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Furious Chinese Defy Censors To Mock Local Leaders Over Bungled Virus Response

“If the virus is fair, then please don’t spare this useless person…”

A few hours ago, the New York Times published an interesting story about how China’s population, known for assiduously self-censoring their speech online, is refusing to be silent in the face of the rapidly accelerating novel coronavirus. The deluge of critical posts, along with clever tricks to dodge censors, are making it nearly impossible for Beijing to control the narrative on the mainland.

Earlier, we mentioned how doctors, nurses and residents in Wuhan have demanded that their “useless” mayor follow through on an offer to resign for sluggishness in confronting the outbreak. But that’s not all: though reports claimed Beijing made an effort to remove horrifying videos of the situation on the ground in Wuhan (videos that showed what appeared to be dead bodies lying in hospital hallways), according to NYT, the censors have now been completely overwhelmed.

Some posters evade censors by referred to President Xi as “Trump”, or by comparing the outbreak to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Public anger over the handling of the outbreak has been compounded by the cancellation of the LNY holiday. Internet critics posted scathing criticisms of public officials over often minor slights, like when officials in Wuhan wore their face masks incorrectly during a press conference. 

After Wuhan Mayor Zhou Xianwang offered to resign over his handling of the outbreak, a commenter replied: “If the virus is fair, then please don’t spare this useless person,” according to the NYT.

After the Hubei Gov. Wang Xiaodong delivered a news briefing on Sunday, he was brutally mocked for twice misstating the number of face masks that the province would produce to help fight the epidemic. A photo of the press conference that circulated online showed one of Wang’s partners didn’t cover his nose properly with the mask, inviting another torrent of derision.

However, experts cited by NYT said this torrent of criticism won’t go on forever. The Communist Party doesn’t tolerate any criticism or challenge to its rule, and government censors are still scrambling to delete any articles, comments or posts that are too critical.

“Chinese social media are full of anger, not because there was no censorship on this topic, but despite strong censorship,” said Xiao Qiang, a research scientist at the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley, and the founder of China Digital Times, a website that monitors Chinese internet controls. “It is still possible that the censorship will suddenly increase again, as part of an effort to control the narrative.”

Over the weekend, President Xi and the Politburo resolved to “strengthen the guidance of public opinion,” which sounds like a signal that a crackdown will go beyond deleting quack remedies and dangerous, false rumors.

It’s also possible that this is a Politburo strategy to focus domestic anger at local officials, scapegoating them ‘for the good of the country, and the party.’

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/furious-chinese-defy-censors-mock-local-leaders-over-bungled-virus-response

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Joe
Joe
January 29, 2020

One hundred people dead: it’s hardly an epidemic. How many people in China die each day in road accidents?

Haeul
Haeul
January 29, 2020

Oh, come on, Alex! Citing the NYT, paid anti-Chinese propagandists and random White Helmet-style videos as sources? Seriously? If you of all people can’t see that this is smear campaign aimed at discrediting China, than I just don’t need know any more. The Chinese authorities’ handling of this crisis was exemplary. I have half a dozen friends in China, including one whose family lives in Wuhan. What they are telling me bears no resemblance to the fictional narrative being concocted and pushed by the likes of NYT. There isn’t plenty of food, the hospitals are up and running, and while… Read more »

Clarity
Clarity
Reply to  Haeul
January 29, 2020

Agreed. This particular narrative is ridiculous. How can people be upset when they supposedly have no access to information? Or do they have all this access now all of the sudden. Which is it? If anything it is that small crowd that follows foreign media, believes it, and then gets outraged. Not understanding that they are fed information from a media that has no feet on the ground. Like stories reporting on North Korea: we aren’t there but we tell you what it’s like. May as well have a priest tell you what sex it like. The number of cases… Read more »

Haeul
Haeul
January 29, 2020

Oh, come on, Alex! Citing the NYT, paid anti-Chinese propagandists and random White Helmet-style videos as sources? Seriously? If you of all people can’t see that this is smear campaign aimed at discrediting China, than I just don’t need know any more. The Chinese authorities’ handling of this crisis was exemplary. I have half a dozen friends in China, including one whose family lives in Wuhan. What they are telling me bears no resemblance to the fictional narrative being concocted and pushed by the likes of NYT. There is plenty of food, the hospitals are up and running, and while… Read more »

Clarity
Clarity
January 29, 2020

This is why the internet will be more and more regulated, also in the west. A few complainers whose volume of voice is being confused with volume of people. Akin to the kind of volume that supposedly rallied in the street of Irak after the murder of a general.

Clarity
Clarity
January 29, 2020

A quick look at the [financial] sponsors of the above quoted China Digital Times (CDT) unveils their noble intentions: CDT is supported by the Counter-Power Lab out of the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley. CDT has also benefited from the support of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, Institute of East Asian Studies, Boalt School of Law, and Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) at the College of Engineering. Special thanks also to Jack and Dorothy Edelman, John D. and Catherine MacArthur Foundation, Open Society Institute [now Open Society Foundations], Internews… Read more »

Olivia Kroth
February 2, 2020

Chinese “censor” knows this virus was implanted by the CIA into China as part of its all-out trade war.

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