Danwei.org recently carried a very thought-provoking lecture by the Chinese heavy-metal (and now media consultant) pioneer Kaiser Kuo about Chinese and American “confrontations in cyber-space.” (The Danwei post and the streaming video of the lecture are available here.) In it, the author describes briefly the need for more “bridge blogging,” which I define as bloggers translating one another’s work, doing the kind of connecting that is necessary to show that the Great Firewall of China, and the language barriers, are not so formidable as once thought.
So apparently when I translate BBS comments from Chinese “netizens” on Huanqiu Shibao stories about North Korea, it counts as bridge blogging. China Smack has made a virtual industry of this, focusing on the most salaciously interesting tidbits of the Chinese internet. For some reason they seem to think that nothing is more important in China than prostitution crackdowns.
(But for colorful oeverage on Chinese scandal, nothing tops Andrew Jacobs’ recent work as the correspondent for the old paper beast, the New York Times, in Chongqing. Not only does Jacobs quote my colleague Sidney Rittenberg [who is back in Tacoma today] in this story, he writes like a God. If only our translations from the Chinese were so felicitious!)
But when Chinese internet users (which according to Kaiser Kuo number now 338 million, more than the entire population of the entire USA) arrive in this space and mix it up, then we have achieved something. I think that’s “bridge blogging.”
One recent prolix Chinese commentator arrived not long ago at the august gates of the Sinologistical Violoncellist, and left a number of comments. His name is He Jian, and he has a very distinctive prose (and, I would imagine, personal) style. I did a little looking around and found that he appears to be a 30-year old Christian democratic reformer in Shanghai whose writings have been suppressed.
In frustration at having his magnum opus, entitled 《何健语录》 (The Annals of He Jian), suppressed, he posted this poem on the Radio Free Asia website. Here is the original, followed by my rough translation. It is full of puns!
The Pirate Bay的海盗沦为共匪了；
and it ends with his tagline, already seen here on this blog——摘自《何健语录》，欢迎转载，谢谢支持！ [From “Annals of He Jian,” Welcome Recopying, Thanks for Support!]
And my translation:
“Annals of He Jian” Current Investigation of Mainland Internet
Under the pressure strike of the Chinese Communist Party:
Google has been castrated （The “oo” in google are two testes, and once cut and dropped, “ggle” is all that’s left）；
Microsoft’s bing has gotten sick；
Apple has fallen；
Yahoo has become hoarse；
BBC back to back, now can’t be seen；
youtube, you ran away；
America Online（AOL） has suddenly dropped the line；
Amazon’s attitude has become shady；
adobe has died a violent death；
facebook has been crippled （it can’t avoid death）；
myspace sold my body （this time I can’t tell Deng Wendi）；
Double Click’s eggs turned into double chickens （as if two Shanghai beauties went to look for Japanese men with whom to discuss their price）；
Flickr had an unlucky year；
The Pirate Bay was boarded by Communist bandits on the high seas；
the friends in friendster all fell dead；
Orkut has no computer options；
In Hulu, one begins to read of “elegant” medicine；
joost: this pig is dead；
Blinkx can’t transmigrate its soul or die （in the early evening it was captured and killed by communist bandits)；
Tudou has been boiled and has begun to be eaten by the communist bandits；
hi5 is drinking liquid waste；
On Taobao, one can’t find any commemorations of June 4 culture’
On Ali Baba one can find even less；
Weather has also begun to report only the good news；
As for Baidu、QQ、Sina、Sohu、and 163.com? These are truly the CCP’s Five Brave Tiger Generals。
twitter still hasn’t been turned evil by the communist bandits! But I (He Jian) already perceive that the day is not far away.
but boxun’s high-spirited erection of a new era has begun；
the People’s Daily has been seen by all the people.
The People’s Daily and Kim Jong Il will soon be in Hades.
Dell resists Green Dam — good！
Toshiba does not put on the Green Skirt — ！
HP doesn’t need the Green to be graceful in the summertime！
Hitachi doesn’t need Green shoes！
CNN is still CNN and hasn’t turned into cartoon-network — really great！
Of course, these are just a few.
There is certainly a lot of truth to what he says but his writing style is seriously turning me (and I’d like to think that I am not alone here) off. There are just way too many Hejians out there these days making all sorts of noise. Just noise in my humble opinion. For much better, much more thoughtful and much more fluid anti-CCP rants and comments, I recommend Wuer Kaxi.
Wuer Kaixi is blogging? I suppose I should not be suprised. I wonder if Kaiser Kuo’s writings will be to your taste; he is working on a book about online interactions which may be of interest. I like your phrase “fluid anti-CCP rants”; they must exist somewhere!
And sure there is a lot of huffing and puffing here, but he is expansive in the sense that covers a great deal of ground rather quickly, and, at least, carves out a certain personal space in the great ocean of anonymity that is the internet. I still get a kick out of these writings, if only because they are a bit of relief from the Ai Weiwei worship that I seem to be picking up from the German press. (Perhaps I should make glossy photos of Ai’s brain scan, set up a shop in Berlin, and sell them to the good people of Kreuzberg, thus assuring them of their avant-gardeness in the face of gentrifation [thus protecting them from snide single-source articles in Le Monde] and their belief in the freedom of the oppressed Chinese people.) Of course, I am being a bit snide — in fact I’m impressed by the intensity of the focus brought to matters Chinese by the educated German public (which is to say a large portion of the German public, which isn’t to say their China media coverage doesn’t have serious problems of emphasis).
Don’t even get me started on the Germans these days. There is something seriously wrong with them, I suppose. Oh well, that’s a discussion for another day.
Wuer Kaixi’s blog is here: http://wuerkaixi.com/. As much as I don’t agree with him on 80% of things, he is an excellent writer and thinker. Much better than He Jian’s 网络流氓文学.
Thanks for the link, JCM.
The German-China relationship is completely fascinating; I think not enough attention is paid to it in the US. For so long it appeared they weren’t interested in changing China’s internal dynamics, but now there is intense concern over Tibet in particular. Human rights groups and groups concerned with historical reconciilaition are often at odds with the business community (companies like VW and Lufthansa) who just want to keep things quiet and moving with the Chinese. Classical music is a wonderful way to do this.
Lately there has been some action on the German-Tibet front that I am working up, hopefully putting out in a week or so.
On a separate topic, I have been blanching a bit at the One Free Korea stuff today, which is way, way over the top. I think in general people of differing viewpoints should be sharing information with one another, as in some respects we are all engaged in common problems, but then again maybe that is too much to ask.
The Germans have all of sudden become the most self-righteous of all, coming off as big-time jerks carrying huge stick lambasting China on all fronts. I for one didn’t see this one coming, they totally caught me by surprise. The Germans seem to be so keen on replacing the US as the “champion of freedom and beacon of democracy” these days, they are trying SO hard (too hard, IMO) as if they were worried about not being seen by others as eager enough to break away from their treacherous past of the Nazi era. It seems that because they carried so much baggage from the past that they must show everyone how they have repented their sins and how they have become the new Germans, people who occupy the moral high ground nowadays, people who proudly uphold freedom, democracy, human rights and everything “good” about us human beings. Along the way the Germans unfortunately have become so unreasonable, so assertive, so self-righteous and such an obnoxiously condescending bunch that even a pro-German guy like me could no longer tolerate. That’s it! The hell with the Germans. I will get rid of my three aging German jerseys and root for England instead in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa! 🙂
One Free Korea is increasingly becoming an one-man show. I have noticed that fewer and fewer people are leaving comments. The way it is going right now, pretty soon it is going to fade into irrelevance.
Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.