Bullog 牛博网, a progressive blog portal, becomes the next victim of a purge that has swept across the blogosphere in China since the release of Charter 08. As a result, Bullog lost two of its most popular bloggers: Ran Yunfei 冉云飞 and Baozuitun 饱醉豚 (literally translated as the Gluttonous Suckling Pig). It is believed that both bloggers were suspended for publishing articles about the Charter. Ran Yunfei is also among the first group of 303 signatories.
It is regrettable how Luo Yonghao 罗永浩, the owner of Bullog, once considered a very “bull” (Chinese Internet jargon for “cool”) blogger himself, had to succumb to pressure from the CCP censors in order to protect his site from closure. Luo exercises self-censorship for very good reasons, of course, particularly when Bullog is the home of some best names in the Chinese language blogosphere – Chai Jing 柴静, Han Han 韩寒, Lian Yue 连岳, Wang Xiaoshan 王小山, Zhao Mu 赵牧 – just to name a few. This is not the first time Bullog is at the mercy of the butcher. In October 2007, Bullog was temporarily suspended. Permission to reopen was eventually granted after Luo had agreed to be vigilant about the content of his site.
The 43-year-old Sichuan based writer/editor of the Tujia minority group 土家族 is no stranger to Chinese authorities. In August 2007, Ran Yunfei joined 39 activists to issue an open letter to Chinese and world leaders. This was the first time intellectuals in China openly called for an improvement in China’s human rights policies ahead of the Beijing Olympic Games. In March this year, shortly after the 3.14 Incident in Lhasa, Ran joined a group of 29 Chinese human rights activists and issued a 12-point petition to urge Beijing to open direct dialogue with the Dalai Lama. When fellow Sichuan writer Huang Qi 黄琦 was arrested in July this year after he had openly questioned the handling of earthquake relief funds, Ran Yunfei, together with three other Sichuan bloggers, published an open letter canvassing for the immediate release of Huang. Apart from signing Charter 08, Ran also published an article advocating the release of Liu Xiaobo 刘晓波. The English translation of his articles was published in the Guardian.
I have also translated a Radio Free Asia interview with Ran Yunfei. During the interview, Ran made some very good points about freedom of speech and freedom of access to information.