On May 1, Global Times Chief Editor Hu Xijin (@胡锡进) posted two Weibo messages about Chen Guangcheng. The comment function has been disabled for one post, which mentions a front page Global Times editorial on Chen; related re-posted material is also unavailable. The editorial has been scrubbed from every major Internet portal in China:
The front page of today’s Global Times reports on the current situation of the blind Mr. Chen. In a press briefing, the U.S. State Department spokesperson answered eight successive questions with “no comment.” Obama and Hillary have both avoided his name. The U.S. is obviously in an awkward position. The BBC reports that China and the U.S. may soon reach an agreement on the issue. Today’s Global Times editorial also discusses the situation. (comments closed)
In the other post, Hu refers to Chen using a combination of Chinese characters and English letters: 陈GC (Chen GC). Hu probably did his to get around the censors, as numerous monikers for Chen have been blocked on Weibo over the last week (see here and here). “Chen GC” is blocked from Weibo search results as of the evening of May 2:
Public opinion seems to have given the false impression that Chen GC is “of definite importance to the U.S.” His perception of his own influence in China is out of touch with reality, and the exploitation of him in some public thought has destroyed his judgement. He deserves particular sympathy. But he has really caused a quandary for both China and the U.S. I believe the relationship between our two countries will not be influenced by him, and that he will not rob time from the Strategic and Economic Dialogue. It would be truly strange if he did.
@ 胡锡进：舆论像是给陈GC造成了“他对美国的确很重要”的错觉。他对自己个人在中国影响力的认识也脱离了实际，一些舆论对他的利用似乎毁掉了他的判断力。 他值得特殊的同情。但他现在实际给中美都出了难题。我相信中美关系不会受他的事影响，即将举行的中美战略对话也不太可能为他单独辟出时间，否则将是奇怪 的。
Below is a selection from among the 1,000-plus scathing comments Hu received for his this latter message. More comments are available from CDT Chinese.
Rebel Pepper: It really is strange. Say he’s a free man, but several hundred prison guards watch him in turns; say he’s a convict, but you don’t declare him guilty and throw him into prison. You even have to abbreviate his name. That must create a quandary for Editor Hu.
LaifushiDumbdumb: You still have the nerve to comment… but you won’t even write out his full name.
trackzhang: Who is this person? Must he be happily shut in a cage in order to be a model for a harmonious society?
Tea&Chant: You can publish the truth, you know!
ShenzhenColdHero: Since Blind Chen isn’t important and hasn’t broken the law, why did his local government imprison him? Are they morons?
BusyMovieStar: Even you write his name in letters, not characters. Don’t you think your country is pathetic?
maowy: He may not be important to the U.S., but the way you treat him is important to us. Your clique’s perception of its own influence in China is out of touch with reality, and the exploitation of you and your clique by some of your own has destroyed your judgement.
LifeinHuajing: Even if, as you say, a person like this can create a quandary for China and the U.S., don’t you think it’s worth reflecting on why? What kind of person is he, with this kind of “power,” to make the U.S. government pay attention? And even affect the relations between two countries? Besides, how do you know his perception of his own influence is out of touch with reality? Is he out of touch with the “reality” you’re waiting for?
MouGui: Before the time when you couldn’t write his full name, all of your chatter about him was skewed. Everything you say is to nakedly curry favor with those in power.
V-Zhang: This is the classic fallacy of not calling a person a person! Someone meets with hardship, and you turn him into a bargaining chip.
SlightlyStupid: Screw you! Who was it that, step-by-step, put a blind man into the public eye? How come you won’t say?
stephenking66: Whatever his influence, I know that a blind man was illegally imprisoned. Not only will you not acknowledge your mistake or investigate the local government’s responsibility, you also use your force to exonerate yourself. You scramble the story and change the subject. Have you no shame?
RuizhengLanweiwei: Following what you say, our own blind person needs the Americans to protect him! How disgraceful!
Gourixinfeixinnailang: What quandary did he give to China and the U.S.? Could it be that asking the Chinese government to respect its own laws has created a quandary for China?
KarlLeninsSmile001: Chen gc wasn’t necessarily important to the U.S. at first, but to the Chinese people. Because if he isn’t free, every one of us could lose our freedom at any time. If we have to rely on the Americans to tell us in order to understand his importance, that is really bizarre.
ItIsTime-2012: Millions of troops. The atom bomb has been built. And you’re afraid of a blind man. The party-state is mighty.
BigRoadEast: First Vice Mayor Wang, then Blind Chen. One official, one common person. When they needed the protection of the law, when they needed justice, they coincidentally both chose American missions. This is the ultimate mockery of “running the country according to the law.”
dakouer: Editor Hu, you guys have spent all this money and used all this manpower to work around the clock “protecting” and “caring for” Chen GC and his family. Don’t you think this could create a false impression of “his definite importance to China”?
LuFeng-goodnessLikeWater: You will be nailed to history’s pillar of disgrace. You would actually call the action of a human rights defender at an impasse “relying on the support of foreigners”? Did a dog eat your conscience?