Archive for 2014年1月

And one more Happy New Year of the Horse

一月 31, 2014

yanli_horse

YAN LI! Yesterday I posted his THREE POEMS FROM THE 1980s. Prominent words and themes in GIVE IT BACK (1986), YOU (1987) and YOU (1989) are “love” and “citizen”. The most prominent news story from China in January 2014 was the trial and sentencing of XU ZHIYONG 许志永, a legal scholar and leading activist of the New Citizen movement. Trials, 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 example.

Xu’s statement in court was titled “FOR FREEDOM, JUSTICE AND LOVE“. I was rather surprised at “love” being evoked as a core political value like “freedom” and “justice”. Liberté, Egalité, Amour? Xu’s statement and the accompanying account of how authorities had tried to warn and intimidate him before he was arrested make it clear that he is not only an activist for the rights of migrant workers and for greater openness about public servants’ financial assets. “Can you explain what you mean by Socialism?”, he asks. This is certainly a very important question. China is a Socialist country, at least by name, just like Vietnam, North Korea and Laos. Are there any others? Socialism for China is like Shiite Islam for Iran. But what does Socialism mean, apart from one-party-rule? I think it’s something to believe in, and to practice, to change the fates of working people through actions of solidarity. Isn’t that what the New Citizen movement was trying to do? But Xu has all but dismissed Socialism and has not tried to invoke it as something originally worth believing in. This is understandable, under the circumstances. But can you imagine someone standing up in court in Iran and asking “Can you explain what Islam entails?” Maybe people do it, I don’t know. They probably wouldn’t dismiss religion.

Actually, it is more complicated. I think Xu is testing what is possible. how far the system will go to crush opposition. In his obstinacy he could be compared to Shi Mingde (Shih Ming-te) 施明德 in Taiwan in the 1980s. But Xu is much younger than Shi was in the late 1980s, he was only 15 in 1989.

Xu Zhiyong

“Me:  Aren’t the communist party and socialism western products? May I ask, what is socialism? If a market economy is socialist, why is democracy and the rule of law, which we are pursuing, not socialist? Does socialism necessarily exclude democracy and the rule of law?”

C:你的一系列文章,比如《人民的国家》,整个照搬西方体制,反党反社会主义,你们的组织活动,几个月发展到几千人,你的行为已经构成犯罪,而且不止一个罪名。
我:共产党、社会主义难道不是西方的吗?请问什么是社会主义?市场经济如果是社会主义,我们追求的民主法治为什么就不是社会主义?社会主义必然和民主法治对立吗?关于反党,这个概念太极端,方针政策对的就支持,错误的就反对,而且,我对任何人都心怀善意,如果共产党经过大选继续执政,我支持。[…] 我可能比你更爱中国!你有空可以看看我写的《回到中国去》,看一个中国人在美国的经历和感想。而你们,多少贪官污吏把财产转移到了国外?

C:爱党,爱国,爱人民,三位一体,你不爱党,怎么爱国爱人民?
我:我的祖国五千年了,来自西方的党还不到百年,将来共产党不会千秋万世永远统治,怎么可能三位一体?我爱中国,我爱13亿同胞,但我不爱党。一个原因是历史上它给我的祖国带来的太残酷的伤害,数千万人饿死,文化大革命彻底摧残了中华民族的精神文化,还有就是今天这个党太肮脏,大量贪官污吏,从申请书到入党宣誓都是在公然撒谎——有几个真的要为共产主义奋斗终身?我厌恶谎言,我厌恶为了私欲不择手段,我厌恶一个人在宣誓的时刻也撒谎。

C:敢说不爱党,算你是好汉。考虑到你的主张自由、公义、爱还不错,目的是好的,本着教育的方针,还是希望爱党,放弃公民活动,多和社会各界接触,看问题更客观些。
我:谢谢提醒,我会努力更加客观理性,既看社会问题,也看新闻联播。具体活动如果有不当之处,我可以听取建议,有些行为如果超前了,可以停下来,都可以协商,但是别说什么犯罪。

C:我知道一时半会改变不了你的观点。看过你的档案,你这个人多年来就像一根针一样那么恒定,立场就在那里一动不动。下次接着谈吧。明天后天下午什么时候你觉得合适?
我:明天吧。[words marked by me, see below]

This dialogue between Xu and Beijing State Security official C is very interesting. There is a measure of mutual respect. Xu has spunk, he is brave and obstinate. He mentions “数千万人饿死”, tens of millions died of hunger, as one of the main reasons for not “loving the party” 爱党, as suggested by his interrogator. This dialogue should be very good material for studying Chinese. This section is from the end of the first day (June 25) of Xu’s interrogations in June 2013. You can compare the original to the translation on http://Chinachange.org.  In the translation, I could not access the link to Xu’s patriotic article Go Back To China 《回到中国去》, written in New York a few years ago, but it seems to be available on several blogs readily accessible in China.

I Don’t Want You to Give Up’ – a public letter by Xu Zhiyong’s wife.

Words like “citizen” and “love”, and any other words or means of expressions, actually, become something remarkably different in a work of art, different from every-day-usage, and usage in political statements. I find Xu’s use of “love” baffling. “Love” strikes me as rather imprecise, compared to “justice”, for example. Love, simply love, not compassion or caritas. Not bo’ai 博爱, just  aì 愛, as in Wo ai ni 我愛你。Imprecise, but endearing, as something obviously non-political. And thus closer to poetry, literature, art? Ubi caritas et amor, deus ibi est. All You Need is Love. And so on.

“If I had a hammer I’d hammer in the morning/  I’d hammer in the evening all over this land/  I’d hammer out danger, I’d hammer out warning/  I’d hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters/ All over this land …” Pete Seeger  (May 3, 1919 – January 27, 2014)

The International Federation of Journalists has issued a report on press freedom in China in 2013. Here are two small excerpts:

“On May 3, a woman named Yuan Liya was found dead

outside Jingwen shopping centre in Beijing. Police said

Yuan had jumped from the shopping centre, but her

parents suspected she was killed after she was raped

by several security guards during the night. On May

8 the media was instructed to republish a statement

issued by the Beijing Police and further ordered that

no information could be gathered from independent

sources. All online news sites were told to downplay the

case and social microblogs were required to remove all

related news items.”

This immediately reminds me of SHENG XUE’s 盛雪 poem YOUR RED LIPS, A WORDLESS HOLE, from early 2007. The original is titled NI KONGDONG WU SHENG DE YU YAN HONG CHUN 你空洞无声的欲言红唇. The poem was translated into German by Angelika Burgsteiner and recited in early March 2013 at TIME TO SAY NO, the PEN Austria event for International Women’s Day, in cooperation with PEN Brazil.

“On May 14, media outlets disclosed that several

primary school principals were involved in scandals

involving sexual exploitation of minors. All of the alleged

victims were primary school students. Some bloggers

initiated a campaign aimed at protecting children, but

the authorities demanded that the media downplay

both the scandal and the campaign.”

Cf. Lily’s Story 丽丽传 by Zhao Siyun 赵思云, from 2012.

In China, a Young Feminist Battles Sexual Violence Step by Step

China Avantgarde

 

 

 

This painting courtesy of Yan Li

 

YanLi_horse

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YAN LI: Three poems 公民、爱的空间:严力上世纪八十年代三首

一月 31, 2014

Yan Li Huangei Wo

Yan Li, *1954 in Beijing. Lived in New York from 1985 till the mid-1990s. Founded First Line 一行 magazine.

GIVE IT BACK

please give me back that door without locks

even if it doesn’t lead to a room please give it back

please give me back the rooster that wakes me up in the morning

even if you ate him please give me the bones

please give me back that herding song from halfway up

even if you recorded it on cassette please give it back

please give me back

my relationships with my brothers and sisters

even it is just for half a year please give them back

please give me back my place for love

even if you wore it out please give it back

please give me back the whole earth

even if you have cut it up into

one thousand countries

one hundred million villages

please give it back

1986

Tr. MW, 2014/1

Yan Li

GIB MIR ZURÜCK

bitte gib mir zurück die tür ohne schloss

auch wenn da kein zimmer ist gib sie mir bitte

bitte gib mir das vogelmännchen das mich morgens aufweckt

auch wenn du es aufgegessen hast bitte gib mir die knochen

bitte gib mir zurück das hirtenlied auf halber höhe

auch wenn du es aufgenommen hast auf kassette gib es mir bitte

bitte gib mir zurück

meine beziehungen zu meinen geschwistern

auch nur für ein halbes jahr gib sie mir bitte

bitte gib mir zurück den platz für die liebe

auch wenn du ihn lange benutzt hast gib ihn mir bitte

bitte gib mir zurück die ganze erde

auch wenn du sie bereits

in tausend länder

in hundert millionen dörfer

geteilt hast gib sie mir bitte

1986

Übersetzt von MW im Jänner 2014

YOU

You clasped my hand

Loosening the hatred inside

When I grasped it again

The rock had changed into mud

Then

You clasped my hand once more

And held it

In silence for a long time

Till grass grew out between the fingers

1987

Tr. MW, 2014/1

DU

du ergreifst meine hand

und löst den hass

wenn ich ihn wieder halte

ist der stein zu lehm geworden

und so

greifst du nochmals nach meiner hand

und

hältst sie lange schweigend

bis gras heraus wächst

1987

Übersetzt von MW im Jänner 2014

 

你握了我的手

松开了我手里面的仇恨

当我再把它握起来的时候

它已从石头变成了泥土

于是

你又握了我的手

并且

长久而默默无言地

直到指缝里长出了青草也不松手

1987年

Yan Li

YOU

you

are a citizen of the universe

you live where there’s air

you

are a citizen of the Milky Way

you live where there’s sunlight

you

are a citizen of the earth

you live where there’s freedom

you

are a citizen of love

you live where there’s song

you

are your own citizen

you live where you exist

1989

Tr. MW, 2014

Yan Li

DU

du

bist ein bürger des universums

lebst wo es luft gibt

du

bist ein bürger der milchstrasse

lebst wo es sonne gibt

du

bist ein bürger der erde

lebst wo es freiheit gibt

du

bist ein bürger der liebe

lebst wo es lieder gibt

du

bist dein eigener bürger

lebst wo’s dich gibt

1989

Übersetzt von MW im Jänner 2014

是宇宙的公民

哪儿有空气你就住在哪里

是银河系的公民

哪儿有阳光你就住在哪里

是地球的公民

哪儿有自由你就住在哪里

是爱情的公民

哪儿有歌唱你就住在哪里

是你的公民

哪儿有自己你就住在哪里

1989

FOR FREEDOM, JUSTICE AND LOVE

I Don’t Want You to Give Up’

想象 IMAGINE

一月 23, 2014

IMAGINE
you might as well give up the ghost
of a chance for change in this land
change has been very fast in this land for a while
you won’t recognize a road or a house
or a street is gone that you knew very well
a decade ago or maybe a week.
sometimes the wind clears up the smog
and you can see the sky, or even the hills
and the ranges farther afield with the walls.
there are no wars. this land is peaceful.
the army is the largest by far. there are no tanks.
a tank was burnt and some soldiers were killed.
imagine there’s no heavenly peace
and no rulers above us.
there is only sky and a kite and the doves.
it’s easy if you try.
imagine all the people …
MW January 2014

《想象》

你不妨放弃在这片土地上
寻机改变什么的梦魇
在这片土地上,变化如此之快
你会不辨旧路或老屋
或一条你所熟悉的街道已经消失
十年前,或许是一周前。
偶尔,清风吹散了雾霾
你能够看见蓝天,甚至山峦
以及更加辽远的长城。
并无战争。这片土地宁静和平。
军队是最庞大的怪物。没有坦克。
坦克被烧毁,士兵被杀戮。
想象没有天安……
没有统治者骑在我们头上。
只有天空、风筝和鸽子。
这很容易,你不妨试试。
想像众生……

2014.1
(伊沙 译)

LIU XIA

一月 11, 2014

Link to video: Nobel peace prize winner Liu Xiaobo’s wife reads poem from house arrest – videoLiu Xia Article

法蘭克福匯報FAZ劉霞文


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