iZaobao: See You There, Inside or Outside the Great Firewall

iZaobao (Paper of Jujube Lovers) is a popular online publication, known for its witty news selection and humorous comments. Founded by Guangzhou-based blogger Peng Yi (彭毅) in 2006, it has produced over 600 issues and has over 440,000 subscribers. iZaobao was blocked in June, 2009 but its loyal readers still use circumvention tools to “Scale the Wall” and read their favorite news digest with commentaries.

Here is iZaobao’s 2010 New Year’s Greeting: “See you there, inside or outside the Wall.” translated by CDT’s Yuanxi Huang:

Happy New Year! Today is the first day of the new year.

On the planet and even in the universe so far as we’ve learned, the only creature that knows the concept of the “new year” is the human being. Only human beings can divide time into continuous sections of a certain length. Only human beings recall the past, look into the future, and collectively make wishes at regular intervals –usually every 365 days or sometimes 366 days if measured by “day”.

Only human beings believe that this day is supposed to be used to do this, and on such a day we are supposed to think of a certain power that may bathe our cheeks with tears.

Actually we know this day has no apparent difference from any of the days before or after: some are born and some are buried; the icebergs in the Arctic are melting, and the dolphins in Taiji, Wakayama are being slaughtered; some websites are shut down, and some government officials are counting their money. However, we still need to faithfully make numerous wishes on the first day of the new year—whether we’re poor, rich, good, evil, corrupted officials, ordinary people, carnivores, or hobos. Yes, everyone, from the bottom of his heart, can stir up some secret little personal wild wishes on this day. Because, we need hope.

We’re all willing to believe that this day has something different. To give ourselves a chance, on our way we would throw away the pains that we can’t put down, and believe there will be singing birds and fragrant flowers at the end of the thick fog we’re walking through; we won’t be able to repack and forge ahead without taking a good glance at the happiness we seized before locking it safely at the bottom of the chest. While the calendar pages have been ripped off one by one and eventually the number changes, we need a chance, to make us believe all the pain, hardship, torment and wounds would be soothed, healed and changed. Because, we need hope.

We care about misfortune. We are fortunate, for those woes didn’t happen to us. When Tan Zhuo walked out of the movie theater, he didn’t know he would be unable to lie on his warm bed at home that night; people who died from the attack of fists, sticks and fire on the streets of Urumqi, had no idea why passersby had gone insane. Our peace should not be taken for granted. Even though we covered our eyes when faced with adversity, we can’t ignore the warm and glutinous blood that spattered on us. If we don’t know where those misfortunes come from, how can we make sure our happiness would be passed onto the next generation?

We care about happiness. We look, we listen, we write, we think. We won’t give up the happiness of not being brainwashed, so someday we would have options other than praying; we won’t give up the happiness of climbing over the Great Firewall, for the wall is not supposed to be in the Internet world; we won’t give up the happiness of enjoying vulgarity, for if there was really a certain power that can make tears bathe our cheeks, we’d rather it be Ai Iijima than the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television. These simple happinesses aren’t supposed to be unharmonious, for we happen to have an organ called a brain that we can use to think what happiness is.

Life always advances at a constant speed. The re-departure after retrospection, is like a review of what we’ve experienced and preview of what we are yet to have. We’ve always been so greedy with time, hoping the time of happiness would last longer and the time of sadness would never come.

Therefore, on the first day of the new year, let us together say “Happy New Year!” Every member of iZaobao is glad to be here and to have experienced the years of 2007, 2008 and 2009 together with you. We’re so ordinary, yet we 440,000 are such a enormous group; we’re so young, yet youth is our advantage others can’t take away; we’re so humble, yet we are the essential elements of the grand narration of this society.

In 2010, we have more confidence! This is our time, and this is our life

Starting from tomorrow, to be a free person,

Think, express, and care about the world,

Starting from tomorrow, know who I am,

Not follow blindly like sheep, nor be relaxed or burn out

We have a website,

See you there, inside or outside the Wall.