There is a 50-minute youtube video of previous TV host and journalist Cui Yongyuan’s speech in a small hall in a school in Washington. Cui is a very famous and respected journalist in China, for his previous TV program Truthfully Speak （实话实说) and for his black humour. In this video he was fairly critical of CCTV, propaganda and the education system in China, etc.
Here is part of the transcription and translation. There is also a transcription online from the 19th minute on.
Unifying the statement, actually where is truth in this society? Unified statement is the only truth.
(Summary) In the late 90s when I first met journalists from Taiwan - I didn’t know there were journalists there, I thought they were all spies. I thought in Taiwan every day there were American guys driving Jeep with hot girls in their cars and hit people without being punished. And Taiwanese journalists thought we people from the Mainland ate banana skins all the time.
So it is good to have the Internet, though some websites are blocked, we could jump over the great firewall. Today our theme is education, but I haven’t said anything about it yet. I really don’t know much about education. It is like I have been a TV host for so many years, but I really don’t know what is journalism or broadcasting, I only know propaganda. Propaganda to unify statements.
The education that I had when I was a kid - finishing school early and doing lots of extracurricular activities, that was quality education we call today. The current education is exam-oriented education, which is really terrifying. Education changes our mindsets. There are some mindsets that are not completely wrong, but really not precise. Some theories are not serious.
Right now our children need to know that there is no universal value in China. I really don’t understand this. How come such a great thing exists everywhere else in the world, but not in my motherland China. In the past among our ancient and traditional philosophies like Confucius, Daoism, ain’t there universal value? Ain’t our kindness, solidarity, manners, intelligence and loyalty universal value? How come we don’t care much about liberty, freedom and human rights? I am very worried.
I remember around the beginning of 2000 suddenly we were told all of our articles can’t mention the concept of “taxpayers”. So I asked, ain’t there taxpayers? I was told, of course there are. Then how come we can’t say it? I was told, if the word keeps appearing all the taxpayers will realize that they are taxpayers.
Since a few years ago, also we can’t mention the word “citizen”. I was told that we don’t say citizens, we just say we are all people. However, it is written in the Constitution that we are all citizens.
What do they have to fear of citizens? Citizens are also taxpayers. There might be one thing that citizens could make some people feel uncomfortable, which is that citizens like to speak - they like to speak the truth. They think they have the right, are entitled, and they have the duty to speak the truth. You could read Global Times online, or some of the articles written by some professors from Renmin Unviersity. I can’t stand their writing. It seems like we are going back to the 60s. I really want to ask these writers, do you really believe in the theories you write about? If you just want to make a living, I think there are lots of decent ways to make a living in the world.
The hope of the world depends on intellectuals’ capability and responsibility. If intellectuals don’t have the guts or consciousness and only speak based on other people’s preferences, there is no hope for a country. A sad thing in China is for example, for Duanwu Festival, every Chinese know that we should eat Zongzi, to commemorate Qu Yuan, an intellectual who jumped into the river because of political repercussion. However right now many Chinese don’t really know much about Qu Yuan, but everyone knows Zongzi.
People say those who live abroad are very patriotic - they are not used to the food from other countries, so they are patriotic. I would like to speak to you earnestly, let’s love the country together. The best way to love this country is to make her better. So when we come across some problems we must bring them up, though we might not be understood right away, though we might endure some hardship.
Some people choose to stay silent, but if you have read a bit of Chinese history you would know how many turbulence the country has gone through. When the country is facing difficulties, no one will feel safe or happy. So let’s love her well.
I think only can one person love themselves, their parents, others, animals, plants, clouds and snacks, etc first can they love their motherland afterwards. If they don’t love any of the above first, how can they love their motherland?
The Chinese textbook since our primary school teaches us to love Beijing Tiananmen, and love our great leader Chairman Mao. While when we start to go to university we learn “a small step of civilization, a big step of progress. Come here fast, please leave with the toilet flushed”. Our education has gone backward. There are problems in our education.
Some leaders are very afraid of enlightening the people. They don’t want the mass they manage to be smart. They want them to be stupid and confused.
If there is no qualified citizens, there is no hope for the country. I feel the country and the government will slowly recognize the real importance of these citizens.