I have just translated an essay written by popular Chinese blogger Han Han about the spate of kindergarten attacks that took place last week. The essay has since been deleted from his blog, but is available here among other places. It was passed along to me by Bill Bishop of Sinocism and Digicha.
Because I have agreed to translate Han Han’s posts for chinaSMACK, I won’t post the translation in its entirety here unless Fauna turns it down, but I have chosen a few choice excerpts to paste below. Here is the link to my full translation at chinaSMACK. EDIT: Danwei translated it first, though. Damn. EDIT 2: It has also been translated by China Elections & Governance. Still, I think my translation is best, and I’m a totally impartial observer.
Excerpts from “Kids, You’re Spoiling Grandpa’s Fun”
“Aside from Yang Jia, nearly all killers choose to begin by killing the weak. If they feel there’s no way out in society, then killing those even weaker than themselves becomes their only way out. I recommend that all the police guarding the doors of local officials nationwide be transferred to guard kindergartens. A government that can’t even protect children doesn’t need so many people protecting it.”
“After the Taizhou kindergarten murder incident, the media was controlled. These children were born at the wrong time [i.e., unlucky] and they died at an even worse time. In this jubilant atmosphere [of the opening of the Shanghai Expo], this incident is just noise to the relevant government departments. All we know is that according to the government, 32 people were injured and no one died, but on the streets there are rumors that many children were killed. So who should I believe? If the government is telling the truth, then why are they not letting parents see their children? They’ve also blocked off the hospital and shut off the news, and there are no photographs or video of children. Moreover, a murderer chops up thirty two people with a knife and no one dies? Was he really committing murder or performing surgery? [On the other hand,] if I want to believe what people are saying, I must remember that the word on the street is usually exaggerated, and with no evidence at all, there’s really no way to trust it. So I searched [the web] for Taizhou and unexpectedly came across this article from April 30 [i.e., the day after the killings]: “The Three Happinesses Come to Taizhou”.”
I was very astonished. The Taizhou government has successfully sealed information, closed the hospital, controlled the media, forbidden visitors, and diverted public attention, but now they have successfully taken the people’s anger at the killer and directed it at themselves, and for what? It’s not that they have some other motive. Aside from wanting to cooperate with singing the Shanghai Expo’s “harmonious song”, this is just inertia; it’s the government dealing with a situation according to their habits. It’s their usual process: eat, drink and be merry all night until something happens, then hide, isolate, remove the media, make prohibitions, send press releases, make compensations, cremate the bodies — then go back to eating and drinking. Their way of dealing with things isn’t much more noble than a murderer’s. No wonder I saw a kindergarten on the internet ((I looked in vain for a photo of this. If anyone has seen this picture and could provide a link, I would be eternally grateful.)) with these scrolls posted around its door: “Every injustice has a perpetrator. Out the door and to the left is the government building.”
“Wretched children, it is you who are poisoned by milk powder, harmed my vaccines, crushed by earthquakes, and burnt in fires. Even if there’s a problem with rules in the adult world, you are the ones adults stab in retaliation. I truly hope it is as the Taizhou government says, and you’re all just injured and no one has died. We elders have failed in our duties. I hope that when you grow up, you will not only protect your own children but build a society that protects everyone’s children.“
The rash of killing is indeed disturbing, as is the sadly predictable media stifling that’s been occurring to assure that Haibao can keep putting on a happy face for the Shanghai Expo. At one point in the essay, Han Han says that he doesn’t want to get into a discussion of the social causes for these attacks, and I can certainly see why. I have yet to see any really convincing reason why anyone, dissatisfied with society or not, would attack a kindergarten. Han Han suggests that these killers choose children because children are weak, and also because killing children sends a kind of shock-wave through society. Certainly, hearing about children being stabbed produces a rather immediate emotional reaction in sane, empathetic adults. And certainly, kindergartens are comparably easy to attack, especially compared with government offices.
Still, what evidence do we really have that these men were trying to get revenge on society, or were driven to the point of murder by social injustice? That’s a genuine question — I’ve been away for a few days on business so perhaps there is plenty of evidence for this and I just missed it. In any event, I invite all thoughts and speculation as to why these attacks happened, what you think it signifies, and whether you expect it will continue.