At midnight on Saturday May 5, Beijing News posted an eerie message on its Weibo page. China Media Project translates:
In the still of the deep night, removing that mask of insincerity, we say to our true selves, “I am sorry.” Goodnight.
For thousands of commenters, this cryptic post was a catharsis. On Friday, Beijing News and three other major Beijing newspapers ran four different editorials attacking Gary Locke and the U.S. government for using Chen Guangcheng as a “tool” against China. So many Weibo users lashed out against the Beijing Daily editorial that the paper’s name was scrubbed from Weibo search results later that day. It remains blocked as of posting.
After nearly 24 hours online, Beijing News’ apology finally disappeared.
Below are a selection of comments from among 3,407. More comments are available from CDT Chinese.
Translated by Deng Bolun.
HappyLife: Conscience is undying, it still has breath.
XiaoYa0906: Seeing this Weibo late at night make my nose sting with tears. Striving for life squeezed in a crevice is very difficult. It’s fortunate that the conscience is undying. There is still hope.
zmat: In the 1980s, when I started working at a big American company, the company required this: when you are introducing the company and its products, you don’t have to say anything, but never can you speak irresponsibly or lie. When you have no choice but to your compare products with those of competitors, you can only point out the special features of our products, but by no means can you attack the competition. And you certainly can’t fabricate or obscure right and wrong.
zmat：八十年代，当我加入美国的大公司后，公司要求我们: 在与用户介绍公司和产品时，你可以不说，但绝不可以瞎说，不可以说谎。当你不得不与竞争对手的产品比较时，你只可以突出自己产品的特点，决不可以攻击对手，更不能无中生有，混淆是非。 (37分钟前)
freetree2010: In the still of the night, quietly recall your lost purity… Mourn it without sorrow, rage over it without dispute.
WatermelonHangingInTheSky: This means something! The Beijing Daily would have done this eventually… At that last moment before death, isn’t this almost like consoling yourself…
AncientBenefactor: Reply to rcf123: I said it this morning. The person who wrote this also feels sick.
BrightMoonDoesNotShineOnMe: It’s hard to take the taste of fooling your conscience as you act like a dog.
LightSleepInFragrance: I saw the editorial in the Beijing Daily. Those masses who don’t understand the real face of things hurled insults in their commentary on the editorial, and I knew the author’s evil influence was infinite. Isn’t the journalist’s job and responsibility to make the people understand the truth? How can you deceive the masses? Looking at this Weibo, it seems you still have some conscience.
OldSoldierTony: Perhaps only deep into the night can conscience climb from numb flesh. After light breaks, does it continue with that insincere numbness?
CaoguoXing: For those who live by the pen, insincerity means a length of shame and hurt.
Listen1999: Suppose it was me. I would compromise just the same. I’m not a revolutionary, and have no innate capacity to represent justice. I’m my parents’ son, a wife’s husband, my children’s father, my friends’ friend. Comparing these to justice, these are trivial responsibilities but still require effort. I admit I’m a coward and a weak-willed man. I understand a million times over that people like me allow them to run wild with arrogance. This suffers me through the slow, long night. Perhaps, just perhaps, one day I will for a split second become a warrior .
listen1999： 换成我，我也会同样的妥协。我不是革命家，也不能天生代表正义，我是父母的儿子，妻子的丈夫，儿女的爸爸，朋友的朋友，这些和正义相比微不足道的责任依然 需要承担。我承认自己是孬种和懦夫，明白千千万万这样的我让他们猖獗傲慢，让自己苦捱这慢慢长夜。也许，仅仅是也许，有一天，我会成为瞬间的勇士 (29分钟前)
ApacolypseSmokeRing: The best way to take care of your body is by being broadminded and openhearted. Excessive insincerity can hurt you. Please believe me, you must believe there are repercussions. Those who put their conscience up for sale will dream of ghosts throughout the night. Those who act against their conscience are more likely to get cancer.
WinterWizard: Thank you for your penitence.
冬天的格格巫: 谢谢忏悔 (38分钟前)
NuofeiAndNuoyu: You’ve sinned. I hope you’re saved soon.