Drinking Tea and Discussing the Jasmine Revolution: A Twitter Report

Leira Hua tweets on Feb. 25, about drinking tea with national security officers. The officers, Hua writes, are concerned with the retweet of a call to stroll and smile in Shanghai’s People’s Square, increasing paranoia about “Jasmine” activities in China. At a time when China’s internal security spending recently surpassed the nation’s army budget, Hua expresses concern about the costs of special visits from the National Security Bureau. [Translated by Don Weinland]

Leira Hua @leira Shanghai, China 活动倡议,微笑城市。当你在任何场合,与陌生人眼神相对的时候,微笑,点头,如果可以,说一句你好。如果你们俩因此有幸攀谈起来,也倡议他加入这个活动。用微笑,把温暖带回美丽的城市。 #smilycity http://blog.LeiraHua.com/

Leira Hua @leira Shanghai, China. Initiating a movement with a smile at the city. During any occasion, upon meeting eyes with a stranger, smile, nod and say hello if possible. If you two are lucky enough to strike up a conversation, propose that they join the activity. With a smile, bring warmth back to the beautiful city.

leira Leira Hua 刚刚送走几位国保兄弟,详细一会儿报告

A few brothers from the National Security Bureau just let me go. I’ll give a detailed report.

leira Leira Hua 我的 #Gmail 有多帐号登陆了~!Yay~! 6 hours ago

Many accounts have logged onto my #Gmail! Yay!

leira Leira Hua 今天片警过来的国保三人,一位年轻刘姓警官,上次喝茶就有他,一位陈姓警官,忘了具体名字,一位较年长的王玨警官,名字比较印象深刻,主讲的也是他 #hecha 6 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

Three national security officers came by today. There was a young officer named Liu, with whom I drank tea last time. There was an Officer Chen but I can’t remember his name completely. I have the deepest impression of an older officer named Wang Jue. It’s him of which I’ll speak the most.

leira Leira Hua 没有茶,给各位警官到上水,坐下来,寒暄过后,进入正题,关于茉莉花 #Jasmine 。不过倒是没有特别关心我精心制作的茉莉花铃声,唉,伤心~ #hecha 5 hours ago »

There was no tea. Each officer had some water and sat down. After some idle chat we got to the main questions regarding the Jasmine Revolution. But surprisingly they were not terribly concerned with the Jasmine alert I meticulously crafted. I’m heartbroken.

leira Leira Hua 先遮遮掩掩问我,说是为了最近的大事情过来的,我问是什么事情,说是最近么,就这么件大事,我说,到底是什么事情,他们说,就是茉莉花嘛,我说,茉莉花什么?他们才说,茉莉花游行的事情,我知不知道。我说,不就是在闹市区逛逛嘛,人民广场,什么时候没有那么多人,慌什么。 #hecha 5 hours ago

First, they said secretively, they had come because of the recent big matter. I asked what matter. They said the most recent one, the big one. I asked again, what on earth they were talking about. They said it was the Jasmine, of course. I said, Jasmine what? Only then did they mention the matter of the Jasmine demonstration, and asked if I knew anything. I said, aren’t people just out and about the city having a good time? It’s People’s Square. When aren’t there that many people? Why so paranoid?

leira Leira Hua 国保说,看到我在twitter上转推关于茉莉花 #Jasmine 革命的推,是不是代表我个人观点,我说,这是转推,说明我看了觉得有意思,希望我的foer们也看到这么有意思的,所以就推了。 #hecha 5 hours ago

The officers said they saw me retweet something about Jasmine and asked if that represented my personal point of view. I said it was a retweet, meaning I saw it and thought it was interesting, I hoped my followers would see something as interesting as this. That’s why I retweeted it.

leira Leira Hua @ 嗯哪~ 看来你果然是躺着中枪~ 这几个是长宁的国保,专程就是来找我的,你太冤枉了~ 他们说我,还够不到市局的,你应该绝对是市局待遇,被这么抓了个功劳,悲催~ RT @enochlu: @leira 终于喝上了? 5 hours ago

Wow! Looks like your shot on the ground. These guys are security officers from Changping. They’ve come just to see you. This is too unfair. You should have at least received city-level treatment after such a contribution. Heartbreaking ~ (retweet from) @enochlu: @leira Have you had tea yet?

leira Leira Hua 今晚恰好有个朋友来我家,结果被国保撞上,不得不在我房间等到国保走了以后才走~我说国保同志你们怎么不事先电话联系一下再过来嘛,他们说没有我的电话。我问那你们怎么知道我今晚在家,他们说,没办法,只好过来碰运气来等啊~我说,这成本也太高了,我作为纳税人好肉疼啊~ #hecha 5 hours ago

It just so happened that a friend came to my house tonight and ran into the national security officers. The friend had to stay in my room until they left. I asked, why didn’t you comrades from the Security Bureau let me know you were coming before hand? They said they didn’t have my number. So I asked how they knew that I was at home tonight. They said they had no other way than just coming over and trying their luck. This is far too costly. As a tax payer, it hurts to think about it.

leira Leira Hua 因为周一来过我家找我,恰好逮到了无辜的 @enochlu ,所以他们知道我上周日没在上海。他们说,很好,问我这个周日我会不会在上海。我说很巧,我还真不在,要出去旅游,他们仔仔细细问了行程日期,安了心,顺便聊了聊旅游心得 #hecha 5 hours ago

Because they had come to find me on Monday, and also happened to detain the innocent @enochlu, they knew I wasn’t in Shanghai last Sunday. They said that was great and asked me if I’d be in Shanghai this Sunday. What a coincidence, I said. I really won’t be here. I’m going traveling. They asked the exact dates and details of my trip. Then they relaxed and we chatted about the knowledge gained through travel.

leira Leira Hua 然后王玨国保说,给我一个建议,不是强制,希望我接下来几个礼拜,周日也不要去人民广场了。我说,你这个建议有问题,我一个自由人,你怎么能够规定我能够去哪里,不能够去哪里呢?限制我人身自由,这个建议我不能认同。 #hecha 5 hours ago

The officer Wang Jue said he’d give me a suggestion, not a demand. He hoped I’d not go to People’s Square on Sundays in the next few weeks. I told him his suggestion was problematic, that I was a free person. How can you tell me where I can and cannot go? Limiting one’s freedom—this suggestion I can’t agree with.

leira Leira Hua 我问为什么,王玨国保说是我们都心知肚明,不要造成不必要的麻烦,没必要的事情不要做。我说,我不明白啊,你说清楚啊,到底去人民广场散个步有什么问题,违背了哪条原则。陈国保插话,所有法律我们警察都是要执行的。我问,那你们今天过来到底是因为我或者茉莉花违背了哪条法律呢? #hecha 5 hours ago

I asked why. Wang Jue said we were all well aware of why and that I shouldn’t stir unnecessary trouble, that I shouldn’t do unnecessary things. I said I didn’t understand and that he should be clearer. What’s the problem, after all, with taking a stroll in People’s Square? Which principle did it violate. Officer Chen interjected, saying that the police will carry out all aspects of the law. I asked, which law have I or the Jasmine Revolution violated, after all?

leira Leira Hua 然后陈国保改口说,即便不是具体的法律条文,我们都知道这个社会,是有他的游戏规则的。我继续问,那到底是违背了哪条游戏规则呢?王玨国保说,这个叫茉莉花革命,是要像突尼斯和埃及一样推翻政府。 #hecha 5 hours ago

Then Chen changed his tune, saying that even if there wasn’t a specific statute, we all know this society has its rule to play by. I pressed him: which rules of the game had been violated? Wang Jue said this thing called the Jasmine Revolution intended to overthrow the government like in Tunisia and Egypt.

leira Leira Hua 我说,我是真的很认真的转推这个推文的,它的口号讲的是抵制高房价,高菜价,讲的是老百姓自己的民生的。我们辛辛苦苦身无片瓦,现在更落得吃饭都是个问题,我们找个地方吆喝一下也不行?里面哪条口号讲的是要推翻政府了? #hecha 5 hours ago

I said that I was serious about spreading this tweet. Its message was to resist high real estate and food prices. It was about the livelihood of the common people. We toil without a single tile to shelter our heads. Now even eating has ended up being a problem. We can’t even find a place to scream? Which slogan was it that spoke of overthrowing the government?

leira Leira Hua 我说,你们自比突尼斯,埃及,是不是太掉价了。突尼斯总统家族掌握了全国一半的财富,老百姓日子过不下去,要推翻这个独裁者下台,你说应不应该,突尼斯的游行是不是对的?王玨警官说,应该应该。我说咱们中国到这个地步了嘛?他说,没有~ #hecha 5 hours ago

I said, isn’t comparing yourself with Tunisia and Egypt a little discrediting? The Tunisian president’s family held half the country’s assets. The people couldn’t get by day to day. Would you say this tyrant should have been overthrown? Weren’t the protests in Tunisia appropriate? Wang Jue said they were. I asked if our China had reached that extent. He said it hadn’t.

leira Leira Hua 他们说这个是国外势力利用,试图推翻政府。我说,突尼斯/埃及,那确确实实是老百姓自己想要推翻独裁者的,他们是发自内心的喊出下台的口号的。如果老百姓不是自己这么想,煽动,是煽动不起来的。在中国,如果不是老百姓都要这么想,你们怕什么? #hecha 5 hours ago

They said this was foreign countries taking advantage of their power and tying to overthrown the government. I told him that in Tunisia and Egypt, it was indeed the common people’s will to overthrow the dictator. From their hearts they yelled slogans for a change of rule. If the people hadn’t wanted this, and it was incited, what is there to be afraid of if this isn’t what the people want in China?

leira Leira Hua 我对国保说,老百姓只是希望能够改进民生,你们不从根子上去解决,找我喝茶有什么用?这次随手拍乞儿的活动,上海现在已经看不到乞儿了,我想想就非常心疼害怕,他们到底到哪里去了,你们不从根本上改进福利,促进底层老百姓的生活,单单赶走乞儿有什么用? @hecha 5 hours ago

I told the security officers that the people only hope to improve their livelihood. You aren’t solving the problem at the root. What will coming and having tea with me do? After the latest effort for beggar children, we can’t even see them in Shanghai anymore. Thinking of this frightens me and breaks my heart. Where have they all gone? You don’t improve welfare from the ground up or promote the lowest level of the people’s lives. What good will simply driving off beggars do?

leira Leira Hua 王玨国保说,散步游行这种方式不可取,人多了以后不可控制,就会打砸,就像当年的419反日游行一样。我偷笑笑,听说上次419不都是全程有警察在旁边跟的吗?他们说,警力太少,其实我们原本也没打算让他们这样。我说,“原本”没“打算”“让”?偷笑~ #hecha 5 hours ago

Wang Jue said walking demonstrations are not an option. People can’t be controlled in large numbers and they’ll go smashing things just like the March 19, 2005 demonstrations against Japan. I laughed to myself. I heard that all the police followed along during the March 19 demonstrations. They said that was because there were too few police and they originally had no plan to allow them to do that. I said “originally?” “planned?” “allow?” and laughed quietly.

leira Leira Hua 王玨国保说,你不应该转这种推煽动大家上街,要是每个人都去煽动别人去,那怎么行。我说,如果每个人都去煽动别人的时候,就不需要煽动了~ #hecha 5 hours ago

Wang Jue said I shouldn’t spread the tweet and stir up people onto the streets. If everyone incited everyone else to go, how could it be allowed? I told him that if everyone instigated another, there would be no need for instigation.

leira Leira Hua 今天国保进来,第一件事情,就跟我说,如果你要录音,一定要事先告诉他们知道,把录音设备放在桌上。我笑笑说,我家里没把这么高级的设备,也不打算录音。现在想想有点傻,大家一定要引以为戒。也提醒几位国保朋友,下次过来,我要全程录音了,回头整理起来也彼此方便 #hecha 5 hours ago

Today, when the nation security officers came in, the first thing they said was if I planned to record the conversation, I had to notify them beforehand and put the recording device on the table. There was no such advanced recording equipment in my house and I had no plans to make a recording, I said laughingly. It seems stupid when I think about it now. Everyone should draw a lesson from this. I reminded a few of my friends from the National Security Bureau that I would record the whole conversation the next time they came by. In retrospect, it would do us both a convenience.

leira Leira Hua @StonyWang 也喝茶了呢?我正在发整理推,一会去拜读你的~ 5 hours ago

Has @Stonywang also been drinking tea? I’m finishing up my tweets but will have the pleasure of reading yours in a bit.

leira Leira Hua 王玨国保最后很不耐烦,说你不要装傻充愣,大家心里都明白。我说,王警官,虽然你比我年长,但是你这么说我装傻充愣,我还是很不开心。我确实不明白,我还你一句装傻充愣,我问了半天,你们所说的原则和规则到底是什么?散个步到底违背什么?能不能告诉我?他们就又开始支支吾吾了~ #hecha 4 hours ago

Officer Wang Jue got quite impatient toward the end, saying I shouldn’t play stupid and that we all understood at heart. I said, Officer Wang, although you are my senior, I’m still displeased with you saying I’m playing stupid. I really don’t understand. You’re the one playing stupid. I’ve been asking all along for your principles and rules. What rule, after all, does taking a stroll violate? Can you tell me? They faltered at the question.

leira Leira Hua 这种好事怎么没把轮到我?!强烈要求下次更换约谈国保~ RT @cuddly_v: (﹁”﹁)RT @Demo_d: 看了 @stonywang 的喝茶推,原来喝茶还可以被介绍对象(向往状 4 hours ago

Why doesn’t good stuff like this happen me? I strongly request an exchange of interviews with National Security next time. RT @cuddly_v: (﹁”﹁)RT @Demo_d: Look at @Stonywang’s tweets from his tea drinking session. He started with tea and ended up finding a date.

leira Leira Hua 王玨国保说,他们过来,只是希望给我一个建议,希望我以后老老实实生活,谁都不希望看到警察来找。我说,我还很奇怪为什么你们回来找我,我一不偷二不抢,你们过来找我,这么大的成本,我也交税,年底税单刚刚来,你们过来每次,我都得给你们掏钱。这么多大贪大盗都抓完了? #hecha 4 hours ago

Wang Jue said they came over only with the hopes of giving a suggestion. They hoped I would live honestly in the future. No one wants to see the police stop by. I said it still struck me as odd that they came by again. I’m neither a robber nor a thief. You come looking for me at such a great expense. I pay taxes. My tax form just arrived at the end of the year. Every time you come, I end up fronting the bill. Have all the corrupt officials and thieves been caught?

leira Leira Hua 王玨国保要挟我,你这样,我们还得再来着你,下周日之前。我说,我不欢迎你们过来,但是你们要来,我自然以客相待,有水喝有烟抽。他们问我有没有联系方式,我说就这里,你们来找我好了,我最近饭局多,比较忙,不一定找得到,就不好意思了。 #hecha 4 hours ago

Wang Jue tried to coerce me: If you keep this up, we’ll have to come find you again before next Sunday. I said they were not welcome to come, but if they showed up I would naturally treat them hospitably. There will be water to drink, cigarettes to smoke. They asked me for a contact number. I said it was best if they just came here. Lately I’ve had many dinners to attend. I’m quite busy and, with apology, can’t necessarily be found.

leira Leira Hua 看看时间太晚,我说,我朋友还在,时间太晚了,要不今晚先到这里。王玨警官你的观点我明白了,虽然我还是不清楚你所谓的规则是什么,但我不认同你的观点,咱们求同存异。送走了几位国保,在门口还信誓旦旦下回还要来着我,我说,就像你们说的,警察么,还是少见比较好,太忙就不用过来了 #hecha 4 hours ago

It had grown late. I said my friend was still here, that it was late and we should end the conversation at that. I understand your point of view, Officer Wang, although I’m still not clear on what grounds it stands. I don’t agree with you. I think we’re looking for the same thing from different angles. I saw the officers off. At the door, they swore they’d be back to see me again. I said they were right about the merits of seldom seeing the police and that they didn’t need to come back if they were busy.

leira Leira Hua 喝茶记完。总结,上推还是稍稍小心,他们都是带着打印好的推文来的。转推不代表你的观点,这点很重要。不要没事直接喊什么推翻共产党,落人口实。咱们就是论是,谈实在的,谈普世的~遇到喝茶,Don’t Panic!平心静气跟人聊,最好要录音。真小人坦荡荡~ #hecha 4 hours ago

This report on tea drinking is finished. In conclusion, it’s best to be a little careful when tweeting. They had come with copies of my tweets in hand. Retweets don’t represent your point of view—this is important. Don’t go calling for the overthrow of the Communist Party in your spare time. That will get you in trouble. We’re just talking about matter of facts, and values that universal. If you meet with tea drinking, Don’t Panic! Speak with them calmly. Making a recording is best. We got nothing to hide.