If you’re in a wheelchair, stay the hell out of China. There are virtually no facilities for the disabled in China, let alone any traditional ethos of compassion for them. The Great Hall of the People – the seat of government in Beijing – is inaccessible by wheelchair. Contempt for the physically weak, as well as for the politically weak, runs deep and flows long through Chinese history. In China, the disabled are regarded as freaks and expendable weaklings.
Yet here comes Jin Jing in a wheelchair, sent to Paris by China’s propaganda organs to be a Torch-Bearer. She was, alas, jostled by a Tibetan protester who attempted to take the torch from her – mind you, while she was surrounded by heavily armed French Police. Now China’s propaganda agents, both Chinese and Western, are re-presenting her as (in the words of China Daily and other Chinese organs), the “angel in a wheelchair”, a cynically devised parody of martyrdom. The internet is all abuzz about this “public relations” coup for Beijing, “The Martyrdom of Jin Jing”. But how many have asked the simple question:
WHY did Beijing send a disabled Chinese woman to be a torch-bearer in a foreign country (this is contrary to custom; traditionally, all torch-bearers in France ought to have been French), especially when they knew she would probably be subjected to some kind of (I admit, criminal and objectionable) assault?
Using Occam’s Razor of parsimony of logic, it is obvious that Beijing – whose regime neglects and excoriates the disabled – sent Jin Jing to be a torch-bearer in Paris as a provocation for exactly this kind of “public relations” stunt.
Now, Beijing’s hypocrisy in re-presenting a disabled woman as a symbol of Chinese Nationalism is nauseating enough per se. But what is even more objectionable is the Propaganda Department’s exaggeration of what she suffered. Granted, the assault was illegal and objectionable. But she suffered virtually no bodily harm, precisely because she was surrounded and protected by some of the toughest, and heavily armed, Police in all of France.
Take a look at this photo; what stands between her and one of her assailants is a French Policeman bearing a firearm. And then in this photo, her assailant is right next to a French Police van, surrounded by armed, tough as nails French Police.
Granted, the assailant’s deed was a crime. But the legal definition of the crime of “assault” does not include any element of actual physical harm. An “assault and battery” can be an illegal physical contact as gentle as an unwanted kiss. The point is that being assaulted does not make a Martyr – least of all when the putative “martyr” is being protected by some of the toughest armed cops on the planet.
China’s conflation of the Torch with religion – Beijing’s propaganda organs call the torch “sacred”, and in this photo, Jin Jing holds the torch in a posture reminiscent of Christian martyrs holding a Cross while being fed to the lions (Jin Jing’s closed eyes in that photo are an especially brilliant touch of sinister semiotics) – is, simply, profane. It profanes the names and memories of all real martyrs throughout history, and not just Christian martyrs. This corruption of words like “angel” and “sacred” and “martyr”, as applied to Jin Jing, profanes – if nothing else – truthfulness itself. Even an atheist, or at least an atheist who love truthfulness and integrity of language and symbols, must object to this abuse of the semiotics of “martyrdom”, if only for the sake of clarity of language and of mind.
When Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, he was not defended by heavily armed police. And mutatis mutandis, Jin Jing’s “martyrdom” did not involve torture or death, to say the least.
Or take any martyr of your choice, of any religion, or none. Consider the many atheist Communists who were tortured and murdered for their principles by Germany’s Gestapo. Remember the many, and mostly nameless, beautiful Jewesses of the Middle Ages who chose suicide rather than submit to rape by their so-called “Christian” captors. Or – and perhaps with especial regard to Beijing’s current depredations upon Muslims in Xinjiang – remember the Muslim martyr, Hallaj (855-922), a Sufi whose unorthodox way of professing Islam resulted in his martyrdom through having all his arms and legs cut off until he bled to death.
No, Jin Jing is not one of them. What she has been chosen by Beijing’s propagandists to “re-present”, profanes the names of all true martyrs.
And you don’t have to be a Christian to understand that as Jesus Christ was a martyr, this attempt by Beijing’s Central Propaganda Department to posit Jin Jing as a “martyr” is, literally, a symbol of an “Anti-Christ.” And anti-Marxist too, insofar as Marx excoriated all “false consciousness.”
UPDATE: This article’s title has suddenly disappeared from Google, under any and all searches. Apparently someone out there is displeased with it, and has the resources to have it removed from Google. More about this mystery, here