Bai Yansong (白岩松), a prominent CCTV presenter has criticized Maoist professor, Han Deqiang (韩德强), for slapping an 80-year-old man who he deemed to be being “anti-Mao” during last week’s anti-Japan demonstrations, calling the professor a “traitor.”
“When you, as a university professor, slapped a man over 80 twice, you are another kind of traitor to China, because you make all Chinese feel ashamed and you make many professors feel ashamed,” Bai said during his popular prime time show News 1+1.
“Traitor”, or hanjian (汉奸), was the word used by Han Deqiang to describe the elderly gentleman he slapped during the protests.
“Traitor to China”
While groups of demonstrators were holding Mao Zedong’s portraits and chanting slogans such as “We miss you Chairman Mao” during the nationwide anti-Japan demonstrations on September 18, the old man was reported to have scoffed openly at the young Maoists.
“To pin all hopes of maintaining this country’s dignity and national interests on Mao Zedong, this is not just wrong, but unattainable.” the old man was reported to have said.
Han Deqiang said the old man heaped insults and abuse on Mao Zedong and continued to do so despite Han’s warning. He then slapped the man in the face twice and called him a “traitor to China.”
Some online posts allege the elderly gentleman was a supporter of Wang Jingwei, leader of the puppet regime founded by Japan in China during the Second World War. However, Han’s own accounts on the incident did not include these details [Ed: which seem to be a staggeringly clumsy attempt to smear the old man who was, it’s worth pointing out, at an anti-Japan protest].
Han Deqiang is one of the most senior and hardline Maoists in China. He was a major contributor to Utopia, the Maoist website that was shut down shortly after Bo Xilai’s ignoble fall from grace. Despite online condemnation, he said on his Weibo, “If I have violated the law, I will accept the legal punishment, but I will never admit that I am wrong.” [Ed: maybe he’ll concede being 20% wrong and 80% right?]
Freedom of Speech
“In recent years, we have had good reason to worry that the word ‘professor’ would be destroyed by the violent language and behavior of some professors. They are defiant and arrogant,” Bai Yansong added later in his daily show. He also questioned the silence displayed by Han’s employer. “It seems that the university is protecting some freedom of speech, but is it still about freedom when those words broke the bottom line?” he said.
Bai’s remarks were in line with other state media commentaries, including Global Times, China Youth Daily and Xinhua News Agency, which all denounced Han’s behavior.
Meanwhile, Sima Nan, another prominent Maoist wrote on Global Times that the nation should focus on Diaoyu Islands rather than the slapping.