Heard on Weibo 2/19-2/25 – A plea for opening up, national secrets, and gov’t oversight

This week we have an interesting assortment for you. Before shutting himself up, an economist makes one last plea; the word to use to accuse someone who advocates change; China has a lot of “national secrets” and I bet this is one of them; the party asks you to oversee it, but you wonder how; a patriot defends his country, loud and clear; friendship cracks under fear; and what a Chinese luxury car looks like. Click date below for link to the original.

More than once I translated in this column the economist Han Zhiguo, known for speaking out on Weibo and elsewhere about how the political system in China hinders the economy. He recently hinted that he had been pressured and threatened. This week he announced his departure from Weibo and bid goodbye to nearly 4 million fans:

  • 韩志国/Han Zhiguo/(Economist)/: 【 My last Weibo post: Without political reform, there can be no market economy 】 The essence of economic reform is to open up individual rights, whereas the essence of political reform is to check and balance government power. In China, the key is that there is no mechanism for protecting individual rights, and the government power has suppressed and violated individual rights too much, too deep and for too long. Absent of political reform, power will not be curbed effectively, the process of releasing individual rights will not be able to continue, and true market economy will not be possible.

Feb.21 12:08  From Sina Weibo 标签:

Repost(10299) Comment(2630)


  • 冉云飞@ranyunfei/Ran Yunfei/(independent intellectual, renowned blogger)/: Every so often you are criticized for being “radical.” So triumphant is the critic that it is as though once the word “radical” is laid on you, nothing you have said is of any worth, the foundation of your argument collapses on contact, and you are defeated and dispatched.  On the other hand, your critics never say a thing about the atrocities of the government perpetrated over decades, they hold no principles against it and have unlimited tolerance for it. They suffer from severe Stockholm syndrome without knowing it; they even feel complacent about this mental deformation.

11:40 PM – 18 Feb 12 via web 23 Retweets 8 Favorites

Someone on Twitter said it’s long been a custom of the Chinese government to take and sell organs of executed men (via @shmueloy). In response to it, someone else tweeted:

  • Frankie@zxd123/My own experience: This was in about 1992. On the days when executions were carried out, all the operation rooms were open at the affiliated Xinqiao Hospital of the 3rd Military Medical University, waiting for donors’ kidneys to arrive for transplant. At the Air Force General Hospital, it was about the same.

7:15 PM – 19 Feb 12 via web · 7 Retweets 1 Favorite

Responding to a Xinhua report , the following post went viral on Weibo, so much so that I couldn’t locate the original post and had to be content with a repost:

  • 是非心明/The heart knows right and wrong/Shi Fei Xin Ming/(netizen)/: 【How do I keep watch on you?】Lu Xinshe (鹿心社), the newly-elected  [by the non-elected “people’s representatives”] governor of Jiangxi Province, said, “I ask the people of the entire province to keep close watch on me.” But how do the people keep watch on you? You are in charge of the newspapers, the TV stations, the internet, and the radio. You are even in charge of this post of mine. You can delete it at will and you never ask how I feel. (Repost)

Feb. 13 05:15 From Sina Weibo |Repost(5992)| Comment(1645)

In last week’s Heard on Weibo, we offered two video clips of the Iowa welcome/protest scene. The young man, who is interviewed in the second clip and is seen in the second clip standing in front of the Tibetans to try to block them with a Chinese flag, later posted comments on QQ (a Chinese messaging platform) about the event. It existed for less than a day, went viral and then disappeared, apparently not taken down by himself but by the authorities, along with any direct quote of him on Weibo. The only explanation is that the party doesn’t want to draw any more attention to that episode:   

  • 刚健兔子@cuixueqin/ “No matter how difficult it is, even the most vicious lies cannot cover the glory of the red flag, not a bit! No matter how brazenly the overseas media vilifies [China], the triumphant bugle of the Chinese people will blow forever, loud and clear!”  –From  Min Ruihao (闵芮豪)

5:00 AM – 20 Feb 12 via 5 Retweets 3 Favorites

February 20th is the first anniversary of China’s aborted “Jasmine” gathering outside a McDonald’s in Wangfujing, Beijing (北京王府井). A lot of people reminisced on Twitter about the event and its aftermath:  

  • 邓二晃晃@dc_b/: Tomorrow of last year, employees of the company where a friend of mine works were interrogated one by one by the state security police of Shenzhen (深圳), and it was because I used the company’s Wifi to go online the day before. My friend was so terrified that he broke ties with me.

7:58 PM – 20 Feb 12 via 友推  1 Retweet

  • 邝飚的灰色幽默v /Kuang Biao’s gray humor/(Cartoonist with the Nanfang Daily)/: It’s been over 30 years since China opened up. Cars here are getting better except for the wheels, or the political system…

Feb. 24 23:09 From Sina Weibo  Repost(57) | Comment(18)

Chinese-style luxury car

7 responses to “Heard on Weibo 2/19-2/25 – A plea for opening up, national secrets, and gov’t oversight”

  1. Yaxue C. says:

    美丽 and those of you who wonder what is going on with Chen Guangcheng, the blind rights lawyer locked away by the Chinese government: I was going to update you from what’s been reported, but Women’s Rights without Frontiers already did it: http://www.womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org/blog/?p=534

  2. Chopstik says:


    If you don’t mind, I am going to use Ran Yunfei’s quote from above and expand upon it a bit, albeit out of the context in which it was originally offered, in order to make a larger point. Thanks.

    And thank you (and Ms. Littlejohn) for the update on Chen Guangcheng. I hope that neither he nor his family end up as martyrs to this cause. A travesty for which those in power may find themselves in a worse situation because of the way in which he and his family have been handled.

    • Yaxue C. says:

      Of course I don’t mind, Chopstik. I assume that Ran Yunfei will be pleased that what he says has universality in it. He’s a great guy living in Chengdu (成都). He was arrested twice (for no particular actions on his part except for his writings). He used to call himself “Ran Fei” (冉匪, Bandit Ran), but he was mellow and now getting mellower.

      Why do I get a “ooops…” page when I click on your name? Isn’t it a link to your blog?

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