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Posted by Eric Mu on Wednesday, June 18, 2008 at 5:20 PM
A poem written by Wang Zhaoshan (王兆山), vice-chairman of the Shandong Writer's Association, recently caused controversy. The poem was obviously intended as praise for the government, particularly its efforts in the quake relief, but it was so badly-written some found it more disgraceful than flattering.
The poem was originally published in the June 6 issue of Qilu Evening News, a newspaper circulated mainly in Shandong Province. In the poem, Wang impersonated a victim expressing his gratitude to the government from his grave:
Here is fairly literal translation:
Aside from the questionable quality of the writing, many readers found it offensive that the poem attempts to flatter the government using the voice of quake victims. However, it is hardly surprising: the China Writer's Association is a government agency and the writers, who receive stipends from the government, are obliged to offer up their services whenever called upon. If you are wondering what good this association serves, this English language Xinhua story may give you a clue:
Wang Zhaoshan reading his poem
In response to Wang Zhaoshan's poem, popular writer Han Han has quoted this poem on his blog with the caption, "I was lucky that I didn't join the Writer's Association." Li Zhongqin, who was once a member of the Shandong Writer's Association, recently announced his decision to relinquish his membership. The reason given on his blog is that he felt ashamed to be associated with vice-chairman Wang.
The relevance and usefulness of Writer's Association has been questioned in recent years despite the fact that it is the only such organization in China. This incident is apparently a blow to the Association's already shaky reputation.
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