Purple Prose Prisoner


In February 2012, Chinese media reported on the official statement of repentance (悔过书) written by Yin Chunyan (尹春燕), the former head of the assets division of the property office in Hunan province’s Zhuzhou city (株洲), who had recently been sentenced to eight years in jail for corruption. Yin’s statement, quite literary in style, reportedly ran over 3,300 characters — roughly six to seven thousand words in English — and even quoted from the philosopher Immanuel Kant: “Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the more often and steadily we reflect upon them: The starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.” An official with China’s Commission for Discipline Inspection was quoted in the media as saying that “Yi Chunyan’s statement of repentance had the best styled Chinese of any letter we have seen before from a [Party] cadre.” In this cartoon, posted by artist Chen Chunming (陈春鸣) to his blog at QQ.com, a prisoner sits dejectedly in his cell as the sign over his head reads: “PRIZE: ‘Detention Cup’, for the best styled letter of repentance.” A rat in the cell looks on and remarks with admiration, “Ah, rapeseed flowers!” (a term of praise meaning that someone is gifted).

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