It was surely an exciting night for Chinese netizens last night when Xinhua, the official news agency of China, announced that Bo Xilai, who has been the center of recent political drama in Beijing, was removed from both the Politburo and the Central Committee of the CCP; and that Bo’s wife, Bugo Kailai, was arrested for the death of British man Neil Heywood. Netizens on Sina Weibo have been talking since and trying to make sense of the recent twists of events that could surprise the best playwright.
Among the different voices, one particular stream can be summarized in one question, that is, “what if it wasn’t a Briton that got killed?” At the heart of the question is the long-existing dissatisfaction with Chinese government’s favorable treatments of foreigners vs. its own citizens.
As 睡不着的熊猫 asked, “What if a Chinese, instead of a Briton, died? How will the case be handled?” “It’s always better-off to be a foreigner in China. In Wuhan, the lost bike of a Japanese was found by police in just one day. In Nanking, the lost smartphone of a HK resident was found by police in 20 minutes. In Chongqing, a Briton was dead and a member of the Politburo was down,” commented 梦遗唐朝. “More than a hundred years have passed, a foreigner’s life is still worth more in China,” echoed 火星企鹅的外层世界.
晶晶的小确幸 said it more blatantly, “To kill one Briton is more severe than killing 100 Chinese. That is what it means by ‘All men are equal before the law’ in China.” 杨恒均的微博_nub shared the same view, “The death of a Briton brought down a Politburo member? What a move! Even Western countries must be surprised. I don’t want to know what else is behind the story, but I do wish that every Chinese who has been wronged by corruption, who died of unspeakable reasons and who has been tortured by those in power, is able to receive the same amount of attention from the government as this Briton does.”
“The death of a Briton opened the doors of political reform in China. What if an American was killed…?” 李伟江 further asked. “It has nothing to do with rule of law. The emphasis was on ‘Briton’ or ‘American’,” explained 爱在围脖漫延时.
The scenario also immediately reminds some netizens of similar events in China’s history. 菊花在风中飘 said, “In 19th century, Britons came to China to do business; and there were some disputes of ‘economic interests’; and then the Opium War started and Qing was game over. A hundred years later, another Briton came to China to do business; and there were also disputes of ‘economic interests’. I don’t dare to image what will happen next.” “A Briton shook our entire country. Doesn’t it sound familiar?” killbig asked. 转不晕 added, “July 7 Incident of 1937 when a Japanese solider was lost, Japanese troops crossed over Lugou Bridge and started China invasion. March 15 incident of 2012 when a British spy died, the US won the velvet revolution and started the United Stated of China.”
Some others went for sarcasm, as netizens in China always do. 掬水月在手coco joked, “A Briton flew thousands of miles to China and sacrificed his life for China’s anti-corruption cause. What a great Communism fighter!” 晨博哥 added: “Most powerful weapons against corruption in China are 1) mistresses, 2) complicities in conflict of getting a fair share, and most recently on list, 3) foreigners.”
“Let more Britons die in China, “went on caoxg. 几元几次 commented, “It is a shame that the resolution of our internal affairs was triggered by a foreigner.” And it was a point of enlightenment for 刘春龙微博, “A Briton was killed. Though the murderer was a super high-ranking government official, law still ruled and justice was paid. No wonder so many Chinese want to immigrate and get a foreign passport – smart decision.”