The devastating rain in Beijing on July 21 has lead to deadly flash floods across Beijing metropolitan area and left 37 dead so far. News has it that the death toll in Fangshan, the most severely affected surburb, is even bigger. Two days after the disaster, Beijing government issued a call for disaster relief donations. Chinese netizens’ reaction to the donation call can very well be summarized in two words, “f@ck off”.
Beijing heavy rain warning
Negative comments to the donation call on Sina Weibo were so overwhelming that all comments to donation call posts were deleted only after a few hours.
News about Beijing government’s call for donations.
Intructions on how to donate by Beijing Civil Affairs Bureau.
Part of the reason for such aversion was because all the corruption scandals happened around China Red Cross. The assumption is that donation money will go into corrupted officials’ personal accounts rather than into the hands of people affected by the disaster. Like netizen way得用 commented; “I donate so that Guo Meimei can buy another Louis Vuitton bag?” (Guo Meimei is the mistress of a high-ranking official at China Red Cross. Her action of showing-off her lavish lifestyle online started all the scandals around China Red Cross last year and brought its credibility to history low. For detailed story on Guo Meimei, click here)
But a bigger reason is that netizens think it’s ridiculous for such a rich government to ask its people to donate for disaster relief. As a popular post commented: “You are so generous when it comes to foreign aids and loads. Yet within your own boarders, you let the people to shoulder your responsibility and force them to donate. So voracious and dirty. F@ck donation!”
A sample of netizens’ reactions to the donation call:
秦小暖的旅程: “You [the government] gave billions to foreign countries for nothing and how dare you ask us to donate for your drainage problem? Where are the officials?”
incredible_s: “Beijing government, let me ask you this. Are people without Beijing Hukou allowed to donate? What about people who haven’t paid local taxes for 5 consecutive years?” [There are many restrictions for people without Beijing hukou or without tax certificate to buy property or car plate in Beijing. Without a Beijing Hukou, one cannot even send their kids to local public schools without spend large amount of money.]
走c带你私奔: “Why ask us to donate? The government is full of RMB.”
@子在圳上曰 : “1. Donations should be initiated bottom-up, not top-down by the government. 2. Beijing must have disaster relief budget. If not enough, local government should pay. There is no reason to ask for donation from the people. 3. Beijing residents are the victims of this disaster. Instead of focusing on relief efforts, the government asks these people to donate?!”
童话之上: “Beijing government called for donation. But instead of money, they got a millions of curses.”
极品菜刀: “Donate for Beijing? Beijing is never short of rich people…and high-ranking officials. It’s a joke to ask Lao Bai Xing (an ordinary person) to donate for them.”
良言狂语: “School admissions need Beijing Hukou. Does donation require Beijing Hukou?”
华尔街六年: “Beijing government called for donation. I’d rather die than to donate. Beijing is full of rich people. Beijing is full of people in power. If the government has the money to give away to foreign countries, why not spare some for the people at its capital?”
立地成魔2012: “Regarding the donation call, the only thing I want to say is sorry. I don’t have a Beijing Hukou and never enjoyed any privileges that a Beijinger can enjoy. I’m only a secondary citizen with no money. My donation won’t be enough for you (corrupted officials) to buy a pack of cigarette.”