Netizen Voices: Don’t Smother Our “Chinese Dream”

Yu Jianrong, director of the Rural Development Institute at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, has championed social causes through social media. In 2011, he ran a Weibo campaign in which he asked netizens to post photos of child beggars they encountered on the street, reuniting at least one mother with her kidnapped son. This year, Yu has asked “weibers” to post photos of luxury cars sporting military license plates, adding to the pressure that has lead to a clean-up effort.

Now Yu is using Weibo to expose the censorship of his latest book. The publisher’s notice:

与兼容

China Radio & Television Publishing House

Letter Concerning the Halted Publication of Yu Jianrong’s Book Father’s Wandering: Panorama on a Public Intellectual

Wuta International Cultural Development (Beijing) Ltd.:

Upon receipt of notice from the State Administration of Press Publication, Radio, Film, and Television, Yu Jianrong’s Father’s Wandering: Panorama on a Public Intellectual may not be published for the time being. The book’s ISBN (978-7-5043-6884-3) and CIP (2013 No. 075663) have been invalidated. We now inform you that upon invalidation of this book’s bar code and CIP, the publication contract is revoked, and all publishing activities are halted.

Please respond.

Office of the Editor-in-Chief, China Radio & Television Publishing House

April 24, 2013

Yu did indeed respond, publicly:

@于建嵘: Who knows the name and contact information for the bureau chief of the General Administration on Press and Publication (GAPP)? I want to treat him (or her) to a cup of coffee and a constitutional study session, where we can also discuss Secretary Xi’s Chinese Dream.

谁知道出版总署图书司司长叫什么,联系方式。我打算约他(她)边喝咖啡边学习宪法,还要讨论习总书记的中国梦。

Some followers attest that Yu’s “sensitivity“–his focus on social justice–undermined his book’s debut:

@余胜海 [Please Don’t Smother Our “Chinese Dream”] When I learned about the ban on Professor Yu Jianrong’s new book Father’s Wandering, I was startled. According to the China Radio & Television Publishing House’s @贺雄飞’s description, the reason is “because Yu Jianrong is a sensitive person.” I can’t help but ask, what is a “sensitive person?” What legal provisions prevent a “sensitive person” from publishing? Micro-comment: The government is not smothering just one book, but smothering our “Chinese Dream.”

【请不要封杀我们的“中国梦”】得知@于建嵘 教授的新书《父亲的江湖》被禁感到吃惊,据中国广电出版社@贺雄飞 介绍,该书被出版总局封杀的理由“是因为于建嵘是敏感人物”。我不禁要问:什么是“敏感人物”?哪部法律规定“敏感人物”不能出书?微评:政府封杀的不是一本书,而是我们的“中国梦”。

Yu asked netizens to explain:

@于建嵘: Who can tell me: what kind of person is a sensitive person?

谁能告诉我:敏感人物是什么人物?

And explain they did:

@孤狼莫三: People who don’t kiss ass and who pick the scabs off diseased scalps. Those are all sensitive people.

凡不舔人家眼子、不捧人家臭脚,并且还揭人家秃疮嘎巴儿的,皆为敏感人物。

@曾勋微博: Community leaders and I regard Teacher Yu and his writings with the utmost respect. It is truly baffling, how a public intellectual who draws strength and wisdom from the lowest rung of society can become a sensitive person. A phone call can bring down the world, and they don’t need any sort of justification. The right of citizens to publish is written in the constitution, but how far is the constitution from us? Remember this aborted book. We’ve still many roads to walk down.

社领导与我都对@于建嵘 老师以及他的著作予以最真诚的尊重。百思不得其解,一个在底层汲取力量与智慧的公共知识分子为何会成为敏感人物。一个电话,坍塌了一个世界,他们不需要任何理由。公民的出版权利写在宪法上,宪法离我们多远?纪念这本流产的书,我们还有很多路要走。

@卫志民1988: Actually, Yu Jianrong has basically no influence, and won’t be able to sell many books anyway. This notice is unnecessary, and in fact is a hard sell at Yu’s convenience. I suggest the notice be repealed, lest the masses think it’s just part of the publisher’s marketing campaign. Don’t let public intellectuals benefit at others’ expense, am I right?

其实,于建嵘根本没有多大影响力,出本书也卖不了多少册,此举没有必要,反而为其做了硬广告,让于建嵘占了便宜。建议撤销此通知,否则群众以为是出版公司营销运作的结果呢。不能让公知占便宜,是吧?

_学斌: Quick, look at Yu Jianrong’s Weibo. Teacher Yu is good; if you’re fortunate, you will see. I want to buy your book. If possible, please reply. I am curious what content kept your book from being published. Perhaps you truly are a “sensitive person.”

快来看看@于建嵘 的微博于老师好,如果有幸您能看到,我想买您的书,如果可以请回复,我想学习及很好奇什么内容让您的书不能问世,或许您真是“敏感人物”

海南梁山: [“Chinese Dream”] Publication of Professor Yu’s new book Father’s Wanderers was halted. It has been reported that GAPP’s reason for blocking publication is “because Yu Jianrong is a sensitive person.” Micro-comment: To borrow Professor Kong’s words: “Go run to your mom–damn your mom–fuck your mom!” Do the three characters in Yu Jianrong’s name have the sensitivity of a corrupt official? Do they have the sensitivity of the three public expenditures? Of stability maintenance? Why don’t we kill the corrupt officials, forbid the three expenditures, and stop stability maintenance!

【"中国梦”】@于建嵘 教授的新书《父亲的江湖》,在要付印时被叫停。据说该书被出版总局封杀的理由“是因为于建嵘老师是敏感人物”。微评:借用孔教授的话,去你妈的,滚你妈的,操你妈的!于建嵘3字有贪官敏感?有三公敏感?有维稳敏感?咋不贪官杀了,三公禁了,维稳停了!

作者张宇龙: Recently I heard that Teacher Yu’s book was censored. Jeez! If there’s a problem, man up and face it. If you don’t admit to flaws, how can you correct them? Believe me, the more the country and the government behave like this, the louder people’s complaints will get. You fail and then don’t let anyone talk about it. What gives!

最近听说@于建嵘 老师的书被封,真是气愤,有问题要敢于面对,如果不承认有瑕疵之处,何来改正优化?相信我,国家与政府越这样,百姓的怨言就更大。因为你做不到,还不让人说,这是干嘛!!

温州黄朝钦: People already refuse to donate to the Red Cross. Yu Jianrong’s book won’t be published. A court director dies in shuanggui.

红十字会已经没人捐款了,@于建嵘 的书不能出版了,被双规的法院院长死亡了。

李百味五世: Authorities are brimming with “confidence in the path,” “confidence in the theory,” and “confidence in the system,” but they’re scared to publish a few books, scared to print a few thousand booklets. What “confidence” indeed.

当局充满了“道路自信”“理论自信”“制度自信”,但是啊,就是怕出那么几本书,就是怕印那么几千本小册子。好一个“自信”。

@贺雄飞: Before, it was Teacher Yu helping petitioners formulate their statements. Today, Teacher Yu strives for press freedom for himself and the Chinese people. This matter is destined to go down in history alongside the “Southern Weekly Incident.” Teacher Yu, it’s up to you. You have my full support.

以前是于老师帮助那些访民讨说法,现在是于老师为自己也为中国人争出版自由。这件事注定要和“南周事件”一样载入历史。于老师,看您的了,我全力配合。

Via CDT Chinese. Translation by Josh Rudolph.