There have been quite a few violent confrontations between the authorities and the “unwitting” Chinese people recently. From Hanyuan in Sichuan to Wanzhou in Chongqing, from Dongyang in Zhejiang to Chizhou in Anhui (and many such incidents before), offical reports and protrayal of such abrupt outburst of popular protest have acquired a fixed pattern: a small group of thugs or instigators spread rumor and the broad masses are deceived.
For those who are interested in the most recent Chizhou incident, please take a look at three articles the Carter Center has translated:
1) Chizhou daily editorial: stability outweighs everything–this was the official editorial that has fueled the anger of the people in Chizhou after the incident took place; at the end of the editorial, there are comments made by the netizens and they are a good indication of the disgust of the people on this kind of editorial;
2)Ordinary incident leads to smashing, looting and burning–this is the official report of the incident by the chizhou daily; and
3)Why are the masses always so “unwitting”?–this is a comment at a Beijing web site on the chizhou report, repudiating the official view of the incident.
These three articles have cast light on how local governments in China are trying to control the situation and how it is becoming more and more difficult to control this kind of outbursts. In fact, the Internet has played a very important role in sharpening the popular awareness of the injustice commmited by the government. Chen Xiwen’s recent comment on getting to find bad deeds of the locla officials from the Internet is quite remarkable an admission of how top leaders are been shielded from the reality by local officials.