Category Archives: People

Truth and Lies Behind China’s Xintang Protests

Riots in Xintang, a township of Zengcheng county in Guangdong province, started when word spread that city management (chengguan) had beaten a street vendor to death and roughed up his pregnant wife. But authorities held a press conference on Sunday (June 12), where they presented a man who they said was the one “rumored to have been killed.”

A summary from AFP:

The clashes in Xintang, a district in the greater Guangzhou area, began on June 10 after rumors spread that police had beaten a street hawker to death and manhandled his pregnant wife.

The man rumored to have been killed was presented at a news conference by authorities last Sunday, telling reporters that he, his wife and their unborn baby girl were “doing very well”.

Police said they had detained a person suspected of spreading rumours on the Internet that triggered the clashes.

The public security bureau in Guangzhou city announced on its official page on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, that the suspect surnamed Chen was detained Tuesday and had confessed to publishing false information online.

On Friday, June 17 the Zengcheng Daily published on a local government website, that “Armed police did not carry lethal weapons or fire a single shot” and that “There was no confrontation between police and the civilian population, nor between the local population and migrants.”

But according to AFP:

"There was no confrontation between police and the civilian population?" (

“On June 15 the judicial authorities arrested 19 people suspected of obstructing the work of the police, provoking incidents and deliberately destroying property,” the Zengcheng Daily said Friday in an article published on a local government website.

The article stressed that nobody was killed in the clashes and said “armed police did not carry lethal weapons or fire a single shot”.

“There was no confrontation between police and the civilian population, nor between the local population and migrants,” the article said.

But television images of the unrest showed hundreds of officers and armored vehicles deployed, with people hurling bricks and bottles at local officials and police, and vandalizing ATMs and police posts.

Riot Police on the streets (

Riot police and protesters (

Riot police and protesters (

Riots go on, 10:00 p.m. (

Here are some comments from Chinese netizens:

Replies to a posting of news article claiming the “six no”

只是日常演习,请大家不要 恐慌,以后将会在全国各地进行,请大家多多配合!
“This is just a usual drill, nobody panic, this will be carried out around the country, please cooperate.”

Overturned police cars (

都军管了,怎么会没杀伤性 武器?
“It’s all under military control, how can there be no lethal weapons?”

骗人太多,官 方报道实不敢信
“Too many lies, I don’t dare to believe in official reports.”

Replies to a question posted on Baidu asking whether the situation in Zhencheng has been resolved:


没有!现在JC在 到处抓人,不分青红皂白抓到你就是罚款!没有300——500出不来! 今天我老乡下班路上莫名其 妙的被JC打了一棒!

“No, now police are arresting people, and fining

people at will, you can’t get out without 300 or 500 Yuan. One of my friends was hit by police for no reason after work.”

Overturned police cars (

Concerned Netizen says:

你知道为什么中国人总是被 外国人看不起吗?从这件事的报道上看就知道,颠倒黑白,百姓就是悲哀啊
回答者: 热心网友 | 2011-6-16 22:03
“Do you know why westerners always look down on Chinese people? You can tell from reports on this incident. Black and white are turned around, it’s such a pity for people.”

And although Zhenzheng authorities are denying clashes happened between the protesters and the police, they have since issued a notice on calling on people to turn others in for “resisting public security officers carrying out their duties and participating in attacks of state organizations.”


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People in China are angry after a news video showed caretakers at an old folks’ home abusing the elderly

A summary from Shanghaiist:

An investigative report by Henan Television uncovering the abuse at an old folks home in Zhengzhou has shocked people in the provincial capital and sparked a nationwide outrage.

It all began when a taxi driver surnamed Wang decided to park himself one morning at 3.30am outside the Changleyuan Old Folks Home to catch a few winks. What sounded like the cries of an old man wafting from the convalescent home startled Wang… So the next morning, and for many early mornings afterwards, Wang decided to come back to the same spot.

He discovered that each morning, at around 4am, a male nurse would turn on the lights, enter the rooms of some of the old folks, and physically abuse them. The loud cries of one old man begging the nurse to stop led Wang to tip off Henan TV’s City Channel, which then sent a crew to film the nightly goings-on undercover.

To complete the investigation, the Henan TV journalist visited the home in the day, pretending to have parents that he wanted to have placed in the home. He was told by a woman of the “excellent service” provided by the home, and shown pictures of smiling, happy elderly folk. When asked why some of the old folk were bound in bed, the woman replied that only the temperamental, impossible ones were tied up, and that the way they were tied up ensured no physical harm was inflicted.

Henan TV’s City Channel report from

We have translated what some netizens are saying:

One needs to have connections in order to get the elderly parent into a public nursing home. Those who are in the nursing homes must have connections with Chinese party officials. Private nursing homes usually ask for an astronomical fee. In other words, if you don’t have money, don’t come here.

讓子彈飛向敵人 –
There are cruel and heartless caretakers in every nursing home. That’s a fact. Cruel caretakers are terrible, but the environment that nurtures these caretakers is even more terrible.


It happens at our local nursing home too. My elderly mother was admitted to a public nursing home—with some help of course. She is incontinent and always wet her pants. The staff washed her warm pants and hid it. So later my mother caught a cold and I had to question them to get the pants back. They also locked my mother in her room and my mother jumped out of the window to escape and she broke her leg.

中 國人歷來講究“尊老愛幼”的傳統,希望達到一種“老吾老以及人之老,幼吾幼以及人之幼”的理想狀態。我們不去討論該不該把老人送進養老院這個老話題,單就 是送進去了,老人就應該在裏面安享晚年。不要求多麼高的幸福指數,但起碼的生活及情感需要還是應該滿足的。
此則消息著實讓人毛骨悚然,養老院裏的老人怎 麼會受到如此“待遇”?當然護工肯定是冷血殘忍。但我們更應該認真思考這殘忍行為的背後有著怎麼的支撐環境。
Traditionally, Chinese people always respect the elderly and “care for the young.” Let’s not discuss whether we should send our elderly parents to the nursing home. Once older people are in the nursing home, they should enjoy their lives. We don’t expect them to be blissfully happy, but at least they should have their minimal needs taken cared of.
This message gives me goose bumps that the elderly in a nursing home are treated like this. Of course, the caretaker is definitely cruel and heartless. However, we should seriously think about the kind of environment behind it that supports this kind of incidents.

The social environment that breeds this kind of cruel heartless caretakers may be:
1.    Insufficient funding from the community and the Chinese regime.
2.    Lack of professional training.
3.    Low salary for caretakers.
4.    Hard work and exhausting physical work.
In any case, brutal behavior is no doubt a heinous criminal act.

I am very angry. Isn’t there a monitoring system for this? No wonder so many old folks are so afraid of nursing homes.

The ‘real hell on earth’ is in the nursing homes, orphanages, psychiatric hospitals, prisons, and detention centers all over China.

chennadoudou :
More and more people are getting older in China. China has to improve its protection of the elderly, and set up more organizations for them. Meanwhile, it has to strengthen its support for families to take care of their elderly.

These care workers are heartless, but we should investigate the system of nursing homes in China.



地球真是一个危险的地方 看守所 疯人院 幼儿园 高校 养老院~下一个危险的地方是哪里?

It is very sad ~
This earth is really an unsafe place. Now it is the detention centers, psychiatric wards, kindergartens, and nursing homes. What is the next place? Old men are helpless, old men are helpless ~


One cannot get into a public nursing home; one cannot afford to get into a private nursing home either. And, that’s a social reality.


我有次在 第三福利医院 看见 有护工叫老人学狗叫 才肯退他进房间 万恶啊
In the Third Welfare Hospital, I once saw a caretaker make an old man bark like a dog before he agreed to wheel him into the room. It was such an evil thing to do!

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Do China’s Citizens Trust the People in Charge?

Some articles in the Chinese media say the leadership has lost credibility with its citizens (LIU JIN / Getty Images)

Several articles in the Chinese media are saying the leadership has lost its credibility with its citizens. Chinese experts say that the majority of the people have no trust or confidence in the authorities.

Here’s a summary from Chinascopeof quotes compiled from Chinese media:

… Today, the sentiment of ‘mistrust’ has penetrated into the very fabric of Chinese people’s lives: when we Chinese eat, we can’t trust the safety of our food; … when we go to the hospital, we can’t trust that the doctor won’t over-prescribe medication; when we go to court, we can’t trust that the judiciary system will make a just decision. …

… we can’t trust anything: what the local government’s say, media reports, the people next to us, and particularly ‘it has become the habit of most people to question whatever the government says.’

‘Some people say that due to the radioactive impact of the Japan earthquake, salt from a contaminated ocean will not be edible. Then the TV news tried to quash the rumor and said it would not impact the Mainland. However, the people on the Mainland have lost confidence in the government. Every time the government makes some high profile statement, it means the truth is exactly the opposite. Starting on March 16th, all salt in stores (in Shanghai) had completely sold out, and the next day even all of the soy sauce was gone…milk products contain melamine… glutinous rice wine includes preservatives, and Sudan Red was found in salted duck eggs. Didn’t the government deny all of it?  Yet these violations are real and are continuing today.’

Are the authorities in China losing credibility?

We spoke with Richard P. Madsen, Professor of sociology at the University of California, San Diego. Here is what he told us over the phone:

I think this lack of trust has existed for some time now, for example the scandals about the tainted milk… have been going on for four or five years, and there are many other things like that. So people are used to being skeptical about official claims, about anything.

Besides of the official media there are all sorts of other kinds of media, for instance the Internet nowadays… So sometimes people trust those more than the official media.

Also within the media itself there are some media that are more willing to speak the truth than others. And people look for knowledge of what’s really going on through that. After all, the issue of the food safety was exposed in the end through certain aspects of the media in China, so you can find out what’s going on. Maybe too late but… Actually for generations people in China have developed skills of gleaning what’s really going on, from statements in the official media, and not taking the official statements as face value, but kind of digging beneath it and try to figure out what’s really going on. And I think they will continue to do that.

There really is an outrage about a lot of things in China. There are hundreds of thousands riots and things like that every year, at different levels of the society… that’s going on constantly and it could be explosive.

However I don’t see this kind of explosion taking place in the near term because it’s balanced by a general feeling that things are kind of moving forward economically. And the government is also quiet skilled at isolating and containing various kinds of dissent and keeping it from spreading.

Vent it down…

Professor Martin Whyte, from the department of sociology at Harvard University explains over the phone how the authorities keep it from spreading.

People feel that their lives are not as predictable as they would like, and that the rules aren’t being followed the same way they would like…

But research I have done and research others have done have shown that there is a strong gradient in feelings toward trust in the government in different levels. The people tend to have quite high levels of trust in the Central Government, but much lower levels of trust for the low level— particularly lower levels of government.

… the leadership at the very top works as hard as they can to try to reinforce this gradient, in other words, they try to stress to their population, ‘ your government at the top cares about you and we have wise policies, it’s only those corrupt, inefficient, inattentive corrupt people at the bottom that are supposed to be enforcing our policies that are not doing it well’. It’s seems to be relatively successful, in other words, instead of blaming the entire system, and particularly the leaders at the top, people tend to get angry with their local officials, and local private interests…

Can the higher levels make the lower levels do their job?

It varies from issue to issue. In some sense they have the capacity, if they made it a high priority.

…it’s often the case that local officials are told ‘you have to promote economic growth, you have to promote employment, don’t worry about pollution and don’t worry about these other things’.

In other words, as an outside observer, I would say that the central leadership deserves blame as well, but they do very good job of sort of absolving this self blame saying you know “we’re trying to make the system better” and most Chinese seem to agree with that.

When they [the people] feel that they have not been treated fairly they don’t automatically say ‘it’s the system that’s corrupt and unfair’. They tend to say ‘it’s a problem of implementation and enforcement’ and these are very standard responses in any authoritarian political system.

People who studied Russia before the Soviet Union talked about “if the Czar only knew” in other words, if only the Czar ruling all of Russia were aware with what’s going on with the “little guy” he would be concerned and he would set things straight. It’s a feature that authoritarian systems can make use of to try to maintain the legitimacy of the system itself, even if people are unhappy about a lot of things about how they’re treated in their daily lives.

In fact, because of this phenomenon, China is a very turbulent society today; there are a lot of protests, about local issues and against local leadership and against abuses of people and so forth. People don’t just sit back and accept it. …they are saying that they can’t get fair treatment from local officials by playing by the rules, so there for they have to take to the streets and to organize people and call attention to themselves…. But at the same time, they’re hoping to get favorable responses from the higher levels, and sometimes they do. There was a recent strike of truck drivers in the Shanghai area. They eventually ended up in getting some favorable actions about fuel prices and other kinds of things that were part of the demands that the protesters wanted.

One is the reason why it has been so relatively stable despite all this turbulence is clearly because of the fact that there is so much economic growth, with so much improvement in peoples’ material lives, that people are willing to give to the system as a whole, and its top leadership, the benefit of the doubt. So one question mark – can they maintain that growth?

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Two Female “Urban Management” Officers Fight–Netizens Find Angry, Sarcastic Relief

Summary from China Hush:

“城管Chengguan” (Urban management officer) is officer who is in charge of enforcement of urban management of the city… Yet for some reasons, chengguans perceived as gang members with badges are mostly associated with city appearance bylaws alone and the public seems to have a rather negative opinion towards them: confiscating poor street vendors’ goods, violent treatment to the street vendors, etc. The clashes between common people and chengguan constantly happen and some of these clashes are deadly.

Yesterday in Chong Qing province, two female Chengguans fought each other in the street and has attracted quite a crowd at the scene… Later the photos of the fight was posted online and become viral.

Alone in one post in, more than 30 thousand netizens have commented.


“This is only a drill…for their later fight with the street vendors.”


They’re competing for the job position, easy everybody…”

网易吉林省长春市网友 ip:125.32.*.* 2011-05-11 09:11:42 发表

“They fight because they didn’t split up the dirty money fairly?”

Quite a scene in Chong Qing province: Two female Chengguans fight in the street. Other male Chengguans try to separate them. (

Here are some more comments from

北京市网友05-11 20:18 发表


 “What do you people know? These are our ‘public servants’ doing practical training, so that they can better serve us!”

河南省郑州市网友05-12 09:48 发表


 “Looking at these law enforcers, can you believe that they won’t extend their fists to street vendors?”

山东省烟台市网友05-11 10:25 发表


 “They’re really deemed themselves worthy of their uniforms!!! Hahaha.”

广西南宁市网友05-11 11:08 发表


 “Great to watch, much more interesting than Chengguang beating up street vendors!!!”

山东省荷泽市网友05-11 13:16 发表


 “Law enforcement units are all like this, they fight in the public and behind the scene.”

四川省南充市网友05-11 17:20 发表


 “Chengguans are a pack of scums, I don’t know which scum established this scum unit in China that’s worse than bandits! This is the sorrow of Chinese people!!!!!!”

北京市网友05-11 18:19 发表


 “Chengguangs have the worst mannerisms, they should’ve been disbanded long ago.”

山西省太原市网友05-11 19:42 发表


 “Related department has issued a notice, saying this is a drill to improve Chengguan’s combat skills. Everyone remain clam!”

广东省深圳市网友05-11 22:15 发表


 “Gangster law enforcement team, hehehe!”

黑龙江省哈尔滨市网友05-11 22:36 发表


 “A waste of taxpayer’s money!”



 “This is very normal, when you wear this uniform you need to beat people up.”

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Survey: 60% of Chinese Sad Over bin Laden’s Death

A front page of a newspaper featuring a picture of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, in front of the White House in Washington, DC, on May 2, 2011. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary from The Washington Post:

Anti-American sentiment continues to be rampant among Chinese Internet users, most of them educated elites.

Immediately after the Navy SEALs’ successful mission that killed bin Laden, China’s Phoenix TV website conducted an online poll on the death of the world’s No. 1 terrorist. By midnight Tuesday, more than a half-million people responded. Asked “How do you feel about the death of Osama bin Laden,” 59.9 percent said they were “saddened, because an anti-American fighter has fallen.” About 20 percent indicated that they were “happy that he is dead.”

The same poll showed that while a clear majority strongly endorsed bin Laden’s anti-American “heroism,” almost 60 percent of those polled expressed disapproval of bin Laden’s indiscriminate killing of innocent people.

The strong anti-American hatred was reflected in website after website, microblog after microblog, across China’s vast cyberspace. In the most popular online chat room, Strong China Forum (qiangguoluntan), hosted under the aegis of the Chinese Communist Party’s official mouthpiece, the People’s Daily newspaper, almost all comments on bin Laden’s death predicted a gloom-and-doom future for the United States, as the death of bin Laden, they say, will expedite America’s decline.

Here is a translation of part of the original survey:

From Phoenix TV website (Chinese Only)
Percentages are based on 480,212 survey responses as of May 13, 2011.

1. How do you feel about bin Laden‘s death?
1. Happy, the head of terrorism is finally brought down (18.3%)
2. Sad, an “anti-American hero” has fallen (59.9%)
3. Much to ponder, it takes 10 years to sharpen a sword, American finally had its revenge (12.2%)
4. [I’m a] bystander, what does his life or death have to do with me? (9.6%)

2. How do you view Bin Laden?
1. He’s the number one terrorist, and a threat to world peace (18.6%)
2. He’s an anti-American hero, but his terrorist acts that hurt innocent people cannot be accepted (57.6%)
3. He’s a fanatic fundamentalist; splitting from traditional Islam has made him a legend (15.4%)
4. Cannot be explained (8.4%)

3. Do you think Bin Laden’s death is an effective blow to terrorism?
1. Yes, this is a war against terrorism, and terrorism will be curbed (16.8%)
2. Yes, Islamist extremism is on the decline, and this marks the end (2.4%)
3. No, bin Laden is not the central figure, and his death will have no impact on terrorism (24.7%)
4. No, more people will join the extremist forces, and terror activities will intensify (47.8%)
5. Cannot be explained (8.3%)

Why do so many Chinese seem to have anti-American sentiment?

We spoke with Lynn White, Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. Here is what he told us over the phone.

Do 60% of Chinese people really feel bin Laden was a “hero”?

I’m not sure they do, in a full way. It is a very complicated question…

Two feelings: The first is that in the population broadly in China, there is a kind of skeptic-cynic attitude. On the one hand, there is some admiration to the United States. On the other hand, there is a feeling among a lot of people—and that would especially would apply to people who reply to an online survey, in other words, who tend to be more intellectuals—the feeling the United States is maybe trying to keep China down, to prevent China’s rise, of which they are very proud.

Another way to put that, though, is that that sample is not quite the same as the Chinese leadership. The Chinese leadership is so concerned about the dangers of instability… that they, I think, want to rock the boat less than the sample of people who might reply in large numbers that way in the survey. In other words, both, the whole population of China and the leadership may be a little bit more calm about this than that statistics of 60% would suggest.

Is there any Anti-Americanism In China?

If the question is if there is any Anti-Americanism in China, the answer is “yes”. If the question is if there is some basis for it the answer to that is “yes”—as there is also basis for anti-Chinese feelings in the United States. After all, leaders of very large countries with all sorts of interests—they don’t completely agree on everything, or their populaces don’t completely agree on everything. It’s perfectly natural.

The question is what are the results of that. And I trust and hope that future Chinese leaderships, such as the one coming next year, will not rock the boat. That is, they may have certain resentment of the United States, but you know, what will they do about it? And we might ask the same question of Americans, if American have certain resentments of China… what they will do or decide not to do about those differences is much more important question.

What do the survey results mean?

We should make a distinction between attitudinal surveys and behavior or actions. It’s the actions that are much more important.

And what should we think of the survey? We should ask questions about surveys like this, the kinds that I have asked: what were the alternative answers, what was the sample, does it really represents what everybody in China thinks? It doesn’t.  It doesn’t represent what most farmers think because those farmers don’t go online. It doesn’t represents what the top of the leadership thinks because the top of the leadership has more responsibility, more need to care for the effects of its actions than those people who respond to a survey like this.

It should teach us to think better, teach Americans to think more clearly about what attitudinal expression like this means. I don’t think they mean that much actually.

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Chinese Moonwalking Granny Has “Got Talent”

Summary from

65-year-old Bai Shuying gave a surprisingly spry audition on China’s Got Talent — yes, Beijing has their own version of the show, too — in a Michael Jackson-themed number that she choreographed entirely by herself.

Here’s the full performance on Youtube:

A blogger named “A Stroke of Life” on says it all:

Most importantly, Grandma Bai lets everyone, or at least myself, see the other side of the lives of the elderly, and has taken away my fear of being old.

Usually when I talk about growing old, there’s a certain element of fear because old age symbolizes degeneration, and your life becomes bland and lonely.

But Grandma Bai has changed my thought on this; your life can still be colorful and full even if you are old.

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Chinese Driver Stabs Accident Victim 8 Times – Citizens Reflect on Morality in China

Summary from Yahoo:

In recent months the Chinese public has been shocked by multiple cases of drivers killing accident victims in hopes of evading legal responsibilities.

 The most famous incident happened in October last year, when 21-year-old music student Yao Jiaxin hit a cyclist while driving in the northwestern city of Xi’an. After he noticed the cyclist was trying to memorize the license plate number of his car, Yao returned and stabbed her to death. While on trial for murder, Yao said he killed the woman, 26-year-old Zhang Miao, because she looked like a peasant and he feared she would hound him for compensation. Last month the Intermediate People’s Court of Xi’an sentenced Yao to death.

 In December a truck driver who collided with a beggar in the southwestern city of Chongqing ran over her repeatedly in an attempt to avoid legal trouble. The driver, 21-year-old Tian Houbo, said he thought no one would notice the death of a beggar. And on Saturday, a driver in the southeastern city of Fuzhou who collided with a six-year-old girl ran over her a second time according to reports. She was later pronounced dead.

China is a massive country, and it’s unlikely this handful of cases represent any sort of large-scale trend. But they have prompted national concern about the state of morality and values in China. These cases also speak of China’s yawning class divide, with wealthier citizens in cars assaulting poorer people on bikes and foot. Rather than represent a new phenomenon, it is likely that the prominence of the Yao Jiaxin case has elevated the profile of similar incidents elsewhere.

NTD News story from April 23, 2011

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