Wenzhou Train Wreck Makes Chinese Government Look Untrustworthy

26 Jul

ChinaSmack translates a directive from propaganda officials to Chinese media:

The original has already been deleted, but is reprinted here: This morning, the higher-ups issued directives to CCTV and the media:

‘Newest requirements regarding Wenzhou accident reporting:

1. Use death and casualty numbers issued by authoritative departments;

2. Reporting should not be too frequent;

3. Report more moving stories, such as  people donating blood, taxis drivers not taking fares, etc.;

4. Don’t investigate the cause of the  accident, use information issued by authoritative departments;

5. Don’t do reflections or commentary [on  the accident/issues].

‘原文已刪,轉載如下:今天上午上面給央媒下達的追加指示:

「對溫州事故報道的最新要求:

1、死傷數字以權威部門發布為準;

2、報道頻度不要太密;

3、要多 報道感人事跡,如義務獻血和出租車司機不收錢等等;

4、對事故原因不要挖掘,以權威部門的發布為準;

5、不要做反思和評論。」

The New York Times translated a post on the Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo that criticizes the Chinese government for its headlong rush to become a global power:

‘China, please stop your flying pace, wait for your people, wait for your soul, wait for your morality, wait for your conscience! Don’t let the train run out off track [derail], don’t let the bridges collapse, don’t let the roads become traps, don’t let houses become ruins. Walk slowly, allowing every life to have freedom and dignity. No one should be left behind by our era.’

The website EastSouthWestNorth shows how the Wenzhou train wreck has landed on the front page of the majority of China’s newspapers.  The following is a slice of newspaper front pages throughout China.  Notice how the news of the train collision is treated by the national news, which in this case includes the People’s Daily, the Economic Daily and the PLA Daily, compared to the local metropolitan dailies (hint: refer to the above propaganda directive):

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Former Gymnastics Champion Reduced to Poverty

25 Jul

The situation of former World University Games gymnastics champion, Zhang Shangwu, who has been reduced to making a living as a street performer begging for food, has upset a lot of people who are wondering how this could have happened to someone who once hailed as a sports hero.  According to an article at Netease, at the age of 20, Zhang ruptured his Achilles tendon during training and then planned to retire and go to school but ran into opposition from his coach.  With his health in poor condition, he received 30,000 yuan in compensation. But times became tougher and he soon found himself going to jail for stealing on several occasions.

A special report on Zhang Shangwu’s situation can be found at Phoenix Net, a Hong Kong-based news organization.

Public Hearing Witnesses Discovered to be “Fake Citizens”

24 Jul

According to this cartoon at QQ, netizens have been buzzing mad over the discovery that one Chengdu woman by the name of Hu Litian (胡丽天), 63, has been  “randomly” selected no less than 19 times within the past seven years to serve as a witness at government public hearings.  Netizens have vented their anger over this discovery by sharing their anger with other netizens.  Some netizens have objected to having been “represented” (“被代表”), which implies that they have been represented against their will, while still others have condemned the Chengdu hearing witness Hu Litian as the “most brazen public actor.”

In addition to retiree Hu Litian, there are three other “professional hearing witnesses” who have testified regularly as randomly selected citizens.  Oddly enough, they always seem to endorse the government’s position.   As the photo below shows, sitting from left to right are Hu Litian, Li Binghong (廖冰虹), Tang Houyi (唐厚义) and Zhang Jianyuan (张见远).  All four have been seen testifying as members of the public at public hearings. The frequency of their appearances at these events has raised serious questions about their credibility as real members of the public.

At a hearing in Harbin in northern China on December 8, 2009, a 59-year-old man by the name of Liu Tianxiao (刘天晓) tried unsuccessfully a handful of times to raise his hand and have his voice heard.  In his frustration to have the deputy director of Harbin Municipality, who was chairing the meeting, acknowledge him, Mr. Liu threw a bottle of water at him.  The incident became known by netizens as the  “2009 Chinese People’s Right to First Throw” (“2009中国百姓维权第一扔”).  Many of the doubts that netizens had of this particular hearing lie in the fact that they heard no opposing opinions raised during the hearing.

Audit Report Shows “Three Public Outlays” Eating Up CCP Budget

18 Jul

An article in Sohu explains that the Audit Commission recently did a detailed review of the “three public outlays” (三公经费 ) of over 30 Chinese government departments for 2010.  The so-called “three public outlays” include public entertainment fees (公务接待费), international travel expenses (因公出国费) and vehicle purchase and operating costs (公车购置及运行费).  For these 30 departments, the costs add up to a total of 95 billion yuan, with vehicle purchase and maintenance costs taking up nearly 62 billion yuan of the pie.  That’s what the cartoon below indicates as the “three public outlays,” which are represented by white caterpillars eating their way through the plant that represents the Chinese Central Government.

Guizhou Police: “If Condom Used, Not Rape.”

15 Jul

The China Geeks blog noted a story that has heated up on bulletin boards and other forums about a 26-year-old teacher who was raped by the director of Ashi township’s Bureau of Land and Resources (国土资源管理所) Wang Zhonggui  (王忠贵).   The woman, Zhou Qin (周琴), was forced by the principal of Ashi Middle School to accompany eight leaders from the bureau for drinks.  Because she was expected to drink with the men, she not unexpectedly became intoxicated from the heavy liquor that she drank to toast each of the men during their banquet celebrations.   Eventually, Ms. Zhou ended up in Mr. Wang’s office where he raped her while she was passed out from having had too much alcohol.  When Ms. Zhou reported the rape to the police, as the cartoon above depicts, she was told by the police that since a used condom was found at the scene, presumably the one Mr. Wang used for intercourse with Ms. Zhou, then there was no rape because a condom means that the sex was  consensual.  The cartoon shows a person wearing a condom over a rubber stamp, which is used to represent officials in China.

Update:  China Digital Times reports that Wang Zhonggui, the official accused of rape, has been arrested, nearly two months after the alleged crime took place.

Wuhan Bank Refuses Bank Cards for People with Common Surnames

13 Jul

An article on QQ discusses how a certain bank in Wuhan, China will not accept bank card applications from people with certain surnames in which too many people have the same surname.   A young woman named Ms. Zhou had joined an advertising firm after graduating from a well-known university in Wuhan and was instructed to open an account at the bank so that she could receive her wages electronically.    The male clerk at the bank said, however, that if she opened an account, she would only be given a bank book and not a bank card.  He said that a bank book would not cause a problem with payroll disbursement.   But the bank book method is inconvenient because there is no access to ATMs to keep up with account information on a real-time basis.   The clerk said that the reason for using bank books is that the first initials can be recognized more easily by the computer system.

When the reporter working this story pressed the clerk for further clarification, he said that he would have to defer to a senior bank official.   However, he did say that there was an instance of a person from Wuhan and one from Shanghai with the same first name, the same last name and the same I.D. card number(同名同姓同身份证号的情况) .  A senior official for the bank explained that a computer upgrade had recently begun and there have been some holes in the system which were causing problems with I.D. recognition.  The official said that once the upgrade is  completed, the problem of I.D. recognition should be resolved and a bank card will be issued to Ms. Zhou.

Qingdao Bridge Opens Amid Concerns

12 Jul

The cartoon refers to the ribbon-cutting ceremony for one of the world’s longest sea bridges that was opened in Qingdao, China on June 30th.  It is called the Qingdao Jiaozhou Bay Bridge (青岛胶州湾大桥) and has opened with a total investment of 14.7 billion yuan.  The minimum fare for small cars to cross the bridge, which has a length of 36.48 kilometers, making it longer than the Hangzhou Bay and the Su Tong bridges in China, is 50 yuan, compared to 30 yuan for cars taking the Jiaozhou Bay Tunnel.   Responding to criticism that the bridge toll is too high, averaging just over one yuan per kilometer, transportation officials  say that the Hangzhou and Su Tong bridges actually charge more, about 80 yuan per vehicle to cross.  However, netizens also have had safety concerns about the Qingdao Jiaozhou Bridge just one week after its “grand opening.”  The bridge was opened the day before the Chinese Communist Party kicked off celebrations for its 90th anniversary–July 1st.  Netizens are concerned that traffic safety has been compromised by opening the bridge so early.   Many travelers going over the bridge discovered that bolts on some isolation barriers had not been properly tightened, with some places not even having isolation barriers completely installed.

The red line above represents the bridge, which runs 36.48 kilometers.  The double green lines represent the tunnel.  More photos of the bridge opening can be found here at SOHU.