Hundreds of protesters gathered Oct. 26-27 in the streets of Zhili, a township in Huzhou, northern Zhejiang Province, to demand an end to tax hikes and various local “fees.” One such tax includes a “machinery head tax” on factories. Many turned violent, smashing windows and setting fire to cars. Rioters attacked an Audi while it drove by, forcing the driver off the road and leading him to hit ten bystanders. Riot police were called in to quell the protests.
Hu Xijin, Chief Editor of the party newspaper Global Times, posted on his Sina Weibo account about an editorial on Oct. 28 titled “Whatever the reason, perpetrators of violence must be harshly punished.” Readers left angry comments about Hu’s “double standard” for protesters and government officials. Many compare the Huzhou riots to the assault on ordinary citizens attempting to visit Chen Guangcheng, an activist who has remained under house arrest since he finished serving a four-year prison sentence in September 2010.
Below are the comments on Sina Weibo responding to Hu.
XuwuSky99: I didn’t dare to comment before learning the truth of the incident, so I tried to search “Huzhou Tax Riot” on Sina Weibo, and… [“Huzhou Tax Riot” (湖州抗税) became a banned Sina Weibo search term soon after the riot.]
虚无天空99：在未了解事实真相之前我不敢妄加评论，于是我在微博上搜索“湖州抗税”，结果…… [“湖州抗税” is a banned Sina Weibo search keyword!]
Langligelang: I can’t even find the right word to describe you.
WallYiyuan: No taxation without representation? Not to mention that we have no rights and are still forced to pay more taxes? If we don’t cooperate, we’re just compelled [to pay]?
Papillonn: Are you afraid?
Kaqiushadehongqiuku: I support the protests against heavy taxation.
M—–O: It’s the right thing to say, but the order is reversed!!! Government officials should take responsibility first. You can’t chop off the heads of ordinary citizens at the first sign of a mistake… Is “serving the people” just a load of crap?
Amen’s Disciple: “The law is not a shield.”
Fan-tian: It seems that you’re punishing the guilty and the innocent indiscriminately while putting on an objective face. You know exactly where your butt is parked: who’s winning with whom?
ShuishouxingbadaRhp: rpReply to @CaoJiansheng: It’s as if a man was bitten by a tiger and a group of people then attack the tiger, only for those people to be punished instead of the tiger! What’s going on? And why?
Ziyou-SH: By the looks of these comments, the public’s praise for Editor Hu is not so good.
PunishGuangcheng: The major and minor issues here are getting confused. The government hasn’t been held accountable and officials haven’t been punished. Even killing all the troublemakers wouldn’t solve anything. Before talking to the people about the law, shouldn’t the government abide by the law first?
YeXiaoting: How have the two officials mentioned in the last two sentences been penalized?
ZhongweiLuowen: On July 23 I didn’t hear you call for accountability, I only heard you call for everyone to continue supporting the high-speed rail.
CoffeeAddictLife: Editor Hu, let’s see if you can gather a crowd of hundreds.
BlackClothesClerk (黑大衣总书记)：go fuck yourself, asshole
HumbleThoughts: Editor Hu has turned a blind eye to the violent crackdown of Chen Guangcheng’s visitors!!!! Do you mean to say the violence here shouldn’t be investigated? Go back to your shitty Global Times.
ShaLao’er: You’ve blocked every route. There’s nowhere left to go! And under these circumstances you add such heavy taxes. I support the protesters.
MaiErsi: Are you scared? Though you may jump for joy today, tomorrow you’ll have bills to pay. Isn’t violent revolution the most effective tool of the proletariat? [Do you remember] who said that? You’re from the propertied class, aren’t you?
vBabylonv: People curse Chief Hu’s words most of the time. For the minority, does Chief Hu command the truth? Over more than half a year of examination, Chief Hu’s thinking still seems to be nothing special…
Wu Youmiao Ponders Chinese Higher Education: Fifty-Cent Hu, when injustice becomes the law, resistance becomes an obligation. Get it?
吴有淼思考中国高等教育：胡五毛 当不义成为法律时 抵抗就成为义务 你懂不 ？
QinweiViviXie (沁薇ViviXie)：sure… but the problem is that the Global Times is just full of bullshit, nobody even cares what you guys say seriously dude… full of propaganda bs…
ChenfengShuming: A Global Times editorial published on the 28th said: “Whatever the reason, perpetrators of violence must be harshly punished.” This means that no matter how I bribe, break the law, do violence, or steal… You want a protest dealt with according to the law.
Wen-Ruhua: You’re always talking about the present conditions! The people are just a bunch of bums, even individual rights aren’t protected. What present conditions are you talking about?
MayIBeAngry: I’ll never read your retarded, brain-washed Global Times [again]
ZhangZhihan5028: When the people violate the law you lecture them on the law, but when the country disregards the law and uses violence on the people, you just talk about the state of the nation. (Propaganda bullshit should not be exploited by Western influence.)
madewildatheart: Forward this weibo: If you talk to him about the law, he’ll violate you; if you violate him, he’ll talk to you about the law.
EastSpringWaterggp: The state has not yet established transparency, nor does it allow citizens to restrict the government’s abuse of power or to ensure the impartiality of the courts. What right do you have to invoke the law so sanctimoniously? How can matters proceed according to the law?
ResoluteRocknRoll: Whenever anything happens the first thing the authorities do is cut off the information flow. Then they send the Fifty Centers to sway public opinion! It goes like this again and again.
XiangwangShaolin: Always invoke the rights of the state to violate the rights of the individual, did I get that right?
Shrew’s Dad Chen Chao: Oh yes, right, “Whatever the reason, perpetrators of violence must be harshly punished.” May I ask when those brutes in “East Skeleton” (Dongshigu) will be punished?
Zhang Family Circle: You let the officials set a fire, but forbid the people to light a lamp! Everyone’s just venting their dissatisfaction with the government. They haven’t torn down any houses, occupied any land, and they certainly haven’t shut anyone in the insane asylum~The party’s paper really is just the party’s paper. It makes a farce of life, just like CCTV news!
IdealWings: You little shit, you say nothing about the government collecting the machinery head tax, nothing about the machinery head tax doubling. That’s what lead to the tax protest. You’ve twisted the story，you dog-banger!
XiaojieziJ: Please find the real thugs.
duan003: Forward this weibo: Look at how you treat the cases of Linyi and Huzhou. Is the law a waistband you can relax and tighten?
boao_zhong: If you you could look at the violence government-hired gangsters have visited on Chen Guangcheng and say, “Whatever the reason, perpetrators of violence must be harshly punished,” and don’t just say it’s the village environment and the state of the country [that’s to blame], then I would believe you.
Matt’s Bacon: Why haven’t they punished the people who beat up Chen Guangcheng? Where did you come up with your double standard?
IsAnyoneStillNamedLiYaning: Why violence? Because are other routes have dead-ended.
PoetKnight: It’s all over. There’s no one left to trust…