Opinion: Confucianist Warriorship Standpoint: My 204 Hours of Hunger Strikes and My Contribution to Improved College Policies Benefiting More Than A Thousand People in Devotion to China the Hallowed Land’s Native Heritage
By Rivolia Chen Xiao-Yu (陳瀟玉), Contributing Writer
I constantly correct myself when I should, adjusting myself while living with my many imperfections and even mistakes. At the same time, my accomplishments (rather than various mistakes) in this life of mine are eternal and beautiful symbols of learning, wisdom, and courage — illuminating the world and benefiting the countless — as well as a Chinese person’s loyalty and love for the native heritage of China the hallowed land, while channeling it and devotionally sacrificing for it as a part of it. In at least the vast majority of times, I function within the contemporary world’s mainstream but never as a part of it. In my unique way, I connect my soul to the native Chinese heritage, integrate the luminosities I receive into the mainstream, therefore advancing it. While the current worldwide mainstream is merely treating Confucianism and the Chinese archetype of warriorship as objects of studies and research of a small percentage of people within educational systems that do not belong to the resplendent heritage of China the hallowed land, (in addition, China, the Light and the Blossom, has been treated as a money tree for numerous times) the aforementioned archetype of my life that has many shortcomings is also of a higher historical status than these common situations.
In 2020, I have carried out 116 hours of hunger strikes at Gettysburg College, and 88 hours in 2021. Therefore, so far, I have carried out 204 hours of hunger strikes in total on this campus. To a considerable extent (but not entirely), these hunger strikes have been my responses to two situations that were claimed to (which was not completely consistent with the de facto) have lasted from 10 p.m. on Tuesday, September 1st to some point in the daytime on Sunday, September 6th.
First, the contemporary mainstream American culture defines laundry as washing clothes with a washing machine, then drying at least most of them with a dryer. Within such linguistic and mainstream cultural contexts, the involved administration — with influential sources in the College Life and Residence Life — claimed that students living on campus should not do laundry over this period. The word, “laundry”, in their message, must be read in the aforementioned linguistic and mainstream cultural contexts. This claim of theirs, to a certain extent, did not sufficiently consider the contemporary mainstream Chinese understanding of laundry (including drying clothes), as well as Chinese students living on campus that are influenced by it to various extents. A common way to launder underpants in contemporary China is to handwash it as its owner takes shower, then hang it dry. This way of laundering underpants is not a part of the contemporary mainstream American culture. Because laundry (this word hereby refers to its various definitions across different eras and regions) has been an inalienable necessity of the material everyday life of everyone, it was out of such an inalienable material necessity for at least the “students whose COVID-19 test results were proven to be negative (translated from my hunger strike mass email sent on October 26th, 2020)” to put their clothes that needed to be laundered on a floor area on which their showering water abundantly flown through from the faucet above, and to bring these clothes out of the showering room when they were done showering, then hang dry these clothes inside their dormitories; or to wear their clothes that needed to be laundered when taking showers, then hang dry these clothes inside their dormitories; or to switch on an available showering faucet, having their clothes that needed to be laundered on a floor area on which their showering water abundantly flown through from the faucet above when they were sitting in restrooms out of their biological necessities; after their separation from these seats (each time of this, I clean my area that was touching the seat with a hand sanitizer), wash their hands with the water flowing from the same faucet, and to bring these clothes out of the showering room when they were done showering, then hang dry these clothes inside their dormitories. I have never heard that the involved administration had ever recommended any of these strategies to us through official forms over that period.
Second, in the contemporary era, many Americans empty their trashes when their trash cans or bags are full; the same involved administration further claimed that students living on campus should not empty their trashes in such linguistic and cultural contexts. Because emptying trashes has been an inalienable necessity of the material everyday life of everyone, it was out of such an inalienable material necessity for “students whose COVID-19 test results were proven to be negative (translated from my hunger strike mass email sent on October 26th, 2020)” to empty trash “on the route to pick up their meals from the dining center under the preconditions of wearing masks and maintaining social distances (translated from my hunger strike mass email sent on October 26th, 2020)” as well as on their route to and back from showering rooms during those days at Gettysburg College.
Furthermore, a necessary condition for a Book of Changes (I Ching) spiritual reading is the combination of a strictly purified and cleaned body, heart, and space. Confucius considered purity, cleanliness, tranquility, refinement, preciseness and detailedness to be among Book of Changes‘ important teachings. The known crucial sources of spiritual reading based on Book of Changes have been the religious cultures (including spiritual readings) in the antique Shang (circa 1600 B.C.- 1046 B.C.) and Zhou (Western Zhou: 1046 B.C. – 771 B.C.; Eastern Zhou: 770 B.C. – 256 B.C.) periods. Ideally, the aforementioned strict purification and cleaning of body, heart, and space is to wash all physical parts — from the hair to the toes — clean, to be in a clean space, to use clean utensils, to dress in clean clothes, to have no anger but purity and tranquility in heart, to have no malicious intention, and having waited for some periods after physical intercourses or entering restrooms for biological purposes. The querent — especially when consulting an important matter — tries their best in their attempts to reach such an ideal condition, meditates and implores for guidance on a non-malicious question of theirs from the power that is higher and mightier than everyone and everything in the human realm. These have also been profoundly influential understanding and response originated from these periods and have been parts of the native Chinese heritage to the topic of it is most effective to interact with the higher and the mightier than everyone and everything in the human realm under what conditions. My aforementioned various ways to protect these inalienable necessities of the material everyday life of everyone are also consistent with the cultural, religious, and spiritual lineages of spiritual reading based on Book of Changes (I Ching). As what I have been repeatedly expressing: “… Huang Li-Zhou (Zongxi, 1610-95) has stated in On Laws in his Waiting For the Dawn that laws that merely protect the government from its downfall but do not benefit the countless have all been ‘illegal laws’ shackling the hands and feet of the countless under the Heaven  (translated from my mass email sent on September 17th, 2020)”. To eliminate illegal “laws”, and to further echo with Confucianists such as Wen Wenshan (Tianxiang, 1236-83) who “was forcefully captured by Mongolian government’s army… firmly refusing to surrender, he refused food for eight consecutive days  (translated from my mass email sent on September 17th, 2020)” and the venerable warrior Huang Li-Zhou (Zongxi), who militarily struggled against the Manchurian Ching government for around fourteen years (1645-59), I scream “long live Confucianism (my mass hunger strike email sent on October 26th, 2020),” “China is not a money tree (my chalking in March 2021 as my response to an activity officially advertised by the College, at where it gained time and space, and was held),” “long live Confucianism and Chinese warriorship (my chalking in March 2021 in the same aforementioned context)” and repeatedly carried out hunger strikes; these parts have constituted a considerable (but not all) component of my 204 hours hunger strikes. My hunger strike mass email sent on September 17th, 2020, led to a conversation between an especially revered administrator over me and me on the 18th. Another administrator whose office has been in the Penn Hall had a phone call triggered by it. My hunger strike mass email sent on October 26th, 2020, caused the president of the College to interact with the especially revered administrator over me. Nevertheless, at this point (July 19th, 2021), I have not carried out hunger strikes for at least two months.
So far, the vast majority of COVID-19 defensive policies at Gettysburg College have been correct and effective, which deserve humble thankfulness. Based on realities such as ground stickers on social distancing sticked at areas such as the lining-up zone at the dining hall before the fall 2020 semester’s beginning, the strict disinfection cleaning of the library swiftly after the late August incident in which some students did not follow reasonable COVID-19 defensive instructions, the crucial reason why there was a massive infection within a brief time from late August to early September was that there were students who did not practice reasonable COVID-19 defensive regulations, the de-densification in which more than one thousand students were safely sent back to their homes in early September, et cetera, it can be observed that there must be many effective COVID-19 defensive preparations in the fall 2020 semester — such preparations were necessary cornerstones why these four realities happened in sequence. At the same time, the two situations that have been causing my hunger strikes to a considerable extent (while they have not been the only reasons) indicate that at the beginning of the fall 2020 semester, when it came to the specific aspect of the reasonable protection of the everyday material necessities of quarantined students living on campus when there is a massive new infection over a short period of time, although there were some effective strategies, there were also parts that were not sufficiently prepared.
Nevertheless, these two situations never recurred since early September 2020. Furthermore, among the various types of quarantine described at the official website of Gettysburg College in the spring 2021 semester, the strictest and tightest clearly ensured laundry and trash-emptying in the aforementioned linguistic and contemporary American mainstream cultural contexts. More than a thousand people who had long-term and regular activities on campus in the semester because of their professional relationships, including but not limited to enrollment as students, have therefore benefited. I am one of the sources, but not the only source, that has contributed to this progression benefiting more than a thousand people.