Han Han's Speech at Xiamen University Print
Think Tank
China Uncensored Staff   

Famous Chinese blogger, Han Han, was invited to talk at Xiamen University on February 2010.

Due to severe censorship and frequent cruel persecution, Chinese people have to try very hard to express themselves but also avoid being cuffed by the authority. In their speech, writing and other type of creative works, like Ai Weiwei, they often use a round about way to express what they really wanted to say.

Here is Han Han's speech at Xiamen University:

Hello, everybody. It’s the second time I am in Xiamen, the air’s clean, no wonder everybody likes to walk. (Chinese activists use "to walk" as a way to express their support of going to the street to protest.-Ed)

Just now, when teacher Deng mentioned something about patriotism, two lines came to my mind, not from me though, from others. The first one  is “patriotism is the last sanctuary for scumbags”, and the second one is “the real patriotism is to protect the country from any kind of persecution by the government”.

Today I’ve prepared for the speech, I brought a script, to restrain myself in case you guys get persecuted because of my irresponsible speech.

Here we go.

All leaders, all teachers and students: How are you. Do you know why  China couldn’t become a cultural power? Because in most of our speeches, “leaders” always come first, and our leaders are all illiterate. Moreover, they are scared of culture (or knowledge), but their job is to censor culture, so they can control culture. How can a country (controlled by these people) become a cultural power? What do you say, leaders?

Actually China has the potential to become a big cultural figure, let me tell you a story. I served as a chief editor for a magazine that couldn’t manage to publish until now. The constitution bestows us with the freedom of the press, on the other hand our laws bestow our leaders with the freedom of preventing you from exercising the freedom of the press. Something in the magazine couldn’t pass the censorship — there is a cartoon, about a man, who doesn’t wear any clothes—of course this is unbearable, because relevant laws and regulations specify that we can not put the private parts on public magazines, I understand this, so I cover the illegitimate part with a super big logo of the magazine. Suddenly publisher and people from the censoring team say it’s not okay either, they say “now you covered the middle part of the person, it is a parody on our party central committee (挡中央=covering the middle, 党中央=party central committee, both pronounce the same). My reaction was just like you guys – hit by thunder. I thought to myself, my friend, it would be so much better if you invest such brilliant imagination into literary and artistic creation instead of censoring.

The story tells us that people are full of imagination. Of course lots of things can only stay in our minds, we cannot carry them out, we cannot write about them, most of the time we cannot even talk about them. We bear too many restrains, this is a rated country (like rated movie), how can it be possible for a rated country to foster abundant culture? I am a comrade with rather few self-restraints, however when I write I still cannot help but keep in mind avoiding writing this policeman, this leader, this policy, this regulation, and this legislation; skipping many histories, Tibet, Xinjiang, demonstrations; not touching fads, pornography, boycotting, arts, but elegance is what I am incapable of. I am really incapable of that field, I am not Yu Qiuyu (also writer).

The pieces I put on the net are free. Many screen writers I know, like Ning Caishen who writes plays, and some script writers for drama, they suffer a lot. I am thinking how a country with a cultural environment like this can ever manage to become a cultural primacy. Unless there is only China, North Korea and Afghanistan left on the earth. North Korea is a cultural prohibited land, no question about that. Afghanistan cannot spare to manage culture when they are not clear about their own situation. Even so, there is writer who published The Kite Runner, but regretfully the book isn’t published in Afghanistan either. I think it is not impossible for Afghanistan to exceed China once they clear their domestic mess.

We should not stick to the Four Classic Novels or those Confucius stuffs during our so-called international communication, we all know that,  it’s like the girl ask about your wealth in a blind date, and you say your ancestors are rich. It is useless. The making of the tragedy has nothing to do with you guys. Though saying has it that the route to North Korea is built by everybody’s silence. But on the one hand we are much stronger than North Korea, because we all know what it looks like; on the other hand, I believe most of you guys are not silent, you are just harmonized, that is all.

In the history of China’s pornography extermination, I think most of you know – you are college students after all, though these contents are gone in nowadays textbooks—that Teresa Teng (邓丽君) and Liu Wen Cheng (刘文正) are pornographic, low and obscene, just because the number of people who listen to their music increase, later when the whole country are listening to them, they are immediately not low nor obscene. Only when we fight against cultural censorship, free phrases and words from the “blocked words base” except those of anti-humanity, could it be possible to make our country a cultural power. Even if your names and my name go into the base, I believe there is a ceiling in the shield words base and every time a new word goes in, it pushes closer to the ceiling and crashing the whole thing down.

So I hope our workers in the press, our students and teachers, every one who loves and engages in culture including every webmaster can make an effort to decrease the amount of censorship and relieve words and webs that are blocked. I also hope that our leaders – mind that these leaders are different from you guys – and our government can be confident enough to let go the culture. I know that our leaders like to export our culture, this is a sign of a powerful country, but the thing is, the available cultures are too humble to go outside. When our writers write, they are self-censoring every second, how can any presentable works be possible when they are born under such environment? In the whole world, you castrate all of the works like news reports and present them to the foreigners, hoping it would sell, are foreigners aliens to you?

Whether China is a economic strong player I don’t know, no conclusion can be drawn until the our real estate crashes; but if a country grows big in culture, then it is a powerful country in real sense, and I see no risk of crashing ever for a country like this.

Let me come back to the blocked words base, the more entries it has, the weaker the country’s culture becomes. But our government can justify themselves, they tell you it is to protect our teenagers, to maintain society stability. Culture is boundless, so they have the right to block any information and culture that harm our teens and sabotage society stableness. If you nod to this, then someday sooner or later when you are accusing about your mistreatment, you will find yourself blocked with the charge of sabotaging society's stabilty. In the end, whoever poses threats to the administrating party or their benefits will be condemned with the charges of harming teenagers and sabotaging society's stabilty.

If we become supporters of the Green Dam Project at that time, we will find culture is not the only thing dying. So guys, we can not let this day come, otherwise we will all become jokes on the e-history-book our grand children receive from satellites.

Thank you all.