Mandela: “Dare Not Linger” Launched in English, as Weibo Bans Search in Chinese

Chinese version coming soon?

The long awaited second volume of Nelson Mandela’s memoirs — Dare not Linger — has just been published. Left unfinished at his death, it has been completed by South African writer Mandla Langa, who reportedly worked from the partial draft, Mandela’s own notes and private archives.

I am interested because I’d like to know if it will be translated and published soon in Chinese, as was the first volume, Long Walk to Freedom (慢慢自由路), so that I can add it to my mini-database, African Writing in Chinese translation.

Curiously, when I input  纳尔逊·曼德拉 (Nelson Mandela) into the Weibo search window today, I got this message stating that according to the law, the search results cannot be displayed:


Weird! How did Mandela become unPC in China?

Xinjiang-based Novel: Excerpt from Patigül’s “One Hundred Year Bloodline”

 An excerpt from One Hundred Year Bloodline,

a novel by Patigül set in Xinjiang

(《百年血脉》帕蒂古丽 著)

Translated from the Chinese

by Natascha Bruce


Growing Up In Da’nanpo


We lived southeast of Da’nanpo, deep in the desert and on top of a steep slope, which meant all routes away from the house were downhill; toss a bucket of water from the front door and not a drop would hug the wall. Visitors had to crane their necks to see their destination, and even the flies and mosquitoes had to make a special effort to fly higher, if they wanted to come inside.

The reeds along the bank behind the house grew taller than a one-story building. Clusters of plants joined them, springing from both sides of the water channel. There were broadleaf plantains, red salt cedar, fenugreek, needlegrass, spiderflower, mugwort and dandelions, so densely packed that the ground was barely visible.

In summer, snakes lay basking in the sun on the opposite bank, coiled like hand-pulled noodles, some as thick as the reins for a horse, others slender as a sheep whip. By midday, the adults were all napping, leaving us children to sneak around, stealing watermelons and checking on the snakes. The sun made the snakes too drowsy to pay us much attention, but occasionally there was one that hadn’t quite dropped off yet, lying on the warm sand with its eyes half closed. Seeing us, it’d slither lazily away, twisting a path around our bare little feet, then curl up again and fall asleep.

In winter, the banks were shrouded in snow. On moonlit nights, we could hear the howls of foxes and wolves, and the barks of the hunting dogs as they chased after hares.

Da’nanpo was home to Han, Kazakh, Uyghur and Hui families, and we grew up speaking a range of languages. Our mother’s Gansu dialect seemed to come to us mixed in with her breast milk and, from the time we could walk, we eavesdropped on our father chatting in Uyghur with the neighbors. It was one of our favorite pastimes. We learned who had died, whose baby was being named, whose daughter was getting married, which household was slaughtering a sheep to make polo. We followed behind our father whenever he stepped out for süt chay or mutton, like a pack of little dogs trailing behind their leader, hoping for a go at a bone.

For a fuller picture of the village goings-on, we had to use our Uyghur to help decipher Kazakh, using an Eastern Turkic language to figure out a Western Turkic one. This way, we wouldn’t miss out on any of the weddings or funerals held by the several dozen Kazakh households in Da’nanpo. Polo and mutton were obligatory at any big event, but Kazakh families also laid on a puffy fried dough they called baursak, dried, salty yoghurt balls called kurt, and sweet dried cheese. [Read more…]

非漂 [Fēi Piāo] Quote of the Week: “An Expanded Capacity for Empathy”

. . . I began thinking one of literature’s tasks was to give voices to the voiceless, and to humanize people . . . so my first book of stories, The Refugees, worked exactly in that register, trying to humanize the Vietnamese people. But eventually I realized that this was a task that was doomed to defeat because we are already human. Why would we need to humanize ourselves?

When I came to writing The Sympathizer, I thought I’m done with trying to prove

“I realized that the way Americans were telling stories about this war were completely erasing Vietnamese experiences.”

the humanity of Vietnamese people. Instead, I want to show them in all their complexity, which means their inhumanity too. Not inhumanity as a stereotype, but inhumanity as a fundamental part of human character. And that was really the more important project for writers such as me, writers who belong to subjugated or subordinated populations . . . our task is to claim the same rights and prerogatives of subjectivity, and identity and complex humanity, and inhumanity, that the majority reserves for itself.

So, I hope that what people take from my work is the necessity of thinking and feeling from the position of people who are not like them. It’s a natural human tendency to think and feel for people who we think are like us, and this is both very human and very disastrous. This is partly what gets us into war and conflict, because we can’t imagine the perspectives of other people . . . not simply to say ‘Oh, we need to revise the history of the Vietnam War so that we know more about Vietnamese people.’ The problem there is that the Vietnamese people don’t want to think and feel about other people either, so the larger project is really about an expanded capacity for empathy.

(Text from a video by the winner of the 2017 Macarthur Fellowship, Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Sympathizer, and himself a refugee resettled in California)

Last King of Kuqa: Uyghur Author Patigül Launches her Xinjiang Historical Novel

First enfeoffed by Qing Emperor Qianlong in 1758, this Uyghur dynasty in northeastern Xinjiang eventually boasted a line of eleven monarchs, popularly known as the “King of Kuqa” (库车王). Kuqa was an ancient Buddhist kingdom located on the branch of the Silk Road that ran along the northern edge of the Taklamakan Desert, but to most Chinese today, the term signifies the city of Kuche. The last in the line, Dawut Makosuti (达吾提·麦合苏提), passed away in 2014.

Over the centuries, the various sovereigns met with different fates depending upon palace
intrigue and politics of the era. According to Chinese-language Wikipedia (庫車回部多羅郡王), for instance, the 9th sovereign (買甫思) reportedly died in prison in 1941.

Dawut Makosuti himself, a member of the government during the 1940s, was officially dethroned in 1949 with the establishment of the People’s Republic, and demoted to the more humble position of “translator.” Things got worse during most of the fifties, when he was posted to Aksu and underwent “Reform through Labor” (劳改).  His fate in the Cultural Revolution is not annotated in Wikipedia — hopefully Patigül’s novel will shed some light on those years! — but in 1984 he was rehabilitated, and designated Deputy Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. In 2004, his palace (库车王府) was refurbished by the government, and he lived there briefly before his death.

A seminar to promote discussion of the soon-to-be published novel (柯卡之恋) will be held in Yuyao, Zhejiang (浙江余姚) on September 11. It was previously partially published in Jiangnan magazine (江南) under the title, 最后的王. In attendance will be the female author, Patigül (帕蒂古丽), who was raised in a multiethnic Xinjiang village by her Hui mother and Uyghur father, and speaks fluent Uyghur, Kazakh and Mandarin. Her tumultuous, semi-autobiographical family saga, portrayed in moving detail in One Hundred Year Bloodline (百年血脉), has been translated into English by Natascha Bruce, and should be published within 2017 by Chinese Translation & Publishing House.

Patigül’s piece on leaving Xinjiang for life in Zhejiang, Life of a Mimic, also touches boldly on sensitive interethnic issues in China today in a way that simply cannot be matched by mainstream Han authors.

Xinjiang Slogan Update: Pomegranate Seeds

Dance to the music, Comrade: “People of all ethnic groups are like pomegranate seeds, tightly embracing one another” reads the banner (upper right)

As part of the global One Belt, One Road publicity campaign, China’s media is publishing a bevy of articles introducing major oasis cities along the ancient Silk Road, including this one focusing on Xinjiang’s Aksu (一带一路上的阿克苏: 新型全球化的城市样本). Here’s a pic from the article, showing modern-day Aksu residents dancing.

Inner Mongolia Film Week: Sep 9-17 in Hohhot

Event: 内蒙古青年电影周 (Inner Mongolia Film Week)

Date: 2017.9.9-17

Venue: 呼和浩特 玉泉区 (Yuquan District, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia)

Details: Twenty-three films will be shown, including six full-length ones: K》,《风的另外一面》,《十八站》,《写真人生》,《北国之春》,《无人》

Burn the books and bury the scholars! 焚書坑儒!

Geremie Barmé takes a look at the recent decision of Cambridge University Press to reinstate content deleted from the online version of its China Quarterly available in China:

Chinese censorship has come a long way.

During his rule in the second century B.C.E., the First Emperor 秦始皇 of a unified China, Ying Zheng 嬴政, famously quashed the intellectual diversity of his day by ‘burning the books and burying the scholars’ 焚書坑儒. He not only got rid of troublesome texts, he deleted their authors and potential readers as well.

Click here for the full essay.

One Last Ride aboard Kenya’s “Lunatic Express”

Writes Thomas Bird from Kenya (Lunatic Express), where the China-built new Nairobi-to-Mombasa railway looks set to render the Victorian-era line redundant:

“Belt and Road Cooperation for Common Promutual Benefit,” proclaims a large street sign suspended above Beijing’s ever-congested second ring road.

China is investing massively in its 21st-century reimagin­ing of the Silk Roads, even if the budget for fluid English translation remains insufficient. This rekindling of ancient trade routes is President Xi Jinping’s signature project and, in the year of the Communist Party’s 19th National Congress, the banners are flying the message of globalisation with Chinese characteristics.

Deals have been brokered from Vientiane to Vilnius, provoking critics to cry, “Empire!” and advocates to applaud vital infrastructure heading to countries most in need of investment.

Many of those countries are in Africa and, in May, an unveiling in Kenya highlighted the fact that China’s inter­nationalist wheels are already very much in motion.

But first, a little history …

Xinjiang’s Hotian Education Department Issues Directive Limiting Use of Uyghur in Schools

According to a July 28, 2017 report by Radio Free Asia (Uyhgur Language):

In late June, the Education Department in Xinjiang’s Hotan (in Chinese, Hetian) prefecture issued a five-point directive outlawing the use of Uyghur at schools in favor of Mandarin Chinese “in order to strengthen elementary and middle/high school bilingual education.”

Under the directive — a copy of which was obtained by RFA’s Uyghur Service — schools must “insist on fully popularizing the national common language and writing system according to law, and add the education of ethnic language under the bilingual education basic principle.”

Beginning in the fall semester this year, Mandarin Chinese “must be resolutely and fully implemented” for the three years of preschool, and “promoted” from the first years of elementary and middle school “in order to realize the full coverage of the common language and writing system education.”

The directive instructs schools to “resolutely correct the flawed method of providing Uyghur language training to Chinese language teachers” and “prohibit the use of Uyghur language, writing, signs and pictures in the educational system and on campuses.”

Additionally, the order bans the use of Uyghur language in “collective activities, public activities and management work of the education system.”

For Chinese report, see: 維吾爾語

穆拉特詹·萨本主: “我的父亲与新闻自由正在土耳其受审”

— 欧洲,别撇开眼睛!

12 名《共和国报》受押采编人员法庭受审,警醒各方:


原文发表于 英国 《卫报》2017 年 7 月 24 日 (英文全文在此
Muratcan Sabuncu(穆拉特詹·萨本主)撰文 (Muratcan Sabuncu 为土耳其《共和国报》总编 Murat Sabuncu 的儿子,以及法国的索邦人权协会会长)


家父,Murat Sabuncu(穆拉特·萨本主),直言勿讳,担任 Cumhuriyet (《共和国报》) 日报总编,持异见之声,却广受赞誉,在土耳其媒体中,实属罕见。他与11名 Cumhuriyet 同僚,九个月羁押期刚满,将于周一 [7 月 31 日]在伊斯坦布尔接受法庭审理。

在押仅满五个月,Cumhuriyet 新闻工作者及该报社其他从业人员才获悉他们所面临的指控。罪名是与恐怖组织有关联,有可能被判处7.5到43年监禁。然而,翻开起诉书,内容仅仅是报刊标题、消息、报道、专栏和推文。由此可见,新闻业和新闻自由才是此案真正的受审者。

Cumhuriyet 自 1924 年在土耳其创刊以来一直坚持倡导民主共和、世俗主义等价值观念。该报新闻工作者坚称其批评文章,旨在对抗危机,维护秩序,为效忠祖国之根本。连同家父在内,他们让公众认识到,诚实准确与公平是如何被颠倒的。他们深信消息通畅可以开阔公民视野,使其三思而后做决断。显然,从家父及同僚们笔尖流露出的是他们的报国精神与爱国情怀。

我父一贯执笔支持民主,正义与良知。他曾反对1997年土耳其军方利用 “备忘录” 逼迫亲伊斯兰政府下台的;反对头巾禁令;不支持以反对世俗主义为借口解散执政的 “正义与发展党”的企图;以及反对 2016 年 7 月 15 日未遂政变的图谋。小时候,我记得父亲密切关注过刺杀赫兰特·丁克(Hrant Dink)编辑的事件以及随之而来的谋杀审案,并去锡利夫里 (Silivri) 监狱探望朋友,记者纳迪姆·塞内尔(Nedim Şener),他在额尔古纳昆(Ergenekon)案中被捕并遭到指控。我父亲深知异见记者要冒失业,入狱和死亡的危险,他曾经向我调侃道,从 Cumhuriyet 总社的总编办公室,坟场和法院,他都看得到。

为了坚持信念,父亲经历过短暂的失业,随后他在 Cumhuriyet 又操起了一番事业。如今,他正被拘禁在Silivri监狱。有一点我须要强调,我说的拘禁是指彻底隔离:每周分配一小时给家属和律师探望,每两周打一次电话,通话时长为十分钟,每两个月一次敞开式探视。 此类事件要是发生在《泰晤士报》、《电讯报》或《卫报》总编身上,您会有什么反应?


我在全欧洲举办的活动中,让更多人认识到 Cumhuriyet 审判和土耳其新闻自由,有一个问题我被频频问到:“您对欧洲有什么期待?”我期望欧洲不仅要关注下周的审判,并要继续聚焦土耳其人争取权利的受审案。

至于民主和人权到处遭受困境之际,我们全球的公民,每时每刻都应捍卫这些价值。让我们起来倡导新闻自由,鉴于它是其他权利的保证,在攻克难关和做出良策方面发挥关键作用。争取土耳其新闻自由是大家共同的斗争。 Cumhuriyet 敢怒敢言的新闻工作者,确实向我们展示了一个赤裸裸的皇帝。就让我们团结起来义无反顾地力挺他们。 [终]