Saturday, January 22, 2011

一个要求尊严的黑人在中国的遭遇 When a Black Man Wants Dignity in China

Racism in China Part One 华语系人们的丑恶种族主义(1)

Racism in China Part Two 华语系人们的丑恶种族主义(2)



When a Black Man Wants Dignity in China


将华语系人们的种族主义与种族歧视只归咎于共产党是一种不求“真”的态度。 孔儒文化的等级观念是华语系人们几千年来的沉重镣铐与包袱。 拒绝反省自身文化与文字所带来的奴役状态只能是华语系的人们重蹈覆辙。

Kai Chen's Words:

To take the intrinsic racism in the Chinese culture as something from the West, something from the Communist Party, is a sign that the Chinese still have a long way to go before they can truly pursue truth. And without truth, the Chinese can never be free. Confucianism/Chinese traditional despotism is to blame for the pathetic and pathological state of the current Chinese mindset, coupled with the modern communism/dialectic materialism from the West. The Chinese face extra burden and painstaking task to face not only their present tyranny, but their past despotism. Yet refusing to admit this reality and fearing to deal with/get rid of the cultural garbage will only lead to another round of new despotism and tyranny, even after the communist regime is gone.


Quote from the article 文章段落:

"Together with his wife they were “a permanent show” on the streets. His wife was spat upon, he received nasty comments, contempt came through in a greeting, the atmosphere changed when they entered an establishment; the wife received an invitation and was told not to bring the husband. They went their separate ways before six months were through. “It happened quietly,” Sianne says. Divorce was formalized in July 2010."

"他和他的新婚妻子(一个中国女人)成了公众的娱乐侮辱的焦点。 他的妻子被人唾骂。 他本人被人讥笑侮辱。 他妻子曾接到过聚会邀请函,但在函中要求她不要带她丈夫来。 短短六个月他和他的妻子就离婚了。那是在2010年七月。”

“How do you dare to date a monkey?” Sianne overheard as the two yelled at each other in Chinese; then “You are a shame to China!”

"你怎么能和一个黑猩猩交往?”他听到他未婚妻的舞伴儿大声斥责她。 “你是中华民族的耻辱!”


A Cameroonian Journalist, Abused and Disabused in China


By Matthew Robertson/Epoch Times Staff

A Chinese prisoner awoke at 3am, checked to see the other prisoners were fast asleep, and furtively produced this sketch of Patrick Sianne as he was in prison. Sianne says it could have cost the prisoner his life, or at least a thorough beating. (Courtesy of the subject)

“At these words I abandon every remaining shred of trust. I need no further proof that this is a society that revolves around hatred, discrimination, and persecution.” – Yang Xiguang, Chinese labor camp survivor.

Patrick Pieplieu Sianne, for one decade the face of broadcast news in his native Cameroon, went to China in 2006 on a journey of exploration—something of a 21st century de Tocqueville—but “ended up in a very dark hole, brutalized physically and mentally,” he now says.

He is back in Cameroon, telling his story and writing a book. He has turned 180 degrees on the views he used to hold of contemporary China and its communist leadership.

“President Hu Jintao’s diligent stewardship of the State, his vision and humanism are arguably the best among equals…” Sianne wrote in 2007, in a letter. He expressed similar sentiments online—he was a prolific online personality, gaining one of the most popular blogs on—before his prison experiences.

Now he says “Absolute power corrupts absolutely… The Communist Party has little stomach for deep, meaningful change.”

For Sianne, it was a lesson learned through bitter experience: Through encounters with Chinese police, run-ins with bureaucrats who could change his fate in the time it takes to stamp a paper, and with as much concern, and with Chinese who often had, Sianne says, nothing but thinly disguised contempt for the fact that he was a black man dating, and later married to, a bright young Chinese woman.

“I physically feel still in pain and shock,” he writes, a few days after getting back to Cameroon, in October of this year. “Just asking for my rights… I found myself trapped in a terrible situation.”

Two themes undergird all of Sianne’s travails in China: racism, and bureaucratic bullying. And he often found the two were used in perfect complement.


Patrick Sianne’s interest in China grew naturally from a desire to find out the whys and wherefores of Cameroon’s newest immigrants, “Chinese who landed here to seek their future in our beloved country.” It was 2006, and he had been in the country three years after getting home from an eight year sojourn in the United States, where he had been studying and working. He left Cameroon for China “with an open heart, to find a new people.”

He arrived in China as a tourist but soon settled into a respectable school in Shanghai, at which he became a resident student, studying Chinese language and culture for one semester. He had obtained a student visa; it was the beginning.

The summer holidays came and the students went their ways; though while most Westerners were awarded plum jobs in summer camps teaching English, Sianne would be cut off as soon as the prospective employers met him.

The résumé was impressive—broadcast journalist on prime time Cameroonian television for a decade, a Master’s degree from the United States, founder of an NGO, several Fellowships in International Journalism. But the résumé didn’t mention Sianne’s nationality, or skin color, which is “black, very black” as one friend wrote in a reference letter.

From an acquaintance Frenchman in Shanghai Sianne got a job in Yunnan Province, the remote mountainous southwestern outcrop abutting Burma and Laos, known for its fiery autonomy. He was in Lijiang in Yunnan, doing sales and marketing for a restaurant called Petite Paris. From there he was put up for a job at a high school in Qujing, a small place outside of Kunming, the capital of Yunnan. He also met his fiancée, a Chinese from Chengdu named Zhu Dan.

Here the question of Sianne’s visa status came into focus, because this was the mask in which racism was disguised and used to punish him. Sianne had arrived in China on a tourist visa. This he changed to a student visa when in Shanghai.

He had planned to continue his studies after the job at Petite Paris, before the Qujing offer came up, and was ready to be admitted to a university as a student and teacher in Lijiang. But he scrapped this plan and moved on to the Communist Party-run establishment Qujing, which required a working visa.

He took up employment in Qujing at the Number One high school, the oldest and best in the province. He was placed there by an awkwardly titled state-run recruitment agency called the Training Center of Yunnan Bureau China Council for Promotion of Applied Technology Exchange to Foreign Countries; Sianne’s exchanges with the leaders of this “training center” were pivotal for his fate in China.

The Training Center is an institution that Sianne would later describe, in an elegant and strongly worded letter of complaint sent through a lawyer in China in 2007, as “an assembly of irresponsible citizens,” “an organization of mafia people,” “a quack of an educational establishment,” and a “heartless” and “foolhardy” organization whose bias and ability to victimize with impunity brought him immense personal suffering.

After he had been teaching at the high school for one month, it was time for him to finalize his visa papers.

For this he received government documents directing him to Hong Kong, where, outside the mainland, he could change his visa status (from student to tourist to working). He was flown to Shenzhen and boated to Hong Kong, but at the Chinese checkpoint something went wrong. He was made to wait hours and told that, as a black African, he couldn’t cross on foot.

This incident—relatively minor given what was to follow—gave Sianne a taste, in institutionalized form, of the racism he had sensed only vaguely before in Shanghai.
He went back to Kunming to find the new job almost cancelled because of the visa troubles.

After some cajoling, the employers allowed him to Macau (after borrowing 10,000 yuan—more than the Chinese average annual urban income and several times the average annual rural income—off another Frenchman in Shanghai, because Africans are required to carry massive amounts of cash when going to Macau.)

With a work visa secured, he settled into employment at the school. There he came to know Mr. Miao, a local Party boss, vice president of the Training Center, and to the misfortune of Sianne, his direct supervisor.

There is something about Party officials in their native stomping grounds that creates beasts of men: arrogance, pettiness, jealousy, and other vices are tempered by none of the institutional restraints common elsewhere, and have been deliberately allowed to fester under decades of communist rule.

All this was compounded in Sianne’s case by a simmering racism that sometimes bubbled to the surface, and then again by the anachronistic living and working arrangements, which modeled something of the “danwei” (work unit) system of social control of the 80s and 90s, where employees and employers all live and work in the same compound. The potential for petty abuse of power in these circumstances is known to all Chinese, and Sianne was soon to experience it.

Trouble began when Sianne attempted to bring his fiancé to his home. Mr. Miao initially vetoed the idea outright. Sianne went over his head—there was no rule against bringing home a fiancé—and Miao turned sour.

“It was offensive to him that a black man would be dating a young Chinese girl,” Sianne says, recounting a telling exchange that once took place in Sianne’s shoebox apartment. “You could see it… he came and saw a picture of me and her on the wall… he never came back after she left.”

Another request to have friends around on Dec. 16, the anniversary of the death of Sianne’s father, was also rejected as “impossible.” Sianne has commemorated his father’s passing every year since his death in 1971, and was not going to be deterred from the ritual by a self-important Party boss. So he argued about this, too.

That’s when Mr. Miao dropped the sword that had been hanging over Sianne’s head since he took up work with the “Training Center”: the denial of a residence permit.

A work visa means nothing without one, and Sianne had a work visa but no residence slip. This was in the hands of the police in Lijiang, and in China the police are in the hands of the Party. When Mr. Miao was affronted by Sianne’s insistence on commemorating his father’s death, on top of the fiancée incident, he had the police reject the residence permit.

Sianne received a brief email telling him to vacate the school within 24 hours.

He left that evening with two suitcases, leaving behind an apartment full of belongings. He had been there several months, and “was already building a home for myself and my girlfriend, I was building a home and wanted to get married soon, I even bought a carpet, a good carpet,” he says. He never saw the carpet again, or his clothes, or the thousands of dollars in salary the school owed him.

That evening he left Qujing to find his fiancé in Chengdu; he was now in China illegally.

Once in Chengdu in early 2007, Sianne worked odd jobs with faked visa contracts, teaching English, doing what he could to pay the bills. The situation is not uncommon, especially for Africans in China who face systemic discrimination and rarely have a chance to do things by the book.

At one point he worked at a Chinese diamond company in Beijing. From Beijing he went to Dalian, a coastal city in the north. There he met an American who arranged a situation for him at the Dalian Fisheries University (later Dalian Ocean University), again teaching and studying.
By this time it was the beginning of 2008. The school liked Sianne and had begun to process the papers for a legitimate visa. But the central authorities were processing their own paperwork. As August approached, and with it the Olympics, a purge of foreigners on shaky visas was set in motion. This was a top-down directive, inspectors were going to arrive, and Sianne was quickly cast aside. His fiancée, Zhu Dan, had just met with him in Dalian but the two soon went back to Chengdu.

Arriving in Chengdu on a Friday night, they went to the Shamrock, a foreign nightclub, meaning to unwind. A man came to dance with Sianne’s fiancée while Sianne was resting in a booth. That was fine, as far as it went, but he was the kind of man who usually got more than just a dance, Sianne says, and was affronted by Zhu’s tenacious resistance.

Sianne was alerted to the situation, and the man discovered that the young Chinese girl was to be married to a black man. “How do you dare to date a monkey?” Sianne overheard as the two yelled at each other in Chinese; then “You are a shame to China!”

Then the man told the police, with whom he was apparently already on familiar terms (or perhaps one of them, undercover, Sianne suggests). They asked Sianne for his visa and he knew it was game over.

They told him to report to the police station not far from the bar the next morning. Sianne didn’t feel like waiting; Zhu collected his passport from home and they went to the police station, he with a “bring the heat” attitude.

He got a surprise once there, however. “The interview was not about why I was illegal or what I should do, it was more about how long have you known this girl, how did you meet her, for how long,” and even, Sianne says, “are you consummating the relationship?”

Sianne’s fiancée was sent home, and he to a Chinese prison cell for one month of punishment for being in China illegally.

At around 5am Sianne’s fiancée was sent home, and he to a Chinese prison cell for one month of punishment for being in China illegally.

He was awoken in the dank cell at 8am the same morning, like the other inmates. After an all-night interrogation, he did not feel like getting up. So the guards told inmates to pick him up and carry him outside to teach him a lesson in Chinese prison life.

“They gave me lashings. The guards were using long bamboo sticks, the prisoners their hands. There were about seven prisoners.” Hurtful slogans rained along with the blows: “Black man, look at you, we are treating you well here and it's all going well and you are just insulting China! You love America more than China, you go to America!”

The maltreatment inspired a hunger strike. The superintendent, upon hearing that Sianne had not touched food or water for two days, got scared and backed off.

Prison life was a matter of steady and persistent attempts at “reeducation,” Sianne says. Morning drills, which he managed to regularly escape, included being herded into a courtyard and made to march back and forth chanting “jingcha hao!” (“the police are good!”)

“I spent time doing what you call passive disobedience,” Siannne says. “I wanted pen and paper. After they beat and slapped me, I shouted and shouted and shouted and collapsed, and they gave me paper and pen and allowed me books to read.”

His shouts carried some of the sophistication one would expect from a man of culture. “I was using their language and culture to insult them: that they should tell Hu Jintao that I need paper, that Mao Zedong likes Africans. I made these phrases into songs and poems” in Chinese, he says, which he would chant and sing regularly.

On other occasions he danced and sang gospel classics, which often brought him to tears and the prisoners along with him. “When I prayed one of the songs I like, the American gospel “Nobody Knows the Troubles I Have Seen,” that I learnt through Louis Armstrong, that is a powerful song and a prayer that I sung and cried, some of them ran away and went crying too. They wanted to let me go. I cried, they could see my pain, they never wanted to take it for long when I sung that song.”

Some of the prisoners became his allies, Sianne said. One of them made a sketch of Sianne at 3am while in a cell with him, which he managed to smuggle out, and which he will use as the frontispiece for his book.

The one month sentence was extended by another two weeks when they reached an impasse over what would happen next. After the fiancée’s parents came to the prison to vouch to the police about his honorable intentions, he was allowed out of jail and sent back to Cameroon. That was July 2008.

Sianne organized another tourist visa back to China for the wedding. They were to be married in Chengdu in December. The third stage of the Sianne’s China story had begun. It was to be the worst yet.

“On my wedding day… we arrive, we present the case to the officer,” Sianne said in an interview in French with the Cameroonian television network Mutations Multimedia.

“But having found that I was an African she [the officer] pretended to go to the bathroom, then disappeared. She never came back.” The wedding party made phone calls, waited, and the couple swallowed their humiliation

Another celebrant in the building became aware of the circumstances and took it upon himself to sign the deed. But “it was just the beginning of an ordeal,” Sianne says.

Together with his wife they were “a permanent show” on the streets. His wife was spat upon, he received nasty comments, contempt came through in a greeting, the atmosphere changed when they entered an establishment; the wife received an invitation and was told not to bring the husband. They went their separate ways before six months were through. “It happened quietly,” Sianne says. Divorce was formalized in July 2010.

Nevertheless, after the marriage Sianne soon obtained a good job at the prestigious Sichuan Foreign Language University in Chengdu, as leading Oral English teacher. He spent three fruitful semesters there, and was preparing to transfer to the Dalian Korean International School, in the Northeast. When he got there, after a train ride of three days and nights, he was told: sorry, the local government has “taken a set of measures,” and “no job for me, bye bye.”

Then he began writing protest letters to the local government, the university, the foreign ministry, complaining about the arbitrary breach of contract. He says at this stage police wanted to get rid of him so they “organized a trap that led to my beating, imprisonment, torture and removal.” Specifically, when he was out one night he received a hostile and racist comment from an acquaintance.

Then he was surrounded by two other people and a woman, “And they started hitting me over. They beat me that day with incredible violence. Until now, when I eat or when I yawn, I suspect they damaged a nerve.”

He was against the wall trying to protect himself when they called the police. “I find myself at the police station, lying on the floor with hands cuffed to my feet—then, again, 10 days imprisonment.”

Hunger strikes didn’t work this time. He was threatened with “final fireworks”: torture, or worse, if he would not cooperate with deportation proceedings. He was told that the police killing him and dumping his body in a river or forest would not pose a problem; “we’ve done this before,” they said, “if your embassy raises a finger, we can always settle that financially.”

The police ransacked his apartment, collected his passport, and forcefully ejected him from the country all on the same day, after two weeks of abuse. He stopped over in Nairobi, then boarded another flight to the Cameroon, arriving on Oct. 15. He was wearing the same clothes he had been beaten and carted off to prison in. Like last time, all of his belongings were still in China.

He is finalizing a book on the experience, called, perhaps “China: My Regrets, My Fears. A Rising Mirage for Black Africa” he said in the French interview. “I almost cannot sleep. To me, this book is the book of my life. It will enable Cameroonians, Africans, the world, to see a country that, with regard to human rights, has much to be ashamed of.”

He has found a good human rights lawyer, one of Cameroon’s most famous, in the person of Barrister Akere T. Muna. While the wheels of Chinese justice are known to have long been stolen and pawned off, with Muna retained Sianne’s case will probably attract a good deal of attention in Cameroon.

“I was tortured. I was beaten. I was humiliated,” he says. He has spoken to Cameroonian officials. Some have told him to keep quiet, because the country is now doing business with China.

A Black Chinese Girl 一个中国的黑姑娘

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