Zhang Mama’s Letter

While I knew that since August, things could not have been easy for Zhang ZheHan and his family, I never fully appreciated how difficult things were until Li XueZheng used his platform to publish a letter from Zhang’s mother. I think it deserves a thorough English translation. As always, translation errors are my own.

For the original letter, see this Weibo post.

一个来自母亲的心声 | A Heartfelt Letter from a Mother

大家好!我叫张霞,是演员张哲瀚的母亲,也是有36年党龄的老党员。儿子因为2018年3月份在日本旅游时拍的樱花照事件,遭遇了今年8月13日之后史上前所未有的最强劲的网暴,我想说说这事给我和儿子带来的冲击以及心灵的创伤。

Hello everyone! My name is Zhang Xia. I am actor Zhang ZheHan’s mother and a (CCP) party member of 36 years. Because of old vacation photos of cherry blossoms taken in Japan during March 2018, on August 13th of this year, my son was subject to the most intense and historically unprecedented level of cyber violence. I would like to talk about the impact and trauma that this incident has brought to my son and myself.

8月13日儿子还在上海工作,之前也有一直以各种原因黑他谩骂攻击他的各种言论,不堪入目,但到了813之后就达到了高峰,铺天盖地的一边倒的谩骂,汉奸、间谍、叛徒、卖国贼等等,在狂风暴雨似的网络舆论攻陷下,不到三天时间就遭到了全网封杀,其中修改百度词条,篡改历史,编排故事,人肉家人,假编家世,构陷造谣谩骂,甚至把对他的造谣写入试卷进入课堂,连他的名字在各大社交平台都是禁忌词……,

On August 13th, my son was still working in Shanghai. Even before this day, there had been numerous rumors continuously vilifying and attacking him. But after August 13th, the attacks reached a climax with overwhelming and one-sided verbal abuse: traitor, spy, sellout, turncoat, etc. Under the storm of online public opinion, my son was banned from the entire internet in less than three days. To frame him, Baidu entries were modified, history was tampered with, stories were arranged, family members were torn down, family backgrounds were faked, and rumors and slanders were fabricated. Some of these rumors even made it into classrooms and test papers, and his name became a taboo word on all major social media platforms…,

他十多年为之努力为之奋斗的梦想及成就不仅被抹得了无痕迹,而且全网均是一边倒的黑他的文稿,正向的,他曾经爱党爱国的言论都没有了,他的作品也都下架了。儿子跟我说,他没有进靖国神社,没有参观,更没有参拜,网络信息是不实的,他说他愿意接受组织的调查。

Not only have the dreams and achievements he spent more than ten years working towards been wiped out, but all that remained on the internet is one-sided and slanderous material. His positive contributions, his previous words of love for the party and the country were erased, and all his works were removed. My son told me that he did not enter the Yasukuni Shrine. He did not visit, let alone pay respects at the shrine. The information on the internet is false, and he said that he was willing to accept investigation by authorities.

我想,如果因为几张照片可以判定一个人的品行,那么他还有很多爱国的照片、为国参赛争光,为社会做公益事业的记录,他正向、爱国、敬业、努力的一面难道不足以证明他的正能量,他的爱国之心吗?

I thought, if a person’s character can be judged based on a few photos, then he has many more patriotic photos. He has earned glory for the country through competition, and he has made contributions to public welfare. Are his positive, patriotic, dedicated, and hardworking deeds not sufficient proof of his positive influence and patriotism?

他是被舆论定罪,被网络判刑的,对他的指控大多来源于网络未经审核确认的信息,给出的定论也没有经过必要的调查和核实,对于广泛传播的造谣不实信息,我们也没有澄清的机会,对此,我们深感无力和悲哀。

He was convicted by public opinion and sentenced by the internet. Most of the charges against him came from information that was not verified, and conclusions were drawn without any critical investigation. Against the widespread dissemination of false information, we were never given a chance to clarify. We felt completely powerless and hopeless.

但从大局出发,为了不给国家添麻烦,我们母子一直压抑着内心极度的痛苦,坚持要求自己不去发声,不给政府部门添麻烦,我们相信党和国家会在调查取证之后,以事实为依据给出正确的判断和结论。

But in order to not cause trouble for the country, we have been suppressing the extreme pain in our hearts, resisting speaking out and causing trouble for government departments. We trusted that the party and country will investigate the relevant evidence and provide correct judgements based on facts.

但作为母亲,我真的不能接受我的儿子就这样被污名化了。他才三十岁啊!他的未来,事业和前途就毁于几张三年多前的照片!不仅如此,他还要活在别人的冷眼辱骂中!此次回家,他见到我的第一句话:“妈妈,很惭愧,我30岁了还让你操心” 我泪流满面,他却说 “哭什么啊,我身体不是好好的吗?”

However, as a mother, I truly cannot accept my son being demonized like this. He is only thirty years old! His future and career were destroyed by a few photos from more than three years ago! Not only that, but he has to live under the cold stares and hateful insults of others! When he came home that day, his first words to me were: “Mom, I am ashamed, I am still making you worry at 30 years old.” I burst into tears, but he said, “Why are you crying? Aren’t I in good health?”

他的健康乐观对我是最大的安慰!可他喜欢的小侄子年仅四岁,不敢面对他,说叔叔是坏人,一直捂着脸不敢看他。儿子见状瞬间躲到房间哭了、流泪了……他平时真的是很坚强的人,但这一刻他真的是崩溃了。

His health and optimism is my greatest comfort. But the little nephew he loves is only four years old and dares not look at him, saying that his uncle is a bad person. When my son heard this, he went to his room and cried… He is really a strong person ordinarily, but at this moment he was broken.

我作为母亲看在眼里,痛心欲绝,那一刻我仿佛听到自己的心被撕裂的感觉!我是母亲,我把他抚养长大,国家也培养了他,正当可以报效祖国的好年华他就这么被行业的恶性竞争,网络舆论给扼杀了!

As a mother, I was heartbroken. At that moment I could almost hear the sound of my heart being torn apart! I am his mother. I raised him as the country nurtured him. The good years he could have spent serving the nation were stifled by vicious competition in the industry and online public opinion!

儿子生长在一个党员之家,父母都是党员(他的父亲2016年因病去世),他外公也是司法部门的领导干部,对党忠心耿耿,对工作兢兢业业,早年因工作过度劳累,突发心肌梗塞倒在工作岗位上。我这一代6姐弟就有4名中共党员一名政协委员,我儿子这一代5个成年孩子就有三名党员,都在各个领域为党工作,我们全家都热爱党热爱祖国!

My son grew up in a party members’ household. Both parents are party members (his father died of illness in 2016). His grandfather was also a leader of the judicial department, and he was loyal to the party and dedicated to his work. Many years ago he suffered a sudden heart attack due to overwork and died on the job. In my generation, four of my six sisters and brothers are CCP members, and one is a CPPCC member. My son’s generation includes five adult children, three of whom are party members. They work for the party in various fields. Our whole family loves the party and the motherland!

儿子是在党的温暖的怀抱中长大的。我一直教育他热爱党热爱祖国,把老一辈的优良品质传承下去,教育他正直善良,勇敢坚强,勤奋努力,儿子耳闻目睹基本上都是正向的教育,他不完美,他有缺点,但他没有污点,那些说我是日本人的情妇,儿子是日本人的混血儿,我注册的亚太荣(是一家生产自拍杆的小型企业,和日本没有半点关系,因为亏损早就注销了)也污名为日资企业,等等,一切强加在我们身上的日本元素都是故意诽谤污辱我们的!

My son grew up in the warm embrace of the party. I have always taught him to love the party and the motherland, passing on the best qualities of the older generations and teaching him to be honest, kind, brave, strong, and hardworking. Everything my son has been taught is positive. He is not perfect. He has shortcomings, but he is of good character. Those who claim that I am a Japanese mistress, that my son is partially Japanese, that my old company YaTaiRong (a small company, shut down a long time ago due to losses, that produced selfie sticks and had nothing to do with Japan) was a Japanese-owned enterprise, etc., are deliberately trying to slander us by imposing Japanese connections on our family! (teddyfoxfluff: what Zhang is being accused of is being sympathetic to Japanese militarism, hence Japanese connections were fabricated to fuel this slander)

这三个多月我们生活在心惊胆战,诚惶诚恐中,愤怒痛苦悲哀伤感无助,儿子不敢出门,而我看到所有的人都会心生羡慕之情,我感到这么挣扎屈辱着活下去太痛苦了,甚至想以结束自己的生命来唤醒人们善良之心。但儿子一直宽慰我,要我相信党相信国家,还反过来教育我:你还是老党员了,我们一定要相信正义会迟到,但绝对不会缺席!儿子的话点醒了我,让我坚强起来!坚信党和国家会有正确的判断,为我们正本清源,还事实真相,并给予生活和事业的出路。

For more than three months we have been living in fear, anxiety, anger, pain, sadness, and helplessness. My son was afraid to leave the house, yet all the people I met somehow felt envious (teddyfoxfluff: some people proclaimed that Zhang would still live happily because he had enough money). I felt that it was too painful to live in such struggle and humiliation, and I even considered awakening people’s kindness by ending my own life. But my son has always comforted me, asking me to believe in the party and believe in the country. He in turn reminded me: you are still a long-time party member; we must believe that although justice may be late, it will never be absent! My son’s words reawakened and strengthened me! I firmly believe that the party and the country will make the correct judgments, will restore the truth and our innocence, and will provide a path forward in our life and in his career.

我愿再次发誓:如果我儿子去了鬼社,我全家愿意去仆死!我以党性人性担保我说的一切都是真实!谢谢大家,谢谢李学政的冒险发言!

I am willing to swear again: if my son went to the Yasukuni Shrine, let my whole family die! I swear that everything I say is true on my party spirit and my humanity! Thank you all, and thank you Li XueZheng for courageously speaking up!

3 thoughts on “Zhang Mama’s Letter

  1. I really appreciate this very clear translation of Zhang Zhehan’s mother’s letter. It was devastating to read but so important and I hope it has helped to change a lot of minds about what happened in August.

    Like

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