Chinese poet Zhu Yufu was arrested on April 10, 2010 by the Public Security Bureau of Hangzhou city in Eastern China.
Why? He wrote a poem.
To rebel against the government, Zhu Yufu urges his countrymen to go to a public square and stand in protest against the government.
Since it was about protesting against the Chinese government in a public square, the poem was immediately cited by the government after it was voiced during a call on “Skype”. The poem refers to the Tiananmen Square protest of 1989, which many citizens of Beijing may remember, but the poem does not mention the square of the protest specifically.
The last verse in Zhu’s poem reads, “It’s time people of China! It’s time. China belongs to everyone. On your own will. It’s time to choose what China shall be.”
The poem titled, “It’s Time”, has struck a chord of controversy with the people of China against the Chinese government over the right of freedom of speech.
China is not completely a communist country, it all depends on the state, having a tight grip over what its citizens do; the government controls everything from phone calls to the internet and much more, keeping track of anything that is said against the government. Poetry is no exception, becoming limited in what can be said and done.
Hannah Creech, a senior and a student at Wellington High school finds all this rather intriguing.
“Well the thing about poetry is that you are already limited in language, and when you begin encroaching on a subject matter, suddenly you take away everything that poetry is about.”
“It’s Time”, was meant to be anti-governmental; but according to Zhu Yufu, it was to express his yearning for democracy and nothing more.
Many people have argued of the unfairness of it all, and on February of 2011, they posted on several internet sites an invitation to gather in the square for protest, giving the government a reason to put Zhu in jail.
Now, as a result, Zhu Yufu will be serving seven year in prison, for his poem of only three verses.
Natalie Thurston a sophomore and poet feels that this is something that should not be happening.
“I feel like the poetry I write, if I had limitations, it wouldn’t be poetry at all. It would just be meaningless sentences. I think that poetry is one of the places where you don’t have limitations; it’s only you.”