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Facing the Real World: China’s Law Professor Was Censored

Within less than two hours of posting, China’s social media WeChat removed a 6000-word post by Lao Dongyan, a law professor at “China’s MIT,” Qinghua University. The title of the posting was, “Facing the Real World.” In 2016, Lao was awarded as The Most Influential Young Scholar in China in the area of the Humanities and Social Sciences. In the posting, Lao reviewed 2021 and looked forward to 2022. She did not mention the CCP leaders.

What did she say that led to the ban?

Lao stated, “In a society full of ‘positive energy’ discourse, the sense of uneasiness spreads like a tidal wave throughout society. The pursuit of freedom is often the subject of ridicule. People are increasingly indifferent to, or they even welcome, the increasing concentration of power and the stepping up of various kinds of control in the name of security, and the tightened rule over society using the technology of big data tracking.”

She continued, “Nearly all the catastrophes of the 20th century were caused by institutional evil. The darkness of human nature compounded by an evil system has repeatedly led to unimaginable tragedies.”  “Be prepared to be interviewed if you publish a diary documenting your daily life under the epidemic. If you show solidarity with a colleague who was expelled for his classroom speech, you may even face the experience of ‘being mentally ill.’”

Lao wrote that her “original intention to promote the rule of law in China has turned out to be pure wishful thinking.” She noted that today the theoretical vision of the rule of law and the actual practice of the rule of law are increasingly running in opposite directions. “What is even more absurd about this is that many of those who have been put in chains are not only not angry about losing their freedoms but they are actually quite comfortable with it. They are like frogs being boiled in increasingly warm water.” “It can be said that many people, including myself, choose just to bear it and retreat, thereby enabling evil people to continue to do evil with impunity. In a sense, we are responsible by our passive inaction and for the deterioration of our environment since we choose to tolerate it and even beat a retreat in the face of it.”

Finally, facing the real world, Lao concluded with a quote from J.K. Rowling’s commencement address at Harvard University. “If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself being in the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped change.’ In my opinion, this is the real ‘positive energy.’ May you and I have such ‘positive energy.’”

Source: China Digital Times, January 29, 2022


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