Yesterday, Zhang Ziyi recommended that her Weibo followers watch the South Korean film The Attorney, based on former president Roh Moo-hyun’s rise from tax lawyer to human rights defender. Many netizens read an allusion to Pu Zhiqiang, the rights defense lawyer who was detained on Tuesday, in Zhang’s post.
Pu Zhiqiang has been accused of “creating a disturbance” by the Beijing police. His assumed disturbance, attending an event to commemorate the approaching anniversary of the crackdown on student protesters on June 4, 1989, happened over the weekend. By waiting to detain him, the police can hold Pu for 30 days, until the anniversary has passed.
Chinese netizens are now reinterpreting a line from the 2011 film The Founding of a Party to show their support for Pu. Released on the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, the film did poorly at the box office, while user reviews were disabled on popular websites.
Since you went to prison, the whole nation has been shaken. Nothing in a person’s life could be more glorious than this.
On the bulletin board site KDnet, one user wrote a post titled after the quotation from The Founding of a Party. It starts, “Even though your face has been blocked, everyone knows who is in this image,” and shows a blank JPEG.
Another KDnet post titled after The Founding of a Party quotes the South Korean film:
zvxzvx: No matter how hard the rock, it is still dead; no matter how frail the egg, it still has life. In the end, the rock will become sand, but the life nurtured in the egg will one day fly over that stone.
Like Chen Guangcheng’s extralegal house arrest several years ago, Pu Zhiqiang’s detention is eliciting a strong reaction online. By quoting films, netizens are building a vocabulary to talk about Pu without using his name, keeping themselves a step ahead of the censors.
See CDT Chinese for more online allusion to Pu Zhiqiang.