Wang Xiaofeng: Fang Zhouzi and China as a modern medieval state

Bruno didn't behave either (Wikipedia)

In late July, "science cop" Fang Zhouzi, known for exposing academic and scientific fraud, was attacked by thugs wielding an iron hammer and anesthetic spray. The case has been widely reported in Chinese and western media, and most commentary has called for the capture of his attackers. In a blog post that labels China a modern medieval state, journalist and author Wang Xiaofeng writes that it's most important to identify not the attackers, but their accomplice.

Who is the accomplice?

by Wang Xiaofeng/ translated by Julian Smisek

Professor Fang was attacked. People are all very upset and wish the police to capture his assailant. I feel this will be hard. Even if the police capture someone, my guess is it won't be the mastermind behind the attack. In the end, a scapegoat will be locked away for a couple of years. He'll certainly receive considerable compensation given that he probably has a lot of nasty things to say about the true culprit.

Looking at how the attack proceeded, I would guess that the assailant was incited to attack Fang Zhouzi severely enough to render him brain-dead, but not actually kill him. A brain-dead Fang Zhouzi could not continue to expose fraud. Most fundamentally, by at least wounding Professor Fang, the attack served as a warning, with the goal of deterrence.

Still, I think Professor Fang is quite fortunate. While he may have suffered a physical attack, know this: in this most harmonious of societies, human life isn't valued, human dignity isn't respected, and human rights aren't guaranteed. Killing Fang Zhouzi would be as easy as killing an ant. Sometimes China really seems like a modern medieval state. Although there's no one who's able to burn people at the stake like Giordano Bruno, there are many people who's way of thinking is quite similar to those who orchestrated Bruno's death. If the medieval period was one of science resisting the ignorance of religion, then today's most harmonious China is one of science resisting the ignorance of extreme profiteering. The market for ignorance is much too large. And so Fang Zhouzi and those others who for good or for bad want to give it an overhaul are being warned, "you better behave yourselves."

I'm not a bit curious about the identities of the mastermind or perpetrators. What I'm interested in is, who is the accomplice?

August 30, 2010

Selected netizen responses
Low key:


Country girl:
Hecaitou is all talk.

The accomplice is the silent majority, the corrupt majority, the indifferent majority who have become ridiculously accustomed to their selfishness and conceit.


Cousin, it seems that Fang Zhouzi once called you brain-dead...

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There are currently 2 Comments for Wang Xiaofeng: Fang Zhouzi and China as a modern medieval state.

Comments on Wang Xiaofeng: Fang Zhouzi and China as a modern medieval state

It's not a good idea to translate 老师 as professor. In China in recent years everyone can called a 老师 (teacher) by someone else. Fang Zhouzi is certainly not a professor.

Could you suggest how it could be better translated? My idea was that 'professor,' like 老师,connotes a degree of deference that 'Mr.' does not. Plus, in English, 'professor' can be used playfully. Also, while 老师 directly translates to 'teacher' in English, no one ever says 'Teacher X.'

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