Song Han is an Associate Editorial Director for Modern Bankers. He lives in Beijing. The following text is from his facebook page:
“They may crush the flowers, but they can’t stop the Spring.” — A Tribute to Google
By Song Han, Beijing, March 23rd, 2010
A couple of hours ago I paid my last tribute to Google outside its Beijing office — it’s no big deal anyway as the building is quite close to my apartment and right on one of my daily jogging routes.
A couple of dozen people gathered there already and the Google logo were covered by bouquets of followers, fruits, farewell notes, a bottle of soy sauce and other wish-well souvenirs. The various notes read, “Thanks Google for the Free Flow of Info”, “In Google We Trust — See You on the Other Side”, “It was a mistake to come here at the first place but it is honorable to choose to leave”, and my personal favorite, quoting Alexander Dubcek, the late Czech leader, in response to the Soviet invasion in the wake of Prague Spring pro-democratic movement:
“They may crush the flowers, but they can’t stop the Spring.”
And spring indeed it is! After days of sandstorm, it is an unusually warm and tranquil night in Beijing that you can literally smell the coming of the spring in the gentle breeze.
The atmosphere felt somehow depressing and I could hear a young woman sobbing in the arm of her companion, possibly her boyfriend. Actually even I could hardly hold back my tears. It was like bidding adieu to a good friend in that you know it is only wise and honorable for him to leave this God-forsaken place for good but still you feel sad, because you can’t go with him, and even trying to visualize the days ahead without him around is extremely nightmarish.
We stood there in silence until the cops showed up to disperse the crowd. There was no conflict.
Just when we were about to leave, a young man said loudly, “Hey guys, cheer up! We should be happy at this moment. Why don’t we sing a happy song, say the Song of Grass-Mud Horse“, for the sake of tonight?”
[FYI: Google “Grass-Mud Horse and you will find a good story on New York Times and a very funny video on YouTube. It is too vulgar to be written here but it is symbolic of Chinese netizens’ defiance to censorship]
It was a like a call to the arms and in a split second the spirit of the crowd got a huge boost. We exchange the cell phone numbers so as to ensure that each one got a copy of the lyric of the song. We sang along, and we laughed.
A very pretty young woman sounded a bit hesitant when we got to the part that involves extremely vulgar terms. In the dim street light I could see her face turned red. But her hesitance did not last long and before you could realize it she continued her singing, louder, and with greater resolve.
In her eyes I saw sparkles of youth, innocence, courage, defiance, and above all, the only hope of redemption for this God-forsaken nation.
Copyright: Song Han 2010. Unauthorized reprints greatly welcome and strongly encouraged.