“For a long time I have hoped that one of these few would write us all a book about his own China, a real book, permeated with the essential spirit of the people. Time after time I have opened a book, eagerly and with hope, and time after time I have closed it again in disappointment, because it was too fervent in defense of that which was too great to need defense. It was written to impress the foreigner, and therefore it was unworthy of China.”
Nearly 80 years ago, the great American writer Pearl S. Buck encouraged her Chinese friend Lin Yutang to write a book explaining China to the West. When Lin finished his masterpiece My Country and My People, Pearl wrote the preface for his book, expressing her appreciation for Lin’s work and disappointment for many other Chinese writers — which can be seen from the paragraph quoted above.
Pearl’s criticism towards those incompetent Chinese writers is still valid today, though profound changes have taken place in China during the past decades. Writing about China is much more difficult now than it was in Lin’s time, though nowadays much more people — including Chinese and foreigners — are writing about this huge country.
Several years ago, I started to write a Chinese blog focusing on Chinese media and social issues. I have been trying to offer my independent opinion about my country. This continuous work got some attention, including Danwei’s recommendation for my blog to netizens wanting to learn about China.
Before this recommendation, several of my blog posts were introduced and translated by Danwei. Thanks to Danwei’s work, my voice has been heard by more netizens, especially Westerners. Gradually, I began to consider writing a blog in English. At the same time, the independent blogger Michael Anti encouraged me to write about China in a language which can be understood by the largest number of people in the world.
With the hope (and some ambition) of telling the ancient oriental nation in my eyes and in my thoughts as well as communicating with the world, I decided to start an English blog concerning on various aspects of China and Chinese people. Compared to native English bloggers writing about China, the advantage of me is that I myself am deeply rooted in this country.
As a Peking University (also known as Beida) graduate majoring in Journalism and Human Rights, I am chiefly interested in the topics of the functioning and changing of China’s political system, the role played by China’s media in the reform, and the development of civil society. However, topics on China’s economics, culture and other social issues will also be introduced and analyzed in this blog.
I graduated from Peking University this July and became a journalist working for Southern Weekly. The tagline of my newspaper is “to understand China”. As mentioned above, to understand this unique country is not an easy task, but I will try my best, for my newspaper, and also for my blog.
As you can see, I borrowed the title of Lin Yutang’s book for my blog. It’s a salute to Dr. Lin, and also a spur to me. In the blog description, I chose the phrases “changing China” and “awakening citizens”. I believe that China is in the transition to a modern democratic country and Chinese people are getting off their knees. As the Chinese saying goes, “while the prospects are bright, the road has twists and turns.” I am going to write about the prospects, and also, the twists and turns.
Undoubtedly, there will be many malapropisms, mistakes and misuses of words in my blog posts. If you happen to notice them, please do not hesitate to tell me. Of course, discussions on my blog posts are also welcomed. Thank you.