Wednesday, June 30, 2010

China's Great Wall of Silence: The Murder of Bian Zhongyun.


From Chinese television, 2009 with (atrocious) Google translation, on interview of Wang Jinyao for "Beijing Diary."  ( Here, "Beijing, November 2008," parts I-XI, January 9, 2009-February 21, 2009). The person being interviewed by the segment anchor, Dr. Rongfen Wang, helped translate the articles into Chinese.

This is what has gotten Dr. Weili Ye weili, weili mad at me.  A Foreigner interviewed (three times, too) Mr. Wang, the widower of Bian Zhongyun. To translate the Google translation, in my first meeting with Mr. Wang I asked him who he held responsible for the murder of his wife.  Without hesitation, and pointing his finger for emphasis, he said, "Mao." (Part II, Jan. 10, 2009).

August 07, 2009
43 years ago, as opposed to Mao's Cultural Revolution and sentenced to life imprisonment in jail of Dr. Wang Rongfen, August 5 tableSaid that the Cultural Revolution, the brutal crimes and size can be compared to Hitler murder the Jews. Dr. Wang Rongfen appeal to China and ChinaThe public and the international community to address and track down the Red Guards of the crime.

"Cultural Revolution" has in the past 40 years, and then vice president of Beijing Normal University High School girls became the first lives were lost in Bianzhong YunRed Guard violence educators. 5 August to commemorate the 43 anniversary of the death by Red Guards Bianzhong Yun, Living in Germany, ChinaSociologist Dr. Wang Rongfen accepted an interview with Radio Free Asia said: "43 years ago today, two in the afternoon, the Red GuardsBegan Bianzhong Yun and Normal Female High School some of the other leaders of the school violence. Bianzhong Yun was tortured from two in the afternoon to six o'clock, Specifically when she is said to die is not clear. Her body was parked in a junk car, the body covered with posters,Pressing a large poster on a broom, feces and urine flow down from the trousers. Died a sad death, killing her is her students, those women HongweiSoldiers. "

Dr. Wang Rongfen that, for this heinous event in human history, there's no filing, no detection, she said: "Her husband Mr. Wang Jingyao Bianzhong Yun, last November, a Miami prosecutor responsible for the murder,Found Mr. Wang, on this issue. He asked Mr. Wang is an issue, who should be responsible for the death of the Bianzhong Yun, Wang Jingyao firstHealth and replies without hesitation, Mao Zedong. He was not talking about specific people, specific responsibilities. "

That year the Nazis came for the Jews, now the international community ends of the earth will have to brought to justice. In Germany, even the emergence of aA Nazi symbol, going to court, Dr. Wang Rongfen that Nazi war criminals even if the now 90-year-old, have beenBrought to court, but the Red Guards in China has not only punished, but also to the world.

"Red Guard Song Binbin then took a PhD in the United States, do officials, then the Red Guards in Shanghai has been involved in a fightDead teacher's Red Guards and now he is the President's education adviser, as well as Red Guards then actually take the United States FoundationMoney, shot an overturn for the Cultural Revolution, Red Guards praised the film: In the morning eight or nine o'clock the sun, these things do notMarvelous, indicating that the Cultural Revolution, need further study and clean-up. "

It is understood that in 1966 when the climax during the Cultural Revolution, was being at the University of Miss Wang Rongfen, the decision to dieOpen letter to oppose the heart of Mao's Cultural Revolution, Chinese society has become legendary figures. She was held for 10 years inTo after his release, specializing in sociology, but a study of contemporary Chinese world, a German sociologist Max WeberExperts.

Monday, June 28, 2010

China's Great Wall of Silence: Song Yaowu.

Below is from a book, "Donkey Baby: From Beijing to Berkeley and Beyond" (2008), by Sonia J. Song:

"On August 18... Mao received tens of thousands of Red Guards in Tiananmen Square...The head of the Red Guards in our school, Song Bin-bin, pinned a Red Guard armband on his sleeve...So Song Bin-Bin changed her name to Song Yao-Wu." (42)

"Since ours was a girls' school, the detention center at my school, in a corner house, detained female 'bad eggs.'  A first cousin of mine was a Red Guard in my school.  In the fashionable Red Guard outfit of faded army uniform, army cap, and a heavy buckled belt, she often boasted about how hard she had beaten a detainee. Horrible screams came out of that house day and night.  Nobody dared to go near."

"One day when I did go [to school], I heard that our school principal, Bian, had been beaten to death the day before in the schoolyard. I sat in the classroom, listening as Song Yao-Wu's voice came through the loudspeaker. 'Counter-revolutionary revisionist capitalist-roader Bian Zhong-Yun died of a heart attack yesterday. We Red Guards had no responsibility for her death. Whoever dares to say things contrary to this fact, be aware of the consequences.' " (43)

This the first time that I have heard that Binbin made an announcement over the loudspeaker the next day.
This is important--new to me--information. First, it is another voice saying that Binbin changed her name, not that it was pinned on her by the newspapers or "rumors."  Second, it is another voice that (1) Red Guards existed at the school on Aug. 5, something that Dr. Weili Ye denies, and (2) that Binbin was the "head" of the Red Guards.  Finally, that statement of hers over the loudspeaker is a "guilty denial of guilt."  (1)  Innocent people don't threaten ("beware of the consequences"). Innocent people also don’t deny something they haven’t been accused of.  If I walk into a police station this afternoon and say “Hey guys, I just wanted to let you know I didn’t kill that person yesterday, you know the one on K Street who was stabbed fifteen times and had his head cut off”—if I did that, the desk officer would not thank me for my time and wish me a good day.  He would call a homicide detective immediately, and I would be “interviewed” at length.  It’s like Song Binbin’s volunteered statement on Morning Sun that she had not committed any rapes.  Who accused her (or Song Wao-Yu) of rape?  (2) Who else would be responsible for Bian's death besides the Red Guards, the CIA?  Bian Zhongyun could not have been struggled without the knowledge and approval of the Red Guards, and of their "head," Song Binbin.  And only Red Guards were allowed to struggle people. 

photo: Song Binbin by Professor Xu Weixin.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

China's Great Wall of Silence: "Remembrance" and Dr. Weili Ye.


Three years ago when I began my bomb-throwing over the murder of Bian Zhongyun and the presence of so many former Red Guards in America, one of the first people I contacted was Dr. Weili Ye, the man pictured above. I had read Dr. Ye's book Growing up in the People's Republic in which the murder is specifically mentioned. 

So I emailed Dr. Ye:

From: Benjamin Harris

Sent: 2/23/07 8:49 PM
To: Weili Ye

Subject: Bian Zhongyun

Who killed her and what is the evidence that she/they killed her? Two books specifically accuse Song Binbin.

Direct, I admit. To the point yes, that was my intent. It seemed to discombobulate Dr. Ye and it didn't take him long to reply: 

From: Weili Ye

Date: Fri, Feb 23, 2007 at 11:22 PM
subject: Re: Bian Zhongyun.

Hi, could you tell me who you are and what are the two books you're talking about?  I would like to know. Thanks!

Ye Weili

So I did!  You're welcome!

from: Benjamin Harris

to: Weili Ye

date: Sat, Feb, 24, 2007 at 9:30 AM
subject: Re: Bian Zhongyun

Mao, the unknown story by jung chang and jon halliday, page 506 and Emily Honig in the anthology Chinese Femininities, Chinese Masculinities, by Susan Brownell and Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom.

from Benjamin Harris
to Weili Ye
date Sat, Feb 24, 2007 at 9:36 AM
subject RE: Bian Zhongyun

Oh, and in answer to your first question I am a prosecutor and I also have a on which I've written about Song Binbin.

from: Weili Ye
to: Benjamin Harris

date: Sat, Feb 24, 2007 at 12:52 PM
subject: RE: Bian Zhongyun

Please read my article, "The Death of Bian Zhongyun" in The Chinese Historical  Review, Fall 2006, pp. 203-241. I believe I did more thorough research on the topic than the authors of the two books. Thanks!

So I did! You're welcome again!  You pompous ass!  

Chinese Historical Review is published at that renowned academic center for China studies, Indiana University...of PennsylvaniaWhat the Chinese Historical Review is doing at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, I do not know.  What I do know is that in publishing The Death of Bian Zhongyun they published an awful piece of “scholarship” that couldn’t get published in a more respected journal.  And published it poorly.  Besides the title page every other page of Weili’s article is titled at top, The Death of Bing Zhongyun.  “Bing,” like in Bing Crosby, like “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas,” Bing Crosby.  It’s embarrassing.

The correspondence between Dr. Ye and me continued for a little while longer. I tried to get in her soul, to empathize:

From: Benjamin Harris []
Sent: Fri 3/9/2007 3:49 PM
To: Weili Ye
Subject: Bian Zhongyun


Doctor, you dedicated your article in The Chinese Historical Review to Bian, you wrote of the anguish that you felt when you first met Wang Jinyao [note: Bian's widower], you spoke with apparent emotion about Bian's murder on Morning Sun--you obviously care about your "Aunt Bian." [note: Boo-hoo-hoo.] (1)
You don't know me and I know that you don't trust me.  You are dismissive, almost contemptuous of me and my amateur inquiries.  Perfectly understandable,[note: I am so sensitive.] I'm used to rejection.[note: And I am!]  All I ask is that you not shut me out completely.  Give me one person to talk to.  If you feel the need for more privacy than email provides this is my cell phone number, [866-F*** YOU ($3.95/minute)].  Please respond in some way.  Thank you. 

from Weili Ye
to Benjamin Harris
date Mon, Mar 12, 2007 at 8:57 PM
subject RE: Bian Zhongyun

Hi, Mr. Harris,

I learned from a friend (the producer of "Morning Sun") [that would be Carma Hinton] that the publisher of the book which has Emily Honig's article already made an apology to Song Binbin and promised to revise it in future editions. [That is true, Song threatened to sue Honig, Brownell, Wasserstrom and their universities if they didn't delete the offending passage and this threat comes up again below. Note here however that Weili does not mention Chang and Halliday's book.]
Could you tell me, Mr. Harris, how did you find my name? I am just curious.

Ah-ha!  I got to her a little bit with my sensitivity; no pompous, dismissive, "Thanks!"
But her last question annoyed me out of my sensitivity:

From: Benjamin Harris
Sent: Tue 3/13/2007 4:34 PM
To: Weili Ye
Subject: Re: Bian Zhongyun

Dear Dr. Weili,

Sure, I used a very sophisticated investigative technique.  I googled Bian's name and up came your article.

Doctor, I have nothing against Yan Song.
[I referred to Song Binbin several times in our correspondence by this, her “American” pseudonym to let Weili know I knew.]  In finding out who is responsible for the murder I will necessarily find out who was not. I offer you the opportunity to say to me whatever you wish.  I will come to Boston if you will agree to a tape-recorded interview. Will you talk to me?

Oh yeah, right:

From Weili
To Benjamin
Date Tue, Mar 13, 2007 at 7:00 PM
Subject RE: Bian Zhongyun

Mr. Harris, I don’t think I want to be interviewed.  What I have to say I’ve said in the article. Hope you understand.

And I did. I truly did understand. It seems evident to me in the change of tone that Dr. Ye felt bad at the end of our exchange.   I remember reading this at the time and feeling sorry for her.  I think by the end she was troubled.  She had been doing what was expected of her, and what she was used to doing:  being loyal to her friend Song Binbin, to her generation of elite Red Guards (she claimed to have designed the armband), to China, to the Maoist legacy that is her, her generation’s, and China’s raison d’etre. And then on a mellow Friday night some guy she's never heard of emails her out of the blue and harshes her mellow.  But she got over it.  After our correspondence ended I published an article here on The Death of Bian Zhongyun and sent it to her as a courtesy but I never heard back from her.  

Back then I was just an idiot blogger.  Today, I’m an idiot blogger with four followers. And Weili has chosen not to ignore me.  At the beginning of May, Weili, Liu Jin, and Song Binbin put together a special edition internet zine called “Remembrance” for the Girls School where Teacher Bian was murdered.  The link is immediately

It sounds like quite a project, over 50,000 Chinese characters long, and the website is impressively designed.  Weili specifically writes about me, I don’t think it’s much, but I can’t really tell.  The Google-translate version is almost as incomprehensible to me as is Chinese,  “ jibberish-jibberish-jibberish Benjamin Harris jibberish-jibberish-jibberish.”  Weili seems to concentrate her fire on Dr. Youqin Wang of the University of Chicago for steering me off the Shining Path but we’ll see. I’m paying to have it professionally translated and the job should be done in a couple weeks.

1. The photo of Weili is taken from Morning Sun and Weili is a woman, not a man. 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Seeking the Soul of America: Deepwater Horizon

On April 20 an oil rig leased to British Petroleum exploded in the Gulf of Mexico forty-one miles off the coast of the state of Louisiana. Eleven people were killed.  Scientists and engineers in both the private and public sector, on both sides of the Atlantic, have been unable to stop the flow of oil into the Gulf, resulting in the largest spill in U.S. history.  All of this is very bad, especially the eleven people killed.

It is evident that B.P. had no plan in place to deal efficaciously with the contingency of an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon, the name of the rig. That is bad as B.P. was drilling for oil precisely for its combustible qualities, for use in internal combustion engines. It looks like the problem is not going to be solved until another well, which will capture the oil tapped into by Deepwater Horizon, is completed by B.P. in August. That was certainly not anybody's Plan A as it relies on the arsonist's competence at fire-fighting.

This horrible situation has touched a few American nerves, some long exposed to inflammation, others raw from recent events.  Among the former is environmental politics. Americans love nature. We created Yellowstone National Park in 1872, the world's first environmentally protected land area.  Protected from us, for we have long recognized that our manifest destiny manifestly brought us into conflict with nature. We love nature except when it gets in the way of our internal combustion engines.

When our love of nature conflicts with our love of material prosperity we choose prosperity, but we feel guilty about it and that helps. Guilt makes the choice of material prosperity easier because we punish ourselves for it. Guilt is a useful tool for a people who consider themselves chosen for a manifest destiny. Guilt is as much as part of the American soul as is the pursuit of material prosperity, whose master it serves.

Americans are the most religious people on earth and guilt is at the center of Judaism and Christianity.  Those two religions have so shaped the American soul that they are spoken of as one: the Judeo-Christian heritage. In both—or in the one—man is a sinner and God a father who punishes, forgives and then offers redemption. The whole process requires acknowledgment of sin, literal confession in Catholicism, and acknowledgment of sin is one of the definitions of “guilt.” We know right from wrong, we know that we do wrong, we must acknowledge our wrong-doing and accept our punishment so that we can be forgiven and redeemed, that is live happily ever after, that is to go on doing what we were doing before, and the whole process starts all over again.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Yesterday the Colorado University "Buffaloes" quit the Big XII Conference to join the Pacific 10 Conference.  Today the University of Nebraska "Cornhuskers" quit the then Big XI to join the Big Ten Conference, thus producing a de facto Big X and a nominal Big Ten.

These are significant public occurrences in America.  First because watching college tackle football brings us Americans joy. Second, because the conferences that are now realigning are groups of colleges of, in American terms, ancient lineage whose members have been playing against one another for a century.  Loyalties, passions, and happiness have been "handed off" in football jargon from one generation of men wearing corn ears on their heads to another, and that is good.

Football played at the college level is so popular in America because there are so many Americans who go, and have gone, to college.  That is one of the historic strengths of the New Republic, one that separates us from other countries East and West, North and South. Higher education is much more available to Americans than to Japanese, French, or English. That has produced a far larger pool of "human capital" on which capitalism can draw and so American capitalism is much more agile and innovative.

Finally, the realignment of these college conferences is significant because it is driven by money, and money more than all other things makes Americans happy and explains why we do things.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Politics & Justice in the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office

The Murder of Lynne Friend

On Sunday August 28, 1994 Lynne Friend spent the day packing up her things for the big move to Tennessee, where she would live as Mrs. Ed O'Dell.

That evening there was a going-away party for Christian, son of Lynne and Clifford, soon to be stepson to Ed O'Dell.

At 8 pm, Lynne was on the phone with Ed.

At 8:01 pm, Clifford Friend was not at his son's going away party on the last day that he would have his son until October. At 8:01, Clifford was purchasing gasoline for his vehicle at a station remote from his son's party but near where he lived and not far from where Lynne lived.

At about 8:15 Lynne's phone call with Ed was interrupted by a call-waiting signal on her phone. Lynne clicked over to take the incoming call.

A few moments later Lynne came back on the phone with Ed and told her that it had been Clifford calling and that he had said to come right over to his house if she wanted a child support check. Ed, with the vitriol of the child custody court hearing in mind, asked Lynne if she thought it was safe. Lynne reassured him. Be careful, Ed cautioned her.

At about 10:00 pm a middle-aged couple was driving home from the movies. It began to rain. It began to rain as it can rain only in South Florida in the summer, that is as hard as it is possible to rain.

The couple lived in a corner-lot house that sided on a quiet, narrow street that bordered an empty field. The quiet street was in the area between where Clifford had his house and where Lynne had hers and close by both.

The street was deserted as the couple drove down it approaching their home. Breaking custom because of the storm the husband drove the car as close to the door to the house as possible to save his wife a drenching. After his wife scampered out the husband put his car in reverse, and turned around to back up and park the car in its customary place. As he turned his head around to look, he was surprised to see a car on the empty field side of his quiet street that had not been there just moments before, and another vehicle, an SUV type, not far from the car. He also saw a man, out on the street in the poring rain, and he saw the man approach the side of the car by the field. He saw the man bend down and do something to the front tire of the car. And then he saw the man leave the car and walk to the SUV and get into the passenger side. And then he saw the SUV drive off.

At 11:30 pm Marine Enforcement Officer Tim Stellhorn and his crew were on board their patrol boat in Government Cut off Miami Beach. The violent storm had passed and the patrol boat lolled about in the waves at the entrance to the Atlantic Ocean. A go-fast boat with its lights out passed them unnoticed. The go-fast was heading due east. Stellhorn throttled up and followed. He got right behind the go-fast and directly in its wake.

There are blind spots and then there is the blind spot that exists for the operator of a motor vessel when another motor vessel is directly in its wake. Stellhorn’s patrol boat was in this blindest of blind spots for the operator of the go-fast. They followed the go-fast until three miles out in the Atlantic in international waters when Stellhorn decided to “light it up.” He switched on his powerful search light and focused it on the go-fast.

There are deer caught in headlights and then there is being caught in a powerful search light at 11:30 at night three miles out in the ocean by a boat directly in your wake. At that moment, Stellhorn saw 6’4” Alan Gold struggling to lift a suitcase onto the side of the go-fast, and then push it over into the water. A second smaller object, that seemed to Stellhorn to be tied to the first in some way, followed the first overboard.

Lights and sirens.

The go-fast abruptly changed course, making a ninety degree turn to the south. As the patrol boat made the same turn to the south right behind, Tim Stellhorn looked to his left into the ocean where the objects had been dumped and saw the suitcase bob from side to side for a second or two and then disappear beneath the waves. The go-fast stopped one-eighth of a mile later. At the helm was Clifford Friend.

“What did you throw overboard,” Gold and Friend were asked separately. “Nothing, it must have been towels blowing off that you saw,” said Gold, who was found armed with a small pistol. “You don’t want to know,” said Friend to Stellhorn, who did indeed want to know.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Politics & Justice in the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office

The Murder of Lynne Friend

In the summer of 1994 President Bill Clinton signed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, former president Ronald Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and One Hundred Days of genocide was taking place in Rwanda. Major League Baseball players went on strike in the summer of 1994, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus was the best-selling non-fiction book and O.J. Simpson didn't kill his wife and Ronald Goodman. All for Love and The Power of Love were the top two pop songs.

In the summer of 1994 Lynne Friend, a pretty, sparkily, 35 year old prepared to marry a well-to-do Tennessee businessman and move there with her five-year old son. Lynne was from Texas originally and by 1994 was twice-divorced. Her first husband had been a military man but he broke her heart and she divorced him. Lynne moved to South Florida to start over and there, incomprehensibly, selected as her third soul mate a tacky, pawn shop owner (redundancy upon redundancy) named Clifford Friend. Lynne worked as marketing director for a hospital, a job which was a considerable distance across the job respectability line from pawn shop owner.

Clifford and Lynne had a baby in 1990, a boy they named Christian. They were devoted parents but not long after Christian's birth Clifford came home to find the house empty and his wife and son gone. “It wasn’t what I had thought,” was Lynne’s breathtakingly empty description to Clifford of their marriage and her reason for ending it.

Clifford was shocked by the sudden end and emotionally overwrought. Shock and grief gave way to anger and Clifford became angry with Lynne, as did Clifford's friends. Clifford had friends: Alan Gold and Robert Missey, Karen Bookbinder, Alan Gold's live-in girlfriend, Dawn Alvarado and Melinda Edelsberg, men and women. Alan Gold was Clifford's best friend.

All of Cliff's friends felt for him, and they loathed Lynne for what she did. It was, they felt, a cold thing to let Cliff come home to an empty house, to so abruptly end a marriage. It showed no care for the feelings of a person who they cared for. "It wasn't what I had thought," was so meaningless as to be meaningful: it conveyed powerfully how cavalier Lynne's feelings for Clifford--and for Clifford's relationship with Christian--had been. There wasn't much power to a love that could be broken so easily.

So Clifford was hostile toward Lynne about the divorce. But at least he still had his son, or at least he still had his son half the time. Clifford, Lynne, and Christian had lived in a house close to the dividing line between Dade County (Miami) and Broward County (Ft. Lauderdale). After their divorce Lynne and Christian lived on one side of the the county line and Clifford on the other, only about a mile away.

Lynne’s move created both problems and leads in the investigation of her murder. Problems, because jurisdiction was divided not only between municipalities but counties, leads because Broward and Dade had different telephone area codes and a call from one to the other still counted as “long distance” for phone records purposes.

Lynne's third candidate for death-do-us-partdom, was not a pawnbroker, not even a BIG pawnbroker. He was not on the pawnbroker side of the job respectability line at all. Like Lynne he was on the hospital side of the line: he built them. Ed O'Dell was an executive in a hospital construction and design corporation. "Wealthy corporate executive" is a redundancy that can make a woman woozy and Lynne fell woozy in love with Ed and he with pretty, sparkily her.

Clifford immediately saw the new danger that was posed by Lynne's quick-developing romance with wealthy, Nashville-resident Ed O'Dell, and as the relationship deepened so did Clifford's foreboding and so did his anger.

Ed and Lynne got engaged and in 1993 Lynne started legal proceedings to take Christian with her to Tennessee. There's a saying among lawyers, "There's nothing civil about civil," meaning that civil law practice is much more contentious than criminal. Within the civil law genus child custody cases are the least civil.

The custody battle over Christian was unusually heated even by the prevailing standard.

No expense was spared to provide Lynne with the best possible legal representation. The law favored her too. In what many consider to be antiquated, unfair precedent, the law establishes a presumption in favor of custody with the mother. The father's ability to prevail against this presumption requires a showing of a markedly stronger paternal bond, and Clifford and Lynne were equally good parents, or markedly better material life prospects for the child with the father than with the mother.

Clifford Friend had no chance and Judge Gerald Hubbard gave Lynne custody of Christian.

Ed and Lynne set their wedding date for October 7, 1994. The weekend of August 27-28 was to be Lynne's last in South Florida before the move and she had agreed to let Clifford have Christian all that weekend.

to be continued.

Image Untitled painting, (black on gray) (1969-1970), Mark Rothko.

China's Great Wall of Silence: “我是一 Beijinger”