It is the time of year for the various websites to select their best bloggers of the year.  In the new category of best independent civil reporter, the winner is consistently the microblogger Lao Rong ("Old Banyan").  He gained fame this year by going to Libya on his own to cover the uprising that eventually toppled the dictator Qadaffi.  He sent frequent reports and photos from the battlefield.  However, another microblogger has carefully gone through his account and found many instances of plagiarism.  Specifically, Lao Rong was using photos taken by others and adding his own narrative.

Here is Southern Weekly's tribute to him as one who deserves attention this year:  Since the beginning of 2011, Lao Rong began to focus on the rapidly changing Arab world.  During the year, he made more than 20,000 microblog posts with more than 1 million words of "live broadcast" information to present the huge changes in the Arab world.

Here is a partial list:

- On September 22, Lao Rong posted a photo of a rebel truck armed carrying a machine gun.  He said that the man in the photo was a fisherman who has invited Lao Rong to taste his fish.  However, this photo was previously taken by an Al Jazeera reporter on March 29 in Bin Jawad (450 kilometers away from where Lao Rong said he took the photo) and posted on the newspaper website on March 30.

- On December 13, Lao Rong posted a photo of a man named Jamal Mustafa Tunally who was killed on August 10.  The man was said to be from Bab Al Azaiya and got on the battlefield with three kids.  However, this photo was found to be taken by the Reuters reporter Goran Tomasevic on September 17.  That reporter provided no details on the person in the photo.

- On May 22, Lao Rong showed a photo of an AK-47 semi-automatic rifle.  Lao Rong said that he purchased this weapon as soon as he landed in Libya.  Since Lao Rong was still in Hong Kong making his travel arrangements on May 17, the purchase must be later than that date.  The same photo was found in a flickr album belonging to someone else with a filming date of April 23.

- Lao Rong posted a photo of a man waving a Libyan national flag on May 22.  He wrote: "I asked him if I could take a photo and he said no problem."  This same photo was found in a flickr album belonging to someone else with a filming date of March 9.

- Lao Rong entered Libya in mid-May and posted a large number of photos from the frontlines.  This photo of a child waving a national flag was accompanied by the caption: "Child, the world is yours!  Please value it!  We shall meet again."  This same photo was posted by the flickr user "live2Tripoli" on March 30.

- On June 3, Lao Rong posted a photo of a man firing a machine gun.  He wrote: "I hope him: 'Brother, this steel plate is useless.'  He said: 'I know.  This steel plate is an attitude.'  Then he disappeared in the frontline.  I was not able to find him again."  On June 3, the Telegraph published a story with this same photo credited to Reuters.  So was Lao Rong working as a photographer for Reuters?

- Lao Rong posted a photo of a bullet-ridden car windows which he said he rented.  This photo was taken by the Reuters photographer Zohra Bensemra.

When confronted with these questions about his reporting, Lao Rong called his critics "Fifty Cent Gangers" who hate freedom and democracy.  Why Lao Rong so popular as a microblogger?  Because people want a simple story about freedom and democracy that they can digest and believe.  By comparison, the reports filed by genuine reporters like Rose Luqiu were less clear due to the wartime conditions.

Why would Lao Rong file these fictional news reports?  The speculation is that Lao Rong, who is a jade/precious stone dealer by trade, wants a big audience in order to publicize/sell his wares.

The front page of Hong Kong's top selling newspaper Oriental Daily carried a story about the TVB serial drama <When Heaven Burns>.

(Oriental Daily)  Yesterday a number of mainland video websites (such as 56, PPS and PPTV) received instruction from the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television that the Hong Kong TVB serial drama <When Heaven Burns> had to be removed immediately.  This is the first Chinese-language television drama that was banned in almost 20 years.

There are various speculations about the reason for the ban.  According to some, this drama contained certain references to the June 4 incident and this has triggered discussion among mainland Internet users.  According to others, the drama contained a sub-plot about collusion between businessmen and government officials, which would be sensitive given the current Wukan/Haimen mass incidents.  TVB received notice from its licensed distributors about the ban yesterday, and they speculate that it may be the violence and gore that the ban (note: the story contained a sub-plot involving cannibalism).

<When Heaven Burns> is scheduled to run 30 chapters, and it has reached chapter 24 so far.  The show will continue to run in Hong Kong.

Another reason reported in Apple Daily is that an election campaign in the television show actually showed FLG banners in the background.  One banner said: "Thoroughly dissolve the Chinese Communists."

<When Heaven Burns> is an extraordinary phenomenon in Hong Kong.  It has been getting poor television ratings, as the core audience of housewives stayed away in droves due to the cannibalism as well as the chronological re-arrangements of the story (that is, the story jumps back and forth instead of following a linear timeline).  However, it has been getting rave reviews from the culturati and young people.

Among the most memorable scenes in <When Heaven Burns> is this one (see YouTube).  Here is the transcription:


Female: What does rock 'n roll represent?

Male #1: You take a look at this world of ours.  You take a look at what our city looks like.  Other than the word "Money", we no longer know how to distinguish between right and wrong, between black and white.  Everyone of us have been conditioned by the environment such that we seem to come out of the same mold.  We like to eat the same kind of food, we like the same television programs, we support the same political position, we follow a way of life based upon birth-ageing-illness-death.  This city is dying, you know? (The preceding sentence is delivered in English). 

Male #2: Even today people still ask me: What is the spirit of rock 'n roll?  I have been answering this question for more than 30 years.  In retrospect, it has always been the same few words that are not hard to say.  Independent spirit.  Resist the establishment.  Freedom.  Love.  Moving ahead courageously.  Actually, it is not just rock 'n roll.  Shouldn't we be like that as humans?

[On a personal note, it should be noted that the character in <When Heaven Burns> played by actor Chen Hao (nickname "Housewife killer" for his popularity among housewives) is named Song Yilang, which is identical to my name.  This character was described as immoral (he ate his best friend), deceptive (he courted a rich woman whom he did not love), violent (he is a Thai-style boxer with a tattoo on his back) and calculating (he is a professional speculator).

Now my name is very uncommon among Chinese people.  There are not many people with family name Song, and the given name Yilang is almost unheard of.  So people tell me that they think that the scriptwriter probably used my name deliberately.  For what reason?  People think that since <When Heaven Burns> began filming in 2009, it must be related to the bestselling novel <Small Reunions>.  The novel was written by the late authoress Eileen Chang, for whom I am the literary executor.  So maybe the scriptwriter was expressing his dissatisfaction with me for publishing that book.  But that is just speculation.  Besides there isn't much that I (or anyone) can do about a name in a fictional drama, which carries the standard disclaimer that any resemblance to real events/persons is sheer coincidence.  In any case, according to the published synopsis of the final chapters, Song Yilang turned out to be a good guy who found redemption.]

In <On Revolution>, I said that different people want different kinds of freedom.  In <On Democracy>, I said that democracy/rule-of-law is a negotiation process.  No matter how much Christmas is discounted, the gifts won't be for nothing.  So I am going to start my negotiations now.

First of all, as a member of the culturati, I ask to be able to write more freely in the new year.  I have not said this as XX freedom or YY freedom, because those two terms may make you subconsciously afraid and wary.  Even though those freedoms are guaranteed under the constitution, they have not been implemented.  At the same time, I ask on behalf of my colleagues -- media workers also need some freedom of press.  The press has been strictly controlled.  Also there are my friends in the film industry.  You cannot understand their pain and sorrow.  Everybody is conducting cultural activities like as if they are stepping through a minefield.  If they step on a mine, they are blown to pieces; if they want to avoid the mines, they have to tread slowly and indirectly. 

These freedoms are the trends of the times.  You have previously made promises for them.  I know that you must have studied the case of Soviet Russia.  You believe that the breakdown of Soviet Russia was largely due to Gorbachev opening up the press as well as following the constitution to return the highest powers from the Party to the people's delegates.  Therefore, you become especially cautious about the press and constitutional politics.

But the times have changed.  Modern information communication has rendered censorship useless.  The restriction on cultural activities makes it impossible for China to influence literature and cinema on a global basis or for us culturati to raise our heads up proud.  At the same time, China does not have any media with global influence.  Many things just cannot be bought with money.  Cultural prosperity is actually the least costly to attain.  The lesser the restrictions, the great the prosperity.  But if you insist that there are no restrictions on cultural activities in China, you are being disingenuous.  In the new year, I earnestly ask the authorities to be let culture, publishing, press and cinema be freer.

If this can be done, then I personally make these promises in the freer cultural environment: I will not try to settle old scores; I will look ahead; I will not discuss the sensitive issues in history; I will not discuss or criticize the senior-level groups or their families and their relevant interests; I will only criticize and comment on current social issues.  It would be better for all if the culturati and the authorities can both take a step back and observe a pre-determined bottom line in order to create more space.

But if things do not improve in two or three years, I will personally attend or stand outside the annual Writers Association and China Federation of Literary and Art Circles meetings to protest.  This effort may be like an ant trying to rock a tree, but this is what I can do.  Of course, I will go alone and I will not incite my readers.  I will not exploit others to pad up my resumť.  At the same time, I believe in the character of our generation and therefore I believe that these freedoms will arrive sooner or later.  I am only hoping that they will arrive sooner.  I believe that I can write even better.  I don't want to wait until I am old, so please let me be there in time.

These are my personal demands in my area of professional expertise.  In this very useful discussion, I feel that we should pay more attention to how to get there as opposed to what it should be.  It is said that a man can only make one wish at one time.  My wish has been used up.  As for the other issues (fairness, justice, law, political reform and everything else), they will have to be brought up by those friends who need them.  Although I don't think that freedom is the top priority for everyone, I believe that nobody wants to be constantly fearful and anxious.

I wish that those without money can become wealthy in a just society, and those who with money will not still feel that they are inferior to foreigners in spite of their money.  I wish that all young people this Christmas can fearlessly discuss revolution, reform, and democracy; stay concerned about the future of our nation; regard it as our brothers and sisters.  Politics is not dirty, politics is not uninteresting, politics is not dangerous.  Dangerous, uninteresting or dirty politics are not true politics.  Chinese medicine, gunpowder, silk and pandas cannot win us glory; the 100 LV bags of the county mayor's wife cannot win respect for our people.  I wish the ruling party can march boldly ahead and become immortal in the history annals that they write themselves.

The Top 10 News Quotations 2011
A person's words reflect the inner being of that person.  To a certain extent, the popular quotations in a country reflect the situation or sentiment of that country. Finance and Baidu News now jointly present the top 10 news quotations of the year 2011.  From these ten quotations, we can see the various anxieties, conflicts, confusion and helplessness of the Chinese people at this time, plus the various clashes and subversions of values, the doubts about the credibility of the government, the skepticism about the comments coming from public servants, the uncertainties about our present era ...

Here are the top 10 news quotations:
(1) I don't care whether you believe it or not; in any case, I believe it
(2) Stabbing eight times in a row is a repetitious piano-playing movement
(3) Housing prices are rising because people have too much money
(4) I am giving up everything in order to elope with XX
(5) My dad is the law of the state
(6) So we are cheating you
(7) 10,000 yuan is no big deal
(8) Children are good because they are praised
(9) It is not rape if a condom was used
(10) There are good kids among the second-generation wealthy people

But it is also a reflection of this era that several of these so-called top 10 news quotations are sensationalistic fabrications.  Here are the detailed analyses.

(2)  "Stabbling eight times in a row is a repetitious piano-playing movement"

Yao Jiajin was a third-year student at the Xian Academy of Music.  On the night of October 20, 2010, Yao was driving when his car hit a pedestrian.  He got out of his car and stabbed the pedestrian eight times in succession in order to cover up his crime.  He was apprehended by citizens as he tried to flee.  On May 20, 2011, the Shaanxi Provincial Supreme People's Court upheld the death sentence on Yao Jiajin.  On the morning of June 7, Yao Jiajin was executed.

Yao's lawyer Lu Gang defended his client by saying: "He did not do it for revenge.  What was he doing?  Actually, when I am unhappy, I play the piano to release my anger.  Therefore, when he encountered this unpleasant situation in which he saw that the person whom he injured was memorizing his license plate, he stabbed her in an action akin to smashing his piano."

[The quotation was correct, but the speaker was not Yao's lawyer Lu Gang.  Instead, it was the criminologist Li Meijin of the China People's Public Security University.  Li Meijin was interviewed on CCTV and her words were distorted.  Here is the interview with Li Meijin after that CCTV interview raised an Internet public opinion storm against her.

Question: Some media think that your comments did not consider the "compatibility of technical discussion with the rule-of-law."    This was the reason for causing this storm.  You agree with this point in your blog.
Li: The circumstances are very important.  On that day, I was not analyzing "what the sentence for Yao Jiajin ought to be."  I was directly analyzing why he did what he did.  This gave the wrong impression that I was trying to justify his act.  The difference between the perspective of an expert and that of the masses led to this wrong impression.

Question: Why did you think the Internet users want to say?
Li: I understand now that they want me to say that Yao Jiajin was evil incarnate for whom execution was not enough to satisfy the public.  They want me to say that, but I absolutely cannot say that.

Question: How is that?
Li: I must remain rational.  It is up to the court to decide whether he should be executed or not.  I did not study this case, so I cannot make that judgment.  If they want that judgment, they should interview an expert in crime law.  I am a crime psychologist.  Under the circumstances, I cannot say whether he should be executed or not.  That would be a trial by public opinion.  As an expert, I cannot make a judgment on behalf of public opinion.

Question: What did you think CCTV want you to explain?
Li: I thought that CCTV was interested in just how a well-educated person can viciously stab the victim so many times in a completely unpremeditated fashion.  We want to see how his background would indicate this so that we can avoid it in future.  I think that was the question of interest, and I wanted to provide an explanation.

Question: How did you decide that the eight thrusts of the knife was related to piano-playing?
Li: This was a movement that he trained regularly for.  In the case of Yao Jiajin, if he really wanted to kill the victim, he could have done it with one thrust of the knife and then ran away.  Why did he stab her eight times?  My explanation was that it was related to his piano-playing.  He fluently repeated what he was regularly familiar with doing due to his piano-playing background.  I was not saying that "Yao Jiajin regarded murdering someone as the same as playing the piano."  That is faulty reasoning.

Question: Will you continue to comment on legal cases to the public?
Li: My comment on the case of Yao Jiajin was very controversial, including the many vicious abusive comments.  I really thought about never commenting on any more cases.  But my research and professional ethics tell me that I would be derelict in my duty if I do not share my insight in those cases with the public.  I believe that my research will be beneficial to many people, including my critics and their families.  My research deserves to be respected, not for me personally but for our society as a whole.]

(3) "Housing prices are rising because people have too much money"

"Why do those recent university graduates want to borrow money from their families to buy houses?  Because if they don't buy this year, the prices will rise next year."  The National Communist Party Political Consultative Conference member and China Merchants Bank chairman Ma Weihua said that rising housing prices are a monetary issue, because the people have too much money on hand.  Ma Weihua recommended that the banks should expand their financial management services and use financial products with varying risks/returns to draw in the surplus liquid cash in the hands of the people and away from buying houses.

[Recently, the report on CPPCC member Ma Weihua's comments was given the headline "Housing prices are rising because people have too much money" at a certain website.  The report was widely published on other websites as well.  As a result, Ma Weihua was criticized by many Internet users.

Ma Weihua said that what he meant was that the high inflation rate (including rising housing prices) was due to a surplus in liquid cash.  This surplus arose not because people have too much money.  On the contrary, most Chinese people still do not earn much.  Under these circumstances, a high inflation rate is particularly bad for the people and therefore ways have to found to hold inflation down.

This particular report also asserted that "Ma Weihua recommended that banks should expand their financial management services and use financial products with varying risks/returns to draw in the surplus liquid cash in the hands of the people away from buying houses."

Ma Weihua emphasized again today that the banks need to have good financial products so that the people can have higher returns on investment on their savings.  At the same time, those products can absorb the surplus liquid cash in order to hold down inflation and defend the interests of the people.

Ma Weihua said that he was trying to speak on behalf of the people.  He found it regrettable that the story was "mis-headlined" and created misunderstanding among Internet users.

In summary: Ma Weihua said that there was too much liquid cash around, leading to problems such as rising housing prices.  He did not say that people have too much money on hand.  Most of the surplus liquid cash belong to corporations/organizations, not to individual citizens.  The original reporter lacked the professional knowledge to know the distinction.]

(5) "My dad is the law of the state"

In June 2011, the mother-in-law of Yonghe deputy county mayor Feng Shuanggui passed away in a traffic accident.  The local resident Liu Wen followed local custom and set off firecrackers to ward off evil.  This made the Feng family unhappy.  On the evening after the funeral, Feng Shuanggui's wife Kong Yan, his son Feng Yuan and his brother-in-law Kang Long entered the home of Liu Yuan, and stabbed him.  During the assault, Feng Yuan kept declaring: "My dad is the county mayor.  In Yonghe my father is the law of the state."

[A reporter from China Internet News traveled to Yonghe county to interview the various parties.

According to the Sinopec gas station manager Ren Gensheng, there was a traffic accident at their exit at 13:23 on May 10 during which the mother-in-law of deputy county mayor Feng Shuanggui died.  At around 18:00, Liu Wen who ran the construction project at the site followed local custom and set off firecrackers to ward off evil.  "The intent was to hope that no more accident should occur."  But when the Feng family heard about it, they might have misunderstood.

According to a source at the Yonghe county public security bureau, at around 22:00 on May 17, deputy county mayor Feng Shuanggui's relatives: Kang Yan, Feng Yuan, Kang Long and Kang Li dressed in mourning garb and holding ceremonial wine, joss sticks and paper went to Liu Wen's hope.  They charged inside Liu's home.  Kang Long took out a knife and stabbed Liu Wen in the leg, while also punching and kicking him.  Kang Li grabbed Liu Wen by the hair and ear and cursed him out.  Kang Yan slapped Liu Wen twice in the face.  Feng Yuan kicked Liu Wen in the head and face, and kicked him a few more times.  Kang Long and Feng Yuan vandalized Liu Wen's television set, computer and other items.

With respect to the key question of whether Feng Yuan said: "My dad is the county mayor.  In Yonghe my father is the law of the state," the Linfen city Communist Party Disciplinary Committee leader said that Feng Yuan said "I did not say this" while Liu Wen said that Feng did not say it.

With respect to the other question whether the police refused to process the case and whether Feng Shuanggui interfered, the Linfen City Communist Party Disciplinary Committee leader said that their investigation showed that (1) Feng Shuanggui did not direct his relatives to attack Liu Wen; (2) Feng Shuanggui did not pressure the police; (3) the police became involved 30 minutes after the attack and arrested the four suspects.

So where did the headline quotation come from?  It came from an un-sourced Internet post.]

Question: A revolution does not have to be violent.  The Velvet Revolution is the perfect model.

Answer:  I do not believe that a Velvet Revolution can take place in China.  Never mind the international situation.  Never mind the fact that the entire population of Czechoslovakia is only one half the size of the population of the city of Beijing.  To believe in the Velvet Revolution requires that you believe in the character of the people, the tolerance of the authorities and the leadership of the intellectuals.  The Velvet Revolution took place as the result of these three groups coming together.  I do not believe that these groups exist in China.  You cannot cite this perfect revolution to rebut the possibly imperfect reforms.

I understand that many intellectuals and scholars in China are enamored of the Velvet Revolution.  They are even secretly moved by the idea that they may play the role of Havel.  But whether there is a violent revolution or a non-violent one, the role of the intellectuals will be far less than they imagine, never mind a leadership role.  The poorer the quality of the citizens, the lesser the importance of the intellectuals.  You cannot avoid facing the realities of China by using mere words to describe the perfect democracy, the perfect freedom and the perfect human rights.  Reform and democracy are negotiation processes.  You cannot expect the rulers to read some books and become suddenly moved to hand everything over to you.  You cannot wish for the Velvet Revolution every day so that you can play the role of Havel.  You cannot expect that every Chinese citizen will receive a voting ballot and that their votes cannot be bought.  Even today, there is no universal suffrage in the Czech Republic.

Therefore my viewpoints are very simple.  We don't want to see a violent revolution.  A Velvet Revolution will not take place in China.  Perfect democracy will not appear in China.  We can only go after one small thing at a time.  There is no point in frustrating oneself by dreaming about democracy and freedom in our study rooms.  Reform is the best answer.

Question: You conclude that the quality of the Chinese people is too poor so that they are not fit for democracy.  Did the government pay you a stability-maintenance fee to say that?

Answer: I don't know how you come to this conclusion, because I thought that I made it very plain to see.  It is not a question whether democracy is suitable or not, because it will arrive sooner or later.  The quality of the citizens will not prevent democracy from arriving, but it can determine its quality.  Nobody wants a Rwanda-style democracy, but that is not a genuine democracy.  Sometimes it arrives slowly, sometimes it arrives abruptly.  Sometimes it arrives neither thoroughly nor completely.  Sometimes it is neither American nor European in form.  But it will arrive at some point in your lifetime.   When you look back, you may find it to be somewhat dull and unexciting.

Question:  You are saying that everything depends on the favors of the rulers and not on the efforts of the people themselves?

Answer: Of course, it is important to pressure the rulers.  But regrettably, the cooperation of the rulers is even more important.  This requires luck and character.  At this time, the various social classes are divided and alienated from each other.  For example, no matter how much a deal you make out of the high-speed train collision, the rulers are complacent.  They feel that this is a civil affair which time will take care of itself.  The families of the ruling class may be completely indifferent to this matter.  They care only about who rises or falls, their relative ages, the arrangements for certain positions, etc.  Regardless of public opinion pressure, the matter will still fade away.

Of course, they may be unconcerned about public opinion pressure.  For example, if you have a billion yuan in your account, you won't be too bothered to lose 1,000 yuan.  The intellectuals may regard something as very important, but they are magnifying the supposed anxieties of the rulers who may not have considered that issue at all.  Many intellectuals that all problems arise from the system, such that everything will be solved if the system is changed.  They may be well-intentioned and righteous.  But they are assuming that the peasants and the workers share the same knowledge as they do, and that everybody needs to think the same way.  But the reality is more disheartening.

The struggles take place in remote places.  Over the years, I have visited more than one hundred county cities of all types.  They are not especially isolated and/or impoverished.  I have spoken to people from all walks of life in those places.  Their quest for democracy and freedom is not as urgent as intellectuals imagine.  They hate the powers-that-be and corruption mostly because they wish that they (or their own relatives) have been the beneficiaries instead; they don't care about restricting or supervising the authorities; they pick up the vocabulary about democracy and freedom only when ill luck befell them and they need to petition their causes.  If the government pays them enough, they will be satisfied.

Any social conflict that can be solved by money is not a social conflict.  Intellectuals typically think that these emergency invocation of the words (e.g. democracy, freedom) means that there is a universal demand, thus constituting a consensus.  I do not believe that there can be a perfect revolution in a largely divided country.  You may feel that I have been the tamed by the rulers and therefore you want to change the rulers.  But this is how it has been so far for the last generation or two.  Fortunately, when I speak to their children, I find that the Internet and various media have more or less opened their eyes.  Therefore I am not pessimistic.

Today, the Chinese Communist Party has 80 million members.  300 million persons live in families which have members with party membership.  The Party is no longer just a political party or a class.  Therefore, many of the flaws of the Communist Party are also the flaws of the people.  I believe that a very strong one-party-system is the same as a no-party system.  When the party organization reaches a certain size, it becomes the people itself.  So the issue is not to deal with the Communist Party this way or that.  The Communist Party is just a name.  The system is just a name.  If you change the people, everything changes.  Therefore, it is more important to seek improvement.  Rule of law, education, culture ... there are the basics.

Question: If the revolution comes, what role should influential intellectuals play?

Answer: The intellectuals should be like a blade of grass sitting on top of a wall.  But this has to be a blade of grass that bends in the opposite direction of the wind.  Intellectuals need their own sense of justice, but they cannot have a position.  The more influential intellectuals must not have fixed positions.  Whenever they see one side getting too powerful, they must stand with the other side.  They must never trust any propositions.  They must never follow any ideology.  They must treat all revolutionaries as swindlers.  They must never believe in any promises.  They must do their best to ensure that no side gets annihilated so that the other sides become absolutely powerful.  If there is a revolution in China in the future, I will stand with the side which is weak and vulnerable.  If this side should grow strong, I will stand with its opponents.  I am willing to sacrifice my personal views to ensure the co-existence of different groups.  This is everything that you should be seeking for.

Recently, I went back and reviewed many previous questions.  The terms "revolution" and "reform" were frequently brought up.  The media like to ask about those questions, but those questions-and-answers are rarely reported.  No matter what I have to say, it is most likely (80% likelihood) not published.  So in this first essay to answer readers' questions, I will give my views on the term "revolution."  Here I have consolidated the questions from readers and domestic/foreign media outlets for me to answer.

Question: Recently mass incidents have been taking place regularly in China.  Do you think that China needs a revolution?

Answer: In a nation with a complex social structure, especially in the eastern world, the ultimate winner in a revolution must be a vicious, ruthless person.  Frankly, "revolution" is a seemingly straightforward and rousing word which does not require too much explanation.  But revolution may not be the best option for China.  First of all, a revolution usually begins with a demand, which is most commonly anti-corruption.  But this demand isn't going to go too far.  "Freedom" or "justice" do not have any markets.  Except for certain artists or journalists, if you ask people in the street whether they feel free, most of them will answer in the affirmative; if you ask them whether they want justice, they will typically say that injustice is usually something that happens to other persons and they are happy just as long as it doesn't happen to them.  Most people do not come across injustice personally, so it is hard to get them to seek justice and freedom for other people.  In China, it is hard to find a collective demand.  This is not a matter of need versus no-need, but one of possible versus not-possible.  My view is that it is neither possible nor necessary.  But if you ask me whether China needs stronger reforms, I will say surely.

Question: Why don't you go out and lead an uprising?

Answer: You must be joking.  Even if I agree with the idea of revolution and lead a sizeable uprising, the authorities can just cut off the Internet and mobile telephone signals.  I don't think that the government even needs to send out their stability-maintenance forces.  Those angry people who were trying to chat on QQ or play online games or watch serial dramas will wipe us out.  You better not hope that you can make microblog posts to support me.  You will begin to hate me if you cannot go microblogging for three days.

Question: Does that mean that China does not need democracy or freedom?

Answer:  This is a misunderstanding.  Intellectuals frequently link democracy and freedom together.  Especially for the Chinese, the result of democracy is frequently lack of freedom.  Most Chinese people do not link freedom with publication, news, literature, speech, election or politics.  Instead, they think of freedom from public morality so that those who have no social connections can freely make noise, freely cross the streets, freely spit in public; those who have some social connections can freely break the rules and regulations, freely take advantage of legal loopholes, freely commit misdeeds.  Good democracy necessarily bring about social social progress as well as rule of law.  This will make certain people who don't care about cultural freedom feel less free.  Thus many Chinese people who feel very uneasy when they arrive in the developed countries in Europe and America.  Democracy and freedom do not have to be linked together.  I think that the Chinese people have their own unique definition for freedom, and freedom is not influential in China.

Question: I think that the ills in China are too deep-reaching so that reform is useless.  Only a revolution can make this society better.

Answer: Let us suppose that the revolution was not suppressed.  Of course, that would be impossible.  Let us imagine this revolution in mid-stage.  The students, the masses, the elites, the intellectuals, the peasants and the workers are going to be able to reach a consensus.  There is another group that we have ignored so far: the impoverished people of which there are 250 million currently.  You don't usually notice their existence, because they never use the Internet.  Since the revolution has reached mid-stage, new leaders must have emerged.  A revolution without any leaders is doomed to fail.  The White Lotus is a good example.  But the leader of the revolution is not going to be the good-natured, benevolent character that you imagine as you sit in front of your computer right now.  Such a revolutionary leader is most likely going to be dictatorial, domineering, egotistical, presumptuous, venomous and incendiary.  Yes, this sounds familiar but the Chinese people fall for this kind of style.  This society is used to seeing the villains take charge and the good folks get slaughtered.  The leaders who are preferred by the young culturati won't last a week.  The more educated one is, the less likely one is to submit to a leader and so one is likely to quit the revolution earlier on.  As the elites leave, the composition of the revolutionaries changes.  No matter how nice-sounding the revolution slogans were at first, it will ultimately revert to a single word: money. 

To put it gently, the point is to give us back our money.  To put it not so gently, this is equality of wealth as enforced through plundering.  You should not assume that because I feel that I have some money, I would be willing to go along because I don't want to lose it.  In the mighty torrent of the revolution, if you own an Apple iPhone, or you drive a motorcycle, or you know how to use the Internet, or you read newspapers regularly, or you eat at KFC, you are the rich criminal who will be the target of the revolution.  The person who has 100 million yuan in assets is safer than the person who has only 10,000 yuan in assets.  The former can immigrate overseas and pick up his New York Times delivered to his home door, but the latter (mostly middle-class and petty bourgeois) is stuck here.  In the various political campaigns of the past, people went after each other.  Today, people recognize only money, so many people are well trained to go after each other for money.  The Chinese people know how to settle accounts, and this will necessarily lead to suppression.

Any revolution takes time.  China is such a large country, without even mentioning chaos everywhere, civil wars among warlords or the power vacuum.  After a chaotic five or ten years, the people will surely yearn for an iron-fisted dictator to restore social order and clean house.  By comparison, it matters little if we have to go back from the very open "Let The Hundred Flowers Bloom" back to reading People's Daily.  Besides all our assumptions are based upon the nationalization of the military (note: instead of the military being under the control of the Communist Party as it is right now).  Therefore these are merely fantasies.  If we are even pessimistic in our fantasies, we can forget about carrying it out altogether.

Question: How do you view Egypt and Libya?

Answer: Egypt.  Libya.  Ruled by a dictator for decades.  Not many cities.  A single incident became the explosive point.  A single public square for delivering speeches.  The revolution can succeed.  In China, there is no specific individual who is the target of a revolution.  There are many cities.  The population is huge.  All sorts of extraordinary disasters have occurred already, so that people's G-spots have become de-sensitized, never mind any point of explosion.  Even if the social conflicts intensify tens times as much, even if you have ten Havels speechifying in ten cities and even if the authorities don't act, those speeches will eventually end up being sponsored by a lozenge manufacturer to be given at the Haidian Opera House.

Of course, all of the above is a waste of time.  The key point is that most Chinese people don't care about the lives of others.  They only holler when they get abused themselves.  They will never manage to unify.

Question: Your viewpoints sound very much like those of a Fifty Cent Gang member.  Have you been bought off by the government?  Why can't we elect a chairman on a one-person-one-vote basis?

Answer.  In this world where it is either this-or-that, either black-or-white, either right-or-wrong, either a pro-western-traitor-or-a-government-paid-fifty-cent-gang-member, the term 'revolution' is very powerful but it will be very harmful if operationalized.  Many people think that the urgent task right now in China is to elect a chairman on a one-person-one-vote basis.  Actually, this is not our most urgent need.  On the contrary, one-person-one-vote will ultimately result in the victory of the Communist Party.  Who has more money than the Party?  50 billion yuan will buy 500 million votes.  If that doesn't work, they can up the ante to 500 billion yuan.  They collect a trillion yuan in taxes each year.  How can you challenge them in terms of money?

You think that the friends around you are fair and independent.  Such people will add up to a few hundred thousand votes.  Your wise and knowledgeable candidate will be lucky to get 100,000 votes.

The only person who can compete with the Communist Party is Ma Huateng, because he can pop up a window whenever you enter the QQ service to declare: "Anyone who votes for Ma Huateng will earn 500 in QQ currency!"  He may be able to gain 200 million votes.  But the problem is that Ma Huateng will surely join the Communist Party first.

Democracy is a complex, difficult but inevitable social process.  It is not attained through simple words such as "revolution," "universal suffrage," "multi-party system," "down with XX," etc.  If you have never cared about the judiciary or publishing, then what is the point of caring about universal suffrage?  The only reason is that it is easier to talk about.  This is no different from the people who only speak of F1 when it comes to car racing, or only the World Cup when it comes to soccer.

Question: I think that revolution and democracy in China are only matters of timing.  When do you think is the right timing?

Answer: Revolution and democracy are two terms.  These two terms are completely different.  A revolution gives no guarantee for democracy.  We proved this already.  History gave China an opportunity, and our current situation is the result of the choice of our forebears.  Today, China is the least likely nation in the world to have a revolution.  At the same time, China is the nation which needs reform the most in the world.  If you insist on asking me about the best timing for revolution in China, I can only say that when Chinese car drivers know to turn off their high beam lights when they pass each other, we can safely proceed with the revolution.

Such a country does not need any revolution.  When the civic quality and educational level of the citizens reach a certain standard, everything will happen naturally.  Perhaps you will live to see magnificent changes in his China, or perhaps you will still see only the same deadlock up to your death.  No matter what, you must always remember to turn off your high beam light when you pass another car.  Maybe our children will be able to attain everything that our forebears sought for sooner.

(CNN)  'Batman' star Bale punched, stopped from visiting blind Chinese activist    December 17, 2011

As Christian Bale approached an impromptu checkpoint leading to this tiny village in eastern China, four men blocking the narrow path started marching toward him in menacing unison.

"I am here to see Chen Guangcheng," the "Dark Knight" actor said and I translated, with correspondent Stan Grant and cameraman Brad Olson next to us.

"Go away!" the plainclothes guards barked, pushing us back.

Amid the scuffling and yelling, dozens more guards in olive-green, military-style overcoats -- and two gray minivans -- emerged from the other side of the checkpoint, all coming toward us.

"Why can I not visit this free man?" Bale asked repeatedly, only to receive punches from guards aiming for his small camera as they tried to drag him away from the rest of us.

As we retreated, I recognized the ringleader -- the same burly man who had hurled rocks at the CNN team 10 months earlier to force us out of the same location.

A precarious scene ensued Thursday as one of the gray minivans chased our car at high speed on bumpy country roads for some 40 minutes.

When the dust settled, we counted a broken car, a damaged camera -- and a Hollywood star disappointed at -- but not shocked by -- his failure to see a personal hero.

"What I really wanted to do was to meet the man, shake his hand and say what an inspiration he is," Bale said.

The man, 40-year-old Chen Guangcheng, has been confined to his home along with his wife, mother and daughter, and watched around the clock by dozens of guards since he was released from prison in September 2010. A local court had sentenced him to more than four years in prison for damaging property and disrupting traffic in a protest.

His supporters maintain authorities used trumped-up charges to silence Chen, a blind, self-taught lawyer who rose to fame in the late 1990s thanks to his legal advocacy for what he called victims of abusive practices by China's family-planning officials.

Bale first learned about Chen through news reports, including our coverage in February, when he was in China filming "The Flowers of War," a wartime drama set in 1930s Nanjing in which he plays a mortician trying to save a group of schoolgirls from the clutches invading Japanese soldiers.

The injustice faced by the activist and his family stirred such strong emotions in Bale that, upon hearing his impending return to China to promote the movie, he decided to do something unusual to raise the international awareness of Chen and thereby to turn up the heat on the Chinese government.

"This doesn't come naturally to me, this is not what I actually enjoy -- it isn't about me," he explained during our eight-hour drive from Beijing to the eastern city of Linyi, where Chen's village is located. "But this was just a situation that said I can't look the other way."

Known to be a media-shy celebrity, Bale reached out to CNN and invited us to join him on his journey to visit Chen.

In the car, he lamented the American public's lack of knowledge on Chen's case, despite senior U.S. officials' increasingly vocal support for his freedom. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Gary Locke, the American ambassador to China, have both championed Chen's cause.

Bale appeared a little surprised to learn that Relativity Media, which produced his 2010 Oscar-winning "The Fighter" and recently filmed a comedy in Linyi, was accused by activists of cozying up to the same officials who ordered Chen's detention and torture. The studio has issued a statement denying the allegation.

Although China's state media has largely ignored the story, Chen's plight has spread online and outraged a growing number of Chinese "netizens." Many have tried to visit Chen, and activists say nearly all would-be visitors have been turned back, often violently, by plainclothes police and local thugs.

"I'm not brave doing this," Bale emphasized. "The local people who are standing up to the authorities, who are visiting Chen and his family and getting beaten or detained, I want to support them."

As our car sped toward Beijing in the dark, Bale wondered aloud if he would never be allowed back -- a prospect he is prepared to accept -- even as "The Flowers of War" became China's official entry into next year's Academy Awards.

"Really, what else can I do to help Chen?" he kept asking as the clock struck midnight, with his latest movie -- partially funded by the state -- about to open nationwide in China.

This story got front page A1 treatment in Hong Kong's Apple Daily:

Joining CNN to visit human rights defender lawyer in Shandong
Batman chased and assaulted by police

As one might expect, this story was not covered by the mainstream media in China, but the microbloggers were free to discuss it.  One microblog post drew a lot of attention.  This comes from the director Lu Chuan, who directed the movie about the Nanjing massacre <City of Life and Death>.  Lu Chuan wrote: "Bale~In the dialog between civilian martial artists and Batman in Dongshiku (Linyi), he was knocked down by the body force of our side as well as being kicked innumerable times.  The photo is preserved here for the record."

This photo was quickly found to have been previously posted on April 30, 2011 with respect to <Batman: The Dark Knight Rises 3> (see link).  Others say that the April 30, 2011 report was actually from the earlier movie <Rescue Dawn> in which Bale portrayed an American pilot captured by the Vietnamese and the entertainment reporter misused it in April 2011 for the <Batman: The Dark Knight Rises 3> report.

Lu Chuan's original post is gone and he added the following: "Bale's day trip to Shandong was real; the photo of Bale after a beating was fake.  Because there are truths and untruths, verification is required.  Because the photo was found to be fake, it was deleted.  Why are the Fifty Gang Membes who are rushing over here heaping scorn?  You are embarrassing yourselves in front of the world.  You are not defending truth in journalism.  You are aiding and abetting the authorities."

(Dianzizheng's blog)  Here are three microblog posts about the school bus accident in Shouxian townxhip, Fengxian county, Xuzhou city, Jiangsu province.

The first appeared on the official microblog of the newspaper Southern Metropolis Daily, based in Guangzhou city, Guangdong province.  The time of posting was 22:07, December 12, 2011.

[Major school bus incident in Jiangsu province]  As confirmed by the newspaper @Dushichenbao, there was a major traffic disaster in Shouxian, Jiangsu at around 18:00 hours.  A Shouxian elementary school bus carrying 71 persons fell into the river while swerving to avoid an electric motorcycle.  The local authorities have dispatched more than 10 police cars, more than 20 ambulances as well as fire engines and cranes for rescue operations.  According to an Internet user, the number of deaths is possibly more than 40.  Dushichenbao said that the number of deaths is uncertain.  The photo comes from the Internet user Jiazi300.

[Statistics: This post was forwarded 95,899 times.  The Southern Metropolis Daily microblog is followed by 1,671,833 persons.]

So who is this Internet user Jiazi300?

Jiazi300 says that he lives in Fuzhou city, Fujian province.  He has 478 followers.

Here is the post made by Jiazi300at 21:42, December 12, 2011.  At 22:07, Southern Metropolis Daily picked up the information in this post.

At around 18:00, there was a major traffic disaster in Shouxian township, Jiangsu province.  The Shouxian elementary school bus carried 71 students in grades 1 through 6.  As of this moment, the number of deaths is more than 40.  The toll is continuing to rise.  More than 10 police cars, more than 20 ambulances, 2 fire engines, 1 traffic police car, 1 heavy crane and more than 10 other government official cars.  The incident is reportedly caused by the bus driver swerving to avoid two electric motorcycles so that the bus slid into the river.

[Statistics: This post was forwarded 5427 times]

Because of the attention that the Southern Metropolis Daily microblog post drew to Jiazi300, the latter apparently felt the need to issue a statement.

Statement:  Dear Internet user friends, I thank you for your attention to the case of the Shouxian elementary school bus.  I am not personally at the scene.  I am merely forwarding the information in the first instant.  The casualty figures still need to be confirmed.  I thank you for your attention.

[Statistics:  This post was made at 23:08 December 12, 2011.  It was forwarded a total of 4 times]

Now all those official media outlet microblogs that posted and forwarded the information from Jiazi300 should reflect: Did you actually visit Jiazi300's microblog?  Did you observe that the person is based in Fuzhou (Fujian) which is not near Shouxian (Jiangsu)?  Did you observe that Jiazi300 is actually a marketing operation?  That being the case, it means that Jiazi300 is obtaining his information from some local Shouxian source.  So who gave him that photo?  Who told him that 71 persons were on the bus?  How did he know that more than 40 children were dead?  If you can't answer these questions, do you have any business forwarding such information?

Here is a later news report at, December 13, 2011.

A primary school bus overturned and fell into a ditch Monday afternoon in east China's Jiangsu Province, which had 47 students on board. At least 15 students were killed and eight others injured.

The accident happened at about 5:40 p.m.,  in Shouxian township in Fengxian county in the city of Xuzhou when the bus was trying to avoid a pedicab, according to Fengxian county government.

The bus belongs to a primary school in Shouxian township. The bus, which has a capacity load of 52, had 47 students on board, when it left school.

When the bus got nearby Zhanghoutun village it still had 29 students on board. The exact cause of the accident is under investigation.

Officials from local educational, public security and health departments have rushed to the scene.

Everything in Jiazi300's post was wrong: there were not 71 passengers; the number of deaths was not more than 40; the bus fell into a shallow ditch, not a river; the bus swerved to avoid a motorized rickshaw, not two electric motorcycles.  Nevertheless, at least 1.6 million microblog users got that erroneous information via Southern Metropolis Daily.

Background reference: ChinaSMACK  17 Secret Codes & Symbols Used By Chinese Thieves & Burglars

(Dianzizheng's blog)  December 11, 2011.

The Chengdu police published 17 secret markings used by burglars.  Even the CCTV news channel reported on this story.

Here is the list of markings:

Plan action

Four to five likely units
to burglarize

Very wealthy

Danger, avoid

Beware of vicious dog

Many police around

Beware of the neighbors

Alarm present

Easy to be seen
by chance

Nobody guarding the place


Single female inhabitant

One child, two women, one man

Someone here works in a
government department

Nothing valuable to steal

No need to go in

Burglarized already

Recently, the Jinniu precinct of the Chengdu City Public Security Bureau dispatched its officers to post more than 200 "Police memos" to remind people to erase these "burglar markings" if spotted in front of their homes and to call the police.

According to police officer Yang Jundong of the Beixiangzi Police Station, "These markings are usually made on the bottom of the door, on the wall or on the tree in front of the door.  They are made by scouting burglars to prepare their colleagues.  Yang has been working as an officer in the Beixiangzi Police Station for two years already.  Although he has not come across an actual case, residents told him about these "mysterious markings" in front of their doors.

Yang Jundong said that the idea of coming up with a list of secret markings was inspired by an Internet post.  A certain police officer with the Jinniu Precinct saw this Internet post and forwarded it to the Prevention Unit of the Chengdu City Public Security Bureau.  Based upon the work experiences of the many police officers at the Prevention Unit, this list of 17 "secret codes" was prepared.

"Certain burglaries are committed by crime gangs who have division of labor.  That is to say, some gang members are scouts who leave markings for the other gang members who actually break in and steal things.  These markings represent the 'secret code' among burglars."  Yang Jundong reminded residents that they should call the police as soon as they found such markings by their front doors, and the police will come and record the evidence.

The police officer also reminded people that the meaning of each marking is not constant.  Each gang has its own set of codes, based upon what the gang members are accustomed to using.  The codes for one gang are not necessarily understood by another gang.

So the source of the information is a certain "Internet post."  It is not certain what that Internet post is, but here is one at Baidu:

Burglars usually use pencils or ballpoint pens to make markings on prospective targets.  The following are four explanations of these markings:

Circles: indicator of wealth, using a scale of 1-5 (5 circles meaning highest wealth level); writing an X on top of the circle means that there is no money here
Triangles: Number of persons at home at a certain time
More circles and fewer triangles mean a better prospective target

√: Someone usually at home during the day; returning home at regular times
X: No one at home during the day; returning home at irregular times
ζ: Occasionally someone at home during the day, returning home at irregular times

(3) Overseas information
"X": An ideal target
Two internally linked rectangles: The householder is alert, so be careful
Five small circles linked together into one big circle: Very wealth household
A "Y" inside a square: Only elderly and children at home
Four slanted lines on the outline of a house: Already burglarized

(4) A triangle inside a square: This household has installed an alarm system
Big "D": Dangerous and not worth the risk

So it appears that the Chengdu police are culling Internet information and they have never actually come across real situations in the course of duty.

Actually these kinds of stories have been reported elsewhere before.

(Guizhou Metropolis Daily)  January 13, 2010.

On January 11, a Guiyang Forum user posted a list of markings which burglars are suspected of using in recent years in certain Chinese cities.

'+-' means that there is someone home during the day but not at night
'-+' means that there is no one home during the day but someone is home at night
A circle with a dot inside means single person or renter
'...' means three-member household
A star indicates a target
√ means the place has already been entered
'X' means not a target

Yesterday the Crime Investigation Divisions officer Shao at the Wudang Public Security Bureau told our reporter: At this time, the police has not yet come across any specific case in which these special markings were confirmed to be involved. 

(Chongqing Evening News)  January 15, 2010.

Yesterday our reporter went to the Shangshangju Properties Development company, and saw seven mysterious markings.  Most of them are written on the walls next to the front entrances of apartment units.  Four of them are formed by "+" and "-".  Three of them only have an "A".  The apartment unit owners met and determined that a "+" on top and "-" on bottom means that someone is home during the day but not at night; a "-" on top and a "+" on bottom means that no one is home during the day but someone is home at night.

Based upon previously solved case, the police reminds the citizens: Certain burglars will enter into residence compounds under the pretext of distributing flyers or conducting interior decoration.  They typically leave flyers on the front doors and return several days later to check.  If the flyer is not removed, it means that the place is unoccupied.  The mysterious markings can serve the same purpose.  If the marking is not erased, it means that the place is unoccupied and can be looted.

In summary, these simple markings may be the secret code of certain burglars.  However, there cannot be a nationwide code system as such.  If too many people know about it, someone is going to post it on the Internet and the whole world knows.  So it is more likely that each burglar gang will have its own code system.  Furthermore, the codes are unlikely to be so complicated (e.g. "one child, two women, one man"; "someone here works in a government department") and cumbersome (e.g. consider the amount of surveillance time needed to ascertain that there is "one child, two women, one man" with "someone home during the day but nobody home at night"?)

It was improper for the Chengdu police to use an Internet post with certain sarcastic elements as a police bulletin.  This is misleading as well as panic-inducing.  The rest of the media all erred in publicizing a local police bulletin as a national news story without conducting any investigation or verification.

(Global Times)  Cleaner dies after fracas with student     December 7, 2011

A campus cleaner died at Beijing Film Academy (BFA) following a fight with an Audi-driving student, who was angry the cleaner's garbage tricycle was blocking his way. Haidian district police confirmed they detained a suspect for investigation. BFA confirmed the incident, stating on their official Sina Weibo account that around 3 pm Monday, a student had an argument with a cleaner because of "inappropriate parking." They hit each other, which led to the death of the cleaner.

Web users have been quick to criticize the student as yet another example of a rich young person behaving badly. The post was forwarded over 2,500 times, with many comments saying it was an incident in which "another brain-damaged fuerdai (second generation rich) failed to respect the poor as equals," or blamed BFA for being a school "full of rich and famous students doing whatever they feel like."

Although neither police or BFA identified the victim or suspect, media reports said the cleaner was a 43-year-old, surnamed Wang from Cangzhou, Hebei Province, and the student is surnamed Gong.

The fight broke out when Gong, who witnesses said had parked in an emergency vehicle's space, was blocked by Wang's tricycle, the Legal Mirror reported. Paramedics said that he died as they moved him to the ambulance. Onlookers speculated he suffered a heart attack, the report said. "I saw a young guy in a gray sweater having an argument with the cleaner between the garbage tricycle and an Audi in front of the No.2 dormitory building, and then it became physical," said an anonymous BFA student, who witnessed the altercation.

According to him, the student fell twice during the fight and became embarrassed as his girlfriend was watching. He attempted to grab the cleaner's neck from behind "trying to get even." "The cleaner didn't get hurt in the fight, but fell down while the girlfriend tried to stop it. She pushed the cleaner on the back a little," said the witness, "I guess he suffered a heart attack."

Haidian police confirmed they had detained a suspect and launched "an investigation into the death on BFA's campus," but did not reveal any more details.

(Wei Yingjie's blog)  December 8, 2011.

"BFA 'Audi man' beats cleaner to death."  This was the headline at a certain website about the tragic story that took place on the Beijing Film Academy campus on the afternoon of December 5, 2011.  A male student quarreled with a campus cleaner over a parking issue, causing the cleaner to die as a result of physical assault.

Afterwards, public opinion indisputably stood on the side of the deceased.  The most frequently forwarded comment on microblogs was: "The Film Academy has degenerated into a garbage dump for second-generation rich children to enhance their fortunes."  According to information, the 43-year-old cleaner was a honest, decent man.  Students recalled seeing him ask for noodle soup at the cafeteria.  These recollections will surely increase public anger at the murderer and cast strong doubts about the school's assertion that it was a fight between two persons.

It is natural to be sympathetic to the weak and vulnerable.  It may be said that the difference in social status of these two persons may be a hidden cause for this clash.  Whether the garbage tricycle blocked the Audi car or vice versa, the clash would not occur if either party made a concession.  During the process, it is possible that the "Audi man" behaved arrogantly to offend the decent cleaner; or the cleaner disliked the "Audi man" and refused to back off.

The rights and wrongs of this case should be left for the law to judge.  Here I want to say that we need not exaggerate the contribution of the identities of the two persons in this incident, thus inflating the case of "the strong bullying the weak."  At the very least, the incident is reduced to a physical contest as soon physical contact was initiated.  In the end, it was the cleaner who fell to the ground.  But who could deny that it was possible that the "Audi man" could be the one down on the ground?  There was a 50%-50% probability.

But if the cleaner killed the "Audi man," why would the public opinion be?  Would we say that "justice triumphed"?  Or "second-generation rich children" deserve to die (and it is still uncertain whether the "Audi man" is a "second-generation rich child")?  If so, we must regret to say that we no longer have any sense of rule of law or justice and we only have blatant rich-versus-poor.  Such being the case, we will decide right-versus-wrong solely by appearance (e.g. dress code, means of transportation, etc).  So if you dress sharply, you must be a rotten egg; if you wear rags, you must represent justice.  Is this a normal way of regarding the world?  Isn't this too simplistic and rash?

Let us give another example.  On the day before this latest tragedy, there was a car chase between a BMW and a Mercedes-Benz in Shanghai.  The persons involved stopped and fought, leading to the death of the Benz driver.  Those parties did not know each other, but they came across each other during their respective journeys by chance.  It is plausible that they did not yield to each other because they had the same social status.  According to some people, this incident should be a case of "a duel among the rich" (or even "dog-eat-dog")?  So where is the humanity in this?

The dualistic analysis of these incidents reveal the anxiety and uneasiness of this era.  On one hand, many people become arrogant and overbearing because they possess wealth.  On the other hand, many other people are extremely hostile to the rich and powerful people (they don't necessarily hate money itself and they may be just jealous).  These attitudes are obviously not normal in a civilized society with the rule of law.  Nevertheless, they show that it is a serious problem about how to deal with the issues of wealth and justice.  This is not going to be solved by preaching alone.  Apart from educating people, it is necessary to deal with social justice and fairness.

Mass psychology is often the projection and reflection of social reality.  Whenever certain mass psychological attitudes prevail, it reflects certain corresponding social realities.  Even as we feel sorry for the death of the cleaner, we should reflect on the roots of the anger that many people are feeling.  As one Internet user wrote well: On this day, the world not only lost a son, a father, a brother and an unknown ordinary person, but the world now has a "young and sorrowful soul."  In this world, we should have more forgiveness and tolerance.

On the afternoon of November 24, the Beijing police published a bulletin on their microblog about a case of a microblogger issuing an open threat against another person and making a "live broadcast" of taking actual action.  The suspect named Yan became the first person to be detained by the police for taking such action.  The case was first reported at the Qianlong website under the heading <Beijing police uncover the first case of using the Internet to threaten the personal safety of others>.  The reporting was basically objective.

Qianlong Beijing November 24 news: A difference of opinion on the Internet led to one person wanting to beat up another person while broadcasting the action live on microblog.  Recently, the Beijing police unearthed the first case of using microblogs to threaten the personal safety of another person while "live broadcasting" the process.  The suspect named Yan is the first person to be detained by the police for taking such action.

In mid-November the citizen named Wu called the police to say that someone appeared to be making real-time microblog posts about an assault on Wu.  The other party indicated that he was going to Wu's home to beat him up.  But Wu was out of home that day and avoided the disaster.  However, Wu was worried about his personal safety and claimed that his normal life is being seriously affected.  After receiving the call, the police gathered the evidence and quickly identified the suspect as an individual named Yan.

On November 11, the police found Yan.  During interrogation, Yan said that he pays frequent attention to the current affairs essays on the Internet.  Recently he has been dissatisfied with some of Wu's comments and began to assault Wu verbally.  Wu counterattacked Yan who was angry and determined to retaliate in real life.  For that purpose, he disclosed his revenge plan openly on the Internet and used the microblog "live broadcast" to threaten retaliation against Wu.  At this time, Yan has been sentenced to five days of administrative detention by the police for threatening the personal safety of another person.

This case is the first one in which the Beijing police came across someone making public threats to another person and using a "live broadcast" while trying to carry out that threat.  At this time, the Internet is reaching deeper into the lives of the Internet users and has become the platform for people to express themselves and engage in exchanges with other people.  At the same time, certain Internet users do not discipline themselves in their comments and use personal attacks and insults to affect the lives of others.

The public security bureau reminds the citizens that even as the police will protect the freedom of speech of Internet users, they will not hesitate to take firm action against those who use the Internet platform for illegal purposes.  They will purify the environment of the Internet and maintain public safety and order on the Internet, so that the capital city can become harmonious and stable.

A difference of opinion?  What exactly was that?  Based upon the records on that day, it is mainly directed against the post <Any similarity is purely coincidental> that I forwarded.  The individual named Yan (nickname Jian Cui, identified by Weibo as an artist) disagreed with the allegation in that post that Ai Weiwei was a plagiarist.  He thought that I knew nothing about art.  But whether this was plagiarism or not depends on the evidence which the public can decide for themselves.  I had forwarded the post by an artist named Zhu living in Germany and she made a comparison of two sets of art works as a professional artist.  The Ai Weiwei-supporter Yan got angry and wanted to take revenge on behalf of Ai Weiwei.

At 12:43 on November 6, Yan stated publicly that he was a "frequent visitor of the Haidian district" and he intended to "cripple Wu Fatian" on that day.  He said that "he meant what he said" and "Wu ought to go and purchase life insurance quickly."  Then he made a live broadcast of his revenge process.  He told several other persons to meet at the KFC restaurant in my residential neighborhood.  He questioned my neighbors about my whereabouts.  This process continued for three to four hours.  At the time, I was out on business nearby.  Internet friends called me to pay attention to my personal safety because Yan is taking actual action to make an Internet dispute into a real-life confrontation.  At 6pm, I called the police.  From 8pm to 12md, I was down at the police station making my statement and providing the evidence.  The police took over the evidence, they received the surveillance videotapes and confirmed that Yan had taken actual action and broke the law in the process.

The police sentenced Yan to five days of detention under Article 293 of the Amended Criminal Law Code of the People's Republic of China for: chasing, intercepting, insulting, threatening others.  Since Yan expressed genuine remorse, the police sentenced him to 5 days when it could have been 10 days.  In posting the bulletin, the police protected the identifies of the parties and referred to them by their families of Yan and Wu without any further identification characteristics.

The next day (November 25, 2011), the <Beijing News> reporter Guo Chao filed a report which contains a lot of his own personal viewpoints in it.

First of all, the heading was <Microblog threat "Wu Fatian", man detained for five days."  This gave the impression that the lawbreaker merely made a threat without actual implementation.  This would cause headline readers to feel that it was unfair to punish a person for merely exercising speech, thus leading to an outpouring of support for freedom of speech.  Besides the headline is misleading because you may get the impression that it was "Wu Fatian" who was detained.

Secondly, this report goes against journalistic ethics in disclosing the name of the victim and his institution.  Such is unheard of in this kind of reporting.  On my Weibo microblog, I did not mention neither name nor institution in my comments.  Even if the police bulletin listed the detailed information, the news report should conceal the name because journalistic ethics require that the real name, family, occupation belief and family members of a crime victim not be disclosed unless they have a direct bearing on the case.  However, <Beijing News> did the exact opposite.  Whereas the police did not disclose the name or institution of the victim, the reporter learned those two pieces of information via alternate channels and published them in this news report.  Only reporter Guo Chao of <Beijing News> did so.  And since that report was forwarded via mobile phone, my name appeared in 300,000 mobile phones.  This was how I experienced the lack of ethics that the <Southern Metropolis Daily> showed in their coverage of the Joint Defense Force rape case.

Thirdly, the police stated the facts of the case as Yan being upset with the comments of Wu Fatian, began personal attacks on Wu, got counterattacked and then decided to take revenge in real life.  But the <Beijing News> distorted the situation and inserted his personal view that "Wu Fatian's comments on the Internet drew many criticisms from Internet users."  In this case, this reporter assumed the role of judge and rendered a verdict outside of the court.  This action is possibly being libelous.

Fourthly, the reporter added the following in his report: At 1:39 on November 12, Wu Fatian claimed on his microblog: "I finally installed screen capture software on my software and the evidence for the threatening phone calls on November 6 are as follows"; at around 16:00 on November 12, he posted "I have forwarded the abusive and threatening telephone records to the Beijing Public Security Bureau."  The aforementioned incidents had nothing whatsoever to do with the case of Yan.  However the reporter linked the two matters together while completely ignoring the fact that those harassing telephone calls were basically the result of Ai Weiwei publishing my telephone number on Twitter.  Those two microblog posts included screen capture images, so there was no way that the reporter could fail to see them.  But he used these other incidents to muddle up this case.

Fifthly, the reporter appended the interpretation of an expert.  Oddly enough, the reporter did not seek out a legal expert for this criminal case and found a sociologist instead.  The reporter knew that this case was indefensible under the law.  However he got the sociologist to say what he really wanted to communicate: "People now have new channels to release their pented-up feelings.  On the Internet, this becomes a standard procedure.  Catharsis, accusations and verbal abuse are nothing special on the Internet."  "Cursing people on the Internet is often less hurting than screaming at someone in real life."  He really tried hard to make his case.

Given the facts of the case, the reporter could not have changed his report much.  But he managed to inject many personal views as well as hurt the victim a second time by disclosing the name and institution.  He truly has no conscience!  I have always opposed Kong Qingdong for using obscene language to curse out the <Southern People Weekly> reporter because I never curse people on my microblog.  But at this time, I suddenly understood Kong's anger.  You try to reason with these conscienceless media but they will act like hooligans all the same!

The distortions in the <Beijing News> report led to more rumors on the Internet.  "God Bless China A" commented: "The police detained the person for planning a crime, which goes behind the bottom line of the law!"  This deliberately muddles the distinction between illegal actions and criminal actions in the public security laws.  The action was claimed to be "planned crime" but in reality it was the actual implementation of an announced threat!  The guy even called others to go to the target person's home, so how can this still be planning?  Ai Weiwei's lawyer said on the Internet: "Five days detention for making a threat on the microblog!"  I ask this lawyer: As a legal scholar, are you aware of what an actual threat is?  Have you studied Article 13 of the <Public Security Administration Penal Code>?  Did you get your legal training from a sports instructor?  It is one thing to serve as the gofer lawyer for Ai Weiwei, but you are not a legal scholar when you ignore the facts!

Even worse, when the iFeng website carried the <Beijing News> report, they changed the heading to <Man posting a microblog threat against China University for Political Science and Law associate professor "Wu Fatian" detained for five days> without using any punctuation marks.  Thus many readers read this as: "Wu Fatian" detained for five days.  And ever worse yet, iFeng posted the essay <Liu Yiming: Should the police act as the hatchetmen for "Wu Fatian"?> in defense of the lawbreaker.  This essay twisted the facts and made false accusations.  The author Liu Yiming wrote that "Wu Fatian" is a senior-level Fifty Cent Gang Member who frequently attack media outlets, media workers, intellectuals and artists who act with conscience."  I received the V for verified identity within the first week of using Weibo in April 2010, but Liu said that Wu Fatian sought verification only after his identity was disclosed via human flesh research.  Liu said that he was falsely accused by "Wu Fatian" for posting an untruthful essay about lawyer Xu Zhirong, Wang Xiaoshan and others receiving bribes ranging from several hundred thousand to two million yuan during the investigation of the death of village chief Qian Yunhui.  He said: "People like Wu Fatian, Fang Zhouzi, Si Manan and others frequently use rumors to attack others but the police ignore their illegal actions."  Finally he suggested that the Beijing police should cancel Yan's detention and apologize to him.

Previously this person Liu Yiming just had his user ID canceled by the Sina Weibo administrators for spreading the rumor about "Kong Qingdong ordered his assistant to assassinate Xu Lai of <Beijing News>".  Liu Yiming's real name is Xiong Zhongjun.  In August 2009, he was sentenced to 10 days of detention for fabricating and spreading the rumor that the defendant Wu Bin in the May 7 Hangzhou traffic accident was a stand-in.  He was also detained in Shenzhen for 81 days for spreading Falun Gong progapganda.  This Epoch Times writer whose essay was logically confused and baseless got published at Voice of China and iFeng, for whom basic fairness and objectivity have gone missing.

The Phoenix TV Information Channel turned the whole affair into an entertainment event using the special issue title <Microblog professor Wu Fatian> and vilified me from their high moral ground.  They set up a vote for their users.  Without presenting the facts and using instead Liu Yiming's rumor-filled essay as background, the vote included three obviously misleading choices: "Certain comments by Wu Fatian caused the incident and should be investigated by the judiciary in a fair manner"; "Internet comments are sometimes overstated and should not treated as seriously as real-life comments"; "More is needed for the judiciary to deal with Internet violence."  If democracy is about voting, then is this deliberately manipulated vote true democracy?

Finally I need to mention the Voice of America.  According to the m4 website, VOA tried to defend Yan by interviewing lawyer Mo Xiaoping.  Without understanding even the most rudimentary facts of the case, Mo spoke with fervor and assurance: "It is too severe to detain someone for scolding others on the Internet."  Was that naked personal threat just an Internet quarrel?  In South Carolina state (USA), a man who threatened to kill current president Barack Obama, former president George W. Bush and other senior government officials found himself sentenced to 5 years in prison.  So isn't 5 days of detention light by comparison?

The motto on my microblog is: "Let the law-abiding citizens not be lonely; let the lawbreakers be afraid."  Instead the manipulation by certain media turned that motto into: "Let the law-abiding citizens continue to be lonely; let the lawbreakers act without restraint."

(Wu Fatian's blog)  The mud that came out after I pulled out the carrot.  November 24, 2011.

Last year during the affair over Tang Jun's fake academic credentials, his Pacific Western University fellow student Yu Jinyong came out to openly defend him.  I pulled out the carrot and the mud came out.  I found out that Yu Jinyong had faked his Peking University doctorate.  In addition, I exposed his other deceptions.  Later on, the <Wealthy People> magazine deputy chief editor and Hehan Province Finance, Politics and Law University associate professor Wang Leng went to visit Yu Jinyong and openly defended him too.  I got curious and I researched Wang Leng.  Thus I pulled the out the carrot and the mud came out.  It turned out that Wang Leng's bachelor thesis plagiarized my article written many years ago with 80% duplication.  Wang Leng publicly acknowledged: "I plagiarized my bachelor thesis and I also plagiarized my masters thesis.  In order not to plagiarize again, I will not write any more essays in the next five years.  I will also inform my colleagues that I decline to be evaluated to become full professor.  You can continue to counsel me."  (see <Southern Metropolis Daily> news report)

In early October 2011, I received a tip about the Xianghe County party secretary Yang Wenhua grabbing land from the peasants.  I wanted to get to the bottom of this matter.  I pulled out the carrot and the mud came out.  From Baidu, I learned that the wife of party secretary Yang Wenhua is the celebrated poetess Zhao Lihua. (Note: Zhao Lihua is well-known as a 'liberal'/'democratic' defender of the land rights of peasants against illegal seizure by the authorities). The boss of the real estate development company involved in the case is a frequent guest of secretary Yang as well as an honored guest of Zhao Lihua's Pear Blossom Festival event.  Based upon the evidence that I provided, Tencent published a special page <We must question Zhao Lihua just like we question Guo Meimei Baby>.  Zhao Lihua got upset and wrote that she wanted to "target me for elimination."

At that moment, the blogger Yi Tian came out and joined Zhao Lihua in making personal attacks against me.  Renmin University professor Zhang Ming praised Zhao Lihua and Yi Tian as "female knights."  Yi Tian spread smears against me.  I wanted to go to court against her but I was frustrated in not knowing her real name (the Weibo administrators refused to cooperate).  I had to search on the Internet myself.  I pulled out the carrot and the mud came out.  I learned that Yi Tian's real name is He Nan and she had posted at Tianya that she was a so-called "independent publisher" with a high school degree and she was hiring Internet writers at the base salary of 800 yuan per month.

When I published the information on Yi Tian, I explained that all my information came from open channels coming from herself.  I also use XX to hide the crucial information (such as her telephone number and address).  The Anhui province Lanqiao Law Office lawyer Lu Xiangdong volunteered to become her lawyer and said that he wanted to complain to the Beijing Public Security Bureau that I was illegally publishing the private information about a citizen.  But that crime is determined by the person/organization obtaining private information in the course of duty and selling and/or illegally providing that information to others.  I did not obtain that information in the course of duty.  The information was published by herself.  I had also hidden the crucial information in order to protect her privacy.  And I did not sell or illegally provide the information to others.  So I encouraged Lu Xiangdong to make his complaint for that alleged crime, which should cause a chuckle at the Beijing Public Security Bureau.

But because this lawyer Lu Xiangdong had made a fool of himself many times before and did not act like a lawyer, I got curious and I researched him on Baidu.  Once again I pulled out the carrot and the mud came out.  On June 21, 2008, the Ma'anshan Justice Department published Lu Xiangdong's article <The Structure of Entrapment Investigation>.  This article made extensive reproductions from my 2001 article <On Entrapment Investigation> published in <The Study of Law and Business>.  For example, I was the first scholar to propose the notion of objective versus subjective standards and his article plagiarized extensively from me.  The footnotes and annotations were about other articles without any mention about mine.  In 2009, Lu Xiangdong received the Fourth Annual Ma'anshan Lawyers' Forum excellent article award for his article, which also received the "provincial lawyers' excellent article" award.  Lawyer Yu, you plagiarized a seven-year-old article and so you seem unable to follow what is current.

I came to the microblogosphere for fun.  My bachelor degree major was criminal prosecution law, and my doctorate major was evidentiary law.  Therefore I am obsessed with the truth.  I have been microblogging for more than a year, and I am interested in exposing lies.  In the case of defending the rights of Zhang Yuanyang, I sought to find the truth; in the case of the fake doctor Yu Jinyong, I wanted truth in academics; in the case of the Rumor Busting Alliance, I wanted to seek the truth behind social incidents; in the case of the fake democrats and liberals, I want to seek the truth about democracy and the rule of law.  I never thought about who might be offended.  I only demand of myself as a legalist to seek the truth.  I want things to be how they should be!

I pulled out the carrot and the mud came out.  I spoke based solely upon the evidence in my hands.  Meanwhile my opponents toss out false labels.  You should be able to see this clearly.

For background on the person, see China Media Project: Tale of a murdered microblog  September 1, 2011

(The Standard)  Ai posts numbers of critics online    November 4, 2011

The editor of a Chinese state-run newspaper and three others have been inundated with calls and texts after artist Ai Weiwei put their numbers online in protest at things they have written about him. Ai, 54, who spent 81 days in police detention earlier this year, and has been fighting what he calls politically motivated tax evasion charges, posted their mobile numbers on his Twitter account.

Hu Xijin, editor of the Global Times; Wang Wen, a reporter at the paper; Wu Fatian, a professor at the China University of Political Science and Law; and blogger Si Manan have since received hundreds of calls. "This is no doubt one of his ways of expressing his political mood," Hu responded on Sina's weibo. "But I don't think this is a good method. As a celebrity, Ai Weiwei's behavior has an impact on social morale. He should tread carefully."

Ai has accused the four of trying to damage his reputation through blog posts and articles they wrote during his detention and after he was freed in June. "They try to convince young people I'm in some kind of a conspiracy with the West," he said. "But they never question why police detained me without any legal process." The Global Times has published several editorials about Ai. The latest questioned the level of domestic support for the artist.

Wu, who also blogs and is widely regarded as having pro-government views, said he was upset by the calls and texts, many from abroad.

Here is a telephone conversation provided by Wu Fatian and purported by him to be conducted with Ai Weiwei (TelephoneCall_20111203.3ga).

(Wu Fatian's blog)  November 25, 2011.

Ever since Fatman Ai published my mobile telephone number to overseas people, I have received several hundred harassing telephone calls and text messages.  This continued for one week until I was forced to switch to a new number.  80% of the harassing calls came from overseas, mostly USA, Canada and Australia.  The text messages are mostly in English or Chinese, but some are in Japanese or French.  It looks like the water is deep.  There are quite a few from inside China, mostly brain-damaged people who scream abusive words.  Many of them came from the same telephone numbers.  I am firmly opposed to anyone counter-harassing these overseas hired hands and Chinese brain-damaged people.  Rational people take rational actions!

Here is a selection of the screen captures of the text messages.

10:31 Need a number of fifty-cent dogs, price ...
10:50 I am Caonima
10:50 I am you okay
10:50 I am Caonima
10:50 I am Caonima

3 minutes ago (Australia): Cunt stupid cunt stupid cunt stupid cunt stupid cunt stupid cunt stupid cunt stupid
3 minutes ago (Australia): Stupid cunt stupid cunt stupid cunt stupid cunt stupid cunt stupid cunt stupid cunt stupid
3 minutes ago (Australia): Stupid cunt stupid cunt stupid cunt stupid cunt stupid cunt stupid cunt stupid cunt stupid
3 minutes ago (Australia): Stupid cunt stupid cunt stupid cunt stupid cunt stupid cunt stupid cunt stupid cunt stupid

19:09 You are human waste dog shit
19:13 Fuck your younger sister fuck your elder sister fuck your mother
19:14 You are a doghead born of a prostitute!
19:16 You are a fucking bastard!
19:18 Your wife is a prostitute, your mother ...

13:38 Stupid cunt
13:38 Stupid cunt
13:38 Stupid cunt
13:38 Stupid cunt
13:38 Stupid cunt
13:38 Stupid cunt

Calls from the same number

Calls from the same number (USA/Canada)

China Mobile notice: 460 unread messages

@Yuguotian: An Internet user just relayed the mobile telephone numbers of the so-called Four Big Fifty-Cent Gang Members: Hu Xijin, Si Manan, Wu Fatian and Wang Wen.  The person who sent them to me probably expects me to send a message to "criticize" them so that they can "rectify their errors."  Frankly, both leftists and rightists have their freedom of speech.  It is inappropriate to send text messages to criticize them.  I also refuse to disseminate their private information.  Internet exchange should be harmonious.
@Wu Fatian: So someone organized the attacks while assuming the responsibility of designating people are Fifty Cent Gang Members.  Ho ho, that was some kind of effort!

Who is Wu Fatian (real name Wu Danhong)?  What did he do to deserve all this?

(Global TimesFighting words: controversial blogger Wu Danhong faces his critics    November 4, 2011.

Finland has Angry Birds, but China has angry people. They donít fling themselves at pigsí houses, but instead throw around insults on Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like service in China.

One of their favorite targets is Wu Danhong, 33, an assistant professor at China University of Political Science and Law, who writes online under the name of "Wu Fatian." He has been nicknamed by netizens "the chief representative of the 50 cent party," a pejorative unofficial term for Internet commentators hired by the government to post comments that favor the government policies and who are reportedly paid 5 mao (50 cents in yuan) a post.

Some netizens believe Wu always speaks for the government, and he usually comes to the defense of the authorities when there is negative news.

So when Wu posted online on October 29 about the illegal demolition of his family house in his hometown, which he described as "the destruction of private property," his critics were cheerful. They left comments like "as a veteran fighter for Communism, you should sacrifice your life for the revolution, never mind your house," "this is karma for being a member of the 50 cent party" and the ironic "well, you have to put yourself into the governmentís shoes."

But Wu doesnít seem angered by the comments. "It doesnít really matter," Wu told the Global Times. "You donít need to explain to the people who understand you, and it's also useless to explain to the people who donít understand you."

A day later, he wrote on Weibo that "I am a victim of online verbal violence. I experienced domestic violence when I was a child as my parents were very strict with me; now I have been under attack online for years. I can say I am very strong now, both physically and mentally."

Closed down

Yet itís not only other netizens who are uncomfortable with Wuís words. On August 30, he suddenly found himself unable to post or comment on Weibo. He complained to the service manager, and he was told that it is probably because his posts "dealt too much with current politics." A day later, he was shocked to find out the number of his Weibo fans was rapidly declining and he was "forbidden" to follow others. 

Wu has a history of controversial posting, although he has a conventional background. He was born in a farming family in Yiwu, Zhejiang Province. After getting a doctoral degree from the Law School of Renmin University of China, he joined the China University of Political Science and Law.

Wu describes himself as a humble person in real life, who doesnít want to offend other peopleís sense of face. But online he seems like a different person, more aggressive and direct. 

He first became active on the Internet in 1998 when he started posting comments on a legal BBS. Since then the Internet has been an important part of his life. He set up his own blog in 2005. "My writings have circled around one idea, or one hope ó that one day those who observe the law will not be alone and isolated, that those who break the law will live in fear, and that the law enforcement process can promise fair trials and give us a society in which justice prevails," he once wrote. 

He registered on Weibo in April 2010, writing that "the rise of the microblog has revolutionary significance for freedom of speech in China."  But he soon became involved with a war of words. After village leader and local whistle blower Qian Yunhui from Zhejiang Province was crushed by a truck in December 2010, Wu found himself under fire for backing the local governmentís assertion that Qianís death had just been "an accident."

He also got involved in an online brawl with Zhao Lihua, a poet from Hebei Province. Wu pointed out that Zhao is the wife the Party Committee Secretary in Xianghe county in Hebei, and accused her of accumulating fashionable bags and designer clothes from her husbandís ill-gotten gains. Zhao was so upset that she made a list of all those who had come under attack from Wu, and challenged him to meet in person to argue.

Zhao isnít the only one whoís been called out by Wu. Yao Bo, a public affairs commentator, also invited Wu to "settle a spat in public" on October 7 at a gas station. Wu agreed to show up. But, no doubt to the disappointment of potential spectators, there was no fight, either physical or verbal. Instead a police car was summoned to the scene in case of an emergency. 

Wu also has a lot of supporters, with more than 85,000 followers on Weibo. In response to the attacks on Wu, they show support by telling him "You did nothing wrong but telling the truth." "Itís very common to have different opinions on Weibo. It is a free platform to express yourself. I speak the truth. I want to serve the truth, not to fight," he said.

Rumor-quashing efforts

Wu is also famous as the founder of an "anti-rumor alliance." The group, formed on May 18, has busted over 100 online rumors. Its slogan is "serving the truth." However, an editorial in the reform-minded Southern Metropolis Daily accused the group of "selectively busting rumors" and "only busting popular rumors, but not official ones" in order to "correct the guidance of public opinion."

In response to these accusations, Wu said the group cannot bust all the rumors. Instead they can only choose those that are widespread and most harmful if not stopped. "There are not many official rumors as the government understands that spreading rumors will make them lose credibility and cause public panic. Most of the rumors are popular ones that are very harmful to the society," Wu said.

Wu said debating with netizens has become part of his daily life. "To deal with people who have different opinions from you, I love to quote one of Chinese scholar Hu Xiís sayings. ĎForgiveness is more important than freedom.í"