Please Use Civilization To Convince Us – Lung Yingtai (龙应台)

20060127 01 This open letter from former Cultural Minister of Taipei Lung Yingtai is translated by EastSouthWestNorth:

Please Use Civilization To Convince Us — An Open Letter To Mr. (see Chinese original)

Mr. Jintao:

In January 2006, Kuomintang chairman Mr. Ma Ying-jeou gave a speech to encourage his Kuomintang Youth League members and told this joke: “I hope that the Kuomintang Youth League can produce a Hu Jintao some day.”

I believe that this is the most ill-considered joke that he had made in his entire political career.

Mr. Ma Ying-jeou may have thought simply that “Hu Jintao” is a national leader who came through the China Youth League system. But for him to say something like that, it showed that he has not thought carefully about just what kind of system the China Youth League is? Just what is the principle by which the country led by this leader is run? What is the basis of his power? What is the legitimacy? What is the meaning represented by the name “Hu Jintao” who holds political power in China at the start of the 21st century?


The reason that I am is writing this letter is because a concrete matter occurred yesterday: The Weekly magazine of China Youth Daily which belongs to the China Youth League was ordered to cease publication this evening.

Previously, the courageously outspoken Southern Daily which expressed the voices of the people had its chief editor replaced and has now become a hesitant newspaper. The editor-in-chief of Southern Metropolis Daily was removed and punished. The refreshing and invigorating Beijing News was suddenly re-organized. One after another courageous and effective media entity was silenced. All this occurred during your term. As a member of the China Youth League, you must be aware of the position of Freezing Point: it is the only live horse left with a croaking voice when ten thousand other horses are silent.

On this day (January 24), even this one remaining throat was cut. Prior to the Freezing Point editors receiving formal notice about the “throat-cutting,” all words connected to Freezing Point were already erased from the Internet.

Under your leadership, the efficiency of the Internet police is astonishing.

The fact that the ‘sentence’ was carried out today is for reasons that everybody knew: this is just before the Spring Festival and people have left their work posts and are getting ready to return home. The newspapers are reporting on the entertainment and creating warmth; the television is showing the gala performance shows to create happiness. To choose this day to cut the lone surviving throat in China means that the sound of the dripping blood would be covered by the universal sounds of celebration everywhere. The executioner sneaks away. After the New Year, there is no trace left. The efficiency of the Internet police and the manipulation of modern media are your 21st century style of ruling.

The Internet police moved fast because they were afraid of letting their own people know. They worked with precise timing because they were afraid to let the international media find out. When they sneak in to implement and they spend so much effort to hide things, they show the guilt and fear felt by the government. But can you please tell this perplexed Taiwan citizen: Why is this “peacefully emergent” and capable government having so much guilt and fear?


Looking at today’s Freezing Point affair with this value structure, what do you think a Taiwan person like me would see?

I see that this “home country” for which I have profound and heavy emotions is a country which tramples upon my “value self-identification”:

It treats truth as lies and lies and truths, and it has systematized the reversal process.

It treats independent intellectuals as slaves, it treats the enslaved intellectuals as servants, it lets the servant take charge by handing him the whip, cane and keys.

It has one face for the western world, a different face for Japan, a different face for Taiwan and yet another different face when looking at itself.

It has one standard when facing someone else’s history, and when its own history is in error, it won’t even face it. Instead, it chooses to turn its back on its own history.

It embraces myths, it creates false stories, it is afraid of the truth. Obviously it is most afraid of itself.

January 28, 2006 9:48 PM
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