Please Read Murong Xuecun’s Open Letter To His Censor

Murong Xuecun's open letter to his censor

Murong Xuecun has seen all his microblogs deleted (May 11), reinstated (May 17), and deleted again (May 18). Anyone who gets jerked around like this has reason to be upset; Murong, more so, considering he had millions of followers and thousands of entries accumulated over three years, and because, as he himself puts it, “to a writer, the words he writes are more important to him than his life.”

Murong initially took his grievance to English-language Guardian on May 15 (we blogged about that here). Yesterday, he went to the Chinese edition of the New York Times (which remains blocked in China). In “Open Letter to a Nameless Censor” — which has been translated and posted to Scribd, and can be read here in full – Murong expresses everything we would want to say to a Chinese censor, only without expletives. Excerpt:

I am writing you this letter because I believe your awesome powers are only temporary. You can delete my words, you can delete my name but you cannot snatch the pen from my hand. In the years to come this pen of mine will fight a long war of resistance, and continue to write for as long as it takes for me to see the light of a new dawn. I believe you will not be able to hide in the shadows forever because the light of a new dawn will also expose the place where you are hiding. Dear Nameless Censor, when that time comes, the whole world will know who you are.


For far too long, you and your colleagues have devoted all your efforts to suppressing freedom of speech in China. You have created a never-ending list of sensitive words, deleted countless articles, and closed down thousands of microblog accounts. You have constructed the Great Firewall of China and kept the rest of the world at bay behind a wall of ignorance, turning China into an information prison.


You censor articles and delete words. You treat literature as poison, free speech as a crime, and independent thinkers as your enemy. Thanks to your efforts, this great nation of 1.3 billion people does not have a single newspaper that can express objective views, nor a single TV station that broadcasts objective programs, or even the smallest space where people can speak freely.

He points out that “true stability is based in the happiness and freedom of the people and not derived from obedience enforced down the barrel of a gun,” and utterly shames his nameless censor with a compendious list of those who have been silenced in the name of stability. “This, is your legacy, dear Nameless Censor.”

I am fully aware this letter will cause me nothing but grief: I may not be able to publish my writings in China, my words may be expunged and deleted, and my future path may become even more difficult, but I must tell you: I once had fear, but from now on, I am no longer afraid. I will be here waiting for sunlight to brighten the world, to brighten people’s hearts, and light up the place you where you hide. That is the difference between you and me, dear Nameless Censor—I believe in the future, while all you have is the present.

The long night is almost over; I wish you peace. Sincerely yours,

Murong Xuecun

Yes times a thousand fucks.

Open Letter to a Nameless Censor (Scribd via NY Times, h/t China Digital Times)

    3 Responses to “Please Read Murong Xuecun’s Open Letter To His Censor”

    1. Jonathan Alpart

      What does he hope to accomplish with this piece? Does he think the droves of Nameless Censors will have a crisis of conscience, a change of heart, and suddenly rise up against their Faceless Overlords? Or perhaps his letter, so touching to soft-souled Americans, will give rise to an outpouring of paratroopers and Hershey’s chocolate bars?

      Indeed, “true stability is based in the happiness and freedom of the people and not derived from obedience enforced down the barrel of a gun,” is the crux of this letter, but despite the truth of this statement, it is this very truth in the face of the bleak reality that ensconces its futility.

      This kind of writing is preaching to the choir, and will definitely invite back-slapping and that warm feeling of knowing you are on the side of Good without actually doing anything from readers, but what will actually shake loose the foundations of the CCP’s death grip on power? If Xuecun’s enemies take to heart one word of what he says here, then there would not be a problem.

      Perhaps trying to get inside the heads of these people, knowing how they tick and what they desire and fear will lead to a way to get through to them? My guess is, not including sheer greed, they continue to censor because they actually believe the opposite of the above statement as some kind of security against their paranoid “practicality.”

      Or perhaps this letter is just an attempt for Xuecun, aware of his personal impotence and that of his cause in the present day, to prove that he will be on the right side of history?

      • RhZ

        You don’t know how to process it when its not an “arrogant foreigner” imposing his Western idea of a non-repressive government, do you. This is a Chinese national saying, I want some basic freedoms. We are supposed to let the Chinese decide for themselves, right? Well the government actively represses such speech by Chinese nationals. So who’s really deciding?

        The next step here is for a tea drinking session to threaten him and maybe an illegal detention for a month or three. He might still be in one piece after detention. Or they could just make him a prisoner in his own home, as is the case for hundreds if not thousands, right now across the country.

        Who knows, maybe LXB type charges are in the offing. Its unlikely but possible. He knows the potential consequences for just asking for the right not to be censored, not to be repressed.


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