A kerfuffle between a Global Times journalist and a reporter in his hometown has turned up the heat on the state newspaper. Global Times English writer Zhang Zhilong called China Business News’ Wang Wai in Xi’an when his mother was hit by an unmarked car. Few netizens showed sympathy for Zhang, whose state-run employer is often the target of ridicule online.
Enter Hu Xijin, Chief Editor of Global Times and a favorite punching bag of Weibo users. Hu weighed in on the Weibo spat between Zhang and Wang [zh] and the ensuing rage at his paper on the evening of May 28, calling out “big Vs” (popular Weibo users with verified accounts) for fanning the flames:
@胡锡进: An evening chat. Muckraking posts that expose people’s secrets and posts that unfairly label people always get hot on Weibo. Wait and see, Weibo’s big Vs will prove themselves incorrigible. How many people are flawless? How many can withstand libelous public opinion? You speak ill of me, I’ll speak ill of you, and in the end there won’t be any decent people left on Weibo. A contribution to the dress-rehearsal in “democracy.”
This post has disappeared from Hu’s account, but not this second snipe at his critics from May 29:
@胡锡进: This afternoon, @王文 [Wang Wen] returned to give a lecture at Global Times English after leaving the paper four months ago to establish @人大重阳 [Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Remin University], where he has already enjoyed initial success. He spoke about the cumulative effect of eight years at Global Times, including the many scholars and friends he met and the contacts and experiences here that enabled him start his new project. His former colleagues gave him a round of applause. Finally, one person mentioned that on Weibo, many people curse us, and everyone laughed. [Source]
今天下午@王文 回环球时报英文版讲课，他4个月前离开了报社，主持@人大重阳 的创建，如今他已经有了最初的成就。他讲了环球时报8年对他人生的重要积累，包括他交了那么多学者朋友，这些人脉和经验助推了他的新事业。他的英文版前同 事们报以掌声，笑声。最后有人提到微博上有人骂我们，大家又笑了。
Commenters on this second weibo were hardly laughing:
@封新城: I’m a “small V” who can’t get popular, but I’m scared of this post.
@羊肉88串: Have a publicly televised debate, see who laughs and who cries. But this won’t be allowed, and everybody understands why.
@就是要学习2012: Editor Hu, isn’t your performance evaluated according to how much people curse you online? The louder the scolding, the greater your contribution. You all use the weight behind your social status to cover up your present interests. Understandable.
@蚂蚁爬上树: Finally, someone mentioned that on Weibo, many people curse us, and everyone wiped the spittle from their faces and laughed happily…
@风之杀小童鞋: Okay, so at Global Times English, you enjoy a higher degree of free speech than they do over at Nanfang.
@郑一红: This is what it means to have confidence in the path!
A reference to the three confidences.
@西海的方向: If Editor Hu really paid no attention to the criticism of netizens, then he wouldn’t have given us this type of Ah Q response. You always pay a price when you sell your soul for money and status. Let’s hope that this Ah Q spirit can allow Editor Hu to forget the unease in his heart as he holds the frisbee in his mouth, allowing his spirit and mind some peace.
@冷月看江湖: When you squat at the main entrance, everyone smiles.