Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 20, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

THE CASE OF HAO WU....On February 17, a Chinese blogger and filmmaker named Hao Wu wrote a post about his conflicted feelings on the importance of free speech in China. After arguing all the pros and cons, he finally concluded with this:

What if I have to take a stand then? What if as in my business-school strategy class, theres a professor who demands a stand from me?....I would forget about the bullet points, forget about analysis, forget about my desire to go with the average Chinese (because I dont know the average Chinese and my decision has zero influence over the average Chineses), and stake my stand based only on me, on what I, as an individual, would want in a democratic society, because thats the only decision making process capable of making any honest sense to me I dont want to live in a society that doesnt allow me to express myself freely!

But wait, would that land me in prison?

Answer: yes it would. He was arrested on February 22 and has been held since then without charges. You can read more about the case here.

Via Peking Duck.

Kevin Drum 10:37 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (43)

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Comments

I am so glad I live in a country where I can speak the truth out loud:

Bush is a moron who really ought to be changing motor oil for a living.

Posted by: koreyel on March 20, 2006 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

But remember, we can't take a principled stand against this sort of thing because China is a valuable trading partner.

Posted by: Sebastian on March 20, 2006 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

This story is why I check out your page daily. The above comment by koreyel is why I sometimes regret it.

Posted by: chuckles on March 20, 2006 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

koreyel, do you really want w changing the oil in your car?

Posted by: mudwall jackson on March 20, 2006 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

I was recently talking to a friend about another friend and then we both ran into the third friend as we walked around a corner where we wouldn't have expected to see him at all.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 20, 2006 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

And it was Jesus!

Posted by: cld on March 20, 2006 at 11:36 PM | PERMALINK

That was almost the best false Trosz ever, except you forgot to add a fallacious link.

Kudos

Posted by: Keith G on March 20, 2006 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

Oh and Chuckles, if your comment was serious, you need to get out more, Bubba.

Posted by: Keith G on March 20, 2006 at 11:49 PM | PERMALINK

Yes...things are getting so much better in China, it realy shows our policy of carrots and sticks is bearing fruit.

For you right wing nut cases:

What country downed an American Aircraft in international airspace and made the US apologize before returning the downed airman?

What political party was in power when this happened?

And finally, which one of you Republicans reading this would like to lick your corporate masters boots?

Posted by: S Brennan on March 20, 2006 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK

That was tbrosz impersonating a false tbrosz just to see what we'd do. He thinks he's toying with us.

Posted by: cld on March 21, 2006 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

That was tbrosz impersonating a false tbrosz just to see what we'd do. He thinks he's toying with us.

No, that really was the fake tbrosz, the real fake tbrosz, impersonating the false fake tbrosz to see what the real tbrosz thinks we'll do.

In fact, he's toying with himself.

Excuse me while I go and check who I'm not.

Posted by: fake floopmeister on March 21, 2006 at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

cld:

That was tbrosz impersonating a false tbrosz just to see what we'd do. He thinks he's toying with us.

Nah, if I really wanted to mess with you, I'd come into my office some morning when I didn't have anything better to do, bring a lunch, and start impersonating all of you. Unfortunately, so far, I've had something better to do.

It's amazing how many people still fall for the fake, though, on other threads.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 21, 2006 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

Nah, if I really wanted to mess with you, I'd come into my office some morning when I didn't have anything better to do, bring a lunch, and start impersonating all of you.

What, and have a conversation in your own head?

Would this be something you do often?

;)

Posted by: fake floopmeister on March 21, 2006 at 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

It's amazing how many people still fall for the fake, though, on other threads.

This might say something about the quality of your genuine posts, you know...

Posted by: floopmeister on March 21, 2006 at 12:42 AM | PERMALINK

I thought lefties cared about free speech.

Reading the comments in this post, I was reminded the only thing American lefties care about is bashing GW Bush.

Posted by: MountainDan on March 21, 2006 at 12:50 AM | PERMALINK

What, and have a conversation in your own head?

Hey, I'm not the one having debates with myself on these boards with the various fakes. I suppose it is, however, a time-honored technique, going at least as far back as Plato's "Republic."

Hey, check this out. I work with one of these outfits. An outfit I don't work for is going for a launch in the next couple of days.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 21, 2006 at 12:52 AM | PERMALINK

This is a disturbing development for Hao Wu and his family.

Posted by: FrequencyKenneth on March 21, 2006 at 1:03 AM | PERMALINK

Let's see now: politically correct speech, once upon a time, meant not saying anything against feminism, against gays, against ethnic groups, agaisnt environmetlism...and now , PC speech means avoiding saying anything but good about the War in Iraq, the War on Terror, the whole concept of Republicanism.
I'm not so sure that our free speech is much different than theirs.......we have free speech, but oh by the way, no one is forced to hire you if you take you r freedom and say something against the status quo.....be it left or right...but..at least we dont' go to jail, w jsut end up homeless...much better here in the free US of A (left and right both being the problem.......the concept of liberty having been lost over the years)

Posted by: Chris on March 21, 2006 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

News brief mass shortage of sheep in southern states,President calls out the National Guard after four Governors confess!

Posted by: STRANGE on March 21, 2006 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

Reading the comments in this post, I was reminded the only thing American lefties care about is bashing GW Bush.

Yeah - they also like bashing people like you too, MountainDan.

It would be nice if it were more of a challenge, though.

Posted by: floopmeister on March 21, 2006 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

News brief mass shortage of sheep in southern states,President calls out the National Guard after four Governors confess! Due to Homeland sercurity these could pose a threat,President replies will getem on the next washout!

Posted by: STRANGE on March 21, 2006 at 1:09 AM | PERMALINK

Leftists who bash are no different than Rightists you bash..you all belong in the same trash bin of history....the only people who matter are those who are willing to go against their own best interest in order to further the goals of their cause, be it right, left or centrist. I have yet to see anyone on here do that...Tbrosz, Kevin, or any of you. If you' aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem. but I bet no one who is a partisan can see that truism

Posted by: Chris on March 21, 2006 at 1:09 AM | PERMALINK

BTW, thanks, Kevin, for pointing this case out.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 21, 2006 at 1:11 AM | PERMALINK

ROCKET LIMERICKS

There was a technician named Crockett
Who had an affair with a rocket
If you saw him up there
You'd be tempted to stare
But if you've not tried it, don't knock it!

There was a young fellow named Urban
Who had an affair with a turbine
It's much nicer he said
Than a woman in bed
And it's sure as hell cheaper than bourbon

There was a technician named Yuri
Fucked the nozzle right up its venturi
He had woes without cease
From the local police
And a helluva time with the jury

There was a technician named Pope
Who plugged in to an ocilloScope
The cyclical trace
Of their carnal embrace
Had a damn nearly infinite slope

There was a young man named McGuire
Who was fond of the pitch amplifier
A number of shorts
Left him covered with warts
And set half the bedroom on fire

There was a technician named Moorehead
Who had an affair with a warhead
His wife moved away
The very next day
She *was* always kind of a sorehead

A strapping young nerd name of Hector
Was quite fond of the launcher-erector
The squishes and pops
Of acute pressure drops
Wrecked Hector's hydraulic connector

There was a technician named Schroeder
Who buggered the vane servomotor
He soon grew a prong
On the end of his schlong
So he hired himself a promoter

A brilliant old geek name of Slattery
Fell in love with the course gyro battery
But that fifty-volt shock
What was left of his cock
Was all slipp'ry and slimy and spattery

There was a technician named Slater
Who slept with the LOX generator
His balls and his prick
Froze solid real quick
And his asshole a little bit later

--Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow" (1973)

Posted by: tbrosz on March 21, 2006 at 1:11 AM | PERMALINK

Apologies Herr Doppelganger, I thought this post was about clairvoyance. Best of luck getting one of those big governement grants to blast clean laundry into orbit.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 21, 2006 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

Yes yes, nice poem but WHERE'S THE LINK!? I don't mean no stinkin' citation!

Posted by: MNPundit on March 21, 2006 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

Mountain Dan:

I thought lefties cared about free speech.

Hey, Kevin posted it, didn't he?

Posted by: tbrosz on March 21, 2006 at 1:18 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, I'm not the one having debates with myself on these boards with the various fakes. I suppose it is, however, a time-honored technique, going at least as far back as Plato's "Republic."

Well, yeah, that's true.

The fake Me doesn't agree, however.

Posted by: floopmeister on March 21, 2006 at 1:28 AM | PERMALINK

Hey now ...

BoBoBoBoBoBoBoBoBoBoBoBoBoBoBoB

Posted by: The real fake fake real fake real real real fake real rmck1 on March 21, 2006 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

We're all tbrosz now. Maybe this is just a lowpoint and not the beginning of the end of Calpundit comments.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 21, 2006 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

Ok whatever......

Posted by: Muhammed on March 21, 2006 at 1:32 AM | PERMALINK

Man, I wish I HAD posted those limericks. I'll be passing those around.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 21, 2006 at 1:35 AM | PERMALINK

We're all tbrosz now.

And you thought it was Diebold that wins elections? It was my MIND CONTROL POWER. Goes through the thickest tinfoil hat like a neutrino through cheese.

Resistance is futile!

Posted by: tbrosz on March 21, 2006 at 1:37 AM | PERMALINK

You know I've dealt with liberals all my life. Some of them are great people, honestly. Hell, you can't swing a dead marmot in this neck of the woods without knocking twenty of them over, frail aging baby boomers that they are. My neighbors, anyway. Gahh, nothing so sad than a fiftysomething woman who wears Birkenstocks and doesn't shave her legs. Who's she trying to kid? At this age, you'd figure the would have learned something. You know, a conservative is a liberal who's been mugged.

Well these damned aging hippies haven't been mugged yet. Not by life, cosmetics, or a proper sense of mature fatalism. Heh, maybe it's time. And what's with these grey-haired balding guys with ponytails? You'd think none of these people had mirrors in their homes. Heh, maybe having a mirror violates some animist taboo they just learned about, you know -- like Muslims believing that taking a photograph captures their souls -- on their last vacation to Venezuela to give that dictator Chavez a nice, enthusiastic peace sign. You'd think they know that the peace sign is also Nixon's V for Victory.

Liberals, sheesh, I tell ya ...

Posted by: tbrosz on March 21, 2006 at 1:44 AM | PERMALINK

Instapundit has an idea for enlisting the Great Satan of the Unions in the cause.

Wal-Mart: "Better do as we say or we go back to using Oompa-Loompas again."

Posted by: tbrosz on March 21, 2006 at 1:46 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz:

Read the novel.

A large part of it's about the German V2 rocket program. Pynchon uses historical sources, like General Dornberger's account and the British book The Mare's Nest.

Amazing historical verisimilitude. Von Braun makes a cameo appearance.

Of course, you might find Pynchon's political sensibilities a little, umm, different ... but he's one of the best writers in English alive.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 21, 2006 at 1:49 AM | PERMALINK


HAO WU: I dont want to live in a society that doesnt allow me to express myself freely! But wait, would that land me in prison?

He was doing fine until he got to this point. If only he had the Chinese equivalent to the DLC to give him counsel, he'd have realized that while such a stand might be substantively righteous, in the truly relevant area of political theater it was questionable at best.

Indeed, it's not clear what Wu hopes to accomplish with his free speech stand. China's shortcomings are already getting plenty of attention, so he's not galvanizing any new media attention. He obviously didn't bother telling his fellow citizens about his plan, which has had the result of making the public look muddled and stupid. And Communists, far from being nonplused by his free speech stand, are having a field day with it.

Political theater has its own rules, and fair or not, the only measure of success is success. So while I admire Wu's stand, I don't think I'd hire him as a political theater consultant.*


Posted by: jayarbee on March 21, 2006 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

For any feeling personal outrage, there are venues through Amnesty International and other organizations to make a personal appeal.

http://www.amnesty.org/actnow/index.html

Posted by: Jimm on March 21, 2006 at 3:22 AM | PERMALINK

Prisoners of Conscience

Sign up, and write a letter!

Posted by: Jimm on March 21, 2006 at 3:24 AM | PERMALINK

There once was a thing called a V-2
To pilot, you did not need to
You just pushed a button
And it would leave nuttin'
But stiff and big holes and debris, too

Posted by: tbrosz on March 21, 2006 at 3:28 AM | PERMALINK

stiff = stiffs

Posted by: tbrosz on March 21, 2006 at 3:30 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz, "if I really wanted to mess with you, I'd come into my office some morning when I didn't have anything better to do, bring a lunch, and start impersonating all of you. . . .It was my MIND CONTROL POWER."

So close to the truth, but blinkered still with the egomania that drove us all away. We need to say without him hearing, even though, we know, he'll never know, however much he hears, we're all just doing our small part in tbrosz's multiple personality disorder, so what difference can it make? I'd never leave a note to clue him in about it.

Posted by: cld on March 21, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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