Category Archives: Part 1: who are Hu Jia and Jinyan?

The Olympics and Dissent: Taping Over the Cracks

An article of the 30th Jan from TIME China blog. A little late I know but still…!

This is a picture of China’s youngest political prisoner, as she has been dubbed evocatively, Hu Qianci, daughter of activists Hu Jia and Zeng Jinyan, about whom we have written often. It’s from Zeng’s blog (here, though as ever those inside China have to watch out for GFW), which she is still managing to update despite being held under house arrest, something that sounds fairly benign but probably means she has up to six police living in her apartment with her. [continues…]

Channel 4 Press articles

Here below are 3 articles published by Channel 4 news:

1) China’s price for protest – 04/06/2007

2) One dream, One prison – 11/01/2008

3) Why flat-pack China doesn’t quite work – 14/01/2008

The pdf of the articles can be found “here

Zeng Jinyan – TIME 100 2007

In 2007 Zeng Jinyan was nominated as one of TIME 100 influential people under the “Heroes and Pioneers” category.

Click Here for the article

Hu Jia: A very different youth

China Youth Daily – Freezing Point
Cai Ping, July 25, 2001

When I heard about Hu Jia, I was full of admiration. I even felt he should be a model for young people to follow. A 27-year-old young man who sought neither fame nor fortune, doing countless things to protect the environment and wearing himself out until he got hepatitis. He had just left the hospital, but often worked until two or three o’clock in the morning. Every day my colleague’s email inbox would contain a large quantity of messages about the work he was doing. The things he cared about and dealt with were extremely diverse and even trivial, but he was extremely passionate about all of them. Full of doubt, I asked my colleague if he was sick. My colleague said yes, he’s got hepatitis. No, I said. I mean sick in the head.

“Because you’re the only one who sent any money”

On the telephone, Hu Jia’s voice is weak. He lives a long way from me, he’s just come out of hospital and he isn’t well, but he insists on cycling over to meet me. In the end we arrange to talk at the newspaper.

Early that morning, I go down to meet him. He’s very fashionable, short, his hair dyed yellow and permed, a string of Buddhist prayer beads on his right wrist and carrying a heavy backpack. His voice is very small and hard to hear, and I often have to ask him to repeat what he has said.

Hu Jia is calm, graceful and courteous. He is surprisingly modest and always seems to be thinking of others. While he is talking to me, people constantly call him on his mobile phone to ask him about some small matter. Each time, he quietly says “sorry” to me, then turns his head and keeps his voice down on the phone, worried that he might disturb other people. I’ve very rarely seen such courtesy in a young person and at first I think he is putting it on.

Hu Jia has no job and he has no income from his environmental work. But he did have a job before. He graduated from the School of Information Technology at the Capital University of Economics and Business and he likes computers. Someone who specialized in this kind of field should find it very easy to find work. When he graduated in 1996, Hu Jia was employed as an editor at Beijing TV. He could easily have developed this as a career. But just at that time the People’s Daily published an article called “The destiny of a Chinese man and an old Japanese to control the desert” which changed his life.

Hu Jia still clearly remembers the time, headline and writer of the report and as he talks about this his calmness cannot conceal his excitement. That a young man should change the course of his life because of one article seems too accidental. But Hu Jia stresses that as a student he was always concerned about the problem of desertification in China, and he and his fellow students calculated how many trees would need to be planted to stop it. “Really,” says Hu Jia “we were too naive then, too simplistic.”

At Spring Festival in 1996, Hu Jia took 100 yuan from his New Year money and sent it to Inner Mongolia – to the people trying to control the desert in the report. He was 23. I find it rather hard to accept that a 23-year-old man was still getting New Year money.

Afterwards, Hu Jia phoned the place and asked if they’d received the money. A girl answered the phone and said with great certainty that they had. Hu Jia thought this was strange. The People’s Daily had so many readers and the article was so well written, it must have caused a flood of phone calls. So how could it be so easy to say the money had arrived? The girl’s answer shocked Hu Jia: “Because you’re the only one who sent any money!”

At that time, a good friend of Hu Jia, a young man called Lin Yi, also read the article and was just as moved by it as he was. He had a job and an income then, so on Lin Yi’s birthday the two of them set off for Inner Mongolia.

When they got there, Lin Yi took out 3,000 yuan and donated it to the place, and the two of them spent a week planting trees with the old Japanese man and the people who worked there. It was early in the year and the ground was frozen. Striking it with a pickaxe had no effect on the frozen ground and sent painful shockwaves into their hands.

Hu Jia heard there that more than a thousand Japanese people came over to plant trees each year. It cost a great deal to get here from Japan, so he wanted to know how many Chinese people came. The answer was a great disappointment to Hu Jia. He and Lin Yi were the first two real volunteers to come here from China.

Hu Jia was the first to send money. He and Lin Yi were the first self-financing volunteers to come and plant trees. Compared with the Japanese people, Hu Jia found this fact hard to bear.

“You don’t think you’re obsessed?”

After that, Hu Jia worked at Beijing TV for just one year and then left. He joined the environmental NGO Friends of Nature.

His efforts to protect the environment took him to many remote nature reserves, using up all his savings。

The reason he left Beijing TV was because he felt deeply that funds were absolutely necessary to do environmental work in China. While he was doing this work, it pained him that he didn’t have enough money for it so he signed up for a project management training course. He hoped that when he finished the course he could work on decoration projects, earn some money and then go back to working for the environment.

A year later, he got the project management certificate he had hoped for.

I ask Hu Jia: “How much did this training course cost? Who paid for it?”

He answers: “Several thousand yuan. My parents paid.”

Earning money wasn’t easy for Hu Jia. The people he worked with barely hid their desire for money and drank at the dinner table until they were red in the face. “I’m a Buddhist,” says Hu Jia. “I don’t drink. Those people’s standards were far lower than environmentalists.”

In the end, Hu Jia dropped the idea of first earning money. He felt he wasn’t cut out for it.

Working for Friends of Nature, Hu Jia could only get environmental project money, a tiny amount compared with what a formal job would pay, but Hu Jia didn’t care. He liked being busy all day like this, and the feeling of being needed.

I ask Hu Jia when he discovered he had hepatitis. He says that several years ago he felt extremely weak. When he was the liaison officer for the Hong Kong Friends of the Earth in Beijing, finding a location, taking care of all the procedures, he felt tired in a way he never had before. It was only later that he found out he had hepatitis, but at the time he didn’t care. Work was the most important thing in Hu Jia’s life and he simply couldn’t stop.

Hu Jia had a girlfriend – a medical student. Being with someone like that, he ought to know what hepatitis could do to a person – what it implied.

I say: “Hu Jia, really you made your hepatitis worse by your own delay.

Hu Jia just shakes his head and smiles fatalistically.

I ask: “Hasn’t being a vegetarian for so long made you malnourished. You don’t even have any strength in your voice.”

He says: “Being a Buddhist doesn’t necessarily mean not eating meat. I’m a lay Buddhist, but I’m used to being a vegetarian. I can’t eat meat again.”

Hu Jia says that as an only child his parents pampered him. He is extremely dependent on his parents, and he transferred that dependence to his girlfriend. Every morning, she would prepare Chinese medicine and put it beside him. But in the evening, she would find that he hadn’t drunk a drop. This upset her a lot. At that time, she was a graduate student and very busy, but she still often looked after Hu Jia. She would write to him, telling him to take care of his health and recuperate. But Hu Jia was a workaholic and very obstinate. He didn’t listen to any advice. His girlfriend said to him: “You’re always taking care of other people’s affairs. When are you going to look after yourself?” She felt Hu Jia simply didn’t care about her and it hurt her so much that she finally left him.

Hu Jia says his girlfriend’s tutor doesn’t want her to have any contact with him. He believes she’s talented and could even go abroad. But Hu Jia hasn’t even got a real job. As a man, he knows he can’t bring her any happiness. His girlfriend has written to him telling him to stop working and treat his illness properly. “It’s only now I understand what she was saying” says Hu Jia, sadly.

Hu Jia still believes he can get his girlfriend back. “She’s not avoiding me because of my disease,” he says. “It’s because I’m too stubborn. I ignored her advice. I ignored her.”

I ask: “What are you going to do to get her back?”

He says: “I want to get a part time job that I can do at home without having to rush all over the place. That way I can recuperate and work at the same time. But I’m afraid I can’t do that kind of work well. I’ve already got used to this kind of life, seeing myself as a vital link in a network. If I don’t finish a day’s business, I can’t sleep. I sometimes don’t get to sleep till four in the morning, then I’m up again at seven feeling anxious.”

A lot of Hu Jia’s work is writing emails, connecting everything to do with the environment, telling people someone’s phone number, someone’s address, where to find information, sending information, etc. Actually, because he was in hospital, he had to leave his positions with Friends of Nature and Hong Kong’s Friends of the Earth. But after he left the hospital, even though he had no formal income, he still did the same work.

I say: “You ought to understand, China’s environment isn’t going to get worse without your work. The world won’t stop turning without you.”

He smiles gently: “I know all that. But I can’t let go.”

“You don’t think you’re obsessed?”

“Maybe,” he says calmly.

“I can’t turn back. I don’t dare to think about the future.”

After I got to know Hu Jia, a large number of emails he sent out to people would arrive in my inbox each day. At first, I read all of them. Later, the first thing I did when I logged on was to delete all of his messages because I was worried about the limited space in my account. In the end, I had to write to him and ask him not to send me these emails anymore because I already had enough material from him.

Nevertheless, I was still very moved by Hu Jia and all the things he did. Since childhood, he liked everything about nature. He says people should coexist in friendship and harmony with plants and animals. He believes the current definition of social studies is far to narrow, focusing only on people. People shouldn’t think they are above animals. Social studies should be broader, including all of nature. Mankind is the cause of conflict between people and animals. People destroy the environment animals need to survive, so they have no choice but to go into people’s fields. Mankind ought to ponder on this, and seek out its root cause.

He says he used to feel very close to Buddhism and in 1997 he became a Buddhist because it emphasizes kindness. He says that now if an ant climbs onto his arm he doesn’t crush it. He gently picks it up and puts it on the ground. When he gets up in the morning, if he sees a sparrow fly away in fear, it upsets him all day. He says small birds shouldn’t be afraid of people. Harming animals doesn’t mean you are strong. It’s protecting animals that shows you are strong.

Hu Jia tells me that since he was a child he liked small plants and flowers. He believed he could talk to them, and watering them with a small can gave him a sweet feeling. If he saw that a small tree was growing very slowly, he would ask “What’s the matter? Why have you still not grown? Haven’t I given you enough water? Don’t you have enough nutrients?” But now he hasn’t got time for these things because when he doesn’t look after them properly he feels ashamed for a long time. He says when he’s old he wants to grow a big garden full of flowers and plant many trees.

In the Hoh Xil nature reserve he saw herds of Tibetan antelopes running like the wind. Sitting in the car, he felt he was an animal too and everyone was friends. That was their home and we had entered it. He saw Tibetan wild donkeys and thought they too were extremely lovely. He wanted to go and slap them on their round backsides, make them run away fast and tell them “if someone comes for you with a gun, run like this.”

Hu Jia says he cannot understand why people would want to go and kill them. They’re the same as you. How can you shoot them?

As Hu Jia talks about these things, his voice is a little louder and his speech is faster. He really seems like a pure and simple child. Being with Hu Jia, it always feels as if he is far away. He seems to live in another world of singing birds and the fragrance of flowers. That is his dream world and it’s that world that he keeps struggling for. But it’s not the world that we really live in.

I really want to go and see Hu Jia’s home, but he says no. “My cousin told me donkey turds shine on the outside. My place is a mess.”

I ask: “What has your room being a mess got to do with me. I just want to see the environment you live in.”

In the end he agrees, saying “You’d better prepare yourself. It’s going to be a shock.”

I ask Hu Jia: “Afterwards, did you carry on doing environmental work with no income? Since you left Friends of Nature, what have you lived on? What about the hospital, seeing the doctor?”

He says: “I depend on my parents.”

Hu Jia’s parents are both in their 60s. In the past, they were both attacked as rightists. They’re retired, but they still work for a small company. Hu Jia says they don’t do it to earn money. It’s something to do.

I say: “You depend on your parents for everything. How can it not be to earn money. Is your family that well-off?”

Hu Jia shakes his head.

“What will you do in the future? You work so hard, how is your health ever going to get better? How will your girlfriend come back? Do you plan to get married? You can’t depend on your parents your whole life.”

Hu Jia can’t answer this. He sighs deeply and says: “I can’t turn back. I don’t dare think about the future. I know that if I want a family and a career, I need a basic monthly income. I know that if I marry someone I have to give her a good life. But I don’t dare to think about all this. I can’t stop working. I hope I can get my girlfriend back. I’d be willing to live just one more day if we could be together again.”

I say at once: “That’s what you want, but don’t you think you’re a bit selfish?”

Hu Jia says earnestly: “I really love her. I know it’s not very likely. She sees me too clearly. I haven’t changed any of these things. I’m like a speeding car with no way to stop.”

A 27-year-old man with no income, bad health, his girlfriend has left him, he doesn’t dare to think about the future. Hu Jia can only work furiously. He never considers other people. He considers work and protecting the environment. He doesn’t dare to think about himself.

“Can I meet your parents?” I ask him.

He says: “The people who understand me most are my old girlfriend and my best friend Lin Yi.”

Lin Yi is the young man who went with Hu Jia to Inner Mongolia to plant trees and donated 3,000 yuan.

He wants to blaze a new trail

I ask Lin Yi on the phone where he lives. He asks me where I live and we both say at the same time: “So far away.”

So once again, we decide to meet at the paper.

He’s a handsome young man – tall, thin, wearing jeans, a sleeveless tunic and a small waist pack. His big eyes look out with a cold gaze, he rarely smiles, speaks unhurriedly. He’s calm and uses fashionable language. He’s very cool.

Originally, I wanted Lin Yi to tell me about Hu Jia to help me understand him more. I hadn’t thought that after talking for a short while we would start off a debate. We argued for a whole morning because I couldn’t accept his views that were so removed from practicality, so certain and even rather extreme.

Lin Yi is the kind of young person who has created his own set of beliefs. It takes a lot of effort to debate an issue with him. At first, you think you can persuade him to your way of thinking if you try hard enough. But then he lowers his head, smiles and comes back at you with a counter-argument, leaving you feeling defeated.

He particularly hates private cars, believing that private cars have moved on from polluting the environment to polluting the soul.

I say that in today’s fast-paced society, private cars have brought efficiency and convenience and have become a necessity. For example, if I use public transport I can only go to two places and get two things done. But if I have a car, I can do many more things. It saves time and energy. You can do more and make a greater contribution to society.

He says: “In the 1950s there weren’t many private cars. Didn’t people still work and live?”

I say: “You want the country to go back to the past?”

He asks: “What’s wrong with the past?”

He talks to me about environmentally friendly cars. He says so-called “environmentally friendly cars” are really nothing more than cars that reach a low-pollution emissions standard. But the environment isn’t just the air. It also includes resources like minerals, water, the soil and all the living organisms and the environment they live in. From a “greater environment” point of view, there is no such thing as an “environmentally friendly car.”

Car production is a major consumer of energy. It requires large amounts of metal, coal, rubber, plastic and other materials. If you take into account all the resources consumed in the production process and the liquid, gas and solid waste that it produces, plus the substantial increase in production because of the popularization of “environmentally friendly cars” and relaxation of limits on the number of cars, then “environmentally friendly cars” do even more damage to the environment.

I say that under present circumstances, the development of “environmentally friendly cars” is a positive measure to protect the environment and not making them won’t reduce the total number of cars. He says, “I’m not absolutely against private cars, but I am against the government forcefully promoting them.”

Lin Yi is more individualistic than Hu Jia. He didn’t graduate from senior high school because he often had disagreements with his teachers and the school wouldn’t let him continue studying. Later, he worked in marketing and advertising, earning up to four or five thousand yuan a month. When he discovered that advertising didn’t suit him, he immediately stopped doing it. Like Hu Jia, he worked for Friends of Nature, performing a diverse range of tasks. But when he felt that continuing this kind of work would mean he could only do that for the rest of his life, he immediately stopped doing it and went home. Now he writes at home. He says he wants to blaze a new trail like this. He hopes to use his writing to influence people.

I hadn’t expected it, but Lin Yi is also a vegetarian. He says he started in 1998, but he isn’t a pure Buddhist. He doesn’t drink alcohol, doesn’t chat online, has few friends and usually likes to be alone thinking about problems.

At lunchtime at the paper’s dining hall, he asks if each dish has meat in it. I ask him if he minds me eating meat next to him. He says, “That’s your personal choice, but whenever I get a chance I try to convert a person to not eat meat. So far, I’ve persuaded two people.”

I say: “If you don’t eat meat and other people don’t eat meat, will making yourselves weaker change the situation for animals?”

He says: “The torch of learning is passed on from teacher to student and from generation to generation. The conviction of purification can only be passed down by a few.” At this point, Lin Yi no longer seems like a cool young guy. He seems more like a mature middle-aged man.

After lunch, I say I have a request – I’d like to go and see his home. He hesitates, then says: “I have a request too. You can’t take any photographs.”

Lin Yi’s parents are ordinary wage-earners. At the moment, they’re on holiday and Lin Yi is the only one at home. As soon as we get inside, he says to me like a child, “I’m hot. I want to get changed.” I say, “Then get changed.” After he’s changed into shorts, he flaps his tunic, and says, “It’s a hot day. I don’t wear a top at home.” I say, “Take it off.” So Lin Yi sits opposite me, bare chested in his shorts and starts chatting with me again, speaking with that same calm and leisurely tone.

Lin Yi lives very simply. He hasn’t got a pager or a mobile phone and usually sends emails. He rides an old bicycle made for women. But he has two large bookcases full of books. Most of them are ancient Chinese philosophy. Every evening, he meditates for half an hour and then reads books and writes essays. An editor who published his work originally thought the writer was 40 years old. When he found out it was a good looking young man, he could hardly believe it.

I demand to see Lin Yi’s essays. He turns on the computer and I see a great many essays written in the same systematic, clear and calm way that he speaks.

A few days ago at the Taiyangdao crocodile show in Harbin, as a trainer was performing the breathtaking act of putting his head in a crocodile’s mouth, the crocodile suddenly “became savage” and snapped its mouth shut, biting the trainer’s head. Several people managed to force its mouth open, but the trainer suffered many deep wounds in the head and face and lost a great deal of blood.

Some months ago, at the Snake Emporium in Wuhan, a worker with 12 years butchering experience was killing a snake when he carelessly allowed himself to be bitten. His boss generously paid 120,000 yuan to charter a plane and fly him to Guangzhou for emergency treatment, saving his life.

To be bitten by a poisonous snake or a beast of prey and be at risk of death deserves sympathy, but my reaction after reading these two reports was different: they brought it on themselves!

When Australia was being colonized, the people who arrived took a fancy to this bountiful land, and introduced rabbits. The result was that Australia, where grass-eating animals had few natural enemies, very soon had hundreds of millions of foreign guests. They were highly fertile and very destructive. A colony of rabbits could practically wipe out a whole field in one night. Before long they had created a desert.

So the people there began to bring in cats, hoping they would be natural enemies of the rabbits and control their numbers. They didn’t think that the domestic cats would take a fancy to their chickens. Not only did they not keep down the rabbits, they rose up in rebellion, became wild cats and harassed the farmers. And so the wild cats became another major problem.

The disappointed people thought of dogs, hoping to use the dogs to subdue the cats and bring an end to this tragedy. Who would have thought that when the dogs arrived in Australia, they would decide that this was paradise and one after another leave home to become wild packs. They attacked cows, sheep, chickens and ducks – all livestock and poultry, big and small. There were even many people who were bitten by the wild dogs.

At this point, the people there finally came to their senses and realized that they themselves were the directors of this series of tragedies. If, at the start, they had not thought themselves so clever bringing rabbits, then cats, then dogs, then today Australia would not have to spend vast sums of money clearing out these “unwelcome visitors.”

The crocodile and the poisonous snake that harmed people in the city and the plague of rabbits in Australia seem quite separate and unrelated. In fact, that is not so. These three have one thing in common and this is the reason why they caused harm and disaster: it is entirely because they appeared in places where they should not appear. And the decision to put them in these places was made by precisely the victims who moan and complain – ourselves.

Actually, the real victims are the animals. Whether it is animals that perform for our pleasure, or animals that are put on the plate to satisfy our desire for food, how many people notice their tragic plight?

A crocodile or a snake have only to hurt a person without killing him and we are “deeply concerned,” but thousands upon thousands of wild animals fall victim to the club and the butcher’s knife; innocents to the slaughter. Can this be reasonable? Animals that once lived happily in a natural environment have been snatched away and forced into the city. If a few of them do nothing more than offer justifiable resistance, we condemn them as “killers” and call them “savage,” but when we originally grabbed them and brought them here, was that humane? We are perfectly aware that some wild animals are dangerous. We clearly should not hunt and trap these animals. We are perfectly able to live in peace in our own separate worlds. But we push on regardless of danger, ignoring risks. Since that is the case, who is at fault?

I remember as a child at school, whether it was biology, history or politics, in every subject I was taught that people and animals are different. The difference is that man can use tools, or that man is able to think. Today, based on what we know about animals, we have discovered that these theories are not true. I think the difference between humans and other animals is that normal animals instinctively avoid risks, while man does the opposite. Man is clever and brave, and is especially good at creating dangers for himself, considering this a worthy trait.

In the West, journalists say “Dog Bites Man isn’t news. Man Bites Dog is news.” That means only unusual or illogical things are worthy of attention and deserve to be reported. Using the meaning expressed in this phrase, I beg the media to think about what kind of situation an animal is in when it attacks a human. If it is caged by man and faces slaughter, then it is man we ought to be questioning.

I ask Lin Yi: “Your article really isn’t bad, but will you be able to make a career and a living out of articles like this?”

He lowers his head and smiles just a little: “I don’t know.”

“Then why do you say you want to blaze a new trail?”

“I want to give myself three years. If this doesn’t work, then I’ll go back into the ordinary world and do things I don’t want to do.”

I say: “Everyone can have things they like doing. I admire your determination and the conditions you’ve set. But in three years time you’ll be 30. Your girlfriend is still at university. Can you be sure that your relationship won’t change? Are you going to live off your parents for the next three years?”

“If things change, there’s nothing I can do about it. I’ll just have to put it down to experience. As a man, I should give my wife a good life and I’ll work hard to do that. As for my living expenses, I keep them down to a minimum so that as far as possible I’m not a burden to my parents.”

Lin Yi has a “son” called Ah Long – a beautiful big white cat. It’s seven years old. Lin Yi picks it up to show me. He presses his face close to Ah Long’s and says: “Look, he’s sick. He has to eat all kinds of medicine every day. He still hasn’t woken up.”
When I go to leave, Lin Yi stops me. He wants to show me his big tortoises.

In the sun porch, I’m startled by a pair of huge tortoises in a washbasin. “When I bought them they were only this small. I’ve raised a lot of small animals.” Lin Yi gesticulates proudly and in an instant he’s become a big sweet boy again. I think back to the morning when he was still telling me about profound theories of Chinese Taoists and Buddhists and I suddenly feel that the person in front of me is quite unbelievable.

I can’t work out if Lin Yi and Hu Jia’s characteristics can really represent young people today. They really do deserve to be called complete environmentalists and they have paid a huge price for this. But is this lifestyle of theirs something other young people can emulate?

the article from:

Web dissent on the rise in China – BBC

Zeng Jinyan does not look like a dissident. She is small, heavily pregnant and has a liking for colourful dresses.

But the Chinese security operatives who permanently watch the apartment she shares with her husband are an indicator of just how influential she has become. The 24-year-old uses the internet to pass on information to the outside world about protests, injustices and underground campaigns in China. She is just one of tens of thousands of ordinary Chinese people who are now using the internet to express themselves in  ways that were previously impossible. [continues…]

From BBC website 16 /10/2007

Jinyan–China: Most influential unknown person

Late last year, Time magazine featured entertainment blogger Wang Xiaofeng in its 2006 person of the year issue, and while Wang’s name is more than well known throughout the Chinese blogsphere, when 22 year-old Beijing-based blogger Zeng Jinyan (曾金燕) was chosen by the magazine this week as one of the world’s most influential people, well, there aren’t all that many reactions to bring you.

‘Who is she?,’ was one of the few, from Lidan at Blog-City, on May 5:


Aside from President Hu and Liu Qi, there’s still momma Zeng


These two days, every major newspaper and website have been trying to get the scoop on Hu Jintao and Liu Qi’s having been chosen for Time magazine’s world’s 100 most influential people, but many people in China don’t know there’s one more: this chick Zeng Jinyan‘s been listed too! It’s my first time to hear of this person[….]

A search at Sina blogs: nothing.

Hexun, one home of writer-blogger Yu Shicun, who has written on Zeng several times in the past: nothing since March 12

Are Sohu bloggers more with it? Or has the provider just not put Zeng’s name on the block list? Three blog posts since the 100 list came out, first from XuXiao888 on May 5:



The remaining woman, Zeng Jinyan, none of the websites have any information about her. She was listed by Time Magazine in the “Heroes and Pioneers” category. I once saw something about her on a blog somewhere: Zeng Jinyan’s husband Hu Jia works to uphold the human rights of Chinese AIDS patients. Zeng Jinyan, as a result of having her relief and rights-protecting husband Hu Jia disappear, used the blog and the internet to reveal to people the truth, attracting international attention, and then later her husband was released.
This maybe be a bit taboo, but I feel that having already been honored by Time as one of the world’s most influential people, Zeng Jinyan is still the pride of Chinese. The media should not be keeping a collective silence, this is just tantamount to deceiving yourselves. Even if they do, it’s of no use. The world is already flat, all man-made blocks and barriers will never cut as much as they’re intended, nor do they adhere to the open policies the Chinese government calls for.

Better than nothing, a copy and paste job of a mainland news report at CWD’s blog, also dated May 5, and a brief passing mention from Jun Wenzhang the day before. Massive corporate blog providers aside, even Bullog has only been able to come up with one post thus far, from user Jing Ran, also dated May 4: ‘The news mainland media can’t report.’

Zeng Jinyan put up a brief post when she found out, at can can be seen a few comments from her foreign fans:



This morning a friend told me that Time magazine released its list of the 100 most influential people this morning, and of the Chinese selected there are Hu Jintao, Liu Qi, Ma Huateng (CEO of Tencent), and me.
Today is May Fourth Youth Day, and it’s also Chen Guangcheng’s son Little Kerui’s birthday. The child often cries when he thinks of his dad. Last year, Chen Guangcheng and Wen Jiabao were named in Time’s list of the 100 most influential people, and this year, at this time, Chen Guangcheng remains in prison.

Followed by this post, dated May 5, also translated at EastSouthWestNorth:

昨天,就我入选美国《时代》周刊”全球最具影响力100 人”之”英雄与先驱”(以下简称100人)一事,祝贺、采访和约稿的电话、电邮很多,反而让我觉得意外。面对这些问题,我简单归纳了回答,以答谢关注的朋友。

Yesterday, I was chosen as one of Time magazine’s “world’s 100 most influential people” in the “heroes and pioneers” category. Congratulations, interviews, phone calls and e-mails aplenty. I was actually quite surprised. To deal with all the questions, I’ve made up a simple summary of all my answers, as thanks for all concerned friends.


Q: How did you feel when you learned you’d been selected as one of Time’s ‘100′?

答:昨天早上,蔡先生通过电子邮件第一个告诉我《时代》公布的100 人里有我。

A: Yesterday morning, a Mr. Cai was the first to tell me, over e-mail, that Time had released its 100 list and I was on it.

《时代》的记者和摄影师去年秋天开始和我联系,当时没有明确说明采访和拍照的目的。所以昨天确定地得知《时代》公布的100 人上有我的名字,我觉得高兴。倒是去年记者电话采访我时,我有点意外。不管是世界范围内,还是在中国国内,哪怕是在我们居住的北京,比我影响力大的人太多了。我年轻,做的是中国主流社会关注程度不高的社会工作,又是一个被警察经常绑架失踪、非法监禁的”活跃分子”的妻子,我的名字还被大陆的各个媒体封杀 ——总之社会角色很特殊,我没有想过自己会成为100 人之一。

Time reporters and photographers began to get in touch with me in fall last year. At the time they didn’t say exactly for what the interview and photos would be used. So yesterday when I was able to confirm that my name was on Time’s 100 list, I was quite happy. When the journalist phoned last year for an interview, I was a bit surprised. Whether you’re looking worldwide, in China, or even here in Beijing where we live, there’s way too many people far more influential than I am. I’m quite young, just doing work which to a large extent is not paid any attention by mainstream Chinese society, but I’m also the wife of an illegally monitored “activist” who’s often kidnapped or disappeared by police. My name’s been blocked from all mainland media—in brief, a tather particular role in society, but not one that I thought would make me one of the 100.

无论如何,我觉得这是《时代》给我的一种鼓励,是对我2006 年的工作的肯定。我发手机短信把这条消息告诉我远在福建的父母、干爸干妈,又打电话给胡佳的母亲。

But no matter what, I see this as Time giving me some encouragement, an affirmation of the work I did in 2006. I sent a text message to my parents and grandparents way off in Fujian province to let them know, and phoned Hu Jia’s mother to let her know.

5 月4日 这一天是陈光诚的儿子克睿的4岁生日,之前我一直惦记着,早晨醒来我就让胡佳先给袁伟静发短消息祝福小孩子,在我心中这一天是属于小克睿的节日。因为要赶路,所以匆匆通过电子邮件把关于 100人的消息发到博客,我们按原计划出发到密云水库和朋友聚会,又因为其他一些事情,到夜里近一点才回到家,所以今天才回应。

May 4, this day is Chen Guangcheng’s son Kerui’s fourth birthday. I’ve been keeping it in mind all along, and this morning when I woke up I got Hu Jia to send [Chen Guangcheng’s wife] Yuan Weijing a short message to congratulate the kid. In my mind, this day belongs to little Kerui. I had to get on the road, so I just hastily posted news about the 100 list up on my blog, and we stuck to our original plan to head out to Miyun Reservoir for a party with some friends, and also because of some other things, we didn’t get home until close to one a.m. and have only been able to reply now.

问:你认为什么原因使你能够名列 100人?

Q: What do you think the reasons were why you were included in the 100?

答:我不清楚《时代》用什么准则和标准来挑选这 100人,只能做些猜想。

A: I’m not sure what standards Time uses in selecting the 100, I can only guess.

博客的运用可能是我入选的其中一个原因。在我们这个没有言论自由的国家,新闻媒体首先是”党的喉舌”,记者和媒体的”生杀大权”都被中宣部掌控。纵使优秀的媒体工作者能偶尔突破新闻审查,也无法长期全面深入地报道社会底层最需要关注的事件和问题。在亲身接触社会弱势群体,亲自调查一些相关的社会问题,在开始阅读具有公信力的英文报道和学术报告后,我才明白,我们中国公民生活在一个谎言社会里,中宣传部就是《 1984》” 真理部”,每日用它的语言”修改历史”、”编写事实”。并指导、命令国内新闻机构作”感人至深的正面有益的新闻报道”。为了拒绝虚假的新闻,描述真相,越来越多的中国人,在网络开办自己独立的新闻机构——博客,就算不报道国家大事,也可以如实地记叙身边的社会百态,甚至只是在博客上说些”真心”的闲话。在现实生活中,人们因为担心惹麻烦对政治性话题很冷感。在可以匿名的网络上,你会发现无数热情关注中国社会现状、抨击时政的网民。而对于主流媒体不能报道的非法软禁、逼迫失踪、维权以及公民社会运动的重要事件等话题,博客成为社会工作者、有独立思想人士的一个平台和接触公众的机会。 2006年我通过博客持续讲述胡佳的失踪、长期软禁和我被跟踪的生活,以及中国类似遭遇者的故事,引起很多朋友的关注。尤其是胡佳失踪时,博客成为一个营救平台,发挥了我事先未曾想到的作用。博客成为维权运动、公民社会工作、甚至保护家人的一个很好的工具,而只要是记录个案描写个人的真实遭遇,就注定了博客内容与众不同。唯一遗憾的是, 2006年 9月份前后,我的博客被网络警察屏蔽后,在中国大陆就再也无法直接访问了。我连自己更新博客都常常要借助电子邮件。

My use of blogging could be one reason why I was selected. In this country we have no freedom of speech, the media are first and foremost “the Party’s mouthpiece”, and journalists and media’s right to continued existence lies in the hands of the Central Propaganda Department. Even if top-notch media workers can still sometimes break through news censorship, they’ve still no chance for long-term investigative reporting into the incidents and problems of society’s lower levels’ most in need of attention. After personally interacting with weaker groups in society, personally investigating some related social problems, and as I began reading some credible English-language reports and academic studies, I finally understood that we Chinese citizens live in a society of lies, that just like the Central Propaganda Department is just like the Ministry of Truth in “1984″, using its own language each day to “change history”, “rewrite the truth”. As well as ordering Chinese news outlets to produce “deeply-moving, positive and helpful news reports”. In a rejection of fake news, fake renditions of the truth, more and more Chinese are opening their own independent news outlets online—blogs, which even if they don’t report on major national incidents, they can still record the hundreds of different nuances to society that they see around them, even if it just a few casual “sincere” lines on their blog. In real life, people are worried about creating trouble and so tend to be rather unresponsive to political problems. But when anonymous on the internet, you can see the countless and passionate opinions strongly concerned with Chinese society, netizens tearing away at current events. And as mainstream media are unable to report on such important events and topics as illegal house arrests, forced disappearances and the civil rights and civil society movements, blogs have become a platform and a chance through which social works and independent thinkers can interact with the public. In 2006 when I opened a blog to continue writing about Hu Jia’s disappearance and long-term house arrest and my own life of being followed, as well as the stories of those with similar experiences in China, it attracted many people’s attention. Especially while Hu Jia had disappeared, my blog came to act as a rescue center, things I’d never before imagined possible. Blogs have become a tool for those in the civil rights movement, those in citizen social work, and even as a way to protect family members, and as long as people record truthful portrayals of what they encounter, it’s guaranteed that their blog content will stand out from others. The only pity is that since September 9, 2006, my blog has been blocked by police and cannot be directly viewed from within China. Even my own blog I often am able only to update it via e-mail.

中国优秀的博客作者众多,无论文采、深度,我都不能算是最好的。所以写博客这一形式肯定不是入选的唯一因素。因为中国的非法拘禁、失踪事件越来越多?因为我在写博客的过程中,实践着人权教育和社会工作对我的影响?因为中国乃至世界的人民非常关注中国维权运动与弱势群体和底层人民的反抗、挣扎?因为2006 年我给联合国机构、人权组织、艾滋病和环保人士、欧盟等真正有影响力的人写了太多的报告和求助信,还号召太多的人和我一起给中国的领导人写信?因为胡佳失踪时我成功地召开了世界各国驻北京记者的招待会,让媒体朋友把我的请求传遍世界?

There’s so many outstanding bloggers in China, be they of literary talent or depth, there’s no way I can be considered the best. That’s why blogging can’t be the only reason for my having been entered. Because incidents of illegal arrest and disappearing in China continue to increase? Because in my process of writing I make use of the impact human rights education and social work have had on me? Because people in China, even the world, pay close attention to the civil rights movment and resistances and struggles of ‘weak groups’ and lower-class citizens? Because in 2006 I wrote too many reports and letters requesting assistance to the United Nations, human rights groups, AIDS workers and environmentalists, the European Union and others with real influence, calling for too many people to join me in writing letters to Chinese leaders? Because after Hu Jia disappeared I successfully held a press conference for foreign correspondents stationed in Beijing, allowing media friends to spread my appeals to the world?

有些人说是因为我的勇气。我很惭愧。大家不知道我以前是多么地恐惧,又是如何地隐忍。胡佳从2004 年开始就频繁地失踪或被软禁,我寻找过他,但更多地只是等待他从警察手里回来。当国保警察找到我的大学,通过学校党委要求我”不要和胡佳继续交往”、”不要花时间在艾滋病社会工作上”,否则”小心毕业证书”时,我是多么害怕以至于常常沉默。是的,06 年的失踪和软禁事件中我开始学着反抗后,渐渐地不再恐惧了。因为我终于意识到,如果最心爱的人我都不能守护,我还有什么可以失去呢?我还害怕什么呢?如果人不能有尊严地活着,苟且隐忍又有什么意义呢?如果我总是害怕来自政权强大的看不见的黑势力,那我的工作受阻,在艾滋病村的老人、小孩、病人还有志愿者又怎么办呢?那些比我遭受更多磨难的维权人士的家属,如陈光诚的妻儿怎么办呢?相信只要心中存有正义,勇气自然而来。我的宗教信仰也给了我很大的支持,帮助我从恐惧中解脱。根本上师和佛祖的笑颜常常突然出现在我脑海中,让我充满力量。佛祖说人生终归会受各种各样的苦,那就坦然面对吧!于是我渐渐地放下恐惧,纵然时常气愤、恼怒、悲痛,但从来不失去信心。

Some people say it’s to do with my bravery. I’m ashamed. Nobody knows how fearful I used to be, or how forebearing I was. In 2004 when Hu Jia first began to disappear or be placed under house arrest, I’d go searching for him, but mostly just waited for him to come back from the police. When the secret police found out where I went to university, they went through the campus Party Committee to tell me “not to continue associating with Hu Jia”, “stop wasting time on AIDS social work”, or else “start worrying about your diploma”, I was often so scared that I’d just stay quiet. Really. In 2006 between the disappearances and the house arrests, I began to learn how to fight back, and gradually stopped being so scared. Because I’d finally realized that if I can’t even protect the people I love the most, what else do I have to lose? What else am I scared of? If people can’t live with dignity, what use is there in suffering in silence? If I live in constant fear of unseen dark forces from the powerful regime and my work is thwarted, then what are the seniors, children, patients and volunteers in the AIDS villages supposed to do? Those family members of rights upholders who’ve had to deal with so much more trouble than I have, like Chen Guangcheng’s wife and son, what are they to do? I believe that as long as justice exists in our hearts, bravery follows in suit. My religious faith has also given me great support, helping me escape from fear. The smiles of my buddhist master and Buddha himself often appear in my mind, renewing my energy. Buddha says all life must deal with so some sort of pain, so I say bring it on! I gradually release my fear, but even if I’m often furious, annoyed or hurt, I still have never lost my faith.


Q: What sort of influence or changes will the list bring to you?

答:如果不是那么多朋友和记者的祝贺与提问,我意识不到这个问题。《时代》是具有世界影响力的媒体,发布名单肯定会让更多人知道这100 人。但是这只能代表着对过去工作和贡献的肯定,很快人们就会忘了,而去看新的名单、新的事件。所以我没有意识到也没有想过名列100 人会给我的将来带来什么影响和改变。将来要做的社会工作照做,方式也不会因此而改变。一时的国际知名度可能会让我更加安全,再加上我现在怀孩子,我想07 、08年他们也许会跟踪、软禁我,但不至于把我投到监狱。可是谁知道究竟会发生什么事情呢?我们最关心的朋友,盲人赤脚律师陈光诚,去年也是《时代》 100人的英雄与先驱,受到世界媒体、政界、民间的高度关注,但是他因出色的维权工作遭到报复,至今还在监狱中。

A: If it hadn’t been for all the friends and journalists sending me congratulations and questions, I wouldn’t even have noticed. Time is one of the world’s most influential media, so releasing this list will of course allow many people to know who these 100 are. But this can only represent a confirmation of work and contributions of the past, people will quickly forget and go look at the next new list, new incidents. This is why I never realized or thought that the being on the 100 list might bring me any effect or change. For the future I’m going going to stick with my social work; my methods won’t change because of this. Temporary international renown might make me feel safer, especially now that I’m pregnant. I think in 2007 or 2008 they might keep following me, keeping me under house arrest, but they won’t go so far as to throw me in jail. But then who knows what might actually end up happening? The friend we’re most concerned about, blind barefoot doctor Chen Guangcheng, was also chosen by Time as one of their 100 heroes and pioneers, which brought him a high degree of attention from world media, the political world and civilians, but as a retaliation for the outstanding civil rights work he did, until today he’s still in prison.

倒是一些朋友告诉我们,当他们昨天拨打我家的电话和我的手机时,听到的答复是电话有故障或无此号码、请查实,甚至手机显示正在忙——有时我确实在接电话,有时我根本没有使用手机时它也显示忙音。后来更麻烦,因为国内的报纸在铺天盖地地报道胡锦涛和刘淇入选100 人,没有关于我的介绍,对此我早有思想准备,所以原本不想说什么,谁知家里来电话追问为什么。我怎么办呢,不解释似乎我在撒谎,详细解释原因岂不是叫家人伤心!一些网友也迷惑,问”是国内媒体封锁还是国外媒体造谣”?

Then some friends told us that yesterday when they phoned us at home or to my cell, they got messages saying the number was out of service or had been disconnected, to try again, and even a busy signal. I definitely did use the phone a few times, but even when I wasn’t it still appeared busy. Then it got worse, as mainland papers went covering the land and sky with news that Hu Jintao and Liu Qi had made the 100, but there were no mentions of me. I was prepared for something like this, so at first I didn’t want to say anything. Who knew people would start phoning me at home to find out why. What could I do? If I didn’t explain it would have seemed like I was lying, but to explain in detail would just hurt my family. Some netizens got confused too, asking: “are mainland media being censored or are foreign media spreading lies?”


Q: How do you feel about being listed alongside Chairman Hu Jintao?


A: No special feeling. Our roles in society are too different. China has the highest population in the world, our economy ranks in the top few places, our system’s authority overrules our laws, the Party is bigger than the state. As the representative of a large country under this kind of system, Chairman Hu Jintao undoubtedly has greater influence. Time must have its own factors to consider in compiling the list.


Hu Jia and I are just average people, I work in a small company to make some money to feed the family, doing AIDS care, relief and rights protection work in my free time. Hu Jia is self-employed right now, or as the police put it, “urban unemployed.”

我对与胡锦涛同榜没有特别的感想,对他个人也没有抱怨。但是,中国司法部门对公民社会和维权人士的镇压,作为主席的他需要负责任。偶尔我会希望中国政府高层的”有良知的领导人”加速推动社会政治改革,以消除腐败弊端,减轻压在老百姓头上的重压,让中国社会真正进步,让人民自由而幸福。可是,随着政府出台越来越严厉的对网络和新闻审查、对民间打压的政策,绝大多数时候我不对当局抱幻想。我相信将来会更好,但是必须通过每一个的努力、挣扎和奋斗,而非等待统治者遥遥无期的” 恩赐”。

I have no special feeling about being listed alongside Hu Jintao, and have no complaints against this particular person. But, Chinese judiciary bodies suppress civil society and those who uphold rights; as Chairman he needs to take responsibility. Sometimes I’ll hope that the “leaders with conscience” within the higher levels of the Chinese government will speed up the push for social and political reforms, and in wiping out corruption, reducing the weight pressing down on the heads of the common people, allowing Chinese society to effectively improve and granting its people freedom and happiness. But, as the government releases increasingly strict internet and news censorship, policies that strike down on the people, the sheer majority of the time I don’t feel disenchanted with the authorities. I believe the future will be better, but that it needs everyone’s effort, struggle and strife, and not just waiting for the rulers’ bestowing of it upon us at some indefinite point in the future.