Friends visited China recently brought back promising news. How vibrant the economy is, how diverse and readily available the cuisines, how modern the society has become. Under comparison, Bay Area seemed depressing. They were even considering working in China now. An unthinkable idea a few years ago.
I haven¡¯t been back for exactly ten years. But I¡¯ve noticed the rapid advance from Chinese bloggers¡¯ writings. The open up of the society, the amazingly full social schedules for people living in the urban area, especially in Metropolis like Beijing and Shanghai.
One starts to believe that China is a brand new place, a freer, more modern society. It has taken a wiser route, unlike its stubborn and old-fashioned communist buddy, North Korean, or Cuba.
Then Zhao Zi Yang died. But we didn¡¯t hear it from any main stream media of China. We heard it on Chinese BBS, spreading like a murmur. Zhao, Zi Yang used to be the Prime Minister of China prior to 1989. Even though he has been under house arrest ever since then. One would think his death will warrant some kind of respect.
An ex-Prime Minister of a country of 12 billion, died a silent death. A hushed death. Hidden under the cover, as if something secret and dirty. Something untouchable. It reminded me of the documentary image from the banned Chinese Documentary He-Shang (The death of a river), where Liu Shao Qi, the ex-Chairman of China, died alone in a dark room, under arrest. His hair and beard has grown so long when he died, that he looked like a cave man.
I couldn¡¯t believe history is repeating itself again.
I learned the news from a Chinese BBS I frequent on a daily basis: paowang.com. Immediately someone warned the owner of the post, please be careful, we don¡¯t want to get paowang in trouble. A year ago, paowang¡¯s admin was warned by China government that its BBS has shown counter-revolutionary content. We were all prepared for the worst, thinking there won¡¯t be paowant.com anymore. But after the admin cleaned up the BBS, nothing happened. We were relieved. Thinking it is, afterall, twenty-first century. China is no longer as barbarous, as, for example, North Korean.
Coming Tuesday January 18th, 2005. paowang.com disappeared.
I found out yesterday that the hosting company of paowang.com (located in Fu Jian province in southern China) has been told that paowang.com is now banned. The hosting company itself is now under investigation of some sort. We are speculating what exactly happened, did police just barged into the data center, showed their badge and just picked up the paowang server and left?