Fang Binxing To College Graduates: “Meld Your Own Growth With The Progress of Your Country”

Fang Binxing (方滨兴), president of the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications and the “Father of the Great Firewall,” exhorts a 2011 graduating class to assist China in stability preservation while lauding economic patriotism and military buildup. The lecture was first posted on the official website of the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications on March 29, 2011.

According to Dr. Fang’s public resume, he taught and conducted research from 1984-1999 at the School of Computer and Electronic Engineering at the Harbin Institute of Technology. From 2000-2006, he served as the Director and Chief Engineer of the National Computer network Emergency Responses technical Team/Coordination Center of China (CNCERT), a.k.a. the Great Firewall. Since 2005, he has also been a Specially Hired Professor (“特聘教授”) at the National University of Defense Technology. Among many other titles held by Dr. Fang, he has been the Ministry of Public Security’s Specially Hired Expert on Information Security since 2007; a member of the Informationalization Expert Consulting Committee of the People’s Liberation Army General Logistics Department; and in 2001 he was awarded the title of “Outstanding Individual”, jointly given by the Chinese Communist Party Central Organizational Department, Chinese Communist Party Central Propaganda Department, Chinese Communist Party Political and Legal Committee, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Civil Affairs and Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security. In December 2007, he was appointed President of the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications. [Translated by Don Weinland]

Good morning students!

Today, we welcome the celebrated annual graduate commencement. Of course, this is a very important occasion in all of your lives. This is a ceremony of unique distinction. Teachers, students and classmates regretfully bid each other farewell and the campus is full of sadness. This is a ceremony of solemn declaration. You, who are armed with knowledge, are about to step into society and each of you are yearning for a wonderful future!

Just now, your teachers and classmates who are still in school extended their blessings to you. And you also expressed your gratitude to the school. Now, allow me to represent the school in expressing a wholehearted congratulations to the nearly 400 doctoral students and 2,100 master’s degree student of the 2011 graduating class! A sincere thanks to each graduate instructor and faculty member for the blood and sweat of your fruition! And heartfelt gratitude to the parents and loved ones who supported you in your graduation. (Applause)

During your last lecture from the President before you leave school, I feel there is so much I need to say. I would like to compliment once again your outstanding performance at all previous major activities, especially your volunteerism during the months-long Beijing Olympics and Special Olympics. You won respect for your country and smiles for Beijing. For Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, you won esteem. And for yourself, you won confidence. I would also like to borrow this to list the memories you have left for your school. For example, Xia Lu and 14 other students at the Institute of Communications applied for 16 patents during their research. Guo Shaoyong, Yang Xinxing and 19 other students at the Institute of Web Research won awards at 21 national graduate math competitions. I would also like to exhort you to continue to establish high ideals and distant boundaries. Improve yourselves and rule your family and country in peace. Meld your own growth and talent with the progress of your country and the revitalization of your nationality. Realize life’s greater significance. (Applause)

But, at this very moment, what I most want to speak with you about is “patriotism.” The first is patriotism in your heart. That is, using your wisdom and talent to make the country stronger. The second is the sentiment of patriotism. Just as you love and protect your eyes, you must preserve the stability of society.

First I’ll speak of the patriotism in your heart. During the past couple months, a series of big events have happened in our world. I won’t mention the regime changes in Tunisia and Egypt. These are, after all, other people’s internal affairs. Nor will I mention Japan’s tsunami disaster. Our county has, after all, seen several natural disasters during the past few years. I would like to speak of Libya, a small country that has received the world’s attention. Libya’s opposition group started an anti-government movement with half-baked results. After the initial headache, Libya again fortified its governmental power and the great powers of the world finally showed their teeth. They dispatched a great amount of firepower and carried out a heartless attack against a small army whose commander-in-chief is nothing more than a colonel. (Discussion in the audience) Of course, establishing a no-fly zone was authorized by the United Nations. That is, no planes can enter that air space without U.N. authorization. But the militaries of America, France and Britain, who are responsible for the no-fly zone, don’t understand the concept like this. They take the U.N.’s authorization to bomb Libya’s armed forces and military instillations. Because raining bombs on the country is not authorized by the U.N., never again will I refer to them as U.N. troops. But, as of right now, based on the dispatch of planes, I will call them an eight-country coalition [1]. I can’t help but think of a hundred years ago when China was trampled by an eight-country coalition. In the past 10 years, a coalition of many countries, including America and Britain, have also brought lasting turmoil to Afghanistan and Iraq. They have the power to crush a country but haven’t demonstrated the sense of responsibility needed for restoration. (Discussion in the audience)

We all can see that Libya has already deteriorated into a state of civil war. Under the name of protecting citizens from harm, the eight-country coalition led by America, France and England has gone to attack another group, which has, on the contrary, allowed for unceasing war. Frighteningly enough, they will strike until the fall of a legitimate government. Or perhaps it will lead to Libya splitting into two countries, or long-term civil war. Ultimately, it will cause an even greater loss of life. This starts under the guise of protecting the common people and ends in the epitome of the commoner’s death during war. Isn’t that what the 78 days of constant bombing from the American and British coalition disintegrated into in the former Yugoslavia?

There are people online who say that in today’s world, the Western powers first stir the people of a foreign country to kill each other. Then they help this group to kill the other group and finally get rid of all those who don’t listen. No matter how you put it, this is the result we see: The Western powers’ logic is the world’s logic. The Western powers’ principles are the world’s principles. In the media, we can see Russia’s Premier Putin evaluate this war as such: “All of this exists under the guise of protecting peace and the common people. Where’s the logic? Where’s the conscience? Neither is there.” “Libya’s situation demonstrates that Russia’s decision to strengthen its military power is correct.” I completely commend this opinion. If a country doesn’t want to end up like Libya or Iraq, it must have great defense power. If a country is not strong, it will be bullied. We won’t dominate, but we cannot end up where someone can attack us however they like! (Extended applause and cheers) Strength requires real power. This power is concentrated and manifests itself in our level of science and technology. Thus, repaying your country should be the first priority of each and every one of you. I hope you want to possess the power of patriotism while also using your own power to lift your homeland’s dignity and prosperity! (Applause)

Now I’ll talk a bit about the sentiment of patriotism. Political chaos in North Africa and the Middle East has enticed the great expectations of anti-China forces. Hillary Clinton greatly emphasized exporting democracy to China. The American ambassador himself went to the spot where the online incitement asked people to gather (Applause, laughter). I’m afraid he was counting on seeing a scene like that in Tunisia. More than ever, democracy activists abroad are taking advantage of the Internet. They are inciting netizens to take up planned, step-by-step action and bring about political chaos in China, accomplishing their goal through the work of others. Now the question is, Who is it that wants turmoil in China after all? Who is it that wants China to sink into the mire of chaos?

China has already become the world’s second largest economic body. Is this not an accomplishment? For a long period of time, China has been the world’s fastest growing economy. At what rate are Western economies growing? Economist and professor Lin Yifu predicts that China’s economy will catch up with America’s by 2030. Doesn’t this signify the correctness of China’s policy? Who is it that hopes our economic engine will stop and fall into chaos? Could it be those countries that we have pursued or will pursue economically? Suppose two people engage in a martial arts competition. If one imitates completely the other’s movements, how can one overcome the other? This is the fundamental reason why it is difficult for China to overcome Western Countries in the fields of science and technology. Because our research is always trailing one step behind countries with highly developed science and technology, we lack strategic innovation and industry-leading momentum. For these reasons, amidst this kind of mutual confrontation, the weaker party can only overcome its opponent by utilizing tactics different from its opponent. China’s economy has already proven that the Chinese system is successful and is good for economic development. By what standards must we adopt the Western Model? (Applause)

A bit more on democracy activists abroad. They sit comfortably at home, thinking only of how, through their fingertips on a keyboard, they can bring chaos to China by taking advantage of the Internet’s effectiveness as a multiplier. This is the same as a denial of service attack during an online attack, which is dependent on the web’s multiplier effect to strike its target. (Discussion in the audience) To what effect are they trying to incite the people to assemble? Are they really demanding benefit for the individual? Apparently not, because everyone’s situation is different. I support demands for personal interest. This is why I have opened my mailbox to the public. I welcome teachers and students to respond directly to their problems. Because if you have a problem, you should search for a solution. At the very least, I can tell you why a problem can’t be solved. But what common language is shared by a gathering of people with different demands? The only commonality is the evolution of demands for personal interests into the demand for political interests. Will this solve the problem for the demand for personal interests? In the end, haven’t they become the tool of these career politicians abroad? Isn’t it that they are looking to enjoy life abroad, turning the masses into their puppets and then reaping the benefits? Couldn’t they come home and help rule the country, making the Chinese economy even better? In fact, Western hostility toward China is far from being a mere ideological problem. It is a problem caused by China’s ever-increasing status on the world stage. Russia adopted the Western Model and aren’t they looked upon as enemies all the same?

A country’s political system is like a tall building. Just because a faucet has been fixed improperly, must we tear the whole building down? You should know that the cost of tearing down a building and erecting another is far more costly and tragic. (Discussion in the audience) Libya is demonstrating such a conclusion for us right now. Already 300,000 people have fled this country. Since we must continue living in this building, by no means can we allow anyone to do it damage. Thus, patriotism is protecting the home we rely on for survival. It’s resisting any attempt of those who stir rumor and confusion to bring chaos to Chinese society. The salt rush has already enlightened us in this sense: If everyone can resist those rumors and incitement and see the sinister and conspiring face beyond the confusion, only then can society preserve stability. Thus, the real sentiment of patriotism is the same as protecting your own eyes. It’s preserving the stability of society. (Applause)

Students, no matter where you go after today, no matter where you work, you all must adhere as you always have to the lessons of great virtue, learning, dedication and gregariousness. You must promote the school spirit of unity, diligence, preciseness and creativity. Every achievement you make is the greatest support and reward to your homeland and your alma mater! From the bottom of my heart, I hope every student forever bears patriotism in their hearts and forever expresses the sentiment of patriotism. Be healthy and happy. May your future be full of promise and may you go far in this world! Thank you! (Extended applause)
[1] America, France, Britain, Canada, Norway, Belgium, Qatar, U.A.E. [This is from original post on the BUPT’s site. Historically, “The Eight Power Coalition” also refers to the international coalition responding to the Boxer Uprising (1900). ]

Read more about Fang Binxing via CDT, including an interview in Global Times and a report of how he was shouted off Sina Microblog by netizens angered by his role in creating the Great Firewall.