Power to the Reader

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such thoughtful and thought-provoking reflections so incredibly well written. really enjoyed reading.

donna more than 10 years ago

Some thoughts, some info

I really like this sentence: Empires fall and literature continues.

Literature, just like music and paintings and sculptures and other types of art, makes the world beautiful and the life bearable. It provides a refuge for mankind. Without it, some may not survive. If this is not power, what is?

Sadly, so many also lost their lives because of literature; because they had brains and could think, write, and express themselves.

But this is not the reason I am writing. I just want to share a few facts in Chinese history.

China has a history of prosecuting writers and poets, especially during the Qin, Song, Qing dynasty, and as late as 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Fen Shu Keng Ru, meaning burning the books and burring the Confucians, happened in 213 and 212 B. C. during Qin dynasty. Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor who united China after years of wars among six kingdoms, had searched and burned all the history, poetry, and literature books except one book: Qin Ji, the official history book, and he buried over 460 writers, scholars, and poets. So, the most powerful man at the time feared the “weak” intellectuals, the intellectuals who were often descried as a man without the strength to hold down a chicken.

In 1711 A.C. during the Qing dynasty, a government official, who was also a poet, Xu Jun, had two sentences in one of his poems: the light breeze that can’t even read, why bother to flip the pages of a book? (My translation). Just because the word “light” in Chinese sounds the same as Qing (in Qing dynasty), he was accused of implying that the emperor knew nothing and was executed.

However, nothing happened in the ancient China could compare with what happened before and during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Not only writers, journalists, and poets were either imprisoned or executed, but also scholars, professors, teachers, or those who wrote something in their dairy and were found out. Millions died. It was the darkest time of the Chinese modern history.

Sherry Wong more than 10 years ago

Passing it down...

This is going in the hands of my Grade 12 students on Monday morning.

Andrew more than 10 years ago


As a writer sometimes feeling powerless, I am recharged by your words. Case in point. Thank you!

Ryan more than 10 years ago