Last April, Weibo user “Marilyn Monroe” (@玛丽莲梦六) wrote a widely-shared post of vignettes from the Wuhan lockdown. The user reported that they were “asked to tea” soon after the post went viral, and later disappeared. Now they have been convicted of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” and sentenced to six months in prison:
Zhang Wenfang, a Hebei based Weibo user, sentenced to 6 months in prison for a piece of content she posted on Weibo, which mentioned dozens of untold sad stories during the Covid lockdown in Wuhan City, and which authority claimed contained rumors. pic.twitter.com/2lQRV4fp8u
— 中国文字狱事件盘点 (@SpeechFreedomCN) February 22, 2021
Most of the stories in “Marilyn’s” post came from news reports out of Wuhan. The central government’s attempts to ensure the dominance of its triumphalist narrative on the epidemic have led to crackdowns on “unofficial“ accounts of the lockdown. But one Weibo commentator wrote that “Marilyn’s” arrest would not stop them: “My own historical memory: I’ve seen photographs, videos, or Weibo posts that correspond to each of her lines.” “Marilyn” wrote that her post was intended as a reminder of “those people and events that should not be forgotten.” CDT has translated her poem, adding links to coverage of every event that we could identify. Here is @玛丽莲梦六’s “The One On The Balcony Sounding A Gong and Crying Out For The Sick”:
The one on the balcony sounding a gong and crying out for the sick.
The one following a hearse in the deep of night, calling out “Mama” in grief.
The one truck driver stranded along the highway, wandering without a place to return.
The one who died while sitting up, whose family cradled their head as they waited for the hearse.
The one who starved to death in their home during quarantine.
The pregnant woman who spent 200,000 yuan before being denied further treatment when she became unable to pay.
The one who feared infecting their family and so dug a grave and quietly hanged themself.
The one with no doctors to turn to, who feared infecting his wife and kids and so jumped from a bridge to end his life.
The 90-year-old who waited at the hospital for five days and five nights to ensure their 60-year-old son a bed.
The one who commented under a Weibo post begging for a hospital bed: “My family member just passed away, vacating a hospital bed. I hope this will help you.”
The one who first cursed those begging for help, saying they made him depressed, but who later had no choice but to call for help in the same way.
The one who posted “hello” when learning to use Weibo in order to call for help.
The one who covered their mouth with a scarf when being checked by the authorities, and cried in shame because they couldn’t buy a mask.
The one who used orange peels as a mask.
The one who went alone to the Civil Affairs Bureau to report their orphan status after their entire family (father, mother, grandfather, and grandmother) died.
The one who donated all the masks they received as pay in lieu of cash.
The one who wrote, “I will meet death in peace,” “it is time to offer myself.”
The one who wrote “I can, I understand,” signed with a red fingerprint, and then died twice.
The one who built the Huoshenshan Hospital without stopping to sleep or rest but upon returning to his village was viewed as a Plague Demon.
The leukemia patient who needed to go to Beijing for a bone marrow transplant but had no way out of the city, who wanted euthanasia for their pain.
The one wearing burial clothes who, after unsuccessfully calling for a hospital bed, collapsed onto the floor.
The one who couldn’t do hemodialysis because of the outbreak and, after fruitlessly pleading at the neighborhood gates for help, jumped to their death, whose corpse wasn’t removed for six hours.
The one who was forced to write “You must wear a mask when you leave the house” 100 times by the local police.
The one who was struck until they bled because they weren’t wearing a mask.
The one yelling “I’m hungry! Oh, I’m so hungry I’ll die. My wife and child are starving at home and your bellies are surely full!”
The one who raised bees for a living who killed themself because he couldn’t transport their hive because of the outbreak.
The one that left home to find work, who trekked for 13 days, walking over 700 kilometers, who slept under bridges and in caves, among grass and in burrows, to work in a mine.
The one unable to get treatment and afraid of infecting their wife and kids who wrote in their will that they wished for their body to be used in scientific research in hopes that nobody on earth would again suffer the torment of this virus, then left their cellphone and wallet behind, walked out the door, and died on the road back to their family home.
The one who wrote, “After my death give my body to the state. But what about my wife?”
The one who carried their mother on their back while searching everywhere for treatment, walking for three hours because cars were banned during the lockdown.
The one who gave their child to the hospital with a note, “In giving birth I have spent all that I had saved, in my desperation I am stranded here.”
The one who climbed down from a ten-story window to leave the house to buy groceries.
The child who watched over their grandfather’s body for five days, tucking his corpse under a quilt.
The one who recovered from a severe case only to come home to find their entire family dead, who hung themself from the roof.
The one who, at over 60 years old, was solely responsible for all the shopping, cooking, and cleaning for an entire police department of more than 60 officers and broke down crying in the hallway.
The one who was homeless in Wuhan for over 20 days whose hair went half-white.
The one who couldn’t afford to buy a cellphone for online classes and then swallowed a handful of their mother’s prescription psychotropic drugs.
The one who, at 25 years old, resigned from CCTV and went to Wuhan at the most dangerous moment to report, who then faced the people who had come to arrest him and recited from memory, “When the youth are strong, the nation is strong. When the youth are weak, the nation is weak.”
The one who yelled “everything is fake” when the leaders came to inspect.
The one who broke down crying after recovering the bodies of three children from the collapsed Quanzhou quarantine hotel.
The one who wrote 60 entries of her lockdown diary, whose account was shut down multiple times, and who was ganged up on and cursed by a group of internet hoodlums.
The seven- or eight-year-old child who followed along uncomprehendingly with the procession to retrieve their parent’s ashes.
The one who tried to patiently persuade the government officials that while the virus must be prevented, people must also eat, who in the end just sighed.
The one deeply beloved by patients who was admonished by the hospital for wearing a mask and who died after getting infected.
The one who said, “If I had seen this day coming, I would have said it everywhere, criticism or no.” [Chinese]
CDT has previously translated other selections of poems involving the pandemic, including several by Wuhan nurse “Wei Shuiyin.”