General Liu Yazhou: Great Critics are Often Great Patriots

The Chinese Elections website at the Carter Center, which collects many enlightening articles from the Chinese press on its website, shared this recent WeChat public account posting by PLA National Defense University political commissar Liu Yahou.  Liu Yazhou is a patriot who often speaks out for more openness and democracy for China.  I remember one of his articles several years ago that argued  along the lines of ‘China needs to be a much more democratic country — only then can it be a strong country that western powers will not dare try to push around.’

Liu Yazhou’s articles are surprisingly frank considering the overt restrictions and intimidation that Chinese writers and even web users must contend with.  Liu is the son-in-law of the former and now deceased Chinese President Li Xiannian.  This may be one of the reasons he can speak relatively freely.   A Wikipedia biography of Liu Yazhou is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liu_Yazhou

These days, with all the news about fake news and the fake news about news, General Liu’s words about China apply more to the U.S.A. as well than one might hope!

Liu Yazhou: Great Critics are Often Great Patriots

伟大的批评者往往是伟大的爱国者

by Liu Yazhou  刘亚洲

Introduction:

Today we very often are missing this medicine: truth! In an honest society, honesty itself is not something that people make a big thing of; it is in a dishonest society that honesty is particularly valuable.

You are all good writers. Why do people dislike military political study materials so much? Why are all those things that the newspapers and magazines write about can’t really be taken seriously?

Our situation today is that “the common people don’t believe anything, the experts don’t understand anything, the media doesn’t say anything and political education is useless.” It is because you are being phony that people can’t take you seriously. You are writing things that you don’t believe yourself but want other people to believe them. How strange is that? First of all, do you believe what you are writing? Would you want your son to read it? That is a kind of dishonesty.

Writing dishonest articles and being a dishonest person are the same thing. A pen weighs a thousand pounds. Articles must be truthful. The fundamental content of an honest article is truth. Only truthful articles are lively and vigorous. The ancients said that people must be upright and that writing should be unconventional. “Unconventional” here means be actively thinking for ourselves. People should be honest but articles should be beautiful and brilliant. The “unconventional” along with beauty and brilliance are built on foundation of truthfulness. An article that is not honest cannot be beautiful and brilliant. Simply preaching at people cannot win their hearts. Preaching in itself does not have vitality. Future generation will not benefit from important things that are not said. The problem remains a problem of the system and a problem of education. We of our generation started lying from the moment we started writing. I lied too. We have all written that kind of essay. For example, “I found a penny and gave it to Uncle Policeman, Uncle Policemen asked me my name and I said my name is Red Scarf”. We all wrote “I helped an old man cross the street, then I looked at the sun and it shined even brighter”; “After I swept the classroom, I wiped off the perspiration and laughed seeing how my red scarf shined even brighter”. I escaped from there.

After I told lies, I felt how evil it was. These days we don’t want for anything, but what we are most short of is truth! In 1958 during the Great Leap Forward in Anhui Province there were people dying of starvation. When they went to the hospital for medical care, the physician, after taking their pulse, the physician said you lack a certain kind of medicine. One word: food. The man was starving.

Today we very often are missing this medicine: truth! In an honest society, honesty itself is not something that people make a big thing of; it is in a dishonest society that honesty is particularly valuable. Truthtellers are often critics. Critics are often patriots. Great critics are often great patriots.

After reform and opening began, we made a film. The film was called “Bloody Taierzhuang” [ 電影 《血戰台兒莊》 – 1986 Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZp9FEK0vQU ]. After that film was made it could not be shown anywhere because it showed Nationalist Party contributions to the War of Resistance Against Japan. Finally, Comrade Xi Zhongxun [note: the father of PRC Party Secretary Xi Jinping] said let’s take it to Hong Kong and get it shown there. We had never imagined what a great sensation that movie made in Hong Kong. After Jiang Jingguo heard the news, he had the movie brought to Taiwan to see. After Jiang Jingguo saw it, he said: “So it turns out that the Communist Party is seeking truth from facts.”

That movie led directly to Jiang Jingguo allowing old soldiers to return to the mainland to visit their relatives. A new page was turned in relations across the Taiwan Strait. Comrades, the power of seeking truth from facts is very great indeed!

We should learn how to write from Lu Xun. Lu Xun greatly raised the power of the Chinese language to inflict casualties. This is how the writer Zhu Dake put it. Zhu Dake also said “The Chinese language is the kind of language that is well suited for writing imperial edicts, for writing praise for someone’s accomplishments and virtue on monuments, or for letters of condolence.”

After Lu Xun, the Chinese language became a dagger and a pistol. Lu Xun opposes all towering buildings, I think that he is against bigness. After the publication of “The True Story of Ah Q” many Chinese people wanted to sue Lu Xun for slander. This was because the Ah Q that Lu Xun wrote about was so much like them. I think Lu Xun was a very powerful writer. Lu Xun once made a celebrated comment, “I considered it but I will not forgive any of them.” He was a man of great hatreds. But he first of all had a great deal of love. It was only because of his great love for the Chinese nation that he was able to hate so much. It was just because of his great love and his great hatred that made him more willing to stand up and tell the truth. He used his pen to write great truths about all kinds of people and all kinds of social phenomena.

I have been thinking a lot about this. Chinese people today really do lack “truth” more and more. From news reports to eating, drinking and all other aspects of daily life there is just so much that is fake and counterfeit. We can’t but doubt just what is true? No matter what this society becomes, what we need to do now at least, is to seek the truth. A man without faith cannot stand. It would be a very sad thing indeed if we can’t even be honest. Chinese people, Chinese society, and we as individuals all need to be honest

We Chinese people often lack this medicine: truth.

Liu Yazhou WeChat Public Account December 16, 2016

来源:中国社会学公共微信 20161216 also China Elections website

刘亚洲:伟大的批评者往往是伟大的爱国者

作者:刘亚洲

  导言:

  现在我们就缺一味药,真实!在诚实的社会中,诚实其实并不那么被人看重;只有在不诚实的社会里,诚实才显得特别的金贵。说真话的人往往是批评者,批评者往往是爱国者。伟大的批评者往往是伟大的爱国者。

  你们都是笔杆子。为什么部队的政治教材那么不受欢迎?为什么报纸杂志上讲的那些东西不能深入人心?

  现在的状况是,“老百姓啥也不信,专家啥也不懂,媒体啥也不说,政治教育啥也没用。”因为你假,深入不了人心。你写的那些东西连你自己都不相信,却想让别人相信,那不是鬼话?你写的东西首先你自己信不信?你儿子看不看?这也是一种不老实。

  做文章不老实和做人的不老实是相同的。笔是千斤重呀。文章一定要真实。做老实文章的根本内涵在于真实,真实才是有生命力的。古人讲,做人要端正,做文要放荡。这里讲的“放荡”指的是思想的驰骋。人要老老实实的,但文章要锦绣才华。“放荡”和锦绣才华,首先是建立在真实的基础之上的。没有真实,绝不可能有锦绣文章。仅靠说教是征服不了人心的。说教没有生命力,不要说藏之名山传于后世了。这里面仍然有体制上的问题、教育上的问题。因为我们这代人从开始写作文就说谎。我也说过谎。我们都写过那样的作文,比如“我捡到一分钱送给警察叔叔,警察叔叔问你叫什么名字,我说我叫红领巾”;我们都写过“我扶着一个老人过马路,我看看太阳,太阳更加鲜艳了”;“打扫完教室后,我擦着汗笑了,我看到我的红领巾更加鲜艳了。”我是从这里面跳出来的。

  我说过谎话之后,我意识到它的罪恶了。现在什么都不缺,就缺真实!1958年大跃进的时候,安徽有个人快死了,到医院看病,医生给他号脉之后说,你就缺一味药。两个字:粮食。饿的!

  现在我们就缺一味药,真实!在诚实的社会中,诚实其实并不那么被人看重;只有在不诚实的社会里,诚实才显得特别的金贵。说真话的人往往是批评者,批评者往往是爱国者。伟大的批评者往往是伟大的爱国者。

  改革开放之后,我们拍了一部片子,叫《血战台儿庄》。这部片子拍完之后,没有任何地方敢上映,因为反映的是国民党抗战的事情。最后,习仲勋同志说,先拿到香港放映一下吧。没想到电影在香港造成了巨大的轰动。蒋经国听到这个消息之后,把片子调到台湾去看。据说蒋经国看完后,讲了这样一句话:“原来共产党还是实事求是的。”这个电影直接促使了蒋经国开放老兵回大陆探亲。两岸关系翻开了崭新的一页。同志们,实事求是的力量多么伟大!

  写文章,要学习鲁迅。鲁迅极大地提高了汉语的杀伤能力,这话是朱大可说的吧。朱大可还说:“汉语这种语言是比较适合写诏书的,写歌功颂德的纪念碑的,或者是写慰问信这类东西。”

  汉语在鲁迅手下变化成了匕首和手枪。鲁迅反对一切塔式建筑,我想,他是反对高大。鲁迅《阿Q正传》出版之后,很多中国人要告鲁迅诽谤罪。因为鲁迅写的阿Q太像自己了。你看鲁迅的力量多伟大。鲁迅曾经说过一句著名的话:“我想过了,一个也不宽恕。”他是有大恨哪。但是,他首先是有大爱,他对这个民族有大爱,他才能有大恨。也是因为他对中国的大爱与大恨,所以他更要站出来讲实话,他用笔杆子写最真实的人生百态、社会百相。

  我们仔细想想,现在的中国人真的越来越缺少了“真实”,从新闻报道到饮食起居,哪哪都充斥着作假,我们都不禁要怀疑还有什么是真实的?不管这个社会的以后会怎样,至少在当下,我们必须去求真实,人无信不立,我们连诚实都做不到了,岂不是很可悲?中国人,中国社会,我们每个人,都需要真实。

  我们中国人,缺少的这味药,就是真实。

来源:中国社会学公共微信    2016年12月16日

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About 高大伟 David Cowhig

After retirement translated,with wife Jessie, Liao Yiwu's 2019 "Bullets and Opium", and have been studying things 格物致知. Worked 25 years as a US State Department Foreign Service Officer including ten years at US Embassy Beijing and US Consulate General Chengdu and four years as a China Analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Before State I translated Japanese and Chinese scientific and technical books and articles into English freelance for six years. Before that I taught English at Tunghai University in Taiwan for three years. And before that I worked two summers on Norwegian farms, milking cows and feeding chickens.
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