- Registration time
- Last login
- Online time
- 356 Hour
- Reading permission
“Cut off the foreign snake heads. People who can’t find jobs in the U.S. and Europe come to China to grab our money, engage in human trafficking, and spread deceitful lies to encourage emigration. Foreign spies seek out Chinese girls to mask their espionage and pretend to be tourists while compiling maps and GPS data for Japan, Korea, and the West. We kicked out that foreign @@@ and closed Al Jazeera’s Beijing bureau. We should shut up those who demonize China and send them packing.”|
Yang Rui appeared to soften his tone slightly in a follow-up posting two days later. “Sweeping out the foreign trash is necessary,” he wrote on May 18. However, China “should be on guard against xenophobia and the perversions of the Boxer movement,” Yang wrote, referencing the violent anti-foreigner crusade that swept China from 1899 to 1901.
“Yang Rui is not a loose cannon. For him to say this suggests he feels like what he is saying is supported by the people above him,” says Beijing-based independent Internet analyst Bill Bishop. “You see all kinds of concerns expressed about hostile foreign forces now. There seems to be a shift toward telling Chinese they must watch out for foreigners. I think it is going to be a long, hot summer, in more ways than one. It just feels strange.”
U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke has also gotten pulled into the melee. The state-owned Beijing Daily in an editorial in early May criticized Locke, citing not only his embassy’s decision to shelter blind activist Chen Guangcheng for six days, but also questioning the ambassador’s motivations for acting like a man of the people, citing his decision to travel economy class, carry his own suitcases, and use coupons to purchase Starbucks coffee. (Chinese netizens earlier praised Locke for his humble attitude, comparing it unfavorably with their own leaders’ tendencies.)
“Is he trying to improve the Sino-US relationship or using any means to pick faults and make trouble, which might create new and wider gaps between China and the US?” the Beijing Daily editorial asked rhetorically on May 4.
After that editorial was scrubbed from China’s Internet, the Beijing Daily posted a microblog on May 14, asking Locke to declare his salary and assets, and reposted a microblogger’s comments on the ambassador, perhaps trying to defuse public anger over widespread beliefs that Chinese officials hide luxurious lifestyles funded by corrupt activities. “Gary Locke lives in the US embassy which costs billions of US dollars. He commutes in a bullet-proof limousine,” the microblogger reposted by Beijing Daily wrote, adding: “Can this be called modesty? And why does Gary Locke not announce these facts to the public. … So cut the show of incorruptibility!”
That effort, however, seems to have boomeranged after the U.S. government quickly posted online Locke’s salary ($179,700 plus $30,000 education subsidy for each of his three children) and assets (worth between $2.35 million and $8.12 million). That spawned an impassioned debate among Chinese netizens discussing why Chinese officials still don’t publicly declare their personal assets. Many government officials in China are now required to report their assets to the Communist Party, but those figures are not released publicly.
“China is unique among the big countries where such law [on public disclosure of official assets] does not exist,” wrote one commenter on the People’s Daily Online English website on May 16. “Even in Taiwan, leaders do not stand above the law. [Chen Shui-bian], the former head of Taiwan is locked up in prison for corruption,” the commenter identified as Fat-Chun Leung Ki wrote. “The lack of such [law] in China allows leaders to perpetuate their crime.”
“Things are very unsettled in China right now and people are feeling frustrated,” says James McGregor, senior counselor at Apco Worldwide in Beijing. “In China, it is easier to express your frustrations toward foreigners than toward the government. For some in the government, pointing fingers at foreigners is better than having them pointing back in your direction.”