What happens when Chinese heroes are fake?

"Everything they teach you to admire is fake. 
Right now they're pushing Lei Feng..."

Chinese citizen Ran Yunfei says some compelling things about China and fakery. He's an intellectual who works for a government-run magazine, yet because of his blogging he was detained by a Chinese government nervous about revolution. Mr. Yunfei was interviewed by Ian Johnson for The New York Review of Books:
Ian Johnson: What’s the link between belief and education?

Ran Yunfei: You have a society where the educational materials are all about loving the party—of course it leads to a spiritual crisis.


Everything they teach you to admire is jiade (fake). Right now they’re pushing Lei Feng (the Communist hero who was a model of selflessness) again. But everyone knows that Lei Feng is made up. All of their model heroes are false: Wang Jie, Liu Wenxue, Lai Ning: fake fake fake. So when they teach morality their teaching tools are fake. Completely fake. After a while the students learn that Lei Feng is a fake. He existed but all the stories are made up. It’s destructive—it destroys everything you’ve been taught. You feel that nothing is real. How can they teach virtues? It’s impossible. The problem is they don’t have a bottom line. There is no bottom line in society. You find out that the things you’re supposed to admire the most are untrue. So it seems nothing is real. So the only way the party can succeed is by cheating you. That becomes their biggest success. That’s who you’re ruled by.


People are saying that this year might be a year of reform...

The good news is that blogging and the Internet have damaged the CCP’s [Chinese Communist Party] monopoly on information. So change is happening slowly, from the grassroots. But the damage of years of living under this system is profound. You, as a foreigner, can live here and learn to use chopsticks and learn Chinese perfectly but you might not know how Chinese people think, especially in sensitive areas. If you ask ordinary people about a sensitive thing, how they react is different than how you’ll react. It’s hard for you to imagine their sense of fear. You might be expelled but it’s not like being here. The system of language has to be analyzed. The CCP created a parallel language system (of untruth) that is on an equal basis with the language of truth. You have to analyze what it’s like to grow up in this kind of an unfree country. This is the only way to really know this country.
Read the interview: Learning How to Argue: An Interview with Ran Yunfei, The New York Review of Books>>
- Ran Yunfei, Wikipedia>>
- Lei Feng, Wikipedia>>
- Lei Feng poster "Study Lei Feng, serve the people wholeheartedly" at Chineseposters>>

1 comment:

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