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China Commentary– Youthful Musings on the Environment, Culture & Development

Free Speech and Modern Media Lynchings

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Never report old news.  The news is always now, or it doesn’t sell.  If an office burned down, what are the actors doing now?  Now.  Now.  And so, in my ever expanding distance from all that I have ever learned, I’m regurgitating old news.

It took two days and one post before my blog lodged itself in the firewall of Chinese internet streams.  Shocking, really.  Such a small fish as myself, such meaningless banter.  Too many, more than I’d like, of my current posts revolve around petty (tourist) observations.  They grow increasingly trivial, less poignant and increasingly isolated.  I find this infuriating, on an inner level where I answer to my own misguided aims.  Too many sentences start with “I.”  I, for example, just regained access to my man E’s blog, where he is discussing his research guidelines to his thesis.  That’s strong.  That’s a contribution.

Unique.  That’s all I want my words to be.  Often I have thought I made a mistake in creating this blog with a known identity.  Emailing links to family and friends.  For when I really want to push the boundaries and become explicitly honest with the issues of my life, even here I have left narrow margins.

Thus tonight, I stumbled upon the rogue miscreant I could have been.  Last year, unbeknownst to me, and hopefully to most of you, there was massive news from the Chinese blogosphere emanating out of Shanghai.  A 30-something year old British man had a blog entitled “Sex and Shanghai,” posting under the name Chinabounder.  Please, please google this.

Chinabounder is as much a myth and legend as any great story of lore.  Anonymous, no one knows his true identity. And this bandit, this Zoro, sliced through Shanghai and left it reeling, making off with its prize (women) and leaving the henchman (Chinese males) infuriated and alone.  His postings contain graphic descriptions of lustful encounters with local women, and loaded rants about Chinese culture.

His site became increasingly popular.  Some envied him, some loathed him, some agreed and some didn’t.  The site got so hot (pun) that it ignited an online lynch mob, lead by some Chinese professor and hoards of Chinese who believed this “immoral” foreign scum was defiling their women and attacking the hyper-nationalist Chinese identity.  So he went underground.  Everyone was left arms in air, searching through the murk of internet dead ends, trying in vain to discover the assailant.  Thousands literally wanted to kill him.

Then, miraculously, he reappears from the depths of darkness.  Sword blazing, nostrils flaring, steed on its haunches– he burst through his words.  This time, he was angry.  He blasted China, hard.  One final assault.  And then again, he vanished.  Off into the night and not a sound.

Fascinating.  Again, google it.  But what I really want to say is this:

Despite his interesting ramblings on women, most of what he says of Chinese culture I find to be relevant and honest.  Nothing infuriates like the truth.  Nothing forces people to go underground like the truth.  Nothing.  Being honest is a one-way ticket to the bottom of the pile.  The jealous, weak-minded conformists ascend.  That’s why this world is going to shit.  A witch-hunt for a guy because he sleeps with women?  Or because he says Chinese men are sexist posing autocrats?

It reminds me of two things.  First, my good friend Marc in Taiwan who once said to me that he doesn’t adhere to any notion of cultural differences.  Just because its someone’s “culture” doesn’t mean it has the right to exist.  Small scale:  Chinese people not knowing how to wait in a damn line and mauling into the subway car before others have exited.  It just doesn’t make sense.  Broad scale:  Cutting off a women’s head in the middle of a soccer field because she left the house without a male escort.  That isn’t culture.  It’s brutality.  It’s absurdity.  The veil needs to be removed from the entire global population.  There is right and wrong and it is blindingly easy to see.

Two.  It reminds me of Ward Churchill’s post 9/11 “technocrats” comment and the current cultural blacklisting of the new book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.

Why these two things?  How in the world are they related?  Freedom of speech.  Honesty.  Cultural whitewashing and complacency among global citizens.

I don’t know if this blog will survive my time in Shanghai.  I do not know.  Maybe I will fade into insignificance, or maybe one day I will have something I deem important to say and be silenced.  I hope, then, that my rantings and ravings will be as noteworthy, as controversial, as provocative and enraging as the work of Chinabounder.

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Written by Miles

August 19, 2007 at 4:57 am

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