Murong Xuecun: Caging a Monster

Writer Murong Xuecun delivered a speech in Oslo which has been translated by Jane Weizhen Pan and Martin Merz and posted online:

Living in China is like watching a play in a giant theatre. The plots are absurd and the scenarios are unbelievable—so absurd, so unbelievable that they are beyond any writer’s imagination.

My country manufactures powdered milk containing melamine, feeds fish and shrimp contraceptive medications to enhance their growth, uses industrial alcohol in fake wine, preserves beancurd with human excrement, and produces “gutter oil,” the product of a notorious practice in which waste oil from gutters outside restaurants is recycled for human consumption.

In my country, the legal system works like this: countless laws are enacted, and then countless procedures are created, followed by countless enforcement regulations and detailed judicial interpretations, but ultimately it is up to the political leaders to decide who wins and who loses a case.In my country, many cases cannot be pursued in the courts. Even if legal action is taken, courts can refuse to hear a case. Even if the case is heard in court, the judgement is made well before the hearing starts.

[...] Over two thousand years ago, Confucius said one should only serve the state if it is righteous, otherwise one should eschew serving the state. However, to become citizens of a modern society, I say we should criticize the government if it does not do the right thing, and we should also keep an eye on the government even if it is already doing the right thing. This is my belief and this is what will I do for the rest of my life.

Read more about Murong Xuecun via CDT, including a recent profile in the New York Times. See links to Murong’s writings via Paper Republic.

November 19, 2011 10:52 PM
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