《环球邮报》:中国国家主席喜爱的博客写手憎恨美国 而他实际上对美国一无所知

(作者:Robert Foyle Hunwick 翻译:方舟子)

  北京,中国――你是否知道在美国,工人辛苦所得低到一小时3~5美元?而靠这点收入很难生存,因为“路边小店一顿饭每人要花20~40美元”。

  这些奇怪而错误的说法只是周小平写的《梦碎美利坚》一文中很多这种说法的一部分。这个月,在“文艺座谈会”上中国国家主席习近平把此人(连同其同行博客写手花千芳)特地挑出来表扬之后,这个33岁的博客写手已成为北京官方最推崇的人。习主席表扬这两个人的作品拥有“正能量”。

  周被证明了是一个特别有争议的选择。

  他最著名的文章之一,题为《美国对华文化冷战的九大绝招》,是一篇反美文章,声称好莱坞是美国破坏中国的阴谋的一部分,并把美国人对待中国人的态度比做希特勒对待犹太人。

  实际上,自从上世纪90年代末像《活佛》《红色角落》这样的电影产生争议以来,好莱坞很担心会由于批评中国而失去一个巨大的市场。恰恰相反:2014年的大片《变形金刚4》是一部自大、饱受批评的续集,因为赤裸裸地推销中国品牌和迎合中国人的感情而受到冷嘲热讽。

  但是在习讲话之后,与周争论事实真相已变成了政治反抗行为――不管你多么出名。

  方是民――中国最出色的打假斗士――就有惨痛教训,见识了你敢抨击中国国家主席喜爱的博客写手会有什么样的下场。

  方逐条批驳周,认为周是在“梦游”美国,并反问道,“难道他以为网民是和当官的一样容易骗吗?”

  事实上,周从未去见过中文称为“美丽的国家”的美国。“我从没出过国,”他谈到其反美长篇大论时说,“但我有很多海外朋友。”

  方的驳斥被广泛传播――然后消失了。他抗议之后,他的微博(中国版的推特)账号被关闭。30分钟之后,他所有的博客文章也都无影无踪。在过去,批评者的账号也曾被关闭或失灵,但这次不一样。正如一名博客写手注意到的:“的的确确,方舟子被抹掉了。”

  方以其笔名方舟子广为人知。他做这种批评的份量肯定很重。在2012年,他获得了权威的《自然》杂志的首届约翰・马多克斯奖,该奖表彰那些“站出来捍卫科学”的个人。在过去,他揭露商人傅苹备受关注的文革回忆录《宁弯不折》歪曲事实,宣布微软中国前CEO唐骏伪造文凭,甚至让曾经敢言的作家韩寒实际上从此闭嘴,因为他指控这名年轻的小说家剽窃(译者按:应是“被代笔”)。

  他这么做冒着相当的风险,同时遭受了人身袭击和网上审查,而这正是对其信用的证明:“袭击方舟子就是向文明社会宣战,”记者徐小平(与周小平不是亲戚)曾经宣布。

  那么周小平就是个明显的目标。而尽管被从网上清除了,方的批驳显然很有效。不久之后,中国人在搜索周小平,以及他的外号“周带鱼”时,其结果就会出现大家都很熟悉的信息,“根据相关法律法规……”。

  在被剥夺了在中国的数字化存在之后,方转移到推特,在那里他的粉丝一夜之间几乎翻番。在那里,他奇怪《洛杉矶时报》在写关于他的报道时是否也“害怕遭到报复”:该报的这篇文章署名“一名时报作者”。

  “五毛”大军

  再回头看看中国,官方媒体已快速运转起来。北京《环球时报》的一篇社论注意到对周小平的批评带有智力上的蔑视:“(周小平和花千芳)没有毕业于名牌学校,也没有受过系统的教育。……他们的语言是粗糙、激进、几乎是粗俗的,”该文作者承认。“尊重这么年轻、幼稚、草根的相反声音是非常困难的。”

  随着支持和反对周的各种反驳越来越多,以及试图删除它们的审查战的进行,这个事件把中国意识形态的状况放在了聚光灯下。有人警告说,北京下定决心要与“西方价值观”进行一场意识形态战争。否则为什么通常喜欢援引古典哲学的中国国家主席会选择表扬一个幼稚而且爱出错的写手呢?

  周曾经是个解放军工兵,后来成为地方低级官员,之后又陷入网上赌博,他的履历让很多人产生共鸣:出身低贱,没有任何天赋,一度过着此处奔波、默默无闻的生活。作为一名互联网创业者,他曾经不得不反驳对其传播淫秽品的指控,这是在中国网上被禁止的众多媒体类型之一。

  “如果普通公民真想要说什么的话,只能在网上加入‘歌功颂德的合唱’,”人民大学政治教授张鸣说。因此周发现了他作为“五毛”的生存空间。“五毛”一词原先是用来描述中国低薪网评员大军的――据称人数多达30万人,每发一条“引导公众舆论”的评论挣五毛钱――这个词通常用于指那些当政府应声虫的人。“五毛是市场经济的产物――许多人以此谋生。”历史学者章立凡解释说。“而现在周正是党需要的那种人:年轻,政治上正确,顺从。”

  事实上,习主席应该能够知道他对周的支持是有风险的。在2013年,周公开攻击谷歌中国前总裁李开复假装得癌症和与“国外敌对势力”搞阴谋诡计。这些错误的羞辱让人恶心。甚至连《新京报》都反驳说,周“搬起石头砸自己的脚”,并说“辩论应该有根有据。”和别人不同,周的造谣并没有让他被判刑,但是他的确曾经宣布要封笔。

  一年后,随着中国的舆论环境蛮横地清除了异议者,周更不会放下其毒笔。浙江一家报纸的评论员刘雪松写了一篇试图调和的呼吁文章,题为《世界够大能同时容下方舟子和周小平》,之后,他和他的文章都从网上消失了。

  在某种意义上,周属于中国帝国一长串“御用文人”之列。习主席暗示自己要和毛泽东相提并论,而毛泽东曾扶持像郭沫若和胡乔木这样的支持者。不同在于“他们是极其有天赋、敏锐和富有文学才能……像他们这样的人不存在了,因此(共产党)不得不找像周这样的人,”章立凡说。

  他补充道,“我读到一条网上评论说;‘看一眼狗就知道主人的品味。’我认为这个说法是意味深长的。”

GlobalPost

Robert Foyle Hunwick October 30, 2014 00:06

The Chinese president’s favorite blogger hates AmericaAnd he actually has no idea what’s going on in the United States.

BEIJING, China ― Did you know that in America, workers toil for alowly $3 to $5 an hour? And that’s hardly enough to live on when “ameal at a roadside cafe costs $20-$40 per person.”

These odd and erroneous claims are some of many made in “BrokenDreams in America,” an essay by Zhou Xiaoping. The 33-year-old hasbecome the official toast of Beijing since Chinese President XiJinping singled him out (along with fellow blogger Hua Qianfang) forspecial praise at a “Forum on Art and Literature” this month.President Xi hailed their work as possessing “positive energy.”

Zhou proved a particularly divisive choice.

One of his best-known pieces, headlined “Nine Knockout Blows”against America, claims that Hollywood is part of a plot to undermineChina and compares American attitudes toward the Chinese to Hitler’streatment of the Jews.

In fact, since the controversy generated by late-1990s films like”Kundun” and “Red Corner,” Hollywood has been skittish about losing apotentially huge market by criticizing China. Far from it: Thearch-blockbuster of 2014 was “Transformers 4,” a bloated andcritically panned sequel ridiculed for overt pandering to Chinesebrands and sensibilities.

But since Xi’s speech, arguing with Zhou’s version of the truth hasbecome an act of political defiance ― no matter how famous you are.

Fang Shimin ― China’s foremost anti-fraud crusader ― learned thehard way what happens when you trash the Chinese president’s favoriteblogger.

In a point-by-point rebuttal, Fang suggested Zhou had “sleepwalked”through America and wondered, “Does he think netizens are as easy tofool as politicians?”

In fact, Zhou has never laid eyes on what’s known in Mandarin asBeautiful Country. “I haven’t been abroad,” Zhou said of hisanti-America screed. “But I have many overseas friends.”

Fang’s takedown went viral ― then vanished. When he protested, hisWeibo (China’s version of Twitter) account was suspended. Thirtyminutes later, all his blogs were gone for good. Critics’ accountshave been suspended or functionally disabled in the past; this timewas different. As one blogger observed: “Quite literally, Fang Zhouzihas been erased.”

Fang, widely known by his pen name Fang Zhouzi, certainly had thegravitas for such a critique. In 2012, he won the prestigious Naturemagazine’s inaugural John Maddox Prize, awarded to individuals who“stand up for science.” In the past, he has discreditedbusinesswoman Peng Fu’s high-profile Cultural Revolution memoir “Bend,Not Break” for being flexible with the truth, called out Microsoft’sformer China CEO for having a fake diploma, and has even rendered theonce-outspoken writer Han Han virtually mute with a crusade accusingthe younger novelist of plagiarism.

That he’s done so at considerable risk, suffering both physicalattacks and online censure, is a testament to his credibility:“Attacking Fang Zhouzi is the same as declaring war on civilizedsociety,” journalist Xu Xiaoping (no relation to Zhou) once declared.

Zhou Xiaoping, then, was an obvious target. And despite the web wipeout,Fang’s debunking apparently worked. Soon, Chinese searches for ZhouXiaoping, as well as his nickname, “Belt Fish” Zhou, were producingthe all-too-familiar message that results could not be displayed,“according to relevant laws and regulations.”

Robbed of his digital existence in China, Fang switched to Twitter,where his following had almost doubled overnight. There, he soonwondered if the Los Angeles Times also “feared retaliation” forwriting about him: the newspaper’s article was bylined, “A TimesStaff Writer.”

The “wumao” army

Back in China, official media have gone into spin cycle. One editorialin Beijing’s Global Times detected intellectual snobbery in thecriticism: “[Zhou and Hua Qianfang] did not graduate from famousschools and haven’t received a systematic education. … Theirlanguage is coarse, radical and almost vulgar,” the writer admitted.“Respecting such young, immature, grassroots contrary voice is verydifficult.”

As the rebuttals for and against Zhou mount, and censors battle todelete them, the affair puts the spotlight on China’s ideologicallandscape. Some warn that Beijing is bent on waging ideological warwith “Western values.” Why else might China’s president, whousually likes to invoke an appreciation of classical philosophy,choose a na?ve and rather fallible writer for celebration?

A former People’s Liberation Army engineer who became a low-levelprovincial bureaucrat, then drifted into online gaming, Zhou’sprofile resonates with many: Born without privilege, not endowed withany natural talent, he once lived a life both itinerant and anonymous.As an online entrepreneur, he’s had to fend off allegations ofpeddling pornography, one of many types of media banned on the web.

“If common citizens really want to say something, there are only’praise-singing choirs’ on the internet for them to join,” saysRenmin University politics professor Zhang Ming. So Zhou instead foundhis niche as a “wumao.” Coined to describe China’s army of low-paidweb commentators ― who allegedly number 300,000 and earn a nickel acomment to “guide public opinion” ― the term wumao is commonlyapplied toward those who parrot the government line. “The wumao is acreation of the market economy ― many do it just to make a living,”explains historian Zhang Lifan. “And right now, Zhou is exactly whatthe party needs: young, politically correct and obedient.”

In fact, President Xi could have known that his endorsement of Zhouwas risky. In 2013, Zhou publicly attacked ex-Google China chief LeeKai-Fu for faking his own cancer and conspiring with “hostile foreignforces.” These erroneous taunts prompted disgust. Even the BeijingNews retorted that Zhou had “dropped [a rock] on his own foot” andsaid “debate should comply with the laws of evidence.” Unlike others,Zhou’s rumormongering didn’t earn him a prison sentence, but he didclaim to be quitting writing.

A year later, with China’s lively media environment brutally shorn ofdissenters, Zhou shows much less inclination toward putting down thepoison pen. When Liu Xuesong, a columnist at a Zhejiang-based newspaper,wrote a conciliatory plea entitled “This world should be big enoughto tolerate both Zhou Xiaoping and Fang Zhouzi,” both he and hisarticle vanished from the web.

In a sense, Zhou belongs to a long line of “courtly” writers inimperial China. Mao Zedong, whom President Xi has implicitly comparedhimself to, cultivated supporters like Guo Moruo and Hu Qiaomu. Thedifference is “they were hugely talented, sharp and full of literaryskills … people like them don’t exist anymore, so [the CommunistParty] has to do with folks like Zhou,” says the historian Zhang.

He adds, “I read a comment online: ‘Take a look at the pet and youwill know the taste of his master.’ I think it’s very meaningful.”

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/china/141027/chinese-president-favorite-blogger-hates-america

(XYS20141118)

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