Monday 28 April 2008

如果你是学生 - If you are a student

游行和集会是可以上瘾的。今天你可以打着爱国的旗号对外,明天你就可以打着爱国的旗号……,所以,你是得不到支持的,整个过程里你只能面对中国人 民和中国防暴警察,你连一根黄毛都看不见。不要发生无畏的伤亡。爱国主义不是免死金牌,爱国主义有时候反而送你一程。在和平年代的激进爱国者和偶像的粉丝 是没有区别的,但他们还不能选择偶像,所以势必更加疯狂。

If you are a student

If you are a student, a university student, I have a suggestion for you. If you like something, buy it; if you don't like something then don't buy it, but don't demonstrate on the streets.

Protests and rallies are addictive. Today you carry the flag of patriotism against the outside world, tomorrow you carry the flag of patriotism against...

So you won't get support. During the whole process, all you can do is face the Chinese people and the Chinese riot police. You won't even see one blonde hair [i.e. foreigners]. Don't let pointless injury or death happen. Patriotism is not a golden talisman that will protect you from dying. In fact patriotism can be the death of you.

In an era of peace, radical patriotism is no different from a fan's adoration of his idol. But because people don't choose the object of their patriotic love, it's bound to be ever crazier. Previously, I thought inciting the masses was just government rhetoric, a pretext, but now I realize that people can be stirred up rashly. Of course, it's not easy to incite people but when they are determined to be cannon fodder, it's easy for them to blow up. Don't equate the current situation with the May Fourth movement [when patriotic students protested the Versailles treaty in 1919].

Student protest - May 4, 1919

The two situations are totally different. Right now what we need is stability. Don't cause disturbances or stir up trouble, it's pointless.

To repeat: that's not the way forward, now is not the time.

I am willing to be called a traitor or a running dog, if only to give you this message: hold back your passions and show a gentle face, accept different voices. It's not yet the time now.

by Han Han

Han Han (韩寒) is a novelist with a huge and dedicated fan base. He is also a racing driver and a blogger.

On his blog he has recently been discouraging his compatriots from getting too passionate about their patriotism. Here is a translation of a blog post he published on April 25

By way of the excellent Danwei

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