Sunday, 24 July 2011
Quotations from Ran Yunfei (Part Three)
As at the date this translation project started, twitterer @wuxinkuaiyu had tweeted 65 quotations from the detained dissident writer. Here are the third batch of the quotations translated into English.
Translated by @sikoalice
Proofread and modified by @krizcpec , @gaodawei
Translation: Do not place your hopes of greater respect for your rights on the good heartedness of a government that is not subject to genuine oversight and checks on its powers. This is like fishing in thin air. Until a free and democratic system of government is in place, every individual will be on their own -- they will have to fight for their own rights. Every individual can do whatever they can to promote social progress after weighing how their efforts might affect their own security. Everyone can do this. This is not something only for those with tremendous courage and wisdom needed for actions that might endanger their lives.
Translation: What kind of future can a state that is not concerned with the health and growth of its youth have? What hope can there be for the recovery of a state that creates so many disasters for itself? The flowers of our ancestral land have become outcasts. How can this kind of state be loved?
Translation: For the foreseeable future, arguments between officials and civilians will become ever more intense. This is just the start of the conflict between them. People awakened by relatively diverse information available online will not want to return to the suffocating past. The authorities, however, just as in the old days, will do whatever they can to cover up the information that makes them look bad so as to deceive the people and best serve their own selfish interests.
Translation: I have long believed that even if you dislike certain things, incidents, or people, you should try to get a better understanding of them in order to make a rational decision. And if you want to give a deeper reason for your dislike, then you should first read more of those people’s speeches and observe their actions, so that you will get a deeper understanding of them.
Translation: Many high status people in powerful positions think they would never become victims. They forget how people like Liu Shaoqi, Peng Dehuai were persecuted to death by their own Chinese Communist Party. They also forgot that this authoritarian regime devours its own. What do I mean by this? It starts with people biting each other and ultimately ends up with them biting and devouring themselves.
Translation: Now all sorts of conflicts and disputes are popping up. We live in a troubled time. Some of this is due to external factors such as the global financial crisis, but the main cause lies within China itself. The most important reason of all is that our regime is an authoritarian one that is not effective in protecting everyone's interests. To say that the autocratic system itself fosters social disharmony is to make no exaggeration at all.
Translation: All schools, including universities, are the best places to nurture citizens. It is a pity that our education is not impartial. Student grow up from their earliest years in a stultifying educational system that strangles the hope of social progress and improvement.
Translation: To me “civil education” should at least include education on the basic rights and obligations of citizens. Rights and obligations are linked. For example, since we have fulfilled our tax obligations we should have access to public goods and government services and have the right to criticize the government in its provision of public goods and services. If we don't enjoy any rights after fulfilling our obligations, then this is a problem we need to think deeply about.
Translation: A people that forgets completely its sufferings and man-made disasters is a people without hope. A government that refuses to seriously reflect on its own responsibilities is a government without hope. A person who does accept not his or her share of responsibility for sufferings caused by man-made disasters is not just an unworthy citizen but also one forever a subject to “enslavement by everyone else.”
Translation: Over the past sixty years, officials have been very successful in training the people to see things in black or white: either this or that. This is obvious at times to lovers of freedom. We cannot say that these people who ardently love democracy and freedom have no defenses against the various characteristics of dictatorship. It is simply that these characteristics through long habit have become written upon our flesh and blood, become part of us, and so have become difficult to notice.
Translation: Goals no matter how grand, ideals no matter how lofty, intellectuals no matter how dedicated they are to the public good are still subject to the vagaries of human nature. It is equally important to have compassion, empathy, and sympathy for the people around us; to passionately criticize unfairness in society; and to untiringly criticize the government for negligence.
Translation: It is out of love and not hatred that I persist in posting on my blog every day. I believe that giving my utmost every day will not be for nothing. I feel disappointed with the government, I strongly criticize it, but I do not hate it. I am aware that I grew up educated to think of the world in the terms of class division and class hatred. I am wary of the education that I received. I keep a watchful eye on the intolerance I find within myself. Tolerance, however, is not connivance.
Translation: The party's propaganda department is an organization that aims to extirpate the rights of the public, to deny them their right to information, and to deceive them. Such an organization hadn't the slightest change for the sake of post-disaster reconstruction. On the contrary, it will probably go to even greater lengths to destroy the truth or to prevent it from emerging for the sake of “political correctness”.
Translation: Facts are crucial to post-disaster reconstruction. Anyone using this as a reason to do a cover-up is committing a crime and doing evil. The government should clearly understand this point. If not, any propaganda or self-praise will not be understood by the public. The long term grievances caused by their failure to understand this will continues to accumulate. They will not lessen, not even with the passage of time.
Translation: Those who chase after short-term accomplishments for their own selfish advantage may well happily do many things that they do not personally believe in and so many things that they do not believe. For them, there is only personal advantage but no true and false. They care only about their own interests -- there is no limit beyond which they will not go. This is what the fifty-centers (Note: people hired by Chinese governments at various levels to influence public opinion online) do and how they think.