Neither voice is truly representative of Chinese public opinion--both are run by foreigners with agendas. (Pot, kettle, black, I know.) But oh, how good it feels that someone over there is able to look through the gilded lens of China's unsustainable economic growth, and say, on their own merits, without any of the Western influence China is all too willing to blame every time it faces dissent, "This is really fucked up. Something's got to give."
Li Chengpeng, a blogger and well-known political writer, has the audacity to challenge the Chinese Communist Party as an independent candidate for congressperson of Chengdu Province. He's not going to win--it's an open secret that the elections are rigged by the CCP. He knows this. It won't stop him from running anyway:
Some claim that Chinese do not deserve a democratic election. It reminds me of the fact that I used to consider myself an elite and liked to say things like they have been kneeling down for so long that they don’t remember the benefits of standing up. I thought what I said made me look cool and profound. But now I start to realize that they kneel down because the ceiling is too low; they have no choice. On the other hand, we kneel down as well–we just do that and pretend to be high-end. The reality is that if one has never tasted an apple, how can he/she have the knowledge of how good an apple can be? Once a person experiences the good taste of an apple, he/she will look forward to the sweet taste of all apples.
[....]Some of my close friends have been skeptical of what we can achieve by participating in this election considering the current situation in China. My response to that is as least we can let many people see what a real ballot looks like for the first time. I’ve often heard people claiming they are Chinese citizens–but how can you prove it? A national identity card can only prove that the cooking knife belongs to you so it’ll be easier for the police to track you down for murder. A real estate title can only prove that you’ve rented the world’s most expensive but fragile housing. A birth certificate can only prove that you’ve been abandoned by the world’s largest human resource organization and need to pay high educational expenses, medical bills, and gas prices till the day you die. What? A death certificate? Sorry, but you can only rest (peacefully) underground for 20 years. You cannot prove you belong to this country for the 70 years you live above the ground, and you cannot even be a ghost of this country for 20 years of resting underground.
[....]An anonymous Internet user has a very good point here: If you really perceive ballots as decorations, then they will be.
A dialogue between Cao Tian, independent Guangzhou mayoral candidate, who is running under the same pretenses, and a friend who is a CCP official:
For the nation’s progress, [I] am willing to pay any price, including my life. The future of China’s reforms is uncertain and filled with challenges. If there are [figurative] land mines, then let those of us [born] after the 60s should go forward first and set an example for the post 80s and 90s [generations][...]there is one thing that I still want. It’s what the Mafei county chief said in the movie “ Let the Bullets Fly.” He said that his government was there in Echeng to ensure three things: fairness, fairness and f**king fairness....
If I die before accomplishing my objective, then I will tell my young daughter: after I am dead, burn a ballot on my grave.
From Han Han, China's most popular blogger and legendary smartass, on CCP propaganda shills:
Every government has a mechanism for propagating their perspective, [so] that is excusable. But the Fifty Cent Party is the government’s mistake, before I thought they existed to guide public opinion, but it seems I was wrong, because you wouldn’t, upon seeing a crowd of people eating shit, squeeze your way in to have a bite yourself.
Actually pretty much anything Han Han writes is golden. In a splendid interview with an unnamed Canadian news source:
Question: Do you miss Google? Why?
Answer: Actually, I don’t miss Google at all. Google is just like a young girl. One day she runs up to you and says: “I want to leave you.” I say, “Don’t be like that, sweetheart.” The most hurtful thing is, at the end she still leaves you. But I realized that, actually, when I think of her, I can still always get on her whenever I want.
The only difference is that before, when I got on her, I could get a few carrots out of her. Now when I ask, “What about the carrots?”– she will just disappear instantly.
And, on the detrimental effect of press censorship on Chinese culture, during a speech at Xiamen University:
We can’t forever keep talking about the Four Classics or Confucius’ Analects during exchanges with people from other nations. It’s like when your date asks you about your financial situation, and you say your ancestors several generations ago were really rich. Pretty useless....
Only when we fight against cultural censorship, when we liberate phrases and words from the “sensitive words database“, with the exception of inhumane words, only then will China stand a chance to become a cultural power. Even if your and my name go into that database for a while, I believe there is a ceiling to the number of words the database can contain. Every time a new one goes in, it pushes the whole thing closer to its ceiling until one day, it comes crashing down.
And let's not forget this gorgeous (anonymous) poem about the Great Divide. The events described are modern but the sentiment is timeless.