September 22, 1964 |
|Other names||"Kong the Monk"|
|Education||Ph.D. in Chinese studies|
|Alma mater||Peking University|
|Occupation||Professor of Chinese studies|
|Known for||Descendant of Confucius
|Alternative Chinese name|
|Literal meaning||Kong the Monk|
Kong Qingdong is a Chinese author, social commentator, and professor of Sinology at Peking University. A direct male-line descendant of Confucius, Kong is a supporter of communist orthodoxy and has expressed nationalist, anti-American and anti-Western sentiments. Kong is also a critic of China's economic reforms, calling the current Chinese government "shameless". Kong has lashed out at liberal Chinese media such as Southern Weekly and its related outlets for pushing a 'traitorous' agenda. He has spoken in favour of the "Chongqing model" of wealth redistribution advanced by Bo Xilai and is critical of Guangdong party chief Wang Yang.
Kong hosts a talk show program and his microblog has a large following. He is known for his numerous forthright and expletive-ridden rants against a large number of groups and individuals; his polarizing views have frequently generated controversy, but have also rallied supporters. Kong has also expressed admiration for the Juche ideology and the North Korean government as well as its leader Kim Jong-il.
Kong Qingdong, recognized as the 73rd-generation descendant of Confucius by contemporary historians, first achieved fame as the author of various books describing his graduate student life in Peking University, in which the self-described "Drunkard of Peking University" commentated on many Chinese social issues. An avid reader and researcher of Chinese wuxia fiction, Kong briefly lectured on wuxia author Jin Yong on CCTV's Lecture Room series, as well as giving a talk on the Chinese essayist and language reformer Lu Xun on the same series, although his lecture on Lu Xun has been criticized as being factually loose.
Although Kong Qingdong was a participant in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, after he was named a professor of Chinese studies by Peking University, Kong began publishing essays in which he espoused Chinese nationalism and communist orthodoxy. Kong has praised the North Korean government on various occasions, claiming that the Koreans "will surely die off", if not for "the great leader (Kim Jong-il) and his Workers' Party". Additionally, Kong has organized study groups on juche, the official ideology in North Korea, at Peking University; some sources, such as Southern Metropolis Daily, accuse the group of providing intelligence to North Korea.
A critic of Western culture and especially its entertainment, Kong Qingdong lent his voice in a campaign to boycott the film Kung Fu Panda 2, calling it an instrument of cultural invasion by the West. After the Apple Inc. co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs died in 2011, Kong remarked that "the more people like Steve Jobs die, the better".
Kong Qingdong has been involved in the Confucius Peace Prize, a Chinese prize set up in response to Nobel Peace Prize, which was awarded to the Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo amid China's protest. Kong claims that the prize, which was awarded to Lien Chan and Vladimir Putin in its first two years (none of whom accepted it), accurately reflects Confucius's vision of peace.
Kong has a reputation for speaking in a forthright manner, and does not hesitate to use profanity on his television show or blogs to advance his point and provoke strong reactions. He once referred to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as a "bitch"; he called performing artist Jiang Kun a xiasanlan (Chinese: 下三滥), a derogatory term for "three dirty professions" of prostitution, beggars, and street artists. He has repeatedly and consistently criticized China's liberal media, particularly the Southern family of journals and newspapers, as "hanjian media." He also ventures into borderline taboo political topics, calling CCTV "inhuman," and the Shenzhen municipal government "reactionary." He has also called the Chinese government "shameless."
In 2007, the liberal writer Zhang Yihe (章诒和, daughter of Zhang Bojun, a notable Chinese intellectual and victim of Mao Zedong's Anti-Rightist Movement) published the now banned Past Histories of Peking Opera Stars, in which she criticized the Anti-Rightist Movement and affirmed that she "will not give up the defense of my basic civil rights, because it affects the dignity and conscience of a person". Kong fiercely attacked Zhang in a lecture, referring to Zhang's class as "the enemy of our government." Kong further defended the Anti-Rightist Movement and addressed to the "Old rightists" that "you (the rightists) think that you are proper heroes, so why are you asking the Communist Party for vindication? … our cases have been overturned after the reforms began, but why do the big rightists want to demand hundreds more times in compensation from the people?"
Attack on Xu Lai
In November 2008, Xu Lai (prominently known under the pen name "Qian Liexian"), a journalist at New Beijing, a newspaper affiliated with Southern Daily at the time, alleged in his blog that Kong Qingdong has been interrogated by the Beijing police for spying for North Korea. A few months later, in February 2009, Xu was assaulted and stabbed by Yang Chun, a personal assistant of Kong Qingdong, who accused Xu of offending "a friend". Southern Metropolis Daily, another newspaper affiliated with Southern Daily, criticized Kong Qingdong's involvement in the affairs.
Southern Weekly interview request
In November 2011, Southern Weekly, described as a 'beachhead' for China's liberal media, reached out to Kong for an interview. Rejecting the request, Kong published on his microblog that "the treasonous newspaper has harassed me once again by asking to interview me"; Kong answered the request with a Chinese expression of profanity using the word 'mom' three times (Chinese: "去你妈的！滚你妈的！操你妈的！"; literally "Go to your mom! Roll to your mom! Fuck your mom!"). The use of profanity drew Kong considerable criticism online, to the point of calling for his resignation, although he also received widespread support, with some online straw polls turning out in favor of Kong. Commentators pointed out that Kong's popularity is a symptom of the widespread resentment of the elite liberal media, which often run editorials critical of poor people and make economic arguments to justify the increasing wealth gap.
Kong himself asserted he used the expletives deliberately to 'lure out' his enemies in the liberal Chinese media, having predicted that they would respond to him vehemently with what he called "counterrevolutionary encirclement." Some eighty media outlets reportedly criticized Kong for his remarks. Following the barrage of negative media attention, Kong then directly criticized the state-run Xinhua News Agency, saying that it was no longer under the control of the Party's Central Committee but taking orders from Guangdong party chief Wang Yang, seen as the representative of China's political 'right.' The journalist in question later defended Kong, claiming that the profanity is "a later embellishment when Kong published his microblog post". Overseas media speculated that Kong's remarks was merely part of a much larger battle between the political left and right in China. His singling out of Wang Yang by name was cited as evidence of the intensifying struggle for China's future political direction.
Hong Kong people 'dog' controversy
In January 2012, Kong commented on a viral video on his talk show. In the video, a Chinese mother on a Hong Kong MTR train engaged in an argument with a fellow passenger, a native Hong Konger who tried to stop her young child from eating on the train. Kong lashed out on the Hong Kong passenger, criticizing the man's use of Cantonese Chinese (as opposed to the Mandarin Chinese used in Mainland China) and calling him a "colonial elitist" and a "bastard." He went on to make sweeping remarks about Hong Kong people in general, saying multiple times that "many Hong Kongers" are "bastards," and "dogs."
Kong further claimed that the Hong Kong people are "willing dogs of the British … To this day they think that they are dogs, not people". Kong stated that in their purported 'colonial mentality,' Hong Kong people are "dogs in front of the British, but wolves in front of the Chinese," comparing them to Korean and Taiwanese supporters of the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. Kong pointed out that the reaction on the MTR would not have been the same had a white person, i.e., a Briton or an American, been in the same situation, rather than a person from Mainland Chinese. Kong asserted that Hong Kong had some "positive traits," one of which is rule of law, which was enforced only because "the British spanked them [Hong Kongers]" if they broke the law; and, in response to Hong Kong's society, Kong said of Hong Kong people: "your society's order is maintained by law, which means that you have no self-restraint, which means that you are a vile [賤] jiàn) people". The remarks circulated widely on social media cites in Hong Kong and became the focus of controversy and protests in the territory in early 2012, causing further tensions in what were already strained Mainalnd Chinese-Hong Kong relations. Two candidates of the Hong Kong Chief Executive election, 2012, Leung Chun-Ying and Henry Tang, criticized Kong. Reactions were mixed in Mainland China to Kong's remarks. Some prominent Chinese academics came out to criticize Kong, but he also received support on the internet.
Several days later, Kong fired back at the criticism levelled at him, saying that the media and internet users were on a witch hunt to 'cherry pick' his words in order to attack him, asserting that he did not mean to say that Hong Kong people are dogs, or that non-Mandarin Chinese-speakers are dogs. He also said that he was confident the "majority of Hong Kongers" were not critical of him and that the internet backlash to be part of a well-executed conspiracy by fringe activists to silence him. In his defence, he stated that "there are good people and bad people everywhere; there are dogs everywhere. Some Beijing residents are dogs."
Criticism of the Taiwan election
On 28 January 2012, Kong Qingdong asserted on a Chinese television program that the 2012 presidential election in Taiwan is "fake democracy" and is "comparable to a soap opera." He remarked that he did not see "much progress" in Taiwan during the four years of Ma Ying-jeou's term in Taiwan, and that Ma's winning of six million votes was not impressive, "not even half the population of Beijing." Kong said that Ma's razor-thin margin of victory over his rival Tsai Ing-wen was comparable to the population of Zhongguancun, a neighbourhood of Beijing, and that it still reflected a deeply divided Taiwanese society. Both the incumbent Kuomintang and the Democratic Progressive Party have rebuked Kong's remarks.
Kong, in addition to being described as a nationalist, has also been described as a figure of the Chinese New Left, a political faction that believes China's economic reforms have gone too far and the country needs to revert to a more socialist and egalitarian society with heavy state control.
In March 2012, upon the dismissal of Bo Xilai, a renowned leftist figure in China, Kong showered Bo with praise on his talk show. Kong called Bo's dismissal "an open call-to-arms for a counterrevolutionary coup." Kong also remarked that people should 'rise up' in support of Bo Xilai to prevent the country from "sinking into the abyss of capitalism."
China and North Korea
Kong has professed admiration for the Juche ideology of North Korea. After a visit to North Korea, Kong remarked that China is "the most terrible and corrupt country in the world." He said that China had a lot to learn from North Korea, especially its preservation of traditional Communist orthodoxy, and that China has "lost its sense of shame." He said that in comparison, North Korea is a "great and impressive country," and that China was 'so far gone' that it was not even worthy of criticism from North Koreans. According to Kong, China should 'bow its shameful head' in front of the North Korean people.
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- "北大惹火教授罵港人是狗 時事評論員﹕中港矛盾深化 促政策介入". Ming Pao. Retrieved 22 January 2012. "「（港人）給人家英國殖民者當走狗當慣了，到現在都是狗，你們不是人 … 凡是用法治維持起來的秩序，說明你們的人沒有素質、沒有自覺……一個字：賤。」"
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- Kong, Qingdong. "孔庆东含泪力挺薄熙来煽动"大家都起来"". YouTube. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
- Kong Qingdong's blog (Chinese)