TRIAL: Han Zongbao 韩宗宝


Han Zongbao


judge kids by old people                       judge whites by blacks

judge black by white                  judge dusk by dawn

judge swallows by crows                       judge freedom by a bird in a cage

judge elephants by mice                        judge butterflies by the eye of a storm

judge ants on a tree by fish in a bowl

judge times by their fools          judge jobless graduates by golden iphones

judge square by round               judge sea by sky

judge cotton by iron                  judge sheep and grassroots by tanks

the silent lambs, how meek they are!

judge art and writing by dynamite                       judge people by country

judge earth by snow                  judge jews by hitler

judge christ on the cross by judas and the last supper

judge shoes by feet      judge cities by villages

judge floods by tall dams          judge water by wells

judge football by whistle                        judge hawkers by city security

judge temporary workers by public servants       judge migrant laborers by residence permits

judge B by A     judge Second by First   judge crying by smiling

stars and the gunpowder in bullets have never been exposed to moisture

if the chessboard says you’re guilty       then you are guilty

those people who died from secret questioning  those who died

when detained or arrested          they must have seen

the sullied red flag and the hands                       when an experienced questioner

becomes a murderer                  her shining and glorious life

produced how many deaths how many wrongs               written in blood

what kind of terror and torture

most one go through     before he prefers death to life

relentless questioning    what does it mean to him or her

everyone noticed his neck must have been stuck

but on tv they aired his confession

he put on his own trial of his text and the camera

we don’t need courts we don’t need laws            our nation doesn’t need them

’cause the trial is completed       in this giant one-way judgment

everyone can be a criminal         just have to grab them

and put them inside       if they are tough bones their flesh can be done with

one after another gets thrown in jail        who will be the next one

what is it that’s breaking up                    happy days and pleasant scenes

laws appear on worthless paper in restricted public trials

just like catwalks           once the process is in motion

once you get inside       your only trick is to confess

so confess       the grief of an innocent man      small traces of blood

and disgrace     tears are so helpless     just what you asked for

an innocent man in the end        hangs his head in confession     amen


Tr. MW (10/31/13)



用老人审判孩子 用白人审判黑人

用黑审判白 用早晨审判傍晚

用乌鸦审判燕子 用笼中的鸟审判自由

用老鼠审判一头大象 用风暴眼审判蝴蝶


用小丑审判时代 用土豪金审判蚁族

用圆审判方 用天空审判海洋

用铁审判棉花 用坦克审判绵羊和草根


用炸药审判文字和艺术 用国家审判人民

用雪审判土地 用希特勒审判犹太人


用脚审判鞋子 用村庄审判城市

用高高的堤坝审判洪水 用井审判水

用黑哨审判足球 用城管审判小贩

用公仆审判临时工 用暂居证审判民工

用A审判B 用甲审判乙 用笑审判哭

星星和弹孔中的火焰 一直不曾受潮

棋盘上标明你有罪 你就有了罪

那些死于秘密审判的人 那些死于

拘禁和逮捕的人 必定见过

被污染的红旗和手 当一个审讯能手

成为凶手 她光辉而荣耀的一生

制造了多少死亡和冤屈 血书累累


一个人才会 宁死不生

无懈可击的审讯 究竟对他意味什么




何需法庭 何需法律 国家不需要这些

因为审判业已完成 这单向式的强大审判

每一个人都可以是罪犯 不过是抓起来

再关进去 硬骨头可以从肉体上消灭

一个个的人陆续入狱 下一个是谁

有什么在崩溃 大好良辰好景虚设

法律形同废纸 有限的公开审判

仿佛秀场 那木马般的程序一旦启动

只要你进去了 你唯一的招就是招

招吧 一个无罪之人的悲伤 略带血痕

和耻辱 泪水如此无力 如你所愿

一个无罪的人最终 低头认罪 阿门


This poem was written partly in response to the New Express 新快报 / Chen Yongzhou 陈永洲 incident, as the author told me after he showed his poem around on Weibo. However, this is not one of those poems which act like condensed news articles, like Zhao Siyun’s Lily’s Story or Sheng Xue’s Your Red Lips A Wordless Hole (German version see Angelika Burgsteiner’s translation). Han Zongbao‘s poem seems to be less straightforward.

“When an experienced questioner/ becomes a murderer/ her shining and glorious life/ produced how many deaths how many wrongs”

Whose glorious life? The murdering questioners? Why “her”? The female pronoun seems to indicate a particular person. Please look at the comments for answers to these questions.


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2条回应 to “TRIAL: Han Zongbao 韩宗宝”

  1. 中国大好き Says:

    The “her” in Han Zongbao’s poem refers to Nie Haifen 聂海芬. She is a prominent policewoman in Hangzhou. There were a few reports about her, or cases connected to her, in April and May this year. Here are the URLs for the articles in English I found:

    This is a very interesting example of poetry involved in public discussion of police work, torture, death penalty and the justice system in China. Great poem. Works on many levels.

  2. And one more Happy New Year of the Horse | 中国大好き Says:

    […] everything connected with rule of law has been very much in the news for a long time in China. See Han Zongbao’s poem 韩宗宝 from fall 2013, for […]


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