Monday, 1 August 2011

A Letter to Yiyi

Premier Wen Jiabao visited Xiang Weiyi in hospital last week

Although China's Publicity Department (ie propaganda) issued an order instructing all state media to stop its negative reporting and commentary on the Wenzhou train crash Friday evening not all complied.

The Economic Observer dared to disobey and devoted eight pages to reports on the accident and included a biting commentary.

Entitled "Yiyi When You're Older", it is an open letter to Xiang Weiyi, the two-year-old girl who was found alive 21 hours after the crash.

But it is really a scathing opinion letter to the government. Parts of it are translated here by China Real Time:

Yiyi, when you've grown up and started to understand this world, how should we explain to you everything that happened on July 23, 2011? That train that would never arrive, it took away 40 lives that loved and were loved, including your parents. When you're grown, will we and this country we live in be able to honestly tell you about all the love and suffering, anger and doubts around us?

Yiyi on her first train ride days before the crash
How do we tell you that, even as they'd declared there were no more signs of life in the wreckage and had started cleaning up the site, you were still there struggling in the crushed darkness. Do we tell you that, with the truth still far off in the distance, they buried the engine; that before any conclusions had been reached, the line that had given birth to this tragedy was declared open. They called your survival a miracle, but how do we explain it to you: When respect for life had been trampled, caring forgotten, responsibility cast aside, the fact that you fought to survive -- what kind of miracle is this?

Yiyi, one day you might pass by this place again. When the train whistle once again startles this silent land, will we reluctantly tell you about all the hypocrisy, arrogance, rashness and cruelty behind this tragic story?

Yiyi, we should tell you the truth, our country has been this way before. We want to tell you, those adults you see have wondered countless times whether in this era we've forgotten love, caring and basic trust. We're full of complaints, but our anger is only that. We believe without doubt that life will continue on this way.


Yiyi, how do we explain to you that, at that time, there were two completely different images of China: one blossoming in the midst of the people, the other hidden in officialdom. We hope that when you've grown up and understand things, when you've learned to see with your own eyes, think with your own mind and encounter this world through your own actions, you will find this has changed.


Now, Yiyi, on behalf of you lying there on that sickbed and those lives buried in the ground, people are refusing to give up on finding the truth. Truth cannot be buried -- no one plans to give up the inquiry. We know that anything we take lightly today might lead to our rights being violaged and our lives being ignored again tomorrow. We reap what we sow. If every fact we seek becomes a secret, we'll never know the truth. If we keep giving up half way in our pursuit of dignity, we will never be treated with dignity.

To live -- to live with dignity -- is that rainbow you get to see only after suffering through the wind and the rain. Yiyi, when you're older maybe you'll realize that dark night of July 23 was when things started to change. After that day, we won't simply complain, but instead learn how to advocate and act. We understand that we have rights, we respect these rights and are willing to spare no effort to protect them.

Yiyi, if we're going to promise you and other regular children like you a future, the journey must start from the wreckage of the train collision. That is the best way to remember your parents, and all the others who perished there.

1 comment:

  1. there is love in this world. there is hope.