“Either Democratize or Don’t”: Netizens Respond to Hu Xijin’s “Path to Democracy”

Hu Xijin is the Editor-in-Chief of Global Times, a sister publication of People’s Daily. He opened a microblog account on Sina as open calls for protests in China in support of the Middle East’s Jasmine Revolution were circulating online. Despite the fact that most of the comments on his posts are negative, Hu continues to update his microblog frequently and now has over a million followers. The following is typical of the exchanges seen on his microblog (translated by CDT).

On April 20, Hu Xijin wrote on his Sina microblog:

问我中国为何不能搞西方选举政治,我说不想战争。战争?是。如果竞选主导中国,民族团结必死,新疆一定会出维吾尔独立运动,当地几百万汉人一定不干,双方 一定开战,北京一定会卷入,西方一定会制裁北京。还有西藏。南斯拉夫战争就如此,我亲历。发达省也会独立,中国将大乱。所以要走中国自己的民主路 4月20日 17:54 来自新浪微博|举报转发(4393) | 收藏 | 评论(2847)

Ask me why China doesn’t do Western-style electoral politics, I say it’s because we don’t want war. War? Yes. If elections dominate in China, national unity will undoubtedly die, there will definitely be a Uighur independence movement in Xinjiang, the hundreds of thousands of Han Chinese living there will definitely oppose it, both groups will definitely initiate a war, Beijing will have to get involved, the Western countries will definitely place sanctions on Beijing. There is also Tibet. The war in Yugoslavia was like this, I have personally experienced it. The developed provinces will also want independence, China will be in a big mess. This is why China must walk its own path to democracy.

As of April 25th, 9:40PM Pacific Time, in the 2847 comments, the overwhelming majority were critical of Hu Xijin’s point of view. Here is a selected sample of the comments. While there were a number of comments supporting Hu, they were generally very simple (“Editor Hu is insightful”) and did not offer substantial arguments worth translating:

黑的概念: 但中国共产党很多人在不断走向黑暗,走向虚伪,道德沦丧。出来混的迟早要还的,现在不乱,将来也有其他乱子。基层干部,上层领导,有什么办法治理下,说到底,是官也来自人民,人民的没素质,没民主意识。(今天 10:31)

Heidegainian:  but many members of the Chinese Communist party continuously walk towards darkness, walk towards hypocrisy, their virtue is lost. There will always be a price to pay; there may be no disorder now, but there will be other disturbances in the future. Low-level bureaucrat, high-ranking leadership, what methods do they have to govern, in the end, governance comes from the people, the people lack quality, have no democratic consciousness. (Today 10:31)

质不彬 回复@瓶仍未满:没有民主监督,贪污腐败不可能根本治理,经济发展的成果无法被人民享有(今天 08:56)

Wenzhibubin responds @ Pingrengweiman: If there is no democratic supervision, there will be no way to thoroughly get rid of corruption, the people will be unable to enjoy the achievements of economic development. (Today 8:56)

春夏之交的往事 @ 风过翰墨香:这么多“一定”,跟几个“绝不”是一个路子。民国时期选举过,未见新疆西藏分裂。 世上联邦制国家多多,都搞选举,未见分裂。印尼那么多部落,民族,文化,宗教,搞选举都没分裂。中国,要么民主,要么不民主,没什么狗屁中国自己的民主。 要坚持专制就坚持,做奴才没必要扯那么多咸蛋(4月25日 18:34)

Chunxiazhijiaodewangshi responds to Fengguohanmoxiang: What do you mean “definitely,” it’s the same approach as using a few “will nevers“. In the Republican Period there were elections, we did not see Xinjiang and Tibet secede. There are many federal states in the world, they all hold elections, we don’t see them breaking up. Indonesia has so many tribes, races, cultures, religions; they have elections and the country has not broken up. China, either democratize, or don’t democratize, there is no such bullshit as China going its own democratic route. If despotism persists then let it persist, as a slave there is no need to talk so much other crap. (April 25 18:34)

风过翰墨香 总拿分裂说事,中翰历史上恰恰是分裂时期文化得到更好的发展,如先秦,魏晋。欧盟各国虽非大一统却是统一货币及市场,人员自由流动,形分而实合。中国虽未 分裂,但是户籍省籍壁垒森严,地方保护严重。虽形统而实分。这样的假统一,只是政治权力的大一统而已。(4月25日 17:48)

Fengguohanmoxiang: Always use secession to speak of other things, in Chinese history it is precisely when the nation breaks up that culture develops even better, like pre-Qin, Wei-Jin dynasties. Although European Union’s member countries are not completely united but they have a common currency and market, people can freely move about, they are separate but they cooperate. Although China is not divided, but the household registration system is a strict provincial barrier, there is a lot of serious regional protectionism. Although it seems united but in reality it is split apart. This kind of fake unity, it is merely the unification of political power. (April 25 17:48)

daneo2099941341 中国自己的“民主”路?不要再玷污这两个字了!(4月25日 12:05)

daneo2099941341: China’s own “democratic” path? Stop tarnishing that word! [referring to the word 'democracy'] (April 25 12:05)

质不彬 装傻逼的胡锡进,明明不是傻逼,楞装傻逼,就是个宣传员(4月25日 11:56)

Wenzhibubin: Hu Xijin pretends to be a dumb ass, clearly he is not a dumb ass, insists on pretending he is a dumb ass, this is what a propagandist is. (April 25 11:56)

小猪落玉盘1989 我感觉这句话的意思大概是:如今的中国人没有足够能力做出正确选择,所以国家不给你们选择的权利而是帮你们选好。我就想问,你又怎么能保证执政者做出的选择就是正确的呢?(4月24日 17:25)

Xiaozhuluoyupan1989: I feel the gist of this argument is: Today the Chinese people do not have enough ability to make the right choice, so the government will not give you the right of deciding but instead will help you make the better decision. I just want to ask, how will you ensure that the choice of the politicians is correct? (April 24 17:25)

张-译-文 你自己的民主路就是,维护那五百家利益的制度烂到死的路(4月24日 17:06)

Zhangyiwen: Your own path of democracy is, protect this system for the five hundred family’s interests until it finally collapses.*

Lina Bu 2011 林卡布2011 转发此微博:无耻文人,和郭沫洛一样,历史必然将你钉在耻辱的柱子上。天赋人权,你喜欢当狗,我们要做人,全世界还没有听到民主选举会乱,只有专制独裁才会踏着人民的鲜血上台。(4月24日 13:08)

Linkabu2011: A scholar with no shame, the same as Guo Moruo, history will undoubtedly nail you to the pillar of shame. Natural rights, you like being a dog, we want to be humans, the world has not yet heard that democracy will lead to chaos, only that dictatorship steps on the people and rises to power stained with their blood . (April 24 13:08)

灰鸽子的空间 何谓中国自己的民主路?现今人民能表达他们的意愿吗(4月24日 12:19)

Huigezidekongjian: What’s the meaning of China’s own road to democracy? Can the people today express their will? (4月24日 12:19)

thisgame 胡总,如果中国真的建成了一个民主法治人民富裕的国家,别说分裂,台湾想归顺的心也有了吧(4月24日 11:58)

thisgame: Chief Editor Hu, If China actually established a wealthy nation under the democratic system and rule of law, forget about separatism. Taiwan would probably want to swear over its allegiance. (4月24日 11:58)

伏帝魔JeanChen 啧啧,看看这思路这文笔,不得不相信环球屎报每一个字都是沾着这个主编大人的每一颗脑细胞和唾沫星子写成的。说贵报是愤青大本营真是太抬举您了,分明是颠倒黑白、造谣诽谤、妖言惑众的意识形态狼牙棒、挡箭牌、迷魂药。(4月24日 11:50)

FulimoJeanChen: Looking at the style of writing and train of thought, I have to believe that Global Shit Post’s every word is sticky with the saliva and brain cells of its great editor-in-chief. To call your paper  the home base of the angry youth is too flattering. It’s clearly the confusion of black and white, rumors and defamation, an ideological mace to confuse the masses, excuses and hallucinogens. (4月24日 11:50)

郑则仕的新围脖 选举和战争扯不上关系。你要是干不好,和谐都会导致战争。你是不是脑袋被门夹了,一点逻辑关系都没有。(4月24日 11:47)

Zengzeshedexinweibo: You can’t draw a connection between elections and war. If you do it poorly, even peace can lead to war. Has your head been smashed in the door? There’s absolutely no logical connection. (4月24日 11:47)

一点凡心是我心 胡先生,骂你的人很多 啊?!(4月24日 11:45)

Yidianfanxinshiwoxin: Mr. Hu, There are a lot of people chastising you! (4月24日 11:45)

哲之达人 战争死的人多还是所谓的和谐社会里非正常死亡的人多?数数反右、大跃进、文革、地震、板桥水库溃坝、地震、泥石流、毒奶粉、矿难…这些死亡人数吧,现代战争就算真打起来,也死不了几个人,还不如全年矿难死的人多。再说,选举政治和民族不团结之间有必然逻辑吗?你如果真的搞得好,人家为什么要独立?(4月24日 11:20)

Zhezhidaren: Have more people died in war or have more died unnatural deaths in the so-called harmonious society? The Anti-Rightist Campaign, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, earthquake, the Banqiao Dam Break, earthquake, mudslide, poison milk powder, mining disasters … what about this death toll? Suppose a modern war broke out. Few would die, and it would be less than all those that died in mining disasters. Plus, is there really logic between elected governance and ethnic disunity? Why would they want to be independent if your ruling is so good? (4月24日 11:20)

筑梦2020 好像中国几千年都没有选举,但从来不缺战争!民主的真实含义是妥协,时髦叫和谐,前提是尊重人权和自由,至于形式不重要,重要的是人民要做真正的主人。千万不要危言耸听,千万别在环球时报工作,那是一份鼓吹民粹的纳粹报纸!(4月24日 10:27)

zhumeng2020: It seems China hasn’t had elections for thousands of year but never lacked war! The real meaning of democracy is compromise, using a trendy word, it’s called harmony. Its prerequisites are human rights and freedom. The form it comes in is not important. What’s important is that the people become true rulers. They must never shrink to sensationalism or work at the Global Times. It’s a paper that advocates Nazism! (4月24日 10:27)

不会独行 这屁话说的,还扯什么南斯拉夫,老祖宗汉唐那会儿就知道民族团结了,还能想出和亲这种方法。你当现代中国人都像你一样煞笔?也就只有你这样的爪牙才会天然地把“民主化”和“不稳定”之间划上等号,其实你怕什么我们都懂(4月24日 09:36)

Buhuiduxing: This is a load of crap. The author even tries to make a connection with Yugoslavia. Our ancestors in the Han and Tang dynasties knew about ethnic unity. They even thought up arranged marriages between ethnicities. Are all modern Chinese so stupid? Only a sellout like you would stick an equal sign between “democratization” and “instability.” Actually, we all know what you’re really afraid of. (4月24日 09:36)

唯一的Jacky 转发此微博:找骂!民主就是人民当家作主,人民不会主动制造战争!和平变革连苏联都做得到,爱好和平的中国老百姓做不到吗!弱智!(4月24日 08:38)

WeiyideJacky: Repost this microblog: looking for a berating! Democracy is when the people rule their country. The people won’t aggressively incite war. Even the Soviet Union can have peaceful transformation. The peace-loving Chinese people can’t do it? Idiot! (4月24日 08:38)

wjk3051391 你支持普选,你的官位、前程甚至小命可能不保。所以你跟一条疯狗一样拼命护主。(4月24日 08:11)

wjk3051391: If you support general elections, you can’t hold on to your official position, your future or even your life. So, like a mad dog, you put your life on the line to protect your boss. (4月24日 08:11)

绿营好汉 现在民族就团结么?怎么会有7•5?(4月24日 05:57)

Luyinghaohan: Our ethnic groups are unified? Then how could we have the July 5 Incident? (4月24日 05:57)

天中天001 你这个必然是怎么出来的?你想侮辱哪个民族?美国这么个移民大国很和谐啊,只要充分尊重人权,地球人都能相处融洽(4月23日 20:20)

Tianzhongtian001: How did you come up with this certainty? Which ethnic group are you insulting? America, this great immigrant country, is very harmonious. As long as human rights are respected to the highest extent, the people of the world can get along harmoniously. (4月23日 20:20)

韩峰不日记 最简单一个道理:一边是独裁专制国家一边是民主自由国家,你会去哪边,一个傻子都知道的道理,所以中国的高官们的子女老婆都不傻(4月23日 18:10)

Hanfengburiji: It’s the simplest logic: on one side is an authoritarian country, on the other is a free democracy. Which side will you go to? An idiot understands this logic. So the wife and kids of high-ranking officials aren’t stupid. (4月23日 18:10)

祥东-常州 我觉的让重庆独立出去,让所有的毛左移民过去天天上山下乡看样板戏唱红歌多好!(4月23日 11:51)

Xiangdongchangzhou: I think making Chongqing independent, making all the followers of Mao climb mountains and move to the countryside and sing the communist operas – how great! (4月23日 11:51)

* “Five hundred families” refers to a widely circulated rumor that China’s wealth today is concentrated within 500 families.

This translation was collaboratively done by Don Weinland and Victoria Wu for CDT.