Teng Biao: Confessions of a Reactionary

Teng Biao: Confessions of a Reactionary

Amid a mounting crackdown on liberal voices, China Change translates an essay by rights lawyer Teng Biao on the cost of activism in China. The essay is dedicated to his friend Xu Zhiyong, who was arrested last week.

When Xu Zhiyong and I received the “Ten People in Rule of Law in 2003” award at CCTV, the host Sa Beining (撒贝宁) asked us, “What is the power of the rule of law?” I said, “it is when everyone will stand up fighting for the rule of law.” At the time, neither Xu Zhiyong nor myself, nor the two sponsors of the event — CCTV and the State Office for Disseminating the Law — would have thought that, in a few years, the two of us would become “rights activists,” “dissidents,” “elements of the New Five Black Types,” or in short, “the enemies of the state.”

Meanwhile though, this outcome is so natural and inevitable.

[…] In the end, the spiritual resistance against totalitarianism will inevitably become physical resistance against it. We are calculating, at any given moment, the ratio of the spirit and the flesh in our lives. I am scared of death but am courting it; I’m indomitable but fainthearted at the same time. Every moment of my life is brimming with happiness, but just as much of it is imbued with pain. Such are the confessions of a reactionary.

Night of June 3, 2013 [Source]


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