26 May 2011

Li Tiantian: The Fable of the Hornet, the Bird, and the Tortoise

Lawyer Li Tiantian was one of several Chinese rights lawyers to disappear during a major crackdown that began in mid-February. She has finally re-emerged, posting this brief item (translated below) to her Sina blog. Even the most literal-minded among us should be able to get the picture.

(UPDATE: Shortly after posting this, Li Tiantian's Sina blog was deactivated, so the link above won't lead you anywhere. The full text has been preserved below.)

(UPDATE #2: Also, be sure to check out some of Li Tiantian's tweets describing her experience in custody, translated here at Global Voices Online.)

May 24: I was Discharged from the Hospital

It's been a while since I've been in touch. First, let me tell you a story.

One day, a hornet worried unreasonably that a little bird would stir up its nest. (As it happened, some distant hornet nests had recently been stirred up.) The hornet grabbed the little bird and began stinging it frenziedly. Unable to bear the hornet's stings and thinking there was no point to suffering this ordeal, the bird realized that no one would gain anything and that there was no way to change the hornet's ways. So, the bird kneeled down to the hornet and kowtowed in order to extricate itself. The hornet, knowing that the force of justice was on the increase in the animal world, didn't dare do anything rash to the bird and came up with a plan that would satisfy everyone. It agreed to release the little bird, but only if the bird promised: (1) not to speak of the past few months; (2) not to damage the hornet's reputation; and (3) not to urge other animals to stir up the hornet's nest. Finally the bird was free.

By the way, as for me, I've been in hospital for the past few months recovering from slightly elevated blood pressure. I went in on February 19 and was discharged on May 24. During this period I haven't gone online, and the doctors have asked me not to go online so much in the future. In order to preserve my health and live a few extra years, I will go online less in the future. I'm sure everyone's been worried about me -- thank you, you can rest easy now. I'll bet that there will be others in the future who, like me, will become increasingly mute, and I now know why many online friends from before have vanished from the Internet. After all, living is the most important thing. Under the present circumstances, there's nothing wrong with being a tortoise hiding its head -- at least they live to an old age. Maybe everyone should learn from me and be a tortoise hiding its head, for it's because I've done this that not a single hair on my body has been harmed. Of course, perhaps there's been a huge earthquake inside my heart.





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