Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Popular Chinese Blogger "Confesses" His Crimes on TV

In America we tend to judge other countries based on our own values.  We seem to want the whole world to look and act like America.  I think it's important to realize, however, that other societies have values that are just as legitimate (just as 'right').  In America we value freedom, but we have more people in jail than any country in history (1% of all Americans are in jail). We have lots of crime, poverty and almost every week the world hears of another terrible shooting where innocent people are killed.

In China a Chinese-American guy was continually posting nasty (hateful; nasty information would be information attacking someone) information about the Chinese government.  Apparently some of the things that he posted online were just rumors (things he had heard but which might not have been true). 

For instance, he seems to have posted that the Chinese government was putting chemicals into the drinking water so that people would not want to have sex.

The Chinese government arrested him and he went on TV to apologize to the Chinese government and to confess that what he had done was wrong. 

I am a little confused, though. The government seemed to arrest him because they claimed he tried to hire a prostitute (a woman who sells her body for sex).  But he went on TV and confessed that his blogs and statements were wrong.  Many people think the government just wanted to arrest him for anything - to keep him quiet.

Also, I do not know whether he confessed 'voluntarily'.  (If you do something voluntarily, nobody is forcing you to do something.) I tend to think that he confessed so that he would not receive as harsh a punishment as he might have. 

To be honest with you, I'm somewhat sympathetic to the Chinese government in this situation. 

In America the internet is not regulated (controlled), and we read stories every week about teenagers who kill themselves because of 'cyber-bullying' or 'internet-bullying.' (Bullying is when one person or a group attacks another person.)  We have lots of freedoms in the USA, lots of things are unregulated, and foreign countries would point out that this is why there are always shootings and other terrible things that happen. Foreign countries could argue that the people of the USA do not use their freedom wisely.

The Chinese government would probably argue that the US has done a terrible job of making sure that innocent people are not harmed by the internet, and the Chinese government does not intend to make the same mistake.

In America anyone can post anything about the government, even if it is a lie.  Citizens are expected, in America, to be able to tell the difference between the truth and rumors.  But China has different values.  The government does not tolerate the posting of lies or rumors.  Therefore, this person was arrested, and he made a humiliating confession on TV (you feel humiliated when you feel deep shame - when you do something that makes you look bad).

The article:

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

a confession - when a person states that he/she did something wrong

startling - shocking; if something startles a person, he doesn't expect it and is very surprised

handcuffs - the metal device the police use to keep a person's hands locked together

to renounce - to say something is worng

to intimidate - to scare, to threaten

speaking critically - speaking negatively

It gratified my vanity greatly - basically he is saying that by blogging attacks against the Chinese government to thousands of people, he felt wonderful (gratified) - a person's vanity is his sense of how great he is.  If a person is 'vain' the person thinks he is amazing and better than others.

an alleged crime - an apparnet crime; if something is aleged, it might have happened but hasn't been proved yet

aired - shown on TV

likened the practice - compared the practice

Mao-era justice - an era is a period of time. Apparently Mao justice was not justice. It was a situation where many innocent people were forced to confess to things they had not done.

routine - common

the accused - those who supposedly had committed crimes

hiring a prostitute - a prostitute is a woman who sells her body for money.  So he was not arrested for making nasty statements, he was arrested for hiring a prostitute.

an activist - someone who wants to change something that is wrong

vaildity - truthfulness

denials he had been set up - some people think that he was deliberately arrested to stop him from making any more negative statements about the Chinese government.

solicitation - asking a woman to have sex for money

to curb his influence - to lessen his influence

rumor-mongering - promoting rumors instead of the btruth

attribute microblooging to addictive drugs - he means that blogging became like a drug for Xue

verified - made sure they were true

gorgeous - wonderful.  He loved the attention he was getting from others.

contraceptives - this is what I mentioned before. he seemed to claim that the government was adding chemicals to water to stop people from having sex.

to double-check facts - to make sure facts are correct.

regulation - control

an entreprenuer - a business person

chastened - humbled; if you are chastened you feel ashamed of what you did

slander - when you deliberately make false statements about a person

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