Murong Xuecun: “No Roads Are Straight Here”

Tea Leaf Nation recently reported that an Iowa county attorney had dropped witness tampering charges against two Chinese parents, citing “cultural differences”. The pair had flown to the US after their son was charged with sexual assault while studying there, and had allegedly tried to buy off his accuser. The implication that bribery is an integral part of China’s culture was “like a hard slap on Chinese people’s faces” according to Sina Weibo user @Y如墨, quoted by TLN.

At The New York Times, Murong Xuecun explains his own view of corruption’s place in Chinese society, recalling an encounter with an entrepreneurial road builder in Sichuan some fifteen years ago. “Like most Chinese people,” he writes, “he was harmed by corruption yet he dearly wanted in.”

I will never forget something Mr. Zhao said to me: There’s not a single straight road in China; they were all built with kickbacks ….

If corruption is inevitable, then people inevitably force themselves to get used to it, and even defend its legitimacy. Most of us Chinese go from being shocked to being numb ….

The leadership in Beijing needs corruption and actually encourages it. Corruption is the system’s natural lubricant, without which everything would grind to a halt. There’s no shortage of upright people in China, but in this system even the upright must study the crooked arts simply to survive.

Not a single person in China can completely break free from corruption, and not a single road is straight.

The South China Morning Post reports that Murong Xuecun is one of a number of prominent weibo users whose accounts have been suspended during the past week.

Hao Qun, a novelist-turned-blogger who uses the pen-name Murong Xuecun , said his microblog, which had 1.85 million followers, was suspended on Thursday and he had learned it could last a month or so, until after the 23rd anniversary of the bloody crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989.

He said he had also learned that the order to suspend his microblog had come from the government’s top internet censor.

Hao said he imagined that the suspension was punishment for his comments on the ongoing Chen [Guangcheng] saga in the overseas press and his attempt to visit Chen in Shandong in October. “If you’d asked me or any other bloggers, we’d have all told you with confidence that we knew where to draw a line, but apparently we’re all wrong,” he said.

“The order could just come from anyone at the top or even his secretary, who simply call the censors because they bump into a posting they’re not happy with.”

Read an account of the attempted visit to Chen Guangcheng and more by and about Murong Xuecun, via CDT.