After Flood, Logic with Chinese Characteristics

After Flood, Logic with Chinese Characteristics

While netizens focus on the floods in Beijing, the state-run media has pointedly avoided the situation. The day after torrential rains crippled the capital, six newspapers ran the following headline from a speech by President Hu Jintao, as capturing in an image on Weibo:

The Whole Party and the People of Every Nationality in the Country Unite with Speed and Force, Forging Valiantly Down the Mighty Path of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics

全党全国各族人民更加紧密地团结起来 沿着中国特色社会主义伟大道路奋勇前进

No mention of Beijing’s floods in the Sunday edition of (from top left) People’s Daily, Economic Daily, Guangming Daily, PLA Daily, China Youth Daily or People’s Daily overseas edition.

Independent media are struggling to get the story out. Tweeter @MissXQ reports that eight pages of flood coverage have been censored from Southern Weekend. Weibo is being scrubbed, too. On Monday, over 7.4 million posts contained the terms “Beijing” and “torrential rain” (暴雨). Today, that number has dwindled to 50,000 and change. From the comments captured beyond the Great Firewall, it’s easy to see why the censors are so hard at work. There is great public anger of Beijing’s ageing sewer system, lack of emergency preparedness, and dearth of real news:

Whenever there’s a major disaster, the first to fire officials is South Korea; the first to have officials resign is Japan; the first to give a speech is the U.S.; the first to have its prime minister resign is Italy; the first to admit responsibility is the Taliban; the first to arrest migrant workers, put its leaders on a pedestal, and beg for donations is—hey! I won’t tell you even if you kill me!


Another sardonic Weibo post:

Is it logical for rain in a nation’s capital to kill so many citizens? Is it logical not to apologize when so many compatriots have died? Is it logical for the most heavily taxed country not to have the money for sewers? Is it logical for the millionaires of the imperial court to beg for donations? Is it logical, given all that’s happened, for the media to pour their energy into reporting on the shooting in the U.S.? Of course it’s logical, because there are two types of logic: the logic of the world, and logic with Celestial Empire characteristics.

一 国之都下场雨死那么多同胞,符合逻辑么?死那么多同胞没人出来道歉,符合逻辑么?全球纳税最多没钱修下水道,符合逻辑么?三公消费数千亿却号召募捐,符合 逻辑么?国家出了那么大的事,新闻却集中火力讨论美国枪杀案,符合逻辑么?当然合逻辑,因为逻辑分两种,一种是普世逻辑,另一种是天朝特色逻辑。

Every country has its corruption, every ruling body its endemic failures. But state-run media flogging the Colorado shooting hasn’t kept netizens from drawing comparisons to “China’s Katrina”:

QuietYukiWorld: China Can’t Fly Flag at Half Mast: On July 20, President Obama ordered all American flags flown at half mast for six days in mourning for the victims of the Colorado shooting. Some ask why China didn’t fly its flags at half mast after so many people died in the high-speed train crash. The brutal truth is that if we did that, we would also have to do the same for the Tianjin fire. And what about all the mining accidents? If we did it for everything, the flag would never be f**king raised!

默晓晓yuki小宇宙:【中国不能降半旗】7月20日,美国总统奥巴马下令全美降半旗6天,向科罗拉多枪击案死难者致哀。有人问:动车事故死了那么多人,中 国政府为什么不降半旗?暴强回答是:动车事故降半旗,天津大火就要降半旗,矿难事故还降不降?都降的话~那国旗一年365天就别TM升了!

Anonymous Weibo posts via CDT Chinese. Read more flood coverage here.

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