A letter to Ms. Yang: You are just a target
Photo: baidu.image.com
 
Dear Ms. Yang,
 
As someone who doesn’t know you personally, I found out you are a new Internet star after I woke up today. Comments on your "University of Maryland graduation speech" flooded everywhere, from the official media to the we-media, although in many people’s eyes, you are in the limelight a shameful way.
 
I have no intention to evaluate your words or deeds, as a variety of views have been presented on the Internet, and each one could take his/her apple; I have also no intention to pinpoint the genesis of your purpose, as outsiders should not speculate. It is you who know it best.
 
As for the "sweet and fresh" American air and the "sacred" American democracy you admired, and in contrast the "suppressed" Chinese fog and the Chinese democracy only defined by "authority" you suffered, it is not important whether they crushed the self-esteem of most Chinese, or shouted their voice, as you are actually just a target.
 
When you uttered your words, people from all walks of life, either praised you or scolded you, like sharks sensing the smell of the blood and gathering around you. And I am one of them, although a more moderate one.
 
For those who are deeply haunted by the haze and the idea of having no democracy, you are the sword of their accusations against the government; and for those who are dissatisfied with the status quo but do not want their country being a target of condemnation (nationalism excluded), you are the salt on their wounds.
 
People who support you said:“I can understand the praise from the bottom of one’s heart on something worth praising, and criticism on something that needs to be criticized.”“I can’t understand why praising the freedom of speech and the air in the United States is not allowed? Why many people attacked it with (words like)kneeling while licking orill-intentioned? What is the problem with criticizing China's serious pollution?”
 
People who opposed you said: Once, China was “dirty everywhere and its social system was just like the North Korea”in the eyes of the Americans," and "our predecessors, through efforts made during generations, finally let the Americans have some true understanding of China, and we are reluctant to see our self-esteem being ruined again.”Some said, I am not opposed to discussions of China’s problems between the Chinese and foreigners, actually I support it. But please stick to the facts." An e-pal named Lily illustrated her idea with an example: If an American college student comes to China to give a speech, and the subject is global security, he could say that China's security is better than that of the United States, and then leads the topic to global security. It is acceptable to the audience in both countries. After all, it is a fact, like the fact that American air is better than China’s. But if he says he spends each day in America with fear and dares not to walk alone and has never experienced safety because of the frequent campus shootings in the US(corresponding to your comments that "had to wear a face mask every time I went outside, otherwise, I might get sick."), then I think it is his personal problem. I believe many Americans will not agree either.
 
Undeniably, some unscrupulous media or we-media labeled you as someone "humiliating China", pushing you to the top of a wave. While they licked the blood buns of 100,000+ clicks and celebrated their winning feast, either for business interests or political interests, you were just the sacrifice on their table of network violence.
 
In the book "Being A Target-The Moral Sanctions of the Social Network Times", the author recorded the fate of many people who experienced cyber violence. The author said: "You and I are the ones who have power, but we are also abusing our power." Yes, people inevitably abuse their power. And as for you, a representative of China on the international stage to speak, have you, though unknowingly, ever abused your power?
 
As someone who studied journalism in the "imperialistic states" like the UK and US and covered Chinese news for them, I am not willing to discuss the topic of "democracy’s relativity" with you, as I assume it is beyond your understanding, at least for now. But as someone who has been questioned by an Indian: "Does China have democracy?", and being sympathized bya Sri Lankan: "The air in your country is terrible!" I am out of tears. It is true our country has many defects that I could not refute. But I love my country. Some people may say that the government does not mean the state. Yes, but when the outsiders criticize your country, they say: China.
 
In fact, many people who criticized you would, in private, express their dissatisfactions toward the motherland. However, as a representative of China speaking at the University of Maryland’s graduation ceremony, an international occasion, you were not a private person. Criticism of China should not be blamed if it is true, but please do not exaggerate it. And at the same time, could you please present the outsiders with some shining aspects of your motherland so that they could see a more comprehensive China? Or, you just think your country does not deserve any praise?
 
I agree with a netizen's comment: How to tell a real, complex and concrete China to Westerners so that they are interested in it, are willing to listen to it and do get something out of it, and at the same time we are neither groveling nor arrogant? It is not easy to find such a suitable point, which I have been exploring as well.
 
So, when you do not have the ability to cover such a difficult topic, please be careful with your wording and scale. After all, not all the topics are suitable for making sensational effects.
 
Oh, just learnt that your major was drama, then I could understand you. But the real life is not a drama.
 
Well, I admit, I'm just a shark passing by.

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