working contract with Su Yutong had been terminated, because of inappropriate behavior.

德国之声发言人霍夫曼(Johannes Hoffmann)21日发表声明确认,已经终止它与中国自由撰稿人苏雨桐的工作关系,原因是员工的不当行为。

[Hoffmann‘s] statement said Deutsche Welle objects to talk on social media about political motivations for the termination of Su Yutong’s contract, or about the termination being related to limits to freedom of expression at Deutsche Welle’s Chinese department . The statement emphasized that diversity of opinion was respected, and that the immediate measure [of dismissing Su Yutong] had been made because of breach of trust between Deutsche Welle and Su Yutong.

声明表示,德国之声反对社交媒体上关于苏雨桐被终止工作关系有政治动机或者是由于德国之声中文部的表达自由受到限制等说法。德国之声的这份声明强调尊重意见多元化,并称决定采取解雇立即生效的步骤是由于德国之声与苏雨桐之间的信任遭到破坏。

The statement accuses Su of not heeding repeated admonishments and kept tweeting internal and confidential information about Deutsche Welle and the organization’s editorial staff, thus opposing staff hired by the organization and the organization’s management in her actions.

声明指责苏雨桐不听德国之声当局的一再劝告,在推特上散布有关德国之声及其编辑人员的内部信息和机密,从而在行动上对抗雇用单位及其管理层和工作人员。

The statement said that terminating Su Yutong’s employment is the result of inappropriate behavior, not a restriction on freedom of expression. The statement said that no employer would accept her behavior.

声明表示,决定结束与苏雨桐的雇佣关系是个人不当行为的结果,而非限制表达自由。声明称,没有雇主会接受她的这种行为。

Su Yutong told VoA in an interview Deutsche Welle executives had emphasized that the station could not become “Voice of the Dissidents”, but that she had only published, on her own behalf, published information concerning the debate about Sieren’s article and its publication.

苏雨桐在接受美国之音采访时指出,德国之声高层在曾强调该电台不能成为“异议之声”,而她只是以个人名义在推特上参与有关泽林文章的争论和发布有关消息。

Su Yutong says that she can calmly accept [the allegation] that she acted against internal Deutsche Welle regulations, but continued to believe that the debate about Sieren’s article had been a public matter and that it was necessary for the truth of the matter to be handled publicly, rather than to be processed in a dark room.

苏雨桐表示,说她违反了德国之声的内部规定,她可以平静地接受,但她仍然认为,有关泽林文章的争论是个公共事件,公开相关事实真相是有必要的,不应该在内部暗箱操作。

“When it comes to this kind of internal meeting at Deutsche Welle, I can accept that from that perspective. But from where to judge this incident with Sieren’s article, that being processed as an internal Deutsche Welle issue, is something that needs to be taken to the public. I stand by this opinion. I believe that this is a public matter. ”

她说:“这样德国之声的一个内部会议。那我从这个角度来说,我是接受的。但是从如何判断泽林这个事件是德国之声内部暗箱操作呢,还是拿到公共平台上,我还是坚持我的看法,我认为,它是个公共事件。”

Su Yutong told VoA that when Deutsche Welle executives and the Deutsche Welle Asia department director informed her about her dismissal without knowledge of the circumstances, they also mentioned another reason, saying that it was related to new Deutsche Welle director Peter Limbourg’s demand that the Chinese department “should not criticize Beijing all the time “. Limbourg is going to take part in a Sino-German media forum organized by official Chinese media in early September.

苏雨桐对美国之音表示,德国之声高层在她和亚洲部主任毫不知情的情况下突然对她宣布辞退决定的时候还提到另一个理由,这和德国之声新台长林伯格(Peter Limbourg)提出的中文部“不要总是批评北京”的要求有关。林伯格将于9月初到北京参加中国官媒主办的中德媒体论坛。

Su Yutong says: “She (the program director) said that Deutsche Welle’s Chinese department needed a new direction. I believe that you don’t fit into this new direction. This is the reason she gave me for my dismissal. So I asked her, very curiously. I said that I have worked for Deutsche Welle for four years, and all my reports, no matter what, were always rated best by our evaluation system. I said that I had always acted in accordance with Deutsche Welle’s rules of journalistic professionalism when reporting. Now you are saying that I don’t meet these standards, but I that what I have embodied in the reports is just this professional quality. As for values, I think that in my reporting, some can be seen. My position has also been constant. If you say that my your direction and mine are not the same, doesn’t that amount to a direction oppsite to mine? She also refused to answer this question.”

苏雨桐说:“她(节目总监)说德国之声中文部要有一个新的方向,这个新的方向我认为你不符合。这是她给我的被辞的理由。那我就也是很好奇的问了她。我说,我在德国之声工作了四年,我所有的报道无论从我们的评估体系来说,我一直是第一。我说,我一直在秉承德国之声记者的这样一个职业操守、规则,在作这样的报道。那现在你说我不符合这个规范,我想我在报道当中体现的就是这个记者的专业素质。至于价值观,我想,通过我的报道,也可以看出一些。我的立场也是恒定的。如果你们说方向和我的不同,那是不是意味着和我相反的方向?她也是拒绝回答这个问题。”

In an email reply to VoA on August 21, Deutsche Welle’s international relations department attached the statement by the spokesman quoted above, but there was no reply to the questions as to how Su Yutong’s coninuous performance at Deutsche Welle was assessed.

德国之声国际关系部21日给美国之音记者电邮的回复中附上了该媒体发言人的上述声明,但是没有回答如何评价苏雨桐在德国之声的一贯工作表现等问题。

In recent days, the grudges and disputes between Deutsche Welle and Su Yutong have been reported by Germany’s “Spiegel Online” and other German media, as well as detailed coverage by some overseas media in Chinese. Huanqiu Shibao, a paper under the auspices of the Chinese Communist Party, also published a commentary about the storm around Su Yutong’s dismissal. This incident brought the 2008 incident back into focus when then deputy Chinese department director Zhang Danhong had been criticized for beautifying Beijing’s policies, which had resulted in her removal.

几天来,德国之声和苏雨桐之间的恩怨纠纷得到了德国明镜在线等多家德国媒体和一些海外中文媒体的详细报道。中共党报人民日报旗下的环球时报也刊登评论员文章,谈苏雨桐被辞退风波。这一事件致使德国之声在2008年该电台中文部副主任张丹红因其报道被指过于美化北京政策遭撤职之后又一次成为新闻焦点。

Su Yutong revealed that in July, the former Chinese department director, who had always supported her work, was transferred to another department, and that a new director had been parachuted into the Chinese department from Berlin.

苏雨桐披露,7月间,充分支持她工作的原中文部主任被调到该电台其他部门,柏林方面给德国之声中文部空降了一位新主任。

The dismissed reporter said that she had been paid on a daily basis [unsure about my translation of the payment description here – JR], that the contract ends with the end of the year, and that she will then face the issue that she cannot continue to live in Germany legally. She also said that she was asked to close the office computer on the spot, to hand over the swipe card and to leave immediately. She didn’t get the respect former employees should get, and there hadn’t even been time to say Goodbye to some colleagues. She pledged to take up with Deutsche Welle by legal means.

这位被解雇的女记者还表示,她本是德国之声按日计酬的合同制雇员,本期合同年底到期,届时将面临无法继续在德国合法居留的问题。她还表示,自己被要求当场关闭办公电脑,交出门卡,“立即走人”,没有获得离职员工应有的尊重,连跟一些同事道别的时间都没有。她誓言将以法律途径跟德国之声交涉。

Su Yutong left China in the late 1980s. She had been in charge of an NGO in Beijing, active in human-rights activities, and therefore harrassed and pursued by state security. In 2010, after arriving in Bonn, she was hired by those in charge at Deutsche Welle at the time.

80后的苏雨桐离开中国前是北京一个非政府组织的负责人,积极从事维权活动,因而遭到国保骚扰和追捕。2010年,她到达波恩后获得当时的德国之声电台负责人聘用。

A comment in the article’s comenting section warns VoA’s Chinese department:

The CCP-leaning, pro-Zhang-Danhong forces are launching a counteroffensive! VoA’s Chinese department should take some lessons from this, and must not allow pro-CCP forces to spread successfully there! I remind the Chinese department at VoA that it should have a plan ready to check up the moles and to take preventive measures!

《德国之声》内部亲共的张丹红势力开始反扑了!美国之音应当从中借鉴一些教训吧,绝不能让亲中共势力在美国之音中文部得逞蔓延!提醒《美国之音中文部》应有计划地清理“内鬼”,防患于未然!

There are more comments of the same tenor, but also comments angry at “anti-China” forces:

Come and work for VoA. In any case, these are the anti-China headquarters, the paradise for anti-China people.

可以来VOA上班的嘛,反正这里是反华的大本营,这里是反华人士的天堂

That said, paradise today might be hell tomorrow.

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Footnotes

1) the German version of Sieren’s article refers to “a one-off in new Chinese history – “ein Ausrutscher in der neuen chinesischen Geschichte “. “New China” isn’t mentioned.
2) The Deutsche Welle statement in full, of August 21.

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Related

» Those Southern newspaper commentators, Jan 28, 2013

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