Posted by Jeremy Goldkorn on Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 9:09 AM
Bad boy novelist, blogger and racing car driver recently posted some thoughts about Chinese media coverage of the recent school attacks in China, titled "Children, you're spoiling grandpa's fun." The blog post was soon deleted by the blog nannies at Sina.com, but not before Julian Smisek translated it:
Children, you're spoiling grandpa's funby Han Han, translated by Julian Smisek
A man hacked up 32 children at Taixing nursery school. It's not clear whether any of them were killed. Because this news came so soon after the last attack on Nanping nursery school, I actually thought it was the same school.
In these recent attacks, the twisted murderers have all chosen to attack nursery schools and elementary schools, believing this to be the best way to exact their revenge on society. It has become fashionable to go to nursery schools and elementary schools and kill people. There, the murderer faces the least resistance and can kill the most people, causing us to feel the greatest pain and panic. This is indeed the most effective method to exact revenge on society.
With the exception of Yang Jia [a man who killed six police at a Shanghai police department in 2008], nearly every murderer has chosen to attack the weak. In a society without an exit, killing weaker people has become their only exit. I propose that local governments across the country send their building security guards to protect nursery schools. A government that can't protect children doesn't need that many guards.
These murders have mostly come about because society is unjust and unfair. Yes, justice should be made more glorious than the sun. That said, the sun doesn't come out every day. Haven't there been a bit too many cloudy days and dark nights? Saying justice should be more glorious than the sun isn't impressive. What's impressive is every minute the sun shines on your head.
News about the Taixing nursery school homicide has been controlled. These children were born at the wrong time [unlucky], and died at an even worse one. According to relevant departments, within this festive atmosphere [the opening of the Shanghai Expo], this incident should be categorized as noise. We know only that 32 children were injured during the Taixing nursery school incident. Government and hospital officials repeatedly emphasize that not a single child died, but word on the street is that many did. Tell me, who should I believe? You say, 'believe the government.' Well, then why have they forbidden parents from seeing their children? Why have have they blocked off the hospitals and the news. There aren't pictures or videos of the kids. Moreover, if a knife-wielding attacker hacks up 32 people and not a single person died, is he a murderer or a surgeon? That's just too careful. You say, 'believe the word on the street.' But, rumors are always exaggerated. We have no pictures and we have no truth. We can't believe those either. I did an internet search for 'Taixing', and the only results that appeared were official government taking points. So, I searched for 'Taizhou,' and the only news piece that appeared was "Taizhou's three lucky blessings." That was on April 30th.
I'm totally astonished. By blocking off information and the hospital, controlling the media, prohibiting visits, and changing the subject, the Taizhou government has successfully diverted our anger from the killer onto themselves. What's the point of all this? You assume they must have some motive. Actually, they don't -- except to conform with the World Expo's "Harmonious Gathering" [a song sung by Jackie Chan and Song Zuying during the opening ceremony]. This is only government inertia. It's just how the government handles similar incidents. They have a seven step process: something happens in the middle of their meal. They cover it up, and pull it aside, get rid of the media, ban mention of it, issue official talking points, hand out some money, and cremate it. They then continue with their meal.
If it's true that no one died, lift the ban on the media and allow the parents to visit their children. It seems that you'll only be happy if this becomes a group incident.
Actually, a lot of group incidents start like this: the government holds in its fist a 1 RMB coin that it took from some ordinary people. The people say they don't want it back, but they want to see that it's there. The government is simply unwilling, no matter what, to open its hand. It says that it's already told them that there's a 1 RMB coin in there. But, the people are worried and say that it isn't a big deal to just show them the coin. So then the government invites its servant, Xinhua News. The servant says that although it too hasn't seen the coin, it can indeed confirm that the coin is there. 'It's enough for you to hear it from me, others shouldn't spread rumors.' After this the government says, 'alright my servant's confirmed it. Now get lost.' The people get angry and call over several friends. The friends then tell passersby that someone has stolen money and is unwilling to return it. More and more people arrive at the scene, with the government standing in the center. It is still clutching the coin in its fist, incessantly saying that it has a 1 RMB coin, and that you shouldn't listen to rumors -- otherwise you might be arrested according to the law. This incites the crowd, which says, 'who are you, as someone whose inner character is that of a thief, to threaten me with arrest?' The law can't be enforced when so many people are violating it. More people are called over. When they arrive they recognize who's clutching the coin. 'He's the guy who's bullied us.' Everyone begins to attack, until -- at the last moment -- the government finally opens its hand and says, 'look!' But by that point it's no longer important whether he has 1 RMB or 50 cents -- the situation is already out of control.
Their method of handling problems isn't more or less noble than the murderer's. It's not surprising that a nursery school hung a banner that said, 'if you want answers, go around the corner to the left and ask the government.' (I can see people objecting, saying that with regard to the news and media, the Taizhou government does not have any jurisdiction. I think everybody knows this. However according to the law, critism of the government can at most go up to the city level (not including directly-government cities), so for now we can only limit our speculation to the Taizhou city government -- with the mayor being the highest person responsible. As long as the city's party secretary doesn't get into trouble, this speculation should be considered correct).
Within the short span of a month, there have been five attacks on school campuses. Within the short span of a week, there have been two, on the 29th of April in Taixing and 30th of April in Weifang. I don't want to investigate the social reasons; I just want to tell everyone that it's only here that it isn't considered social news when a person breaks into a nursery school and hacks up 32 kids. Together, 32 kids is greater than a 100 year-old kid.
Children, you were hacked up and not one newspaper wrote about you because a few hundred kilometers away, a festival had begun. There, hundreds of millions of fireworks were being set off, while at your home in Taizhou, the city celebrated an international tourism festival, trade talks, and the opening of an overseas Chinese town -- the three lucky blessings.
Perhaps in the eyes of those grandpas, you are too depressing.
Pitiful children, you are the ones that were poisoned by powdered milk. You are the ones that were hurt by vaccinations. You are the ones who were crushed to death by earthquakes. You are the ones were were burned to death. Even though it was adults whose regulations caused the problems, you were the ones who were attacked by a knife-wielding adult bent on repaying society. I hope that what the Taizhou government says is true, that you all have only been hurt and that not one of you is dead. After the elderly have lost their jobs and you have grown up, I hope that you not only protect your own children, but also make this society protect all children.
Note: After his blog post was deleted, Han Han published a short note titled "." and containing only the text: "Grandpas, please enjoy yourselves."
Correction: With help from some readers, this translation was edited for accuracy on May 6th, 2010.
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