Opinion: A Call for Open Discourse Through Writing

Photograph by Miranda Harple

Photo Courtesy of Miranda Harple

By Li Jianrui

Editor’s Note: This article is part of The Gettysburgian’s Multilingual Gettysburg Series.  This series was developed to promote cross-cultural engagement and celebrate the many languages spoken at Gettysburg College.  Translation of the article is provided below.




文章评论是一个极好的工具!是发声与行使权利的媒介。前者有唐宋八大家,后者有鲁迅等民国学者。中国有着长期的文章传统。而权利只有使用才可以有用,更需要practice the right. 况且真理越辩越明。说的通俗一点会哭的孩子有奶喝。在此Gettysburg college校报,我鼓励大家多写一些自己的想法,关于学校,关于社会最新议题的等等。



“Wen (words or texts), or pattern, is a very great power indeed. It is born together with heaven and earth,” is a quote by a Liu Xie, an ancient Chinese scholar.

The school newspaper — The Grettysburgian — provides a good space for the exchange of ideas, comments, and debates not only for American students but also for international students. We should take this opportunity and use it well.

A legend in China states that when Cangjie first created written words, earth and heaven were shattered, gods and spirit were frightened.  Well, I am not asking you to write something to make earth and heaven shake.

But as a young person, an international student, a Chinese student, (I cannot speak for all my fellow friends, only my personal opinion), life is not only about study and homework. We should have greater participation in politics. The so-called politics are not something high up there. It is not in the Chinese TV news; it is everywhere in our life, in your identity (both metaphysical and practical), student visa, your organization’s budget, or the ability of your favorite friends and faculty to stay in school or USA. It affects you and me like a horse drives the car of destiny.  If you can’t master the carriage and let it run wild, you and I will eventually become the victims of standing by, like the slaughtered lamb, the slave of others, and the fish.

Writing and expressing your opinion is an excellent tool! It is the medium for voice and exercise of rights. China has a long tradition of writing including the eight [master writers] in the Tang and Song Dynasties and more recently Lu Xun and other scholars during the Republic of China time period. Now I ask you to carry this tradition! A right can only exist by using it, so it is necessary to practice one’s rights, such as freedom of speech and others.

Moreover, truth does not fear contention. The child who cries loudly usually gets more milk.  I encourage everyone to write anything about their own ideas, schools, issues in society, and so on in the Gettysburgian.

The article is a medium, a tool, a reflection on our life, society, etc. Before I end this letter, I want to share some words from Mr. Cheng Ying Gei with you. I hope that when you bring up the pen and conceive an article, you also have his spirit.

[Concerning free-thought]: “Only the spirit of independence, the idea of liberty, tens of thousands of miles, and the same long-term, shining with three lights, and eternal.”

I am looking forward to reading your independently spirited and thoughtful articles.

Li Jianrui

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Author: Gettysburgian Staff

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