China: Mourning for Intellectual Websites

This week, two more influential websites have been forced to close, one is Pauwang(泡網), one is Wei-cheng Za-Wan(圍城雜文).

Pauwang is among one of the longest history BBS in China and it was forced to close on 12 of March, 2009.

According to Hecaitou, the BBS is a platform for editor and professional. The BBS is associated with a photography club in Beijing and recently they had organized an exhibition in Beijng 798. The website only managed to back up part of its archive and now moves to temporary.

As for Wei-cheng essays, the webmaster has written a closing statement on 10 of March (via chinagfw):








谢谢各位的捧场。星期二 2009年3月10日

This website will be closed!

Pressure from the above said that there were too much harmful information here, and we need to clean up! this website will not be reopened again, please find another platform! For so many years, the webmaster is now tired. Although the above did not say that it would close the website by force, I can't manage it anymore. Got the phone call transferred by the ISP, I really lost all my interest to run this website.

Actually I have anticipated this. This year the economic environment is too back. Should it be better, this website could have lived longer. When the economy is bad and there are more and more social problem, they naturally will tighten up free speech space.

The website is non-profitable, we only give.

My feeling, how to say? am rather calm, more at ease than Pingmin Zawen’ webmaster. Because I have anticipated that in China, such kind of websites will face its destiny. Such day is actually a bit late for Wei-cheng essays. There is a period of time that I feel happy for the country, feeling that we have entered a “new era”.

But this is history.

Another website Pingmin Zawen was forced to close back on 7 November 2008 (even earlier than, before the anti Smut campaign has officially began. Now the website's domain has been changed into an online bookstore.

For the sake of historical record, here I translate in part the webmaster's statement (via zjol):


The so-called harmful information, it is all defined by you. You said they are harmful and therefore they are. As a webmaster and party member with political sense, as a webmaster who is devoted to this website, I have been very careful in managing essays appearing on the site. Even so, the related administrations are so good at discovering. What else can I say?

Za wen, or essays (雜文) is a literary genre associated with political commentary in modern China. Lu Xun's essays are famous for its critical voices. The closing of Pingmin (meaning ordinary citizen) Zawen reminded people of Literary Inquisition and repression of intellectuals that occurs through out Chinese history. There are a number of condolence essays (all in Chinese) about Pingmin Zawen:

In memory of Pingmin Zawen by Hermit in the Mountain(山居野士).

Mourning for Pingmin Zawen by elegant cup of tea (靜茶淡雅).

Funeral rites of Pingmin Zawen by pmcs

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