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David Wertime

Denizens of Chinese Cyberspace Ring in 2013

(Fyda/Flickr)

It’s 2013 in China already, where the clock runs 13 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time. As cheers erupted from Beijing to Shanghai to Chengdu, wishes and reflections for the new year also rained down on Sina Weibo, a Chinese micro-blogging platform that is the equivalent of China’s largest public square. A search on the site for “new year” calls forth over 131 million results, with over 3.4 million “happy wishes for the new year” and over 700,000 comments bidding “goodbye” to 2012.

With New Years’ Eve now history in the People’s Republic, the final 2012 reflections of Chinese Web users may prove interesting to Western readers still contemplating the changing calendar. Tea Leaf Nation collects and translates some interesting, sometimes moving posts from prominent Weibo users below.

@袁裕来律师: The bell is about to sound that rings in 2013. A new year, and my wishes are very simple: To continue to conscientiously represent [my clients] in each case to the best of my abilities, solving as many as I can. In today’s vile judicial environment, it’s necessary to try our best, even as we fail. Outside of each case, [I hope to] do my best to call for justice … in my mother country. As to the concrete measures…I will continue to post regularly on Weibo, hoping to inspire more people.”

@连鹏: Thanks to those that I know through Weibo; for those I don’t know, perhaps we’ll soon get to know each other and become friends. I wish everyone that in the coming new year, all of your hopes may be fulfilled, all of your dreams may be realized, and everything that you’re waiting for will arrive…it will be bright soon, no matter how dark it gets, the dawn will always come and the sky will light up. Happy new year.

@陈里: Dear online friends: 2012 is about to leave, and 2013 will arrive. Thanks to my online friends for a year of love, understanding, and support. When the new year arrives, I wish everyone: Peace and prosperity, happy citizens, and good fortune!

@顾肃: The new year is here. If only governmental reform could take a first step, corruption could be curbed, the government could pay more attention to people’s livelihood, then the people would be truly happy. The calls for reform from knowledgeable people are no longer like echoes in a lonely valley. Oversight and limitations on power can be systematized, [and] democracy can be established from the bottom up.

@徐昕: Happy new year! Hoping for a China ruled by law, and democracy everywhere.

@作业本: The final second in 2012 has quietly passed; in this moment you discover that time is the final machine which controls everything else; it arranges [whether] you’re liked by others [or]…whether others give [you] grief. At first you are full of imagination, but ultimately it’s never how you thought it would be. It brings all of the cruel nothingness, but as soon as the moment passes it never returns, and in your mind it becomes a warm memory. Goodbye, empty handed 2012. Hello 2013, right on time.

@徐小平: It’s the first day of 2013, and I woke up at 6 o’clock in the morning, which is rare. I’m in a great mood! I’d like to say hello to all my friends, and wish everyone a happy new year! The good things in life depend on hope and dreams, but even more on your perceptions and experiences in every moment. When the years cross over, it allows us to feel the rhythm of life, the preciousness and the speed of time’s passage. May everyone in the new year life happily, live wonderfully, live freely, live in satisfaction.

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David Wertime

David is the co-founder and co-editor of Tea Leaf Nation. He first encountered China as a Peace Corps Volunteer in 2001 and has lived and worked in Fuling, Chongqing, Beijing, and Hong Kong. He is a ChinaFile fellow at the Asia Society and an associate fellow at the Truman National Security Project.