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qīshí ma | 70码

“I was only going 70!” (source unknown)
Vigil for Tan Zhuo at the scene of his death (Guangzhou Daily)

Speed at which the Hangzhou police first reported a young man’s sports car was moving when he ran over a pedestrian in May 2009; crux of netizen outrage about the incident.

On May 7, 2009, Hu Bin, driving a Mitsubishi sports car, ran over Tan Zhuo as he was crossing the street at a crosswalk in Hangzhou. In the police report, officers wrote that Hu’s car was moving at “about 70 kph” (43 mph), but onlookers believed the car had been traveling at least 100 kph (62 mph). Additionally, the driver of the car was a member of the rich second generation, while the victim was a young college student from a working class family. This led netizens to suspect that the driver’s wealth influenced the police report, and prompted them to let loose their built-up resentment towards those who use their wealth and government connections for personal gain.

Perhaps because of the public outcry or the circumstances of the accident (the collision sent Tan Zhuo flying five meters [16.5 feet] high and 20 meters [65.5 feet] forward), the police department changed its estimate of Hu Bin’s speed to 100 kph, prosecuted him for the traffic accident, and sentenced him to a three-year jail term.

The event is parodied in the viral video “War of Internet Addiction,” in which the speedometer of one character’s motorcycle is designed to never display a speed higher than 70 kph. This incident also inspired netizens to add the horse of deception to the pantheon of mythical creatures.

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