“I may not agree with every word you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to speak” via @wenyunchao.
The year’s most exciting story continues to roll on*, as protesters flocked to Guangzhou to voice support for the editorial independence of the Southern Weekend numerous commentators in China have also chimed in with messages of support.
Discussion of the ‘incident’ is currently banned on Weibo and in the traditional Chinese media, but this hasn’t stopped numerous celebrities and even media organisations making veiled reference to the matter.
SCMP‘s John Kennedy, who has been absolutely killing it on this story, highlighted this update on the official Weibo account of the People’s Daily:
“Tonight stars and clouds are changing, temperature are drastically dropping, with a piercing cold (signifying arrival of great change). People need to be careful wherever they go, and be aware of their feelings .”
Taobao also tweeted in (apparent) support:
“There is no winter which cannot be outlasted. Even now, the swallows are flying South.”
Guangzhou’s Jinan University also voiced its (since deleted) support (h/t: John Kennedy):
“The public is being silenced,” reads the letter, “news can’t be reported from the mainland, but countless people have still taken it upon themselves to speak out in support.”
You can have your so-called “freedoms,” but only because they have the freedom to punish you afterwards. Be it literature, news, films or television, you spend tonnes of energy trying to win their approval. Even though you want some clear rules to go by, they never tell you what they are – so everybody assumes they’re breaking the rules somehow. The only way for you to completely abide by their rules is to become like them. We end up censoring ourselves, always apprehensive, always afraid, always guessing. They grab you by your collar, clamp you by the neck, yet at the same time encourage you to run faster, sing better, and win them more honour.
Southern Weekend has informed me a lot as a reader. It gives power to the weak and hope to the hopeless. So, in its moment of weakness and desperation, I hope we can all lend them some strength, even if just a little, and help it carry on.
Outside of the media, actress Yao Chen, Weibo’s most popular user with over 21 million followers, quoted famous Russian dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn alongside the logo of the Nanfang Group:
“One word of truth shall outweigh the entire world. — Solzhenitsyn (Russian)”
*I know it’s January, but still.