Today, Meng Jianzhu, secretary of China’ s Central Politics and Law Commission, openly urged government officials to be more active on the country’s various social media platforms – not only are officials encouraged to open accounts on QQ (instant messaging service), Wechat (texting and chatting app on smartphones) and Weibo (China’s Twitter), they are also encouraged to keep those accounts alive.
On the same day, Chen Xiaoming, vice governor of the southern province of Guizhou who runs one of the country’s “model government official Weibo accounts”, hit his first wall of online public outrage.
In response to the news about today’s Miami shooting rampage, Chen asked: “Why another shooting rampage in the US?” A netizen asked “Why another chengguan violence in China?” in return (Chengguan are China’s urban law enforcement officers known for bullying street vendors). And below is how Chen came back at the question:
“There are people who want nothing more than hyping up problems in their own country. They are used to making a big deal out of every problem that has occurred. But we seldom hear [from them] about problems in the heaven-like US. And it’s a shooting rampage that killed innocent people.”
Thus the argument went on. To reinforce that he wasn’t kidding, Chen said:
“These people curse their own country every day, and yet they continue to stay rather than moving to the US. They should go! Hurry up! I firmly support them to go. But before moving to the US, please get some plastic surgery so that people won’t recognize that you are Chinese.”
“These people don’t love their own country. They feel upset about being a Chinese. So let them move to the US. The faster the better. [They are] scum!” Chen went on.
Such sentiment, in fact, isn’t uncommon to see on the Chinese Internet. What makes this case special is that Chen is the vice governor of Guizhou province, not just another “brain-washed” netizen.
Many netizens saw Chen’s comments as completely “politically incorrect.” Some pointed out the hypocrisy behind his argument. After all, China is known for producing the so-called “naked officials” – officials who accumulate wealth back in China through corruption while their entire family are living overseas.
Some even called for an investigation into Chen’s family wealth to see whether he is one of the “naked officials” whose entire family is living in the US. In response, Chen said: “Please investigate!”
Chen’s outspoken-ness and candidness also won his some supporters. A vice provincial governor is a pretty high-ranking official in China. Chen is one of the very few officials at that level who even has a Weibo account in the first place. What makes Chen a “star government official account” is that he has posted over 5000 Weibo posts so far and has successfully kept a follower base of more than 260,000. Apparently, he is serious about being active on social media.
Some of his supporters urged netizens to forget about his rank and treat him as an ordinary netizen. Like writer 大国师王威 commented: “A vice provincial governor puts aside his rank and speaks his true minds online. It shows his sincerity even if his ‘true mind’ was wrong. Who never spoke anything stupid online? The vice governor acted like an ordinary netizen, but netizens didn’t forget about his rank. To pick at him is to force our officials to lose their human side. I like an official who dares to speak stupid things. In China, the worst officials are those who forever speak the right thing.”