Since author Zhang Yihe published her “My Statement and Position” on Janurary 19, 2007, many intellectuals and ordinary citizens have publicly expressed their support for Ms. Zhang in cyberspace. The following “notice,” posted on lawyer Pu Zhiqiang’s blog, is an internal order from Chinese authorities to ban all discussion of this issue online:
Notice on Deleting Online Posts about General Administration of Press and Publication’s So-called Ban on Eight Books
After verification, the news that has been spreading online about the so-called ban on eight books by the General Administration of Press and Publication is seriously inconsistent with the facts. Please notify all websites immediately to promptly clear those posts that are using the news to attack the country’s press and publication systems. Websites, online forums, and blogs are also not allowed to discuss this. All local propaganda departments and all main central-level websites, please dispatch special persons to supervise and immediately implement this notice.
Apparently, the implementation of this order is only partially effective. In fact, there are still more and more netizens speaking up on this issue. CDT has translated the following four examples of such posts posted by Internet users inside China:
This afternoon, when I opened my blog, I saw a notice from the blog-hosting service administrator: “Dear users, the article you submitted, Zhang Yihe’s Books are Banned and the Dignity of all Chinese is Assaulted” violates the country’s Internet administration regulations. So this piece cannot be published. We ask for your understanding.” The time was 10:35am, Jan. 26, 2007.
It’s predictable that this article will end up like this. On cat898 forum, after being followed by 177 comments, this article was locked [from additional comments] at first, and then deleted. All posts related to the “book banning” disappeared. Don’t blame editors at hexun blog and cat898 forum. If they didn’t delete the article, their online forums would be driven to an end as bad as the end of “Century China” [A online intellectual forum which was banned in 2006].
But so what if the articles were deleted? The article that got deleted can be re-written, and the human mind can never be banned. The behaviors of some relevant officials are as ridiculous as the medieval churches’, when they thought that burning Bruno could ban “heliocentricism” and make the sun revolve around the earth. They are also as ridiculous as Qin Shi Huangdi when he believed killing Confucians would prevent all people from reading. How many books, and how many articles, have been banned over thousands of years? Ultimately, human society will still evolve from barbarism to modern civilization.
First I have to admit that I am a coward. In early 2000, when my two books, Heralds of History – Solemn Promises Over Half a Century Ago and The Truth of Liu Wencai, were illegally banned one after the other, I kept silent, although I was extremely angry. So I therefore particularly feel grateful to elder sister Zhang Yihe, who appeals not only for herself, but also for the rest of us, including myself. Elder sister Zhang Yihe is taking up this struggle by herself, that should have been taken up by all of us. This is the glory of elder sister Zhang Yihe, but also the shame of the rest of us, including me. To a large extent, it’s our collective shame that indulges the book banning, a barbarism of the 21st century. To a large extent, we are suffering for our own misdeeds.
(3) The next excerpts are from Jia Xijin’s blog on sohu.com. Jia Xijing (Ë¥æË•øÊ¥• ) is a professor in the School of Public Administration, Tsinghua University. This blog post also showed up on many Chinese blogs and websites, including at duoweinews.com.
Those who work in the media circle all know that to “give advance notice to (ÊâìÊãõÂëº)”, “tip off (ÈÄöÈ£é‰ºö)”, and “ban” (Á¶ÅÊ≠¢‰ª§) are their requisite curriculum before their everyday work. All of those are conducted through oral announcements (ÂÆ£ËØª), phone calls, or words of mouth (Âè£Â§¥‰º†Ëææ). No document, no text, no recording. And the rules must be kept firmly in mind. Rules of “forbidden zone” and the practice of private communication have seemingly become the norm and the implicit hidden regulations.
Because reporters and editors want to scramble for news to meet the market demand, or because of their conscience and sense of social responsibility, they have developed a collection of methods to adapt to various bans and have been making efforts to circumvent the rules (ÊâìÊì¶ËæπÁêÉ). But still, they cannot avoid the risk of being constantly banned, inspected and deprived of their positions. This time’s “ban”, which is clearer and more relentless, is a good example.
With a few phone calls, a few street chats and online searches, we will know that netizen “You” are Time magazine’s “Person of the Year.” In this information era, “bans” will not help those who live in the “grandiose forbidden city.” We can even thank the advertisement from the deputy chief, which makes more people know about the eight books. But considering all the venting, sighing, bitterness and avoidance, and considering all the prices the authors and publishers have paid and all the energy they have exhausted, shouldn’t we seriously ask a question: Why do we have to follow a secretive hidden rule? Who gives public administrators such power?
Modern government is named as a “public administration”. As the name implies, it can only represent citizens to exercise public power for the public benefit. Neither the government nor the ruling party possesses special private interest. The only legitimacy of their power derives from people’s collective interest. The role of government is an administrator of citizens’ public affairs. Then, are ideological censorship, the publishing prohibition, and even the deprivation of citizens’ right to free speech the citizens’ wishes? Are they in the public interest? If the answer is yes, there are only two explanations. One, that ideological censorship and publishing prohibitions are in the public interest; two, those who are deprived of the right to free speech are the people’s enemies.
Hereby I would like to sign my name and express myself as the voice of a citizen. I support Zhang Yihe to defend her own rights. I express my respect to Sha Yexin, Liu Suli, Pu Zhiqiang and the like. I ask for legal protection for the right to publish the eight books. I demand the Administration of Press and Publication and other government agencies establish regulations that are on-the-record, legal, and in the public interest, and reject hidden rules that are off-the-record, illegal, and arbitrary ideological censoring.
(4) The following excerpts are from lyrics from writer Wu Zailai’s blog: his post is called : “Zhang Yihe and Wu Shulin Singing Karaoke Together”
I want to cover their eyes quietly
Can you guess who I am?
I will not let them to read your new book
You must be obedient under my control.
You covered people’s eyes quietly
Of course I know who you are.
You are Goebbels from Nazi Germany
And have a Chinese name called Wu Shulin (ÈÇ¨‰π¶Êûó)
Free speech is people’s right and livelihood
Only pigs will be satisfied by this so-called stability with food but no expression
You talk about people every time you open your mouth
But the voice of the people is always oppressed under the ice
Without free speech and public elections
How can you law violators legitimately represent the people and the nation? ……