Global Times Editorial on Yu Jie

The Global Times (Chinese version) published an editorial about Yu Jie’s departure from China to the U.S. on January 20. The following is a partial translation of the text. CDT thanks the translator who wishes to remain anonymous.

The Chinese “dissident writer” Yu Jie who “fled” to America held a press conference in Washington DC on the 18th, and related his story of being “forced” to leave China, and criticized the Chinese government’s controls over his speech, and other “dark aspects” of China’s society. Its true that this is probably how he personally feels, but its also true that his personal feelings do not conform with the overwhelming majority of people in China.

As far as the issue of speech is concerned, in recent years there are two groups that felt the effects most deeply. One group comprises hundreds of millions of Internet users, and the Internet has opened a completely new environment for speech and a new platform for expressing opinions. There is a world of difference between their freedom of speech on the Internet and in Chinese society of yesteryear. While occasionally their online speech may be subject to keyword restrictions, nevertheless, they have all kinds of means of skirting them.

It may not be the government’s desire to provide these freedoms, but the overall facts are taking shape: it is inevitable that the Internet will bring about open speech for China.

But there is another group, and there’s not many of them, and one could even say there’s very few of them. The books filled with their keenly felt opinions cannot be published in China, and what they say on the Internet is constantly being deleted. There’s also a certain number of others whose contact with the outside world has been restricted. They adopt a hostile attitude towards today’s China, and because of this they have to pay a certain personal price. They don’t deny that they are “antagonistic,” and they demand to the right to remain antagonistic without restriction, and for Chinese law to create a “special zone” for them. But the answer they receive is “no.”

“出走”美国的中国“异见作家”余杰18日在华盛顿专门开记者会,讲述自己“被迫”离开中国的故事,并大批中国政府对他的言论管制,以及中国社会的“黑暗”。他的个人感受有些大概是真的,但他的个人感受与中国绝大多数人的感受不一致也是真的。

在言论问题上,中国这些年感受最深的就两个群体。其中一个是几亿网民,互联网为他们开辟了全新的言论环境和意见表达平台,他们的言论自由与在互联网之前的中国社会里有了天渊之别。他们在互联网上说话虽然偶尔受到关键词限制,但他们有各种办法绕开它们。

提供这些自由未必出于政府的心甘情愿,但大的现实已经成形:互联网带动的中国言论开放不可逆转。

但还有一个小群体,他们人数不多,甚至可以说很少。他们痛感想写的书在中国出版不了,想在互联网上说的话总被删掉。甚至有数得过来的个别人,与外界接触的自由也受到限制。他们对中国现行体制采取了完全敌对的态度,并因此付出了个人人生的一定代价。他们对“敌对”不予否认,而且他们要求有保持敌对而不受任何限制的权利,中国法律专为他们设一个“特区”。但他们得到的回答是“不”。

January 22, 2012 6:28 PM
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