Han Han's speech at Xiamen University

By Cindy M. Carter, published

Let me tell you a story. I am the chief editor of a magazine which has yet to be published. The Constitution states that every citizen has the freedom to publish, but the law also says that the leaders [have] the freedom not to let you publish. This magazine encountered certain problems during the review process. There is a cartoon drawing. In it, there is a man without clothes -- of course, this is unacceptable because the law says that we cannot exhibit the private parts in a publicly available magazine. I agree with that and I don't have a problem with it. Therefore, I intentionally created an extra-large magazine logo to place at the illegal spot of the cartoon. But unexpectedly, the publisher and the censor told us that this was unacceptable too -- when you cover up the middle part of a person, you are referring to the "Party Central" (note: "party" is a homonym for "block/shield" and "central" can mean either "center" or "middle"). My reaction was like yours -- I was awed and shocked. I thought to myself, "Friend, it would be so wonderful if you could put your awe-inspiring imagination into literary creation instead of literary censorship."

*I use this story to tell you that everybody has good imagination. Yet we can only imagine many things but we cannot do them, we cannot write about them and we cannot even talk about them in many situations. We have too many restrictions. This is a restricted country. How can a restricted country produce a rich and abundant culture? I am a comrade who has few restrictions. But when I write, I cannot help but think: I can't write about the police, I can't write about the leaders, I can't write about government policies, I can't write about the system, I can't write about the judiciary, I can't write about many pieces of history, I cannot write about Tibet, I cannot write about Xinjiang, I cannot write about assemblies, I cannot write about demonstration marches, I cannot write about pornography, I cannot write about censorship, I cannot write about art. *

English transcript of speech, with video links (on ESWN)

Chinese transcript of speech, with video links (on Dapenti)


# 1.   

The Contemporary Chinese Writers Project at MIT has just launched a website devoted to Can Xue that you can find at--



Jon Griffith Contemporary Chinese Writers Project, MIT

Jon Griffith, March 14, 2010, 10:21a.m.


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