Maoist Blog Republishes All-Out Attack On Party-State Censorship

In online slang, “rushing the tower”  (冲塔 chōngtǎ) means posting politically sensitive commentary knowing full well that it will be censored, with potentially worse consequences ranging from account deletion to detention. The term is borrowed from the language of multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video games. A recent post from the WeChat account @冲破黎明前的黑暗 (Chōngpò límíng qián de hēi’àn, “Breach the darkness before dawn,” in English) is an illustrative example of the genre.

In an essay titled “Arise, Ye Bloggers Who Refuse to be Slaves!” (a reference to the first line of China’s national anthem, the “March of the Volunteers,” which has been repeatedly censored on Weibo), the author strikes out against censors who remove posts for unspecified “violations.” With “they” as an obvious stand-in for the powers that be, the author speculates that there can only be three reasons for censorship of the truth: “1. They’ve done wrong, and fear the people finding out. 2. They’re doing wrong, and fear the people’s criticism. 3. They’re planning to do wrong, and fear the people exposing them.” The essay perfectly captures the sentiments that drive Chinese netizens to “rush the tower,” consequences be damned. CDT has translated portions of the now-censored essay that demonstrate the bravery in the face of censorship exhibited by many Chinese writers, both famous and unknown:

Among freelance essayists, the censorship of our essays is par for the course. Account closures and cross-provincial visits from the boys in blue for “chats” are likewise quotidian. 

I guarantee you this: in all three of my essays recently censored for “violations,” every single word, down to the punctuation, was objective truth. Therefore, the essay was not censored for a fault in its construction, let alone a mistake in its exposure of the truth. Instead, the essay was censored because it disturbed the “maggots’ cheese.” Maggots by nature put their interests first, so perhaps the essay threatened their very way of being. Or perhaps the essay threatened some maggot’s sinecure and (as maggots are inveterately stupid) they perceived it as “digging up the graves” of their ancestors. 

[…] All writers of conscience, those who care deeply about society and about people’s lives, encounter three major “sorrows”: 

(1) When an essay cannot be published, leaving the truth therein unrevealed.

(2) When a published essay is swiftly destroyed without a trace, leaving one exposed to potential fallout.

(3) When the revealed truth is labeled a “rumor,” and the writer is accused of picking quarrels and provoking trouble and sent to a “little black room.” 

I’ve always believed that the power of the written word, independence of spirit, and freedom of speech are the greatest gifts afforded to writers of our era—and that all writers in this era are deserving of these gifts. 

[…] Why do they censor posts? Why do they eliminate the ones who point out problems?

I believe there are only three reasons: 

1. They’ve done wrong, and fear the people finding out. 

2. They’re doing wrong, and fear the people’s criticism. 

3. They’re planning to do wrong, and fear the people exposing them.

[…] There are those, perhaps lacking in fame or social capital but rich in concern for the country and its people, are willing to brave the “death by a thousand cuts” to pursue the truth wherever it may lead. They pay a heroic and terrible price to shed light on scandal and expose the sanctimonious face of evil to the public. [Chinese]

Although the essay was censored on WeChat, it was republished—and for now remains available—on the Maoist gadfly blog “Red Song Society,” a private organization that publishes odes to Mao and Marx to the current Chinese Communist Party’s occasional chagrin. The Economist reported on the site in August, 2022: 

Red Song Society is redder than red. For more than a decade the privately run website and its social-media accounts have been pumping out articles that praise Mao Zedong and Marxism more enthusiastically than most Communist Party officials do. It sees no fault with the late dictator; it attacks capitalism—and its growth in China—with a vengeance. “Sing red songs; promote righteous ways” is its motto, handwritten at the top of the home page.

Neo-Maoist websites, as well as others run by nationalists of a less ideological hue, often serve a useful purpose for the party. They can amplify its message, especially its criticisms of the West. The neo-Maoist ones also show that the party’s founding beliefs still enjoy support (although Red Song Society’s account on Weibo, a Twitter-like service, has fewer followers than that of the US embassy’s visa section). Among officials, the flare-up of neo-Maoist discontent will not be welcome.

[…] The neo-Maoists know well that the government watches them warily. In 2012 several of their favourite forums were temporarily closed, apparently because of their support for Bo Xilai, a red-song-loving rival to China’s then leader-in-waiting, Xi Jinping. Mr Bo was arrested that year and jailed for abuse of power. Neo-Maoist websites now avoid mentioning him. [Source]


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