Cry Out Against Injustice
This expression originally denotes an observation that when objects lose their balance, they make sounds. Figuratively, it means that an ill-treated person will make sounds of protest and complaint. Han Yu (768-824), a famous writer in the Tang Dynasty, used the phrase to point out that writers will be driven to write when the outside world invokes in them feelings of injustice. Feelings like this compel writers to expose injustices through literature. This theory is a continuation and development of Confucius’ (551-479 BC) “Poetry can address grievance” and the Grand Historian Sima Qian’s (145 or 135? -? BC) “Write to give vent to indignation.” Ouyang Xiu (1007-1072) in the Northern Song Dynasty further proposes “A good poem is the product of pent-up emotions.” He believes that only when a poet is trapped in a difficult and even perilous position with pent-up anger and frustration will he be able to compose quality poems.
Generally speaking, when things lose their balance, they make sounds. (Han Yu: Farewell to Meng Dongye)
The Grand Historian Sima Qian said: “On Difficulty” and “Solitary Anger” are two pieces of writing by sages to give vent to their anger and frustration. Thus, it seems that ancient sages would not write if they were not angry and frustrated. To write without such emotions is to shiver without feeling cold, or to moan without being sick. Who would want to read such things even though they have been written? (Li Zhi: Preface to The Outlaws of the Marsh)