Solidarity Into the Future: Dico’s @ Chengdu, 1 Year Later

Where one falls, many will take his/her place. From left: 玺儿,麦麦,二分月,墨香,白·胭脂,思晓,盛唐明华,易易,龙的传人.

Source: http://tieba.baidu.com/p/1248056883
Original title: 成都德克士烧汉服事件一周年——现场照片以及视频 (1 Year Anniversary of the Chengdu Dico’s Hanfu Burning Incident – On-site photos and videos)
Original Author: Bai*Yanzhi 白·胭脂
Translation/commentary: Satsuki Shizuka

Translator’s note: On the evening of October 16 one year ago, Sun Ting (alias; net alias Muka)’s unfortunate encounter with fanatic anti-Japanese demonstrators has left a significant scar among Chinese people, as their own kind mutilated their brethren in the name of ‘patriotism’, but led to international humiliation and a stinging pain among those who believe in restoring China as a land of virtue and decorum. One year later today, we still see young Chinese students being oppressed at school as their hair gets forcefully cut and publically ridiculed for wearing their traditional clothes, along with a plethora of other social injustices — but the social consciousness continues to stand in vigilance, making a stand for the expression of national and self identity, without the oppression of silent or violent discrimination.

Walking down Chunxi Road, downtown Chengdu.

Last year on this day in Chengdu, a shocking event happened here — the Hanfu burning incident. Now, a year has passed, but we have not drowned ourselves in sorrow and anger. We are happy to see that in the events of this year, with the dedication and work of all our tongpao comrades, more and more people are aware, understanding and accepting about Hanfu. One year later today, we still wear our beautiful yi-shang, standing in the very same place, and honestly accepting the dubious, shocked, or appreciating gaze of bypassers. We need to use our minute bits of strength, to tell everyone in the world: They can burn up Muka [Sun Ting]’s Hanfu, but they will never burn away the Hanfu in our hearts. Restoring Huaxia is a heavy responsibility, and the road is long. We will continue to walk down this path.

Video: http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/_sFDcyawbOs/ and http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMzEzMzc2MTQ0.html

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Rethinking the Hanfu Movement, November 2010 (Pt.1)

The burning of the Hanfu skirt on Chongyang Day, 2010 in Chengdu.

Please pardon the recent lack of updates. Aside from attending to family affairs in a visit back to Hong Kong last month, I admit I have recently become engrossed in yet another online game (even scholars…especially scholars, procrastinate). I will try to give a few recent anecdotes personal and in the greater Hanfu circle. 

Without a doubt, the largest Hanfu related piece of news (and news in the time of our mass media usually is negative) is the Chongyang Day (Oct 16 2010) Chengdu Hanfu Burning Incident. It has been over a month since the affair, and as I watched the aftermath unfold (and the several people taking the lead in the actual burning were arrested for public disorder), it is perhaps time to write a summary on my and general society’s reflection of the giant rift of Chinese society – it is not just about political standpoints, education and income levels, age, gender and orientation, or any previously known one description or strata, but as individuals which comprise of any combination of such. 

Before carrying on to the reviews, let us revise the happenings of October 16, 2010: 

A Chengdu girl (alias Sun Ting) who was newly introduced to Hanfu from a friend tried on a borrowed set of short Quju top and skirt, and went out to the movies in town on the afternoon of the 16th, only to find the place much too crowded. They changed plans dine at a Dico’s restaurant nearby on Chunxi Road, to which they sat by the taller tables and stools by the second floor shopfront window. At that time, a wave of “patriotic” protesters passed by, encouraging fellow citizens to boycott Japanese goods and the government to enforce sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands (known as Senkaku Islands to the Japanese). A group of “university students” (later identified as a group of unemployed late-teens not affiliated in any tertiary institutions) noticed the crossed-collars of her clothing, unsure of its cultural background. People suggested going into the shop and checking her back to see if there was “a pillow” on it (the primary feature of the obi waistsash on a Japanese furisode), but rumours escalated quickly and spun out of control, and the message soon directed towards the violent end. 

The crowd surrounded the shop’s exits, demanded that she strip her “kimono” away to satisfy the public. Sun, despite being a newcomer to Hanfu, tried her best to explain that this was Chinese clothing, not Japanese. However, the protesters were unreceptive to reason, and forced her to surrender her top, which was taken away. Sun complied, but soon she was asked to also surrender her matching skirt. Having no other clothes underneath save undergarments and a T-shirt, she hid away in the Women’s washroom afterwards, as the crowd set fire to the skirt right outside the shop, under the witness of tens of cameras and cellphone captures. A man who bought a pair of jeans for his girlfriend graciously gave Sun his purchased goods, allowing Sun to leave with the least bit of humanly dignity. 

Netizens (including Hanfu group members) devoted themselves to searching up the perpetrators to the crime, refusing to believe they were really “university students” (although considerable bashing was given to the overall general quality of them), and later labelled them as “general ignorant thugs”, “remenants of Manchurian poison”, and even “intentional undercover Manchu separatists, trying to take advantage of ignorant patriotism direct against the Hanist movement”. Shortly after the incident, the Hong Kong Hanfu group set up on the Chinese version of Wikipedia a complete article on the incident, and within two weeks it became an international laughingstock on both official channels of news media to the most informal and bawdy parts of the blogosphere

Since I was in Hong Kong at the time of the happening of this incident, let’s take a look at some of the responses from there. Just as I was having trouble with my formal paper on the Hanfu movement and actual events displaying the stigma against it, this event has “artfully and timely” appeared in its most bare, despicable form. I cannot help but muse at the irony of the matter, and can conclude with the axiom “be careful of what you wish for”. 

First they mock you, then they fight you, then they accept the truth as self-evident.
-Mahatma Gandhi More

A statement on the 1989 June 4 Incident

The Power and History of China has always been in its people.

The Power and History of China has always been in its people.

As a blog of Chinese traditions in the modern context, it becomes unbearably obvious and imperative that the issue of the June 4 incident be addressed. As we enter the  20th year since the failed democratic demonstration movement, and although China has come a long way to what it is today, lest us forget the long and painful process of this development.

The student movement of 1989 had a vision of equality and freedom of expression, with the causus temporalis as to have the government retract a statement on an editorial, printed on the People’s Daily on April 26, 1989 “a small segment of opportunistic people [students]” plot on unrest [rather than commemorating the death of Hu Yaobang], and took to the streets of Beijing. The proactive spirit of university students and their sense of mission is to be honoured, and should be a role model to us all, especially those who are at their early-20s and studying to become the pillars of the nation.

Mistakes and mis-decisions, regardless of who makes it, must bear upon the consequences of its result. The People’s Republic today has undoubtedly adapted to the people much more than had there been no student movement in the late spring, early summer of 1989, and the people have become today less adamant on the forms of state than its effectiveness and solving matters of practicality. However, there is no group more sensitive to the issues of the people than the people themselves, and the “Mandate of Heaven” for any state is to “obey the Heavens and agree with the people”. Lest we the people silence ourselves, and indulge in personal gain over the sight of greater good and natural justice.

Similarly, the Hanfu movement has started under the pretext of a misportrayal of the Han people and its culture. Wang Letian took to the streets in shenyi and zhaoshan to correct this mistake, and many others are now joining the line as vocalized by him in unison to seek justice over this. In fear of accusing the so-called “Han-chauvinism”, some promoters have taken into promoting it simply as a “beautiful clothing from the past/of the Han ethnic tradition” – to this, my personal statement is simply the following: History is the story of human imperfection, trying to seek a greater good nonetheless. If we have a mistake, we should swiftly correct ourselves. We may have doubts, but if one has to distort truth for the sake of consideration of current situations or benefits, then that is not the Natural truth. Correct it, now!

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