Despite China’s attempts to stop online references to Zhao, a small number of Chinese netizens have managed to express their sentiments on the internet without being censored.
Chinese blogger Isaac Mao notes that a short blog post on Zhao’s death has drawn a growing number of comments from internet users.
An Ti, a news professional who went to the memorial at Zhao Ziyang’s home in Beijing, wrote this emotionally moving reflection in his blog: “The moment of shaking hands with Zhao’s daughter, I withheld the tears that almost ran down – I don’t fit into this occasion.”
“What am I amounted to? The year he was forced to step down, I was only a grade three small boy in junior high school, what did I know? Even today, I am only an ordinary news professional. What qualifications do I have to shake the hands of and to offer my condolences to a great man’s family? His daugther thanked me, it made be felt even more sad. Under normal circumstances, only members of Central Bureau and Ministers or above are qualified to accept her appreciation. How could I, a small potato, accept such appreciation?”
“I looked at his portrait, felt that he is very close, within a few meters distance. I like this closeness, even though such closeness came from the arrangement by historical contingency. When I was in Taiwan, I was also only a few meters away from Lian Zhan, Song Chuyu and Ma Yingjiou. Taiwanese told me that such closeness is democracy. Democracy gives small potatoes like me a chance to be away from with political leaders by only a few meters.”
HE, another Chinese blogger, thinks that Zhao Ziyang is only a symbol.
“I cannot believe the young generation nowadays really understand the conditions in the late 1980s in China. And I don’t think they could understand the political ups and downs at that time. What kind of person is Zhao Ziyang are being interpreted in different ways as in all other matters in history, and he is to be re-interpreted. This way, the three characters “Zhao Zi Yang” have apparently become a kind of symbol and this symbol has many meanings. However, politics cannot be clearly said in two or three sentences.
And for now, what can be for sure is, we do not have a lot of rights on speech. Moreoever, many of our thinking has unconciously become westernized. Are we fortunate to have understand and look up to western ways; or isn’t it sad that we and our country is gradually parting?”