Books

Dissidents and their activities

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Liu Xiaobo: The Man and his Deeds

"Who is Liu Xiaobo?" asks the English translation of an unflattering article about the most recent Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

The Chinese title of the article is 刘晓波其人其事, or something like "Liu Xiaobo: The Man and His Deeds."

This also happens to be the title of a book published in September 1989 to inform the reading public of Liu's outrageous words and criminal activities. From the preface:

To help readers better understand Liu Xiaobo's negative example, we have put together this pamphlet, Liu Xiaobo: The Man and His Deeds. The book is divided into three sections. The first section contains writing that exposes and criticizes Liu Xiaobo and his activities. Most of these pieces have been previous published in newspapers and magazines. The second section is a profile of Liu. The piece was published before the student movement and unrest, and although it contains language that overly flatters, admires, and praises Liu, the reader can still glimpse within it the threads of Liu's character and ideas. The third section is an appendix that includes extracts of Liu Xiaobo's reactionary remarks, a selection of his writings, and an interview that he gave to a Hong Kong journalist. These texts were all published openly, and some of them appeared in overseas periodicals. Each piece that has been included in the present volume is accompanied by an editors' note to provide the reader with background information.

Master poet Tao Yuanming of the Eastern Jin wrote these lines: "Share in remarkable writing, and study together the unclear points." Writings by Liu Xiaobo selected for this volume could be called the remarkable anti-communist writings of a reactionary mad-man. We share them with the reader in the hopes of studying and criticizing them together, so that this poisonous weed can be uprooted and turned into fertilizer to grow and solidify the ground of our socialist spiritual civilization.

Beginning with Liu-specific excerpts of Beijing Mayor Chen Xitong's report on the 6-4 incident, the book (the text of which is widely available online) blasts Liu's scholarship and commentary, including his views on the controversial TV drama River Elegy (河殇), colonialism, the role of intellectuals, and Achesonian "democratic individualism."

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Exiled "Elite" and Their Activities

The third appendix contains the full text of Liu's 1988 interview with Hong Kong's Liberation Monthly, which is the source of the widely-quoted line about 300 years of colonialism (as well as the expensive bottle of wine mentioned in the recent critical article).

The China Youth Publishing House, which published the book, followed up a few years later with a volume recording the misdeeds of a collection of well-known public figures who fled the country in the wake of the events of 1989. Here's the cover blurb from Exiled "Elite" and Their Activities (亡命“精英”其人其事), published in May 1991:

The surging of the tide inevitably brings sunken sludge to the surface. In late Spring 1989, a gang of "elites" burst out blowing smoke and stirring up trouble, and for a time, a dark fog of chaos enshrouded the sacred land. But just as Mount Qing cannot block the river's inevitable eastward flow, before long those "elites" became fugitives.

Yan Jiaqi, Wan Runnan, Liu Binyan, Su Shaozhi, Wuer Kaixi, Chai Ling, Feng Congde, Yue Wu -- what are these "earth-shaking" individuals up to now? Have they realized their errors and mended their ways? Or are they still obstinately following their own lonely path?

Like the Liu Xiaobo book, Exiled "Elite" is a compilation of interviews, news reports, and essays that attempts to let the subjects defeat themselves with their own words.

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Li Hongzhi: The Man and His Deeds

The book also includes, in an appendix, the text of Gao Xingjian's 6·4-themed play, Fugitives (逃亡). Although the book, with a print run of around 20,000 copies, was not a best-seller, it still made the text available to readers in the days before contraband information could circulate freely on the Internet.

Today, perhaps because the full text of "Charter 08" is easily obtainable online, an attack on Liu Xiaobo does not need to include it as an appendix. Or maybe the authors of the latest look at the man and his deeds are worried about possible side-effects: a thread on the online forum Tianya discussing the two books contains a comment that reads, "I've got a copy. And that was the book that pushed my thinking in a 'reactionary' direction."

Judging from a roundup of other biographies that employ "the man and his deeds" (其人其事) in the title, the formula appears to be intended to pull back the curtain on the wickedness of the man and the awful deeds he has done.

Here's a selection:

  • Bernie Madoff (麦道夫其人其事): Madoff: The Man and His Deeds is the title used for a translation of Adam LeBor's The Believers.
  • Sergey Nechayev (圣徒抑或恶魔? 涅恰耶夫其人其事): The subtitle to Dong Xiao's 2008 biography of the 19th-Century radial Russian anarchist, Saint or Demon? is "Nechayev: The Man and His Deeds".
  • The 14th Dalai Lama (事实与真相――十四世达赖喇嘛丹增嘉措其人其事): The full title of this 2003 biography by Tang Jiawei, Facts and the Truth: The 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso and His Activities, combines "deeds" with another element frequently employed in the titles of for exposés: "Truth" (真相).
  • Li Hongzhi (李洪志其人其事): The dastardly cult leader is given the full treatment, including a cover caricature, in this volume put out by the People's Fine Arts Publishing House in 1999.
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There are currently 1 Comments for Dissidents and their activities.

Comments on Dissidents and their activities

This makes my eyeballs feel dirty! I know people have a lot of opinions about Chai Ling, but Liu Binyan was a socialist and a populist until the day he died. He's a reminder that actually believing in the ideals of the CCP is foremost on the long, long list of crimes that the government will punish you for.

These publications show every sign of disgusting even the people that write them. No wonder they have an effect on readers that's opposite of what's intended.

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