Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

Chinese Dissident Blogger Stabbed During Bookstore Reading

Posted in censorship, internet by allisonkilkenny on February 15, 2009

Times Online

china_stretcher_487440aOne of China’s most famous bloggers was stabbed at the weekend.

Xu Lai, the writer behind Pro-State in Flames, was speaking at the One Way Street bookshop in Beijing on Saturday afternoon when he was attacked, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported. He had been speaking for a couple of hours and was answering questions when a fracas erupted.

His wife said that two men forced Xu Lai into the men’s toilet. She chased after them and found that one was holding a vegetable knife and the other a dagger. The men escaped, leaving Xu Lai on the ground with a cut to his stomach.

A report on the English-language blog Black and White Cat noted that “Xu Lai may not have the megastar status of Han Han, but he’s very much an A-list blogger.”

The Southern Metropolis Daily said: “Xu Lai is a low-key sort of person and he’s just a science journalist who wouldn’t provoke anyone. However, there are many things on his blog that can touch a nerve and he has probably made enemies that way.”

The newspaper quoted a witness as saying that they heard one of his attackers say: “You brought this on yourself. You know why we’re doing this, don’t you?”

However, this could also refer to a personal feud as much as to any ideological vendetta over views expressed in his blog.

Mr Xu is famous for his biting and often sarcastic style in commenting on social and political issues. He is an editor at the popular Beijing News daily and his book Fanciful Animals was published last November. His blog is believed to carry many entries penned by other contributors.

Blogs are extremely popular in China, where newspapers are heavily censored. Cyberspace police patrol the internet, swiftly closing sites deemed too risqué, but they remain the most important medium for self-expression in China.

6 Responses

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  1. pcp69 said, on February 17, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    How is he a dissident? lol

  2. allisonkilkenny said, on February 17, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    Sometimes, I lose faith in humanity.

    dis·si·dent (ds-dnt)
    Disagreeing, as in opinion or belief.
    One who disagrees; a dissenter.

    From the actual article I posted:

    Mr Xu is famous for his biting and often sarcastic style in commenting on social and political issues.

    In conclusion:

    A person, who criticizes the government, is a dissident. I really can’t break it down more than that, champ.

  3. pcp69 said, on February 18, 2009 at 4:25 am

    Wow, here I thought that word applies to people who actively challenged the establishment, I guess I learn knew things everyday. Maybe there’s hope for humanity yet :O

  4. allisonkilkenny said, on February 18, 2009 at 8:48 am

    “Actively challenge the establishment.”

    So what’s your definition of that, then? Charging the Bastille with armed comrades?

    We live in an age of technology where every act challenging the state is, yes, challenging the establishment. Hence, the systematic repression of bloggers in China. I’m not sure how old you are, but you’re either too old to appreciate this newfangled invention called the internets, or you’re too young to appreciate the bravery it takes to challenge the state even if it’s in the often dismissed form of blogging.

    Either way, your arguments looks pretty silly.

    Or, to put it in your language of emoticons: >:O

  5. pcp69 said, on February 18, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    I do apologize that my argument came across as silly to you.

    Nevertheless, I would personally define challenging the establishment as one who defies the Communist Party or when Cao Cao defiantly challenged his comrade Dong Zhuo to unshackle the state of Han, but I digress.

    Why don’t you direct me to which of Mr. Xu’s blogs that are “challenging the state”. =O

  6. allisonkilkenny said, on February 18, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    It’s strange that you seem to take issue with the word “dissident” when it’s been so widely applied to Xu, from the Times to Right Wing News.

    I’ve only seen loose translations of his work, and it all seems pretty light-hearted, but that’s still a form of dissent. It may not be Common Sense,but it was enough to piss off someone. I don’t speak or read Chinese, so I’ll have to take their word for it.

    This was also posted on one of Xu’s sister sites: someone heard the perpetrator tell Xu Lai: “You know better not to offend people the next time?” Hecaitou said that Xu Lai is a low-keyed person and just a science reporter who couldn’t possibly have offended others in his work. But his blog has a lot of contents that are somewhat provocative. Therefore the enmity may have come from his blog.

    If that’s true, it seems he rubbed someone the wrong way, and for whatever reason that may be, it makes him a dissident. The government needn’t be behind this to make Xu a dissident. In fact, this would be a very sloppy assassination indeed if the government was behind it. More likely, there were two unhappy nationalists that didn’t like Xu’s tone, and they wanted to teach him a lesson.

    Regardless of the purpose, bloggers frequently place themselves in a position of vulnerability when they post concepts that challenge an established majority even – as I mentioned before – if it’s done in a light-hearted fashion.

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