Ran Yunfei Released After Ai Weiwei Asks for Blogger’s Support on Twitter

by Clare Gates    /  August 16, 2011  / No comments


Ran Yunfei was held in police custody along with several other prominent dissidents in the recent government crackdown. www.wantchinatimes.com

Ran Yunfei, 43, popular Chinese blogger, author, and outspoken free speech advocate, was released on Tuesday August 9, from a detention center in the city of Dujiangyan where he was held for almost six months. His release occurred just hours after celebrity artist Ai Weiwei tweeted: “If you don’t speak [up] for Wang Lihong and Ran Yunfei, you are not only a person who will not stand up for fairness and justice, you have no love for yourself.”

The English-speaking community also responded to Ai Weiwei’s message, spreading the word.

Yunfei has a long history of writing and activism; most notably, he embraces the internet as a method of free expression and is one of the signatories of Charter 08.
His controversial blog is also a space for social criticism, calling for uncensored media and a more open political system.

Yunfei was arrested in February as part of a wide-spread crackdown by the Chinese government designed to curtail the possibility that January’s protests in North Africa and the Middle East would spark a similar revolution in China. In late March Yunfei was formally charged with “inciting subversion of state power,” according to China’s Digital Times, even though his blog did not call for an uprising.

Recently Yunfei’s case was reviewed. He was released from detention with the stipulation that for the next six months he cooperate with a form of house arrest known as “residential surveillance.” During this time Yunfei is forbidden to speak publicly and must seek permission to meet people or leave his home.Below, in lieu of his voice, we present three quotes from Ran Yunfei, translated into English by @sikoalice. Read all 65 translated quotes.

“The real life in China is weirder, more tragic and bizarre than any contemporary Chinese literature, especially fictions. The formidable real life experience and all sorts of governmental irrationality dwarf and trump the imagination of even those writers who pride themselves on being exceptional.”

“Freedom of speech is related to the rights and dignity of every person. Free and independent thought is impossible if the freedom of speech is monopolized or nipped. There can be no vivid or incisive creations without a free mind, and the glorious light of life will soon die out as well.”

“In this iron curtain country, you would always be stupefied and instilled by Xinhua News agency if it was in the time of information monopoly by traditional media. But thanks to the Internet, even though it is only a partially functional one under the constant restrictions of the Great Fire Wall, we could peek out and see something quite different from what we are given by those Communist mouthpieces.”

Related topics:

Ai Weiwei’s Mother Speaks About Son’s Release From Detention

Chinese Blogger Zeng Jinyan Reunited with Freed Husband Hu Jia

Tsering Woeser: A Voice From Inside Tibet

About the Author

Clare Gates is a freelance editor who puts her skills to use for various non-profit organizations. She graduated with a B.A. in English Language and Literature from Saint Vincent College in 2011. During her undergraduate years, she held the position of art editor for the campus literary magazine Generation, she received a Palumbo Travel Grant to conduct original research in Taiwan for her senior thesis, and in 2012 she earned the English Department award for her academic excellence over the course of her college career. Clare currently lives and works in Pittsburgh, her native city.

View all articles by Clare Gates

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