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Let the Sunshine In

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On April 29, Time Magazine released their final tally of the Time 100 poll: Blogger and author Han Han came in at #2, imprisoned activist Liu Xiaobo came in at #8, Chongqing Party chief Bo Xilai came in at #50, and Vice Premier Wang Qishan failed to make the top 100, coming in at #138. Han Han was also recently included in the Soul-Rich list, of China’s most compassionate, compiled by China Social Sciences Press in Beijing.

In honor of these results, we are reposting the essay Han Han wrote about his nomination to the poll, posted to his blog on April 7. [Read also an editorial from Southern Metropolis Daily calling on readers to vote for Han Han.] The full text has been translated by CDT:


Yesterday, I saw a news report which said that I am a candidate for the list of the 200 most globally influential people from Time magazine. Sensitive word, sensitive word, and sensitive word from China are also candidates. At the moment [I heard this news] I was digging up bamboo shoots in my village (I was digging in my family’s field), so I did not pay too much attention. Later I saw there were lots of text messages on my cell phone, asking my take on this. I only replied to two friends in the Beijing News and Southern Metropolis Daily; all the other things written in other media are friendly imaginations based on my personality. I did not realize that so many people care about this, so I will just write about it here all together.

First of all, I sighed and felt regret. Why do others have such news media? When Time puts out a list of influential people, it makes waves within other countries. How much I desire that our China can have such media. When this media selects people, it also gets attention from the whole world. We cannot say such media is completely fair, but they do have public credibility. How much I desire that our country has this as well. But regrettably we do not. This is not to say that our journalists are not as good as journalists from other places, it is because ….. those reasons that everyone knows. I will just stop here; if I say more about this I will be dead, and my dead body will be whipped as well.

I often ask myself, what contribution have I made to this society which is full of sensitive words? Maybe in the end, all I contribute is another sensitive word which is my name. That’s all. Everyday I get out of bed around noon, often wasting money on digital gadgets, and I’m very picky about food. Thank goodness that I did not add more load or sin to this society, at least so far. I do not have a grand vision; I only want the relevant departments to treat art, literature and the news media better, to not impose too many restrictions and censorship, and to not use the power of the government or the name of the State to block or slander any artist or journalist. If this can be done, you do not need to spend a fortune; this country will automatically produce art work and news media which can be exported to the West, and our small readers, listeners, audience, netizens, urban dwellers and citizens can all enjoy this benefit. I may not have the talent and ability to write great things, but some others do. But you [the goverment] should not castrate people or glorify those who have been castrated.

A journalist asked me over the phone: In some places it’s been said that you are colluding with Western anti-China forces. I said this [accusation] is expected. They [the government] has used this method for sixty years. During the earlier several decades they may have genuinely believed this, but in recent decades, this is just a means of slander. I am just a person that often almost did not get my visa when I participated in competitions abroad because my documents were incomplete. What kind of Western forces are they talking about? What age is it now, that they still use the word “colluding”? That’s sounds so pathetic. If there is a comrade who is listening to my phone everyday, you must be very clear about what kind of person I am. What do you say, my friend? In front of a computer screen there must be a friend who smiles as he understands what I am talking about. But I am just curious, that after so many decades [the government] still only has this one position [in screwing people]. He is not tired of it, but the other party is sick of it.

However, I clearly recognize their existence. You always need both sides, positive and negative, camp A and camp B. If in our country, when we cannot agree with each other, we can leave each other alone, instead of censoring those that do not agree with us, then that would be huge progress. We will work hard towards this day.

Later the same journalist sent me another short text message: In other words, your views and expressions fit with Western values. Don’t you think so? I replied to him: Don’t [my views and expression] fit Chinese values as well?

I believe that there may be different values between earthlings and aliens. But for Westerners and Easterners? Other then different living habits, how much different could the values be? Why do we have to fight over this?

At last, let me return to the point of so-called influence. I often feel very ashamed. I am just a person with a pen. Maybe my writings make people feel like they are releasing some of their anger or resentment. But other than that what’s the real use? The so-called influence is illusory. In China, those who have influence are those who have power. Those who can make rain from clouds, those who can decide if you live or die, or keep you somewhere in between life and death. They are the people who really have influence. However, I am not sure it is just because they are afraid of search engines or they are too fragile to be searched; we often cannot find them by using search engines. We are just a small role on the stage, under the spotlight. But they own the theater. They can at any time bring the curtain down, turn off the lights, close the door and let the dogs out. Later the dogs all disappear and the sky is blue again; there is no trace of what has happened. I just wish those people could really put their influence into good use. And those of us on this stage, even those who built this theater in the past, should make efforts to gradually take down those high walls and light bulbs. Let the sunshine in. That kind of light, no one can extinguish it again.

Update: Han Han’s post has already generated over 25,000 comments from his readers. Here are some examples, translated by CDT:

*The last paragraph is fucking swell. My admiration.

新浪网友2010-04-08 08:31:24 [举报] 最后一段写的真TM好。。钦佩

*Why can’t I publish my comments? Can’t I even just say I like Han Han?

蔷薇紫陌2010-04-08 08:32:14 [举报] 怎么发不出去。难道说喜欢韩寒也不可以?

*A comment needs to be reviewed for twenty minutes. Those fifty cents are so busy.

吻火2010-04-08 11:05:03 [举报] 发言审查都要20分钟,5毛当够忙活的~~

*Moved. Hopeful. Han Han, what else can I say about you….

abol2010-04-08 11:11:50 [举报] 感动。 光明…… 韩寒,叫我怎么说你好~~

*Picky eater? This is a major flaw. I hope you do not just eat meat. You need to eat more veggies and fruit.

风中幽草2010-04-08 11:15:25 [举报] 挑食?这是大毛病 不会只挑荤的吧 多吃蔬菜水果

*I have never commented on your posts before, this time I will do it. This article is so great, expressed the voice of our generation!! Liberate yourself!!! Don’t let other voices cover your inner thoughts!!

新浪手机网友2010-04-08 02:30:29 [举报] 没顶过你的文章,这次顶下,写的实在是太好了,说出了我们这一代的心声!!!要解放自己!!!不要让其他的声音掩盖你内心的想法!!

*It is 2:35 am, April 8. Brother Han Han is ranked number six. Come on my friends!

新浪网友2010-04-08 02:41:45 [举报] 8日2时35分,韩寒弟6名,77000多票,朋友们加油啊!

*For those who are calling on people to not vote for Han Han, if you are a fifty cents, please go ahead and keep on trying. If you are not, please listen to me: Even if Han Han gets zero votes, has zero influence, will he be safer? To gain safety by showing you are weak, that kind of safety will always depend on others, and always be temporary. If he just wants to be safe, our Han Han can totally close his blog, quit writing, focus on racing, and be a bystander. But is that Han Han? Have you read Han Han’s original words? He just cannot be indifferent when facing those injustices. You do not understand Han Han. Han Han understands his own situation clearly. He knows his position. Han Han is proud of being a candidate for Time’s 100. Although more supporters will not guarantee his safety, but behind Han Han there is a tremendous force of justice. If anyone wants to hurt Han Han, he must consider the consequences. This is the power of justice, the power of the people, coming from you, me and he/she… You can get rid of a small potato and no one will know. But to do this to a globally-recognized figure would go against the conscience of the world!!!

新浪网友2010-04-08 06:33:41 [举报] 对于呼吁不要给韩寒投票的人,如果你是五·毛,请继续努力。如果不是,那么请听我说: 就算韩寒0票。影响力为0。那就安全了么? 通过示弱求的的安全,永远都只是别人的施舍。永远都只是暂时的。 如果想保安全,我们的韩寒完全可以关闭博客,停笔不写,专心开车,打打酱油。 可这是韩寒么?你知道韩寒的原话是什么么?他就是做不到面对种种不平等不公正而无动于衷。 你不了解韩寒。韩寒对自己的状况很清楚,定位很明确。韩寒对于自己成为时代100候选人很自豪。 虽然不见得支持者多就能保证安全,但韩寒身后那股巨大的难以估量的正义力量,使得任何人想对韩寒不利时,都不得不考虑事情的影响。这是正义的力量,来自民众的力量,来自于你,我,他~~ 对一个无名小卒下手,神不知鬼不觉。但对一个世界知名人士下手,是冒天下之大不韪的!!!

*Han Han does have influence. He not only influenced me, who is not easily influenced by others, but he has also influenced overseas Chinese. In my last trip back to the US, attending a friends gathering of old overseas students who are now US residents, the only Chinese name being talked about was Han Han. Everyone pays attention to him. I could not remember in the past decade which intellectual had this much attention. The director of the Olympics Opening Ceremony, Zhang Yimou, can he really count? Those Overseas Chinese who won Nobel prizes, no one knows their names. Science has a limited audience; ideas can surpass all boundaries.


*In China, it seems that no one else has this much influence. No wonder the Party is very alert about Han Han. But I hope, his influence can grow stronger and stronger.


*I think if one day, something happens to Han Han, I will go on the street with my head held high, for Han Han.

新浪网友2010-04-08 06:45:33 [举报] 我想如果有一天,韩寒有什么不测,我会愿意为了韩寒,挺直脊梁,走上街头!

*I can’t believe that you have updated your post so fast? Oh, I want to say, all the glory, perseverance, and everything is because of you. We can only quietly support you – a young and great hero in my heart.

真没想到你这次更新的这么快 呃,我想说 所有的坚韧,荣耀,一切的一切只是因为你是韩寒,而我们只愿默默的支持着你,我心中小小的伟大英雄、

*I Iove you.

新浪手机网友2010-04-09 12:38:37 [举报] 我爱你

*Master Han, I support you for ever!

pppp2010-04-09 12:46:01 [举报] 韩帅,永远支持你!

*Are you physically safe?

新浪手机网友2010-04-09 12:45:55 [举报] 你人身安全吗?

*You are a man with a pen, but you are not small. Because your view represents the values and judgement of the majority of ordinary citizens who are not rich and powerful.

新浪网友2010-04-08 08:37:09 [举报] 你是一介书生,但并不涉小,因为你的观点代表了大部分非权非贵的普通公民的价值观是非观

*I have no words. Just supporting you.

新浪网友2010-04-08 11:23:41 [举报] 啥也不说了,直接顶

*Everyone, if one day Han Han becomes Wen Yiduo. What should we do?

先知2010-04-08 01:37:20 [举报] 大家说说,如果哪一天韩寒成了闻一多怎么办??

*I will go on the street for him. To be a silent Chinese no more!

新浪网友2010-04-08 02:24:58 [举报] 我会为他走上街头,不再做沉默的中国人!

*Even Han Han becomes a sensitive word, no matter. Because he has enlightened a large number of citizens in the new era. Han Han is going far, and citizens are awakening up.

tianshiok882010-04-08 11:37:44 [举报] 即便韩寒真的被敏感词了,也无所谓了。 因为,他已经唤醒了一大批新时代的公民。 韩寒在远去,公民在清醒。

*Your head is clear. This is good. No one can touch you.

language02202010-04-08 11:33:14 [举报] 头脑清醒着呢。这样好,谁也不能把你怎么着了。

*I think that one day if I have a son, I will name him Han, and educate him about the meaning of this name!

贵港人2010-04-07 06:44:04 [举报] 想想以后有了儿子,就给他起个寒字,教育他,这个寒字的意义!

*Han Han, supporting you is supporting the Chinese nation! We are all making progress, and we are all waking up. I only vote for you, and only represent my own conscience. I will continue to buy your books, to show my support for you, and to all the others.

贵港人2010-04-07 06:23:43 [举报] 韩寒,支持你就是支持我们中华民族!我们都在进步,我们都在觉醒。我只给你投一票,是只代表我自己的良心,我还会继续买你的书,是对你的支持,也是对所有人的支持。

*What about millions of netizens in Xinjiang, still living in the “closed doors and dogs are out” situation…..

新浪手机网友2010-04-08 11:39:00 [举报] 还有*新*疆*的百万网民,依然在被“关门放狗”中……

*I want to read Han Han’s magazine.

夜丝弦2010-04-08 11:42:08 [举报] 我想要看韩寒的杂志~

*Go Han Han Go.

吉他_上海2010-04-08 11:46:18 [举报] 韩寒加油.

*I do not know whether Han Han influenced Time. But Han Han influenced me.

雨上2010-04-08 11:36:50 [举报] 我不知道韩寒有没有影响时代!但韩寒影响了我。

*Brother Han, take it easy If you keep on writing like this, you are not far from Qincheng prison. [QIncheng prison is the prison known for holding political prisoners.]

新浪网友2010-04-08 11:34:21 [举报] 寒哥,悠着点,再这么写下去,估计你离进秦城没几天了!……

*Han Han is a real patriot, and he is a great patriot. Facing pressure of the River Crabs and the misunderstanding of others, including slander, he presses forward. How many people can understand his sincerity…

Some places [Note: Xinhua’s Development Forum which recently published several “netizens commentaries” putting a negative spin on the story of Han Han as candidate for Time Magazine’s influential people list] said that the great number of netizens questioning Han Han being a candidate for Time’s Influential People list. Ha ha. In fact we should all have sympathy for “the great number of netizens”. Because on the issue of Han Han, how can the great party let us see those “great number of netizens” who are not questioning? Ha ha. The great party can only manufacture some “great number of netizens” to cover their own fear!

新浪网友2010-04-08 05:58:49 [举报] 韩寒是一个真正的爱国者,而且是一个伟大的爱国者,面对河蟹打压,面对一些人误解,乃至抹黑与中伤,他依然坚持向前,只是赤子情怀几人能懂…. 有些地方说广大网民质疑韩寒入选时代,呵呵,其实大家应该体谅“广大网民”,因为在韩寒的问题上,伟大的D怎么可能让我们看到不表示质疑的“广大网民”那?呵呵 伟大的D也只有靠制造一些“广大网民”来给自己找找台阶,壮壮胆了!

*“Let the sunshine in. That kind of light, no one can extinguish it again. ” The best sentence of our time.

tianshiok882010-04-08 11:33:58 [举报] 当阳光洒进来的时候,那种光明,将再也没有人能摁灭。 ——这个时代最佳的句子。

*I could not hold back my tears when I read the last sentence.


*Chorus of Solos. Please publish it quickly.

新浪手机网友2010-04-08 11:29:10 [举报] 独唱团啊!快出啊!

*I want to cast a solemn vote for Han Han. It is the first time I have cast a meaningful vote in my life. Ironically, not in China, but in Time magazine.

新浪网友2010-04-08 11:28:29 [举报] 我要为韩寒投上庄重的一票,人生第一次投有意义的票。讽刺的是,不是在中国,而是在时代周刊..

*There is a big difference between loving the country and loving the Party!

新浪网友2010-04-13 22:43:26 [举报] 爱国和爱D区别很大的!!!

*To support Han Han is to support ourselves!

新浪网友2010-04-13 22:50:12 [举报] 顶韩寒就是顶自己!

*I feel Han Han is a very kind person.


*Support you, Han Han! Although there will be much trouble and difficulties ahead of you, you have our support. You are not alone!

新浪网友2010-04-13 22:53:17 [举报] 支持你,韩寒!虽然你面前有很多困难和麻烦, 但是有我们的支持,你并不孤独!!!

*Great soul. Great character. Han Han is the pride of our times! Han Han is the pride of Chinese!

新浪网友2010-04-13 22:34:42 [举报] 伟大的人格和灵魂,韩寒是这个时代的骄傲!!是中国人的骄傲!!

*Go to the Time magazine [website], vote for citizen Han Han who speaks out for the poor and the weak. The url and voting instructions are on my blog. I also have a brief introduction on how to translate a web page into Chinese, and how to post on the Time website. The latest news, Han Han is currently ranked number 5. Go quick everyone. The deadline is the end of April.

I have always thought that it is unimaginable to be a martyr, to die for something higher than oneself. But now, I suddenly discover that I am willing to give my life to defend Han Han – a man with courage and integrity.

xxhtjmu华仔2010-04-13 22:31:21 [举报] 去 时代 杂志,给为穷人,弱势群体说话呐喊的公民韩寒投票,网址和方法我空间里有。 还简要介绍如何将网页翻译成中文,如何在时代网页发帖。 最最新消息,韩寒已经升至第5。大家快去啊。4月底截止。


Unlike Han Han’s other blog posts, which are frequently deleted, this post has remained intact for three weeks (although many comments have been deleted.) Please visit Han Han’s blog on to read over 25,000 reader comments on this article, which has so far been viewed by more that 1.2 million people. The article has also been widely reposted online; Google search finds more than 45,000 links reposting all or part of the essay.

Read at CDT English

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