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My heart aches for you-----

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热度1069票 时间:2008年11月27日 21:15
I had to exit the highway because of a traffic jam on my way back to Guangzhou after a trip to Shenzhen recently. Suddenly I saw a number of police vehicles in front of me, several of which had warning lights flashing.

Before I could figure out what was going on, my driver Wei Ge said, “there must be an incident there, ” And he immediately added, “how fucking rich this place is!”

I asked him what was going on and why he said that. He pointed to the front and told me that there must be some people staging a protest. I looked out of my car window and indeed saw a lot of people who seemed to be gathering at a construction site. But my view was partly blocked by a row of police vehicles. We pulled our car closer to the site so I could look over the vehicles. But my view was blocked again by a line of dozens of policemen.

What happened? Why were people gathering to protest? Why were so many policemen here? My driver Wei Ge should be right in his judgment since he drives around this area a lot. I gestured to him to pull over, but he didn’t stop the engine until he drove forward for about a hundred meters and passed a traffic light. Cars were not allowed to park here because of the police, he said. After we got out of the car, we pretended to be random passers-by, walking cautiously towards the site. I could finally look through the dozen police vehicles and several dozen policemen.

However, what I saw was security guards in grey uniforms. There were at least 50 of them standing together forming a big circle. Those encircled must be the “trouble-makers”. They were definitely not as many as the guards, since they were besieged inside. They must have been shorter because I could only see their unkempt hair while looking over the robust shoulders of the tall guards. Otherwise I could only see some of their clothes and shoes, the kind of ragged clothes that migrant workers usually wear. They all seemed to be fairly young.

My driver Wei Ge continued to comment, “Wow, this place is so rich. They sent out so many police vehicles, policemen, and security guards to deal with a few migrant workers. How wealthy it is! Gosh!”

He was innocuous in making his remarks but it struck a chord in me. I wanted to walk closer to take a few pictures since I had my camera with me. But I started to hesitate when I got closer the the line formed by the police. I was suddenly struck by fear. Wei Ge reminded me to be cautious too – it had only been a few days earlier when the Tianmen City Administration Officers beat to death a passer-by who took photos of them.

That day was perhaps the first time in my life that I was frightened by the black uniform of the police. I stopped there and didn’t pull out of my camera in the end. Wei Ge told me that they wouldn’t allow me to take pictures even if I took out my camera, because there were a few policemen staring at me, for I didn’t look like a local.

But what could I catch with the camera? I could look through the police vehicles and police, but I couldn’t look through the thick circle of well-dressed security guards. I hadn’t managed to see a single face of the “trouble-makers” by the time I left the site that day.

Many migrant workers wanted to get paid so they could go back home with the money as the Spring Festival was approaching this time of year. But unscrupulous employers purposely delay paying the workers. They withhold a few months’ salary trying to make the workers come back in the following year after the festival. Therefore there had been a number of incidents recently of workers seeking payment from their employers, according to what Wei Ge told me inside the car.

I am aware of what Wei Ge was talking about. More than 200,000 mass incidents, small or big, take place in China each year, according to statistics announced by the Chinese government. Most of them are caused by conflicts between employers and employees, in other words, between the rich and the poor. However, I haven’t personally experienced many such incidents. Today is the first time that I did “experience” one – I put a quotation mark here because I actually didn’t see the faces of the “trouble-making” migrant workers, nor did I figure out why they gathered at a construction site and refused to leave.

My heart is heavy, however. It’s heavier than the number – 200,000 mass incidents in the country each year. The heaviness in my heart didn’t subside, but instead turned into sadness and sorrow, long after my car had gone back to the highway.

To be honest, I didn’t see any improper behavior on the part of the police who were maintaining order at the site with a dozen vehicles. ( I dared not take pictures out of fear of them, but they didn’t seem to be ready to beat me to death.) I didn’t see the able-bodied guards treating the migrant workers badly. But those “trouble-makers”, who were besieged in the middle and whom I didn’t manage to see, came to stay in my seemingly strong but vulnerable heart. I have been thinking about them although the episode happened a few days ago. That’s why I write it down today.

Mr. Mao Yushi [a well-known economist in China] said recently that “We should speak for the rich and work for the poor,” arousing a lot of debate. I can’t figure out how Mr. Mao is going to work for the poor. Perhaps he has worked silently for the poor so he didn’t talk much about it. His words seem to make sense theoretically. But I feel it’s hard for me to accept them into my heart if I put them into the context of the reality of contemporary Chinese society.

It’s undeniable that a majority of China’s business elites come from the families of power, and thus have close relations with those in power. It’s known to all Chinese that the rich always get their way in contemporary Chinese society. They can make officials and intellectuals work for them through the power of their money. The law protects the rich. And the rich can get more than what the law grants them with their money. Therefore, it’s unnecessary for Mr. Mao Yushi to speak for the rich, since their opinions can be heard through the power of their money, and they can also buy those in power to speak for them. The intellectual elites should just shut up, if they don’t speak for the poor or work for the poor, for it’s a shame for them to speak loudly for the rich or for those in power.

The reality we are faced with right now is that the poor are so vulnerable and weak. Their situation is pathetic. The reason why there are so many protests staged by the disadvantaged people recently is not because our law doesn’t protect the poor, but because the rich collude with officials to manipulate the law, together with the cheering and help of intellectuals. They’ve made their own law – an invisible law that imposes itself above the Constitution and our legal system. The poor don’t rise up unless they are pushed too hard – and their struggle is so lamentable, because all they are trying to do is to have their grievances heard by officials.


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