The murder of college student Zhao Wei

If you search this site you’ll find many posts that mention Sun Zhigang. The story terrified me, and seemed to epitomize the dangers of total police powers and the lack of rule of law. A 27-year-old college student and graphic artist, he had the misfortune of leaving his home in Guangzhou without his ID card. He was arrested as a vagrant when a policeman stopped him and asked for the card, and he was brutally beaten to death in the prison infirmary. It was one of the first stories in China to cause a sensation on the Internet, and the wave of public outrage helped convince the government it was time to change their vagrancy laws.

And then I read this story, and it felt like deja vu all over again. From a letter written for his parents:

Zhao Wei is a senior student at Hebei University of Technology. He bought Seat No.45 on Car 12 of Train No. 1301 departing from Tianjin for Zalantun, Innor Mongolia on January 22, 2011. He also had a classmate in Car 11.

According to this classmate of his, after getting onto the train, Zhao Wei was scoffed at and ridiculed by a train attendant because of a seat-changing issue. Zhao made this issue known to the train conductor. At 10 p.m. or so, Wei Zhao brought his backpack to Car 11 and told this classmate that he might have offended the conductor. Then he changed seats with a passenger who sat next to this classmate. At around 3 a.m., Zhao was called away by the conductor. When the classmate next saw Zhao Wei, his eyes were black and blue, and he was no longer alive.

Go to the site to read the entire letter and, if you can stand it, to see graphic photos of the young man’s beaten corpse. The parents are now caught up in a bureaucratic maze of denial and passing the buck. No one will take responsibility, no one will even show any interest in investigating what happened. The story, needless to say, is being scrubbed from the Chinese Internet.

For an extraordinary analysis of how this hideous crime is being censored, you must read this post (be forewarned that it, too, contains graphic photographs). It reads like a suspense story, following the censors as they systematically cause the story to vaporize. Great journalism, great description of how the Chinese media and search engines work in cooperation with the censors.

There’s something about these stories that tugs at the heartstrings. Sun Zhigang was going out to celebrate (I forget what; maybe he had just graduated school). Zhao Wei had innocently tried to have his seat changed on the train he was taking to Inner Mongolia with friends. And each had his life snuffed out for what seems to be no reason at all. There was absolutely no need. So young and so senseless. So infuriating to watch the cover-up and hear the lies.

Murders happen everywhere. But in both cases the murders were carried out by the very people assigned to help the public. If they had been murdered in a robbery, or even killed by an insane gunman I would at least understand why it happened. In these two cases, the horror is that they died at the hands of people who are there to protect us. I think of the police in New Orleans who shot blacks in the back on a bridge after Hurricane Katrina, and I see similarities, and I felt the same sense of revulsion reading about that heinous crime. But it wasn’t scrubbed from the papers, and the officers were brought to justice.

Ultimately Sun Zhigang’s murderers were tried and convicted and the law was reformed, but one wonders if that would have happened had there not been an Internet firestorm. Let’s hope that the Zhao Wei tragedy generates a similar firestorm. As of this moment, based on these articles, it appears the government is pulling all the stops to keep the lid on and erase all remnants of the story. I am hoping tech-savvy Chinese will find ways to keep this story alive until Zhao Wei’s murderers are tried and convicted. Shame on all those who are aiding and abetting the cover-up of a fiendishly brutal, senseless and unforgivable crime.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 54 Comments

Red Star, how did I know you’d be first to comment, and to immediately point to a crime in the US?

As I said, there are murders everywhere, and I know the police in the US have killed. I even cite my own example. But the killing you cite generated massive protests and demonstrations. You can read about it on Wikipedia. There was not one iota of censorship. The police were brought to trial (with unfortunate results, I am the first to admit). But we’re back to your same simplistic MO: if there’s something wrong done in the US, it mitigates any crime committed in China.

March 4, 2011 @ 9:29 am | Comment

As I said, there are murders everywhere, and I know the police in the US have killed. I even cite my own example. But the killing you cite generated massive protests and demonstrations. You can read about it on Wikipedia. There was not one iota of censorship. The police were brought to trial (with unfortunate results, I am the first to admit). But we’re back to your same simplistic MO: if there’s something wrong done in the US, it mitigates any crime committed in China.

So is the Sun Zhigang incident (even though he was a prostitute seeker), you can read it in Chinese media everywhere, it brought outrage in Chinese society, it even inspired the city to change its laws.

March 4, 2011 @ 9:35 am | Comment

I ask readers to note Hong Xing’s contention that Sun Zhigang was “a prostitute seeker.” Then, please go here to see Hong Xing’s despicable history of trying to smear Sun Zhigang, because he had the audacity to be murdered by police/hospital thugs. Go there now. it’s amazing. Hong Xing admits that he and Math intentionally launched a smear campaign against an innocent mAn who was brutally murdered. It will give you a lot of insight into Red Star’s character, or lack thereof.

March 4, 2011 @ 10:18 am | Comment

Red Star
Read your link. In fact, scroll down and read the part headed “References” You’ll see a whole list of different publications. In that list, there are a whole slew of news media publications. Here’s one http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/11/nyregion/11shoot.html
What do you notice about these? Anything? Or have you been out of China too long to notice anymore? Give you a clue – it’s not censored. It’s not covered up. It is not having to be distributed online by a certain segmant of society. It is in the open, for all to read. No firewalls to climb over, no online “harmonisation”, no nothing – just editorial content and opinions on the processes. If you didn’t like one opinion, get another paper (uncensored) covering the same story.

I thought China had 5000 years of culture. Since when does it have to justify it’s actions by pointing to the US, a young country barely 300 years old?

March 4, 2011 @ 10:23 am | Comment

Interesting. This is the first time I’ve ever heard someone tried to smear Sun Zhigang. Given what his case led to, everyone wasn’t interested in listening to those 即得利益者 people.

March 4, 2011 @ 10:24 am | Comment

Read your link. In fact, scroll down and read the part headed “References” You’ll see a whole list of different publications. In that list, there are a whole slew of news media publications. Here’s one http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/11/nyregion/11shoot.html
What do you notice about these? Anything? Or have you been out of China too long to notice anymore? Give you a clue – it’s not censored. It’s not covered up. It is not having to be distributed online by a certain segmant of society. It is in the open, for all to read. No firewalls to climb over, no online “harmonisation”, no nothing – just editorial content and opinions on the processes. If you didn’t like one opinion, get another paper (uncensored) covering the same story.

Sunzhigang incident also led to many newspapers and opinions expressed, including forums, CCTV, peopel’s daily. Stupid.

Of course, you can say that both USA and CHina allowed these opinions to be published as public pressure valves, this I do not disagree.

March 4, 2011 @ 11:00 am | Comment

Richard,

Correct me if I am wrong, but this is a story of media/internet censorship more than anything else. The event in itself would not be significant otherwise. It is a terrible tragedy, but one bound to happen daily in a country with a 1.3B population.

You can hardly make a case of abuse of authority. A train conductor is not comparable to a police officer, but rather to a shopkeeper or a bar owner beating a client. As far as I know, the state does not empower train conductors to use violence on its behalf.

For this same reason, I don’t see the potential of becoming another Sun case, because there is no law or regulation that can be blamed here… except of course the censorship system. Which brings me back to point 1 again.

March 4, 2011 @ 11:43 am | Comment

These things happen.

Let me try to outline what happen here.

The student is likely a trouble maker who tends to make unreasonable demands. The train conductor, having to deal with all kinds of low life on the train every day, accidently beats the student to death. Realizing the student is dead, the train conductor along with the crew decide to cover it up. They must also have some good relation with the local authority, and since the student is none local, local authority tends to care less.

Meanwhile this DEATH incident threatens to become a hot topic on the web. It is sensitive time of the year, the time of TWO Meetings plus the uprisings in the Middle East and a whole lot of emany of China getting excited and iching for drama.

So it is kind of special time that calls for tighter control on the web and the poor student story gets harmonized.

This is the way China manages the web and information nowadays. China is a tough country and these millions of netizens in China are by no means nice people. It a tough business to manage the web because it is a tough business to manage China – just consider there are 100 to 200 million people roaming and migrating in China.

March 4, 2011 @ 2:10 pm | Comment

Well, like I’ve said so many times, at least Hong Xing and his brethren aren’t being thugs in real life while they post crap online. I say let him type 12 hours a day! Who knows what he actually inflicts on those around him while he’s not online.

I’m feeling particularly nauseous just thinking of these people’s (Hong Xing, Math etc.) children. My heart goes out to them…

March 4, 2011 @ 2:20 pm | Comment

Red Star does what he is taught or told to do. Compare, compare, compare. Only that he doesn’t actually compare, since a rudimentary comparison would actually reveal the contrasts in this case and in his example, as noted by Mike. So he “compares”, but not really for the sake of comparison. He “compares” merely to obfuscate, and to talk about anything other than China itself. One wonders why he even bothers with a site dealing with China, since he doesn’t seem very interested in the subject matter. And he’s not the only one of his kind around here, and elsewhere.

I agree with Julen that this is a censorship issue, in part. In the earlier case, you can understand the CCP’s discomfort, on the basis of their warped perspective, since it was a case of police brutality, and reflects directly on the state. A train conductor is certainly not nearly on the same scale, and while people should rightly find the crime abhorrent, it shouldn’t conjure up the same animosity toward the state. So then the question is, why are the censors still trying so hard? If it is truly a run of the mill tragedy occurring daily in a country of 1.3B people, what is it about this case that makes it a censor’s priority? I wonder if the train conductor is a fourth cousin, thrice-removed, from some CCP big-wig. Or maybe something on a smaller scale, more akin to Li Gang and his son who drives poorly.

March 4, 2011 @ 3:21 pm | Comment

@Julen – That was also my first impression – this is not a story of state brutality except in as much as the censorship and denial of wrongdoing is itself brutal.

I myself had a not entirely dissimilar experience when I worked for a university in Nanjing from ’03 to ’05. My boss, a quiet type who no-one would have suspected capable of violence, and a published translator of poems, came to work one day with a fair-sized carving knife and ran amok. He stabbed a secretary with whom, rumour had it, he was having an affair clean through the chest, and then threw himself from a fifth-story window, killing himself nearly instantly.

Two days after the event, all the univeristy staff were gathered together and told in no uncertain terms by the university CCP cadre that we were not to talk about it. The local newspapers reported only that he had died. This was, I think, at the time when suicides in universities were making the news quite often – there was an incident of a professor at Nanjing University (I think) commiting suicide that made a lot of the newspapers.

March 4, 2011 @ 3:56 pm | Comment

Julen

The event in itself would not be significant otherwise. It is a terrible tragedy, but one bound to happen daily in a country with a 1.3B population.

How many times have you heard of a British railway employee (employees) beating someone to death in the near 200 years we have had railways?

I agree that there are excesses of State power in many countries, but the way in which it happened is bizzare. These people weren’t Police raiding a building or arresting someone, they were train staff.

March 4, 2011 @ 9:18 pm | Comment

@Raj – I don’t think it is bound to happen every day, but certainly there have been incidents where minor public servants or public transport employees have murdered people in the UK, although our postal employees do not have the same record that those in the US have. I cannot think of an incident in which a railway employee has killed anyone, but this itself is not terribly remarkable. What is remarkable is the cover-up.

March 4, 2011 @ 10:21 pm | Comment

@Raj – Of course I didn’t mean that a train conductor kills someone everyday, that would be scary. All I meant is that statistically in such a large population, there are murders every day. And since a very large part of the working force is government or SOE employed, inevitably many of those crimes will be committed by an employee of the State. I wouldn’t equate this to an excess of State Power.

Regarding the censorship issue: as SKC says, this is weird. I would have imagined that it was beneficial to have this kind of harmless (for the CCP) scandal explode at this point, to draw away attention away from the weekly Jasmine “revolutions”.

I know quite a few people are wondering why the censors are so nervous these days – the imported jasmine events don’t warrant such a display of frenzy. I guess it has something to do with the CCP factions already taking positions for the next politburo, nobody wants to risk a faux pas now that the 2 meetings are about to start.

March 4, 2011 @ 11:34 pm | Comment

Common Sense, I’m glad you have it all figured out. You might be onto something – this troubled youth most likely had it coming, and the CCP is doing the smart thing by scrubbing the story from the mind of a stupid public.

Julen, yesd, this is a story of censorship and that’s a key aspect of my post. Personally, I find it highly disturbing that he was killed by civil servants whose role is to look after and assist passengers. They are not like police officers, of course, but they are there to help, which made the story even more disturbing to me. At the heart of the story, which the China Media Project tells so beautifully, is the cover-up.

March 4, 2011 @ 11:56 pm | Comment

You know this is just a tragic story of countless incident of poor service or not trying to do the best to please the customers that is happening frequently in China. But this one just got boiled over by insults from both players which lead to one to death. I don’t think there’s parallels from Sun Zhigang, though.

March 5, 2011 @ 2:08 am | Comment

“poor service” – beautifully said. Perhaps he should request a refund? And you have no idea what went on between him and the railway staff. Is there anything he might have done, anything at all, which would justify his being beaten to death?

The comparison with Sun Zhigang is completely fair. Both were young men brutally beaten to death at the hands of civil servants, and both cases caused the Internet to light up and evoked popular indignation and outrage. This time, however, the party is doing all in its power to squelch it. Why do you think that is? And do you support their efforts?

March 5, 2011 @ 2:23 am | Comment

@FOARP

Jason wrote: “this is just a tragic story of countless incident of poor service or not trying to do the best to please the customers”

You know this guy just blew you out of the water in terms of understatement, right? :)

So apparently beating someone to death is “poor service” and “not trying to do the best to please the customers”. OMG not even an Englishman could have come up with that :)

I will now spend the remainder of the day giggling under the table – I have a new favorite contributor!

March 5, 2011 @ 4:56 am | Comment

OMG. Yes. “Poor service.” I think it’s safe to say that the conductor will not be Employee of the Month any time soon…

March 5, 2011 @ 8:16 am | Comment

I guess “good service” would mean that the customer is not beaten to death. That’s an interesting metric. By that standard, I imagine and would certainly hope that most Chinese public servants offer at least “good service” most of the time. Well, the next time I even begin to think about complaining about “poor service”, I will remind myself that, at the very least, I’m not getting my face kicked in…yet. Gosh, Jason is one darn funny guy.

March 5, 2011 @ 9:09 am | Comment

@Richard: And you have no idea what went on between him and the railway staff.

Maybe not but his friend did say that there was animosity between the conductor and Zhao Wei.

@The comparison with Sun Zhigang is completely fair.

I disagree. Sun was killed by a law. Zhao was killed by stubborn train attendant over a seat.

@Why do you think that is? And do you support their efforts?

I don’t support their efforts and I think a proper investigation on this matter should go through especially how it got boiled over this badly.

@Resident Poet/SKC

WTF? “beating someone to death is “poor service” and “not trying to do the best to please the customers””–I never said this. I said there’s occurrences of bad service in China but this one went awry. Jeez.

March 5, 2011 @ 11:06 am | Comment

And you have no idea what went on between him and the railway staff.

But you see, I don’t pretend to know. Its you who are saying it’s just a case of “poor service,” although in reality you have no idea what actually happened. I say that no matter what the problem was, the resulting murder is simply unjustifiable. Can you imagine any example of “poor service” that justifies murder?

And I stand with Resident Poet. You most certainly did refer to someone’s being beaten to death as the result of “poor service.”

March 5, 2011 @ 11:44 am | Comment

Hong Xing, good to see you are still arguing Sun Zhigang’s death was justified because he was “a prostitute seeker.” First of all it’s a blatant lie you concocted to change the subject, making Sun the criminal as opposed to the victim. Second, there are many, many “prostitute seekers” in China (and everywhere else). Even if Sun Zhigang was one – which he wasn’t – how does that justify his being brutally murdered after being imprisoned not for seeking a prostitute but for not having his ID card on him? You really are a piece of work, Hong Xing. Again, all readers who don’t know the history behind this argument need to see this post and the comments. It will show you what Hong Xing is really all about. He may be a silly troll, but he is also far more sinister than that. He’s dangerous.

March 5, 2011 @ 11:52 am | Comment

@ Richard

Huh? Why are you putting the comment your wrote that I cited?

“You most certainly did refer to someone’s being beaten to death as the result of “poor service.””

You are simply twisting my words same as SKC and Resident Poet.

I’m not Hong Xing and never claim Sun was a prostitute seeker in any of my comments.

March 5, 2011 @ 12:00 pm | Comment

It looks like China.com http://news.china.com.cn/rollnews/2011-03/03/content_6642788.htm didn’t censor it after all.

or http://learning.china.com/new/edunews/jy/11076178/20110303/16409770.html

What censorship?

March 5, 2011 @ 12:52 pm | Comment

“there was animosity between the conductor and Zhao Wei.”
—so what? Is this “animosity” ample justification for beating Mr. Zhao to death?

“Sun was killed by a law. Zhao was killed by stubborn train attendant over a seat.”
—they were killed by different people, possibly for different reasons. What these examples share is the complete lack of justification for those killings.

“I never said this.”
—umm, this is what you said: “this is just a tragic story of countless incident of poor service or not trying to do the best to please the customers that is happening frequently in China.”. Granted, it’s not said in proper English. But if you boil your statement down, you’ve said that: “this” is a story of poor service. And by “this”, you’d be referring to Mr. Zhao being beaten to death. I’m not sure how you’re trying to spin what you said, when it’s right there in black and white. And several people have called you on it. The honourable thing would be to retract what you said, or say that you said it poorly, or some other form of back-peddle. Trying to say that you’re being misconstrued, when the evidence is that clear, is just lame. But showing some class and honour is not a character trait in abundant supply among your type.

March 5, 2011 @ 1:28 pm | Comment

I guess in Red Star’s world, it’s open season on all johns. It seems that Red Star is not good at much when it comes to making an argument. But he is good at character assassination, and logical fallacies. They have obviously taught him well.

March 5, 2011 @ 1:32 pm | Comment

@Is this “animosity” ample justification for beating Mr. Zhao to death?

Of course not. But it would help us understand why the extreme was taken.

@What these examples share is the complete lack of justification for those killings.

Granted. But Sun case was over a unfair law and now it’s abolished. In Zhao’s case, it was over a seat which Zhao already paid but he wanted different seat but the attendant refused.

@when the evidence is that clear

You got to be kidding me. “this” (Zhao’s killing) is in the category of bad service which this incident is “tragic” than other bad service incidences.

March 5, 2011 @ 1:53 pm | Comment

“I think it’s safe to say that the conductor will not be Employee of the Month any time soon…”
On the other hand, in this system, he might be rewarded as a “three-good” or “five-excellent” conductor for maintaining “harmony” when there was a pesky troublemaker on his train.
The best way to get to the top in this system (e.g. Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao) is to cooperate with or at least silently acquiesce to the killing of innocent people as “necessary.”
As such, I propose that CCTV start an educational series encouraging everyone to “learn from” this seven-outstanding train conductor.

March 5, 2011 @ 4:19 pm | Comment

Jason, that comment about the prostitute is for Hong Xing, not you.

Just because you can frnd a reference to the story doesn’t mean it hasn’t been censored elsewhere. Read the CMP post to see how it was rapidly censored from many media.

Neither were killed “by a law.” They were both killed by a perversion of the law, which is why ultimately Sun’s murderers were sentenced to death, thanks mainly to the Internet and some brave Chinese reporters.

March 5, 2011 @ 10:26 pm | Comment

“Of course not. But it would help us understand why the extreme was taken.”
—does it? Animosity between the conductor and a passenger makes it ” understandable” when the conductor kills that same passenger? So if the reverse had happened, and Mr. Zhao had killed the conductor instead on the basis of that same “animosity”, you would find that equally “understandable”? What happened was revolting and criminal; it would have been revolting and criminal had it gone the other way as well. I find killing someone because of a disagrreement over seating arrangements to be anything but “understandable”.

I agree that Sun and Zhao were killed for different reasons. What I am saying is that both of those “reasons” fall far below the threshold of ‘ample justification’.

“You got to be kidding me. “this” (Zhao’s killing) is in the category of bad service which this incident is “tragic” than other bad service incidences.”
—ok, that’s still bizarre English. But you’re still saying exactly the same thing that we have rightfully accused of. You have said(again) that “Zhao’s killing is in the category of bad service”. So then not getting killed would be

March 5, 2011 @ 11:20 pm | Comment

“Of course not. But it would help us understand why the extreme was taken.”
—does it? Animosity between the conductor and a passenger makes it ” understandable” when the conductor kills that same passenger? So if the reverse had happened, and Mr. Zhao had killed the conductor instead on the basis of that same “animosity”, you would find that equally “understandable”? What happened was revolting and criminal; it would have been revolting and criminal had it gone the other way as well. I find killing someone because of a disagrreement over seating arrangements to be anything but “understandable”.

I agree that Sun and Zhao were killed for different reasons. What I am saying is that both of those “reasons” fall far below the threshold of ‘ample justification’.

“You got to be kidding me. “this” (Zhao’s killing) is in the category of bad service which this incident is “tragic” than other bad service incidences.”
—ok, that’s still bizarre English. But you’re still saying exactly the same thing that we have rightfully accused of. You have said(again) that “Zhao’s killing is in the category of bad service”. So then “not getting killed” would be “not bad service”(ie good service), right? Good, cuz that’s what i’ ve suggested, based on your ‘logic’. All you’ve said here in your ‘clarification’ is that, within the realm of ” bad service”‘ this incident is on the “tragic” end of the spectrum. So this is ” tragically bad service”, but it’s still within the ” bad service” category itself. You’ve even said so yourself. Once again, if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. There is something remiss in the upbringing of you folks that prevents you from admitting a mistake, or conceding a point in the face of overwhelming evidence.

March 5, 2011 @ 11:31 pm | Comment

To #26:
it looks like there were two news articles on Mar 3 about the incident. This is not proof against the presence of censorship. This merely demonstrates that censorship is not at the absolute complete level of 100%. More specifically it looks like 2 articles from 2 days ago have fallen through the cracks. And based on the evidence of the CMP post, it remains to be seen whether these 2 articles will be ” harmonized” as well.

Let’s look at these articles. Now, my simplified sucks so I may have missed the point, so feel free to correct me. But from what I can tell, despite 40 days of ” serious investigation” by the authorities, there is still little to report. Oh, other than some innuendo from some officials that it may have been ” suicide”. Maybe he jumped or something like that. How does one jump from a train but end up dead on that same train?? Maybe there was ” animosity” with the conductor, you say? Well, the wheels of investigation, let alone justice, do turn slowly in China indeed. Hmm… I wonder if anyone has interviewed the conductor yet?

March 5, 2011 @ 11:56 pm | Comment

@So then “not getting killed” would be “not bad service”(ie good service), right?

That does not match my statement at all. By your logic, my statement would be “not getting killed” is still in the “category of bad service.”

@I find killing someone because of a disagrreement over seating arrangements to be anything but “understandable”.

I do too. Maybe getting a “sense” of the situation rather than “understandable.”

@ despite 40 days of ” serious investigation” by the authorities, there is still little to report. Oh, other than some innuendo from some officials that it may have been ” suicide”. Maybe he jumped or something like that. How does one jump from a train but end up dead on that same train?? Maybe there was ” animosity” with the conductor, you say? Well, the wheels of investigation, let alone justice, do turn slowly in China indeed. Hmm… I wonder if anyone has interviewed the conductor yet?

I am not disagreeing with you that there’s something fishy about the ways the police is covering it up the mess. What I’m saying is that the assertion that the media is trying to delete the existence of their article on this issue is false.

@Just because you can frnd a reference to the story doesn’t mean it hasn’t been censored elsewhere.

I find another article on this case in English-language Shanghai Daily. I also found plenty more from Chinese websites if I type the Chinese word for train and death in google search.

March 6, 2011 @ 1:48 am | Comment

What I’m saying is that the assertion that the media is trying to delete the existence of their article on this issue is false.

How about “the larger part of the mainstream media, on the orders of (or pre-empting the orders of) the censors, are limiting reporting on the matter to the official position”?

March 6, 2011 @ 7:40 am | Comment

@Raj

Perfecto.

March 6, 2011 @ 8:50 am | Comment

“By your logic, my statement would be “not getting killed” is still in the “category of bad service.”
—listen, my “logic” is clearly beyond your pay-scale. I’ll talk slowly for you. If “getting killed” is “bad service”, then “not getting killed” is “not bad service”…which is what I already said previously. I’m not trying to “match” your statement. I’m taking your logic, turning it around, and making you look foolish. BTW, your attempt at using my logic is flawed. If you need me to spell that out for you as well, just ask.

“Maybe getting a “sense” of the situation rather than “understandable.””
—that’s nice. Hopefully that “sense” you’re getting is in the form of some degree of outrage, both at the event, and at the investigational foot-dragging.

“the assertion that the media is trying to delete the existence of their article on this issue is false.”
—first, do you have reason to suspect or speculate that the CMP is lying when they say that internet postings were “harmonized” by censors? You cited 2 articles from 2 days ago, 40 days after the event. They may become “harmonized” yet. But even if they don’t, that doesn’t change the fact that others were wiped off the net. Who knows how the censors think. Maybe they figure, after 40 days, the issue is old and will blow over, so they won’t bother, whereas earlier, closer to the event, they refused to let the information propagate. Your citations prove nothing beyond the fact that those two citations themselves were allowed to exist.

Second, the accusation isn’t of “media” censoring themselves. It’s of the CCP censors doing their thing.

“I find another article on this case in English-language Shanghai Daily…”
—you might find them now, yes. But that does not speak to how the censors treated the topic and the articles before now. Again, the logic is not difficult here. THe CCP should really think about teaching you guys some logic, so you don’t look so foolish on “western” blogs.

Raj’s point is interesting too. Was there pressure from on high to media outlets to lay off the story and simply not report on it (so that the censors don’t get too overworked)? Who knows. But that’s harder to prove.

March 6, 2011 @ 9:17 am | Comment

@listen, my “logic” is clearly beyond your pay-scale… just ask.

You are just beyond stubborn.

@You cited 2 articles from 2 days ago, 40 days after the event. They may become “harmonized” yet. But even if they don’t, that doesn’t change the fact that others were wiped off the net. Who knows how the censors think. Maybe they figure, after 40 days, the issue is old and will blow over, so they won’t bother, whereas earlier, closer to the event, they refused to let the information propagate.

Touche.

March 6, 2011 @ 11:21 am | Comment

When is the last time a innocent man in broad day light received 56 bullets in his body from a uniformed police officer in China?

Never.

March 6, 2011 @ 11:37 am | Comment

Does that make Zhao Wei’s murder A-okay?

March 6, 2011 @ 11:52 am | Comment

If refusing to accept crappy logic is ” stubborn”, then I am happily guilty as charged. If the Ccp is paying for this sort of display from you, then they are either not paying enough to attract even passable talent, and/or they are paying way too much for what they are getting from you.

Btw, I don’t know if you know what ” touché” means, but I suspect you’re using it incorrectly.

Anyhow, you should stick with simpler sentence structure, cuz when you overreach is when you equate getting killed with bad service. It is amusing though, so I thank you for that.

To Richard,
If red star didn’t have logical fallacy, he would have nothing at all. So we should have some pity for him. After all, idiots are people too.

March 6, 2011 @ 12:59 pm | Comment

You’re being stubborn for refusing to acknowledge that my statement meant “getting not killed” is still bad service.

March 6, 2011 @ 2:06 pm | Comment

@HongXing –

“When is the last time a innocent man in broad day light received 56 bullets in his body from a uniformed police officer in China?”

Answer: the 6th of June, 1989. That was easy, got another one?

@Jason – So re-postings of Xinhua reports which can no longer be found on the Xinhua website on minor sites with key words changed (i.e., “警察” changed to “pol.ice” or “警.察”) is proof that the story isn’t being censored?

@Res. Poet – Yes. China has finally surpassed Britain in understated, an empire is no more!

March 6, 2011 @ 2:35 pm | Comment

oops – 4th of June that should be, but then since China executes in excess of 10,000, and perhaps as many as 100,000, people per year, many by firing squad, a lot of innocent people must be shot to death every day in the PRC by servants of the state.

March 6, 2011 @ 2:43 pm | Comment

@FOARP

That sounds like a helluva lot of people. Way too many. Where’d you get the figures from?

March 6, 2011 @ 5:45 pm | Comment

@Res Poet – Amnesty. There’s some support for it in the an official announcement on the number of organs transplants where the donor is “unknown”. And too high? I knew people in China who were executed (a university vice-president for misappropriation on a construction project). It should be said, though, that the number of executions per year is a state secret. The figure is probably not 100,000, but 10,000 would not surprise me at all given the number of crimes punishable by death.

Check it out:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/23/AR2008122302795.html

March 6, 2011 @ 9:06 pm | Comment

I suggest we stop the back and forth with Jason about what he meant to say. His words speak for themselves, and if that’s how he feels we should let it stand:

You know this is just a tragic story of countless incident of poor service or not trying to do the best to please the customers that is happening frequently in China.

Can we really say more? It’s a stunning example of the way Jason thinks and how he reflexively defends to government line. And we simply won’t make any progress pointing out who his words trivialize a brutal murder and lump it with acts of poor service. What more can we say?

We should also stop the comparison with Sean Bell. I think the brutal killing in New Orleans make a better comparison. At least with the Sean Bell incident, they were investigating a crime and an officer said he heard someone say the men they were investigating had guns. The rest was a tragic lapse of judgment, one I don’t forgive or condone. But at least I can understand why officers shot, wrong as they were. It wasn’t a case of murdering someone with no valid reason at all, at least not in the eyes of the two shooters. Cops make tragic mistakes all the time. They were promptly indicted, and their release was a gross miscarriage of justice, but that is the price you pay when you have rule of law; some verdicts will be infuriating. In the most the most famous example of the abuse of police powers, the officers were severely punished and the story was international news. No Internet scrubbing or cover-up.

But this is vintage fenqing knee-jerk response. Talk about a tragedy in China, and immediately try to neutralize it with what they see as a similar bad incident in the US. This is the far-right’s MO in the US. If they carry racist signs to a Tea Party meeting and employ violent rhetoric, they immediately rush to find a similar sign or similar rhetoric used by a liberal, they trot it out even though it’s in no way representative of the crowd and point at it non-stop as proof of how violent liberals are. Even if the liberal demonstration was almost entirely peaceful, with controversial signs being held by one or two idiots. Drawing the parallel is a huge stretch, and it’s designed to create a distinct misimpression and take the spotlight off the Teabaggers and focus it on the liberals. All HX wants to do is divert attention and in so doing derail the thread into a defense of America, even though the story is about the abuse of power and resulting censorship in China. It’s the only way he an argue, because to argue that somehow the murder of Zhao Wei was warranted or was no big deal is always a losing one, as we can see in Jason’s very weak defense. There is simply no way to justify beating to death a railway customer, no matter how argumentative he may have been. And for now, we have no proof he was being argumentative at all. Just like Sun Zhigang, the murder cannot be explained away. Murder is always a horrifying thing. When it’s carried out by civil servants it becomes a shade more insidious. When it’s then covered up we know something is very wrong. Something here is very wrong.

March 6, 2011 @ 11:36 pm | Comment

@It’s a stunning example of the way Jason thinks and how he reflexively defends to government line.

For god sake, Richard. My comment was neither trivialize a brutal murder and lump it with acts of poor service. (even though I put it in the category, it doesn’t justify the killing).

You need to stop stereotyping me with those Hong Xing types.

March 7, 2011 @ 2:24 am | Comment

Agreed. Jason will try to ” argue” how he argues, and logic, linguistic standards and norms, and perhaps even common decency, will be the unsuspecting casualties. That he represents the Ccp view in this way might mean that the Ccp view is without merit, that he is not a very good representative thereof, or most likely, a bit of both.

As for red star, he is cut from the same cloth as all Ccp apologists, and likely graduated from the same training center. When something untoward happens in china, the reflex is to try and point out a vaguely comparable happening somewhere else ( read USA ). In such cases, rather than condeming both, instead the mishap in china becomes ok cuz it happened in the USA as well. It’s no better than grade school playground level of reasoning ie little Billy did it so it’s no problem that I did it too. Comical were it not so pathetic. But that’s how these guys roll.

March 7, 2011 @ 2:55 am | Comment

Jason, as I( said, your comment speaks for itself.

I don’t put you in the same category as Red Star at all. Hong Xing is evil. You’re just argumentative and occasionally unreasonable.

March 7, 2011 @ 4:25 am | Comment

“even though I put it in the category, it doesn’t justify the killing”
—Jason, you should really stop while you’re ahead…well, you were never ahead, so maybe you should stop before you can no longer see out of the hole you’ve dug for yourself. Now you’ve just reaffirmed that you think “getting killed” is “bad service”, but with the caveat that such bad service is not justifiable. So getting killed in unjustified bad service. Seriously, dude, you should stop.

March 7, 2011 @ 1:24 pm | Comment

Re: organ transplants.

I categorise this link in the “they deserve each other” category.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article302465.ece

I absolutely refuse to donate organs (not tick the box on my drivers licence} in the case of a messy car accident.

Life is random, and I hate people with premium health care insurance anyway.

March 7, 2011 @ 5:29 pm | Comment

@King Tubby

What kind of fucked up country do you live in? People get precedence to organs based on their wealth in your nick of the woods? Jeez, move out of Zimbabwe already.

March 8, 2011 @ 12:18 am | Comment

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