Like many truly independent thinkers in China, Li Beifang,
the editor of an influential magazine named Southern Wind
(南风窗), has gone through
a hard intellectual journey from the Right to the Left in
his search for a feasible way to help the nation escape the
circle and resurrect again. Below is a note he posted on
his weibo a couple of days ago:
I dug out an old article that I wrote in the spring of
"Why I Support the Iraqi War". It's embarrassing
to see I used to have that kind of "public intellectual" attitude.
The majority of today's Left
leaning intellectuals have experienced a similar
spiritual transformation from the Right to the Left,
which is why we Left wingers can mimic the tune of Rightists
for we know exactly what their mindset is but they can't
pretend to be us because they are unable to comprehend
Following are some typical online comments on Li's note:
veteran leading Left wing intellectual in China - Multipletext]:
My "blue period" (the time to follow the "liberal")
[this term in China actually refers
to the Liberal with Chinese characteristics, i.e. the Far
Right, intellectually aligned neither with the Conservative
Right nor Liberal Left but the ruling power in the Wall Street
and Washington - Multipletext] was rather lengthy,
from the 80s to the turn of the new century. When economist
Zhang [one of the most notorious
Wall Street collaborators in China] proposed not to
pursue some government officials' corruption crimes, I realised
that by following the current reform route, there will be
no justice and freedom for the majority of people in China,
hence I returned to the red path since 2003.
My Left-turn began in 2007 when I was about to graduate
from the college. A year late, Sichuan
earthquake occurred, what happened during that time helped
me complete the transformation, while Chongqing
incident taken place last year finanlly made me a follower
of Chairman Mao and a detractor of Premier
When I was on my Master's, I was obsessed with the alarmist
publications of the Extreme Right-wing. When I progressed
to my PhD, I realised there are too many holes in their claims.
When I went overseas touring the world, it became clear to
me that I was conned ... I used to denounce Mao in front
of my parents (despite they didn't want to listen), but now
I am myself a believer of Chairman
Mao. Time is quite different and people in China
are not as easy to be fooled as they used to be nowadays.
At the time when I almost became a "public intellectual",
I started to use weibo which abruptly turned me into a Chairman
I was a follower of the VOA when 19, which means the Left
wingers have grown up while the Rightists fail to progress
If you once went to wrong path of the Right, you become
a firm Leftist. I did all those pathetic things when I was brain
washed by the Western media. But I realised very quickly
that their true purpose is to stire chaos in China and to
turn Chinese people into a plate of sands, so that their world
dominance will never be challenged. Any Chinese who cannot
see this simple fact is intellectually retarded.
During the 80s the Left camp virtually disappeared from
China's intellectual scene. Today's Left wingers are the
ones defected from the Right camp, which is why we are very
familiar with the theories and language of the Right faction. Under
today's special circumstance any intellectual who truly
concerns about China's situation will inevitably become a
Chinese intellectuals who care about the people almost
all began his journey from the Right, but when he knows more
about China's reality, he will unavoidably move to the Neo-Left.
That's true. Today's Leftists are yesterday's Rightists.
We were misled by the propaganda machines that is controlled
by the extreme Right. But we find the right direction by
observing the real life.
Just look at those property developers, who are almost
all "universal value" holders [i.e.
the extreme Rightists, like Chinese premier Wen Jiabao, Chinese
premier-wanna-be Li Keqiang and his mentor Li
The Rightists of the old days were the ones who cared about
the people and the nation, but today's Rightists are mere
the hatchet men and running dogs of the interest groups.
Those so-called "public intellectuals" are spinning
the same old yeans for a decade, and I don't understand why
some people would still be tricked.
Those who believe the propaganda of the Far Right often
are quite young. They want to help the nation but know very
little of the real situation with limited intellectual capacity.
Only when they see the blood they will wake up to the reality.
The good thing is the brutal reality of today's China with
high housing price and high unemployment figure serves as
a political vaccination to the young generation born after
the 90s. Especially when they see the property tycoons are
the vanguards of the "universal values", they will
join the anti-elite force right away.
There is a pre-condition for people to be able to switch
from the Right to the Left: they
must be sincerely searching for truth and they must not be
selfish pigs with a dirty mind.
True. We all came from the Right camp. If one lingers online
for quite a while yet still remains a Rightist, there is
only two possibilities: either he is intellectually challenged
or he wants to pretend to be a "public intellectual".
In today's China, if someone still wants to be a "public
intellectual", he is highly prone to become the collaborator
of the foreign powers.
Quite so. In today's Chinese society, the Rightists are
often the collaborators.