On the other side of the “wall”


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Controls over the Internet have been getting worse recently, prompting some blog writers to react to Google’s supposed retreat as well as the state of the GFW. One new blogger on the blog host my1510, Incomplete Mountain (不周山), wrote an ironic blog post about what life would be like outside of Chinese Internet censorship. His conclusion: not a whole lot of fun.

Incomplete Mountain uses ironic wit and puts bloggers and Internet activists in a landscape where isn’t censorship of the Great Firewall. The result he draws is that no-one would have their blood boiling at the sense of injustice because there would be no mistreatment and civil cases:

The world outside the “wall”

by Incomplete Mountain (不周山)* / my1510

The Wall Street Journal said, many Chinese netizens have been quick to express that they want to “cross over the wall.”

On Twitter there is also a group of passionate people.

A netizen wrote in and expressed their sheer joy of successfully “crossing over the wall.”

But, life is not fun at all in the world outside the “wall,” it won’t get your blood boiling at all.


On the other side of the “wall,” Yang Jia is doing fine, every day he kills time in the prison gym. He watches his growing biceps and at the same time listens to reports from his lawyer. Mother Yang doesn’t need to go petitioning at all, or to Ankang Hospital (安康医院), all she needs to do is be on TV every few days, and talk about the solid relationship between mother and son, and she’s quite peaceful. There are no mysterious figures, and no mysterious verdicts, you can listen as you wish during a trial, and there is not much insider information to speak of. At any point it will be on the news. Netizens don’t have any room for imagination, and blogs don’t become famous. Boring!

On the other side of the “wall,” Pan Rong* has become so stupid that she can’t do one plus one, never mind the intelligence to make a Molotov cocktail. Tang Fuzhen* only needs to sit at home and make some phone-calls, she’d never have the idea of turning herself into a fire-ball. Demolition…. A piece of paper with an indictment is enough to sue at the high court. Intrusion into private property and unreasonable compensation, is directly breaking Article 5 of the Constitution; it’s a deadly crime, and there would be a group of lawyers who want to take over the case. It would take the legal process as it’s a conventional civil case, and there isn’t even a hint of suspense.

On the other side of the “wall,” a book like The Details of Democracy (民主的细节)* won’t be accepted by anyone even if it were for free, not mentioning continuing to reprint eighty or ninety times, and getting the backing of a host of famous people. The only place for it would be the library. Yes, Locke’s books can be kept around, seeing as they are classics. Who has the ghost of someone else? I haven’t heard of her; what is this, which bit in this book isn’t common sense? Sigh, it’s hard to find a topic that will sell for the political writers outside the “wall!” You can save the hype!

On the other side of the “wall,” you can make fun of the highest leaders as you wish, and it won’t ignite a whirlwind cross-province chase. On Youtube it’s hard to know how many thousands and tens of thousands of videos that have made Obama into Hitler. On the entertainment channels on the weekend, Obama and Hillary have the bitter life, no part of their under-the-bed secrets are kept secret, and because everyone has seen so much of it, it’s hard even to laugh. But we haven’t heard that the video makers have been caught by Wang Chao and Ma Han*, the government’s response is too slow, the legal court wants slander and incitation cases to show that it’s doing something, but there aren’t any opportunities.

On the other side of the “wall,” Tiger Temple (老虎庙)* is definitely a renowned scholar of folk culture, of course there aren’t so many “homeless people” for him to be concerned about. Old Wang and Young Zhang have been living off disability benefits since long ago. Of course there aren’t so many petitioners waiting for him to help build a ladder. If he wants to hold up a banner of pity, he can think again. Citizen journalists have lost their existences completely, professional journalists are everywhere, there is no opportunity for blog writers to publish their articles. Without a unified report to use, everyone publishes their own information, idle and miscellaneous people who want to get famous overnight, the likelihood really is very small.

On the other side of the “wall,” you can talk about positive things in your school, and also hold anti-government talks, you can publicize yourself as leftist, on the fence, or on the right, any color you want, the department head won’t have the power to question you about it. There is no way that students will go to the Public Security Bureau to report you and say that you are spreading anti-government thought. If someone wants to hear you talk, they’ll come; if they don’t, they’ll leave. Anyone who wants to use this to get famous to start some school campus incident and become a famous civil figure, don’t even think about it!

On the other side of the “wall,” you can surf whatever website you want, because who cares? No-one will put you in the Internet Addiction Center, and take your life with one (electric) shock, making you news for headlines. Posting and leaving replies is not fun at all, it’s all quiet, because there isn’t a 50 cent who wants to correct you. On the other side the government is too poor, and can’t employ anyone to direct the flow of conversation, and of course won’t spend money to help you get to know a new father, don’t even think about it. The Luqius (闾丘们)* also won’t start any blog spaces, whatever someone wants to say they can say, they don’t need that kind of microphone.

On the other side of the “wall,” having a position in the government means that you are treated unwell and lots of young people won’t even think about trying to work there. Whatever you do, don’t think it’s like the handsome boys and pretty girls in the movies; in actual fact they are all old folks just trying to pass their lives. They are so poor they can’t buy land, can’t build buildings, and don’t even imagine that they can get houses assigned to them. Their budget needs to be transparent, and so do their salaries, every day even the tiniest details needs to be explained carefully, and they don’t have any power to “fish” for cars*. A call for a rise in oil prices, and the airplane falls out of the sky, this has long become a myth in this strange land of the Orient.

One sentence is all we need: in order for your blood to keep boiling, and your spirit forever excited, please refuse to cross over the wall.


  1. The name for the blogger originates in mythology that could have connotations dating back to the time of the Yan Di (炎帝), according this Baidu Knowledge post.
  2. Pan Rong (潘蓉) is a 43-year-old woman from Shanghai, who with her husband, made explosive liquids and targeted it at authorities who were trying to demolish her 480sqm, four story house (their offer of 1.18 million yuan in compensation wasn’t substantial enough). A Southern Weekly report about her, in memory of Tang Fuzhen, is here.
  3. Tang Fuzhen (唐福珍) was the Chengdu woman who self-immolated in November 2009 in order to protect her ex-husband’s property, and since becoming a symbol for standing up to demolition authorities and a catalyst for legal reform.
  4. Details of Democracy is by a Chinese author, Cambridge University academic living in the US, Liu Yu (刘瑜), who also goes by the Internet ID drunkpiano; she is also a regular on my 1510 (her page) and the book was recently reviewed by Leung Man-tao. The book is in its ninth printing, not eight or ninety as suggested by the author of this post.
  5. Wang Chao and Ma Han (王朝、马汉) are legend figures who worked in the Yamen (or court), notedly under the Northern Song judge and fighter for justice Baoqingtian (also known as Bao Zheng 包拯).
  6. The blogbus and my1510 blogger who crusades against injustice in the civil sphere and a famous citizen journalist who regularly posts videos.
  7. Luqiu Luwei (闾丘露薇) is the Phoenix TV journalist who was previously a Harvard Niemen Fellow and who famously began the liberal blog host my1510.cn where a number of well-known critics and bloggers blog (including Incomplete Mountain and this blog post).
  8. The Shanghai Fishing Gate (上海钓鱼门) refers to the case of 19-year-old Sun Zhongjie who cut off his finger in protest of a government scheme to capture illegal taxis, framing him because let on a hitch-hiker.
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