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 “The Mastermind”: A Third Young Leftist Speaks Out on the November 15th Incident



by chuang | Jan 20, 2018 |

http://chuangcn.org/blog/


“The Mastermind”: A Third Young Leftist Speaks Out on the November 15th Incident




On November 15, 2017, police[1] stormed into a student reading group at the Guangdong University of Technology and seized six young participants. Two of them, Zhang Yunfan and Ye Jianke, were held at the Panyu Detention Center for a month as suspects for the crime of “gathering crowds to disrupt social order,” along with two other young people involved with the reading group who were later seized at their residences: Sun Tingting and Zheng Yongming. After prominent intellectuals circulated a petition for Zhang’s release, all four detainees have been released on bail but are still awaiting trial. Four other young leftists connected to the reading group are on a wanted list and still in hiding.

In a previous post, we presented translations of open letters by Zhang and Sun detailing their motivations for participation in the reading group and related activities, and their nightmarish experiences at the hands of state authorities. Here we present a third letter by the alleged “mastermind” behind the reading group, Zheng Yongming, released on January 17. The translation is still a little rough because we want to make it available as quickly as possible. (Scroll down for original Chinese text.)


From left to right: Zhang, Sun and Zheng.

Chinese readers may also read this letter just released by one of the four people in hiding, Huang Liping: 我是否有罪,人民自有公论!(“The people will decide whether I’m guilty”). Also see dozens of related commentaries here.

Left 21 has announced a demonstration to take place in Hong Kong today.

“I Will Always Be a Son of the Workers and Peasants”

By Zheng Yongming

Translated by A&A



I am Zheng Yongming, the organizer of the reading group at Guangdong University of Technology

After Zhang Yunfan and Sun Tingting spoke out, I, as the so-called “mastermind” behind the reading group, am determined to stick with them through thick and thin.

In 1994, I was born in a remote village – one of the poorest of the nation – located in Ganzhou Prefectur, Jiangxi Province. I visited the county seat for the first time only after my acceptance to a high school there. The first time rode a train was when I was accepted into university.

My parents are impoverished peasants. My older sister dropped out of school to work in a sweatshop.

When farmland was decollectivized, my household received only two or three mu of land [less than half an acre]. To raise their three children, my parents planted fruit trees on the hillside. If the trees got sick and died, our livelihood would be in jeopardy for the whole next year.

Throughout southern Jiangxi, village walls are plastered with placards warning farmers to beware of citrus greening disease. Although the disease doesn’t kill people directly, when it infects trees, entire villages are devastated.

My parents always told me that schooling could change the future not only for myself but for our entire family, whose livelihood was dictated by the whims of nature. Although I didn’t understand them completely at the time, I wanted to do something for my hardworking parents.

My daily life was all about studying and helping out around the house. I vividly remember how sore my hands were when I had to write after cutting the firewood.

When I got into secondary school, I didn’t know how to do the mathematics. My primary school teacher apologized to me for not being able to explain it properly.

I eventually went to Nanjing Agricultural University to study animal science—specifically, the reproduction and breeding of pigs. Please don’t laugh. Only this major admitted students with some flexibility.

Being away from home, I could not help out with the housework when I was in university, which made me feel empty inside.

I participated in many volunteer activities, including teaching poor children. When I was working as a volunteer teacher, I met a girl who dropped out of school after her first year in middle school. I tried to convince her parents to let her continue her education. Her father said they were poor and, with two younger sons, they could not afford paying for education for all three of them. Wasn’t this exactly what happened to my sister and me? Our shared fate and cycle of suffering motivated me to take some form of action.

I kept searching for an answer in books. When I read Will the Boat Sink the Water? The Life of China’s Peasants, I was reminded of my stooped and exhausted parents. When I read I am a Drifting Flower, I was reminded of my sister spending her youth on assembly lines. It was not until my encounter with the novels There and Asking the Boundless [by Cao Zhenglu] that I finally got to know Mao Zedong.

I’d rather follow the Mao that led workers and peasants to towards self-emancipation, rather than the Mao printed on banknotes.

Theory and praxis turned me into convinced Marxist. Reading groups and volunteer activities have spared my life of the monotony caused by poverty.

When graduation was approaching, my classmates were worried about their future. But I was quite calm. There was nothing to be sentimental about. For me, a good life was about being self-sufficient, being good to my parents, and continuing to help workers and peasants like them.

After graduating from university, I was hired by a company in Guangzhou.

I decided to find some comrades in this new place. I imitated what the young Mao Zedong did, I posted “seeking friends” flyers in Guangdong Industrial University: integrate theory and practice, empower the disadvantaged, give depth to our youth!

I got to know more young idealists. Together we studied classic texts, discussed social issues and served the downtrodden. Before Tingting came to work in Panyu, I used to lead the aunties [middle-aged women from the neighborhood][2] to dance in public squares. I danced so badly, but that’s all the aunties wanted to do!

“Ah-Ming! Come on, Ah-Ming!” Now I can no longer hear them call to me.

On the evening of November 15, we were discussing social problems and development over the past few decades. As Yunfan said, we did mention the incident that took place 29 years ago.[3] To our surprise, campus security guards stormed into the room, demanding that everyone present their national and university ID cards. I was let go after a guard took a photo of my ID, but Yunfan and Ye Jianke did not have the documents with them and so were forced to stay behind.[4]

Only later did I learn that both Yunfan and Ye Jianke were put under detention as suspects for the crime of “gathering crowds to disrupt social order.” Shortly after learning this, I was arrested as well.

On December 5, six or seven police kicked open the door of my apartment and immediately pushed me against the bed, as if I were a dangerous thug in a gangster movie.

I was interrogated for eight consecutive hours in the Xiaoguwei police station. They seemed to believe there was some kind of powerful force (势力) behind our reading group.

But what kind of force could there be? At first it was just the penniless me and a friend-seeking post on the internet. With the zeal and effort of a few people, we were finally joined by a dozen enthusiastic young people and a group of lovely aunties who helped out with the logistics.

Officers from Xiaoguwei Police Station said I was the culprit – the “mastermind” behind some sort of conspiracy!

And indeed I was – promoting Maoism and working for the sake of the downtrodden were of course what I “premeditated,” or even “plotted over an extended period of time.” I was born to walk this “radical” path, and I’d rather die than repent.

These charges and accusations are eye-opening: The existence of a reading group is tantamount to “gathering crowds to disrupt social order.” Reading group meetings require division of labor, which is regarded as “conspiracy.” Since I was the first one to publish the friend-seeking post, I was naturally the “mastermind” behind the operation. Zhang Yunfan is a graduate from Peking University, so he must be “mainly responsible” for the plot. Sun Tingting is a girl and looks vulnerable, so she can be “simply” thrown in jail!

Sun Tingting accurately described the difficult days in the detention center. I cannot identify any trace of the spirit of “the people’s police serving the people” in the deeds of the Xiaoguwei Police Station – or perhaps, for the unforgivable crime we committed, we no longer qualify as members of the people!

So ridiculous were the charges that I chose to stay silent in the following interrogations, that’s why they labelled me as “remorseless.” They tried to trick me by claiming that this “remorselessness” is what got my friends arrested. (Later I learned that wasn’t true.) Since I was the culprit, they said, I shouldn’t drag other people into this, they had their jobs and lives to attend to. So then I thought, maybe I should just shoulder the burden for everyone. Finally I capitulated an wrote my “confession” by following the sample script they gave me.

It was only after my release that I learned they didn’t spare the others. Four young leftists — Gu Jiayue, Xu Zhongliang, Huang Liping and Han Peng — are still being pursued!

I was greatly moved by the open letters of Zhang Yunfan and Sun Tingting, as well as by the good citizens’ petition defending us. I was happy to see that Tingting has received so much concern and attention on Weibo.

But last night I noticed that the attitude of visitors’ posts on Tingting’s Weibo has changed. Multiple Weibo accounts sharing a similar voice suddenly emerged around the same time and occupied the top spots of her comment section. Does it mean Tingting that “deserves the punishment”?

If there were really “overseas forces” and “foreign labor unions” that support us, the Xiaoguwei police would have already told everyone about this, and they never would have released me. In fact, the police repeatedly asked me questions about money, but they quickly discovered that the expenditure of the reading group was only a few hundred dollars. I’m quite poor, and they couldn’t find any evidence to support the allegation that I received financial support from anyone.

Regarding what we have discussed, Yunfan has already made it clear that we read books that can be borrowed from the library. The police have confiscated everything related to the reading group, so how can show the public what we read?

There is another ridiculous line of reasoning in these comments: We should we be “responsible” for comments that are “too radical,” so we should be interrogated for eight consecutive hours, forced to sleep on the floor, lose our jobs, and such terrible treatment should be inflicted on Tingting.

Such superficially “rational and objective” argumentation is actually is a low as dirt and as twisted as maggots.

For these people, anyone working for ideals is really just in it for the money, and anyone who voices an opinion for the sake of justice must have been manipulated.

Surely the people leaving such comments are just paid trolls.

But who pays them? Who up to this date have failed to answer the questions asked by the masses, and what Yunfan and Tingting have exposed? If the law is on the people’s side and we “deserve our punishment,” then why are you deleting our posts to force us to stop talking?

Good people, we don’t ask for unconditional trust, we just hope you follow the voice of your own conscience. We hope you just open your eyes and see.

Together with Yunfan, I will battle the coming storm. I will also help Tingting to reclaim her dignity! I will not be silent until to safety of Gu Jiayue, Xu Zhongliang, Huang Liping and Han Peng is ensured!

Since I was born the son of workers and peasants, I will always be the son of the workers and peasants! My ideal life is to continue supporting the workers and peasants, who are just like my parents.

January 17, 2018

“主谋“郑永明:我永远是工农的孩子



我是郑永明,广东工业大学读书会的组织者。

看到张云帆、孙婷婷相继发声,作为”主谋”,我誓与他们风雨同舟!

1994年,我出生在江西省赣州一个国家级贫困县的偏远农村。我第一次去县城是因为考上县里的高中,第一次坐火车是因为我考上了大学。

我父母是贫苦农民,姐姐早早辍学进入血汗工厂。

包产到户后,我家分到了两三亩地,父母为了养活我们姐弟三人,在后山种上了果树,如果果树得病死了,全家就会聚在一起眉头紧锁,发愁这一年的生计。

你看,在赣南的乡村,到处都是歪歪扭扭的标语:防治黄龙病!

黄龙病不会死人,但是果树得了黄龙病,全村人就要难过死。

父母一遍遍地教育我,要读书改变命运,改变全家靠天吃饭的命运。我懵懵懂懂的,只是想为辛苦的他们做一些事。

家务和学习是我生活的全部。我清晰地记得,砍完柴的手,握笔特别疼。

高中的时候,我有不会做的数学题,我的高中老师也讲不清楚。他愧疚地说,孩子,对不起了。

我最终考取了南京农业大学,选择了动物科学专业——猪的养殖与饲养方向——不要笑,只有这个专业有优惠政策。

在大学里,我不能帮家里做家务了,心里空落落的。

我参与了许多志愿活动,一次支教中遇到一个初一辍学的女孩,我想去说服她父母让她继续上学。她父亲说,穷,没钱,还有两个弟弟,供不起三个——这不就是我的姐姐和我吗?共同的命运和轮回刺激我必须做些什么。

我不断地在书中求索,看《中国农民调查》的时候就像看到了劳累得直不起腰的爸爸妈妈;在《我是一朵飘零的花》里又看到在流水线蹉跎青春的姐姐;直到看到《问苍茫》《那儿》,我终于遇到了毛泽东。那个带领工农解放自己的毛泽东,比印在钞票上的他更值得我追随!

理论和实践使我愿意成为马克思主义者,读书会和志愿活动使生活不再因贫困而单调。

当大家为毕业和前途困惑的时候,我反而十分坦然,没什么可以伤怀的,养活自己,孝顺父母,继续帮助和父母一样的工人农民,不就是最好的生活!

大学毕业之时,我被广州的一家公司录取。

我决定在这个崭新的地方寻找同路人,学着青年毛泽东那样”愿嘤鸣以求友”——不久之后,广东工业大学里面,多了一张我的征友帖子:知行合一,赋予弱势权利,赋予青春深度!

我认识了越来越多的青年理想主义者,我带着大家一起学习理论著作,探讨社会问题,服务弱势群体。在婷婷还没来到番禺工作的时候,我带着阿姨们跳广场舞——我跳得特难看,但这也是那些阿姨们唯一的业余生活了!

“阿明阿明,快来呀!”——我再也听不到这样的呼唤了。

在11月15日的晚上,我们在讨论近几十年的社会问题及其发展,如云帆所言,我们的确涉及29年前那场风波。没想到,保安直接破门而入,要求每个人出示身份证和学生证。保安拍了我的身份证之后让我走了,而云帆和叶建科因为没有带证件而被留下。

后来我得知云帆和叶建科竟然被扣以”聚众扰乱社会秩序罪”遭到刑事拘留。而我,也很快被捕了。

六七个警察在12月5日一脚把门踹开,瞬间把我按在了床上,好像我是极端危险的歹徒——是不是像警匪片一样?

小谷围派出所对我连续8小时审讯,他们认为读书会背后一定有什么巨大的势力。

这个读书会背后有什么势力呢?追根溯源,不过是身无长物的我和一纸征友帖。加上几个人的青春热血便有了十几个青年,一群可爱的后勤阿姨。

小谷围派出所的警察还说我是”主谋”!

我的确是主谋——宣传毛泽东思想,帮那些弱势群体做些事情,是我”早有预谋”的,甚至”蓄谋已久”的!从我出生,就注定要走上这条”极端”的道路,”死不悔改”!

这样的办案的确令我大开眼界:因为有读书会,就是”聚众扰乱社会秩序罪”;因为读书会有分工,就是”密谋组织”,因为我第一个发征友帖,我就是”主谋”,因为孙云帆君北大毕业,自然也是”主要负责”,因为孙婷婷是女孩子,看起来好欺负,就”干脆”关进去!

在看守所的艰难岁月,孙婷婷已经描述得十分真实。小谷围派出所的所作所为,确实看不出”人民公安为人民”——或者说,我们罪大恶极,不算人民!

这些指控实在是太过荒谬,因此后续的审讯我不得不沉默以对。于是又被定为”死硬”。后来他们竟然骗我说,因为我的”死硬”导致我的朋友都被抓进来了!(实则没有),还说我是带头的不能坑别人,别人还得工作生活呢!我想,那只好大包大揽一下了,于是根据他们提供的样本,写了亲笔”证词”。

出来之后,我才反应过来他们并没有放过其他人,顾佳悦、徐忠良、黄理平、韩鹏四位左翼青年仍旧被追逃!

看到张云帆和孙婷婷的自白书,和热心群众的仗义执言,我几度潸然泪下。

在孙婷婷的微博上,看到那么多人的关心,我默默地替她高兴。

可是昨天晚上,我发现婷婷微博下面的画风渐渐变了,有许多口径高度一致的账号近乎同时出现,霸占了评论区的前排。

——这是在证明婷婷”罪有应得”吗?!

如果说我们背后有”境外势力””工会”,如果真的有这些,依小谷围派出所的行事作风,早就大张旗鼓昭告天下,而我这辈子大概出不来了;实际上,警方的确不断问我有没有钱,谁给的钱,但很快发现读书会打印材料的开销不过几百块,我家徒四壁,掘地三尺都找不到大票子——也就不了了之了。

而关于我们的讨论内容——关于我们讨论的内容,张君已经说得十分明确,我们的阅读书目,在图书馆也都能借到。最重要的是,警方抄走了一切相关的东西——那我怎么给大家看呢?

还有这样的混账逻辑:如果有”过激”言论,我们就应该”为此负责”;就应该被八小时车轮战,应该睡地板,应该丢掉工作,婷婷也活该受到如此对待。

——貌似”理客中”的背后,不仅卑微如尘土,而且扭曲如蛆虫。

在这些人眼里,所有践行理想的人都是别有用心拿钱办事,所有仗义执言的人都是头脑发热被带节奏。

我更愿意相信这些人只是被雇佣的水军。

而是谁雇佣了他们呢?是谁至今不拿出来详实的证据平息公众疑虑,回应云帆和婷婷的揭露,反而使用组织化的水军试图扭转人民的声音呢?既然你们有法有据而我们”罪有应得”,那为什么只会用删帖的手段来让我们禁言闭嘴?

善良的人们,我们从未要求无条件的信任,只希望你跟从内心的正义,

希望你一直睁着雪亮的眼睛!

我会和云帆一起面临风雨,也要为婷婷赢回尊严!

我会一直发声,直到顾佳悦、徐忠良、黄理平、韩鹏四位获得平安!

因为我是工农的孩子,我永远都是工农的孩子!继续帮助和父母一样的工人农民,是我最好的生活!

郑永明

2018年1月1

Translators’ notes

[1] In Sun Tingting’s account, not only campus security but also police came and took six participants into custody, the next day releasing four and transferring two into criminal detention. In Zheng Yongming’s account translated here, it was only campus security guards who stormed into the reading group, and only the two participants were taken into custody.

[2] In this case the “aunties” are probably considered “downtrodden” (弱势群体) in part because the local residents of Guangzhou’s university district are former ruralites who lost their land when the district was built about fifteen years ago, leading to their resistance and repression. This is discussed briefly in “New foundations for struggle and solidarity: The culmination of development and privatization on a Guangzhou Island.”

[3] I.e. the mass movement of 1989 that ended with the June 4th Incident on Tian’anmen Square.

[4] See note one above.
  
  
  

 
 
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