Translated from Helen Fang’s diary, originally titled “我们是中国乐队?“:
This tour has taken us to many places, including Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Luxembourg. Touring abroad, we’re often interviewed by the foreign press. These interviews make me feel that the outside world really doesn’t understand China.
Every journalist will ask me, do you encounter obstacles to performing in China? Do you think you have enough freedom? After hearing the questions, I know that my answers will not matter. Because they already have a point of view. They don’t understand our performance, and they don’t understand what young people in China actually want. I never know how to answer them.
I can’t say that I feel completely free. For example, I won’t know if this blog post will make it on Douban [a social networking site] because things have been removed in the past. But saying I’m not free is not right either. All I can say is everything requires hard work, moderation and things will continue to be more open, but this process will be extremely long and painful. I can only say, art in China is allowed much freedom but also faces many restrictions.
Right now I think that the biggest restriction is that it’s hard for art to escape a commercial mindset. Because artists and musicians in China don’t receive any benefits (if they receive benefits then the content would be restricted), they must make their own money. And there have been more and more idealistic people or groups who have twisted their works out of commercial interest. Even if earning money is not a bad thing, to consider the income the sole criterion will only lead art, and society even, to its demise.
Touring around Europe, I feel that even though the recession hit hard hard in some countries, it’s obvious that the countries who fear it have citizens who are not obsessed with “car”, “house” and “debt”. I hope that the New China will be a country rich in culture, not one seeking materialism.
My dream is that one day the internet will release all unsealed websites.
My dream is that one day artists will not need support and will be well off enough to pursue their works without restrictions.
My dream is that educational systems will allow young people to discuss, analyze and create.