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Chinese Netizens Express Discontent On The Web While The Government Watches Warily

May 7 2012 at 11:22 AM

Coalde  (Login cwc.mgmt)

I suspect we in the west would be wise to learn some tricks from Chinese netizens to avoid our ever more intrusive governments.

By IBTimes Staff Reporter, May 5, 2012 12:32 PM EDT

[linked image]

Last month, a section of sidewalk in downtown Beijing, by all outward appearances sturdy and stable, crumbled below a woman who was absent-mindedly walking by. Within seconds, she was burned by scalding hot water pipes below and couldn't be saved before emergency personnel arrived on the scene.

Although tragic, in most large countries this story would disappear under the radar, covered in-depth perhaps by local TV stations but not by national media -- a one-day attention grabber at most.

But in China, it became an unofficial cause celebre, drawing rapt interest on Internet forums and micro-blogging services. In response to the accident, a flood of messages appeared on popular Chinese Web-portal NetEase's forums. Many offered condolences, but a significant number strayed into broader social commentary.

Typing on a cell phone in Guangdong province, more than 1,300 miles away from Beijing, one person left a macabre online note addressed to the dead woman: "Hopefully in your next life you will be born in another country."

From Jinan in Shangdong province, about 260 miles away from the capital, another commenter said that "in China, food isn't safe, housing isn't safe, even walking down the street isn't safe."

And a person from relatively well-heeled Jiangsu, which now has the highest per capita GDP of any province in the country, left a particularly melancholic note: "In a dark empire,...
...the remainder of this article and other related stories .


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