In the wake of a day of mourning this Sunday that everyone — well, almost everyone ((How fired do you think the People’s Daily editor responsible for that front page is right now? Our guess: very fired.)) — observed, a heated discussion of the mudslide has broken out on, of all places, Boston.com. As several people reported on Twitter yesterday, the comments thread of the site’s remarkable photo gallery has been essentially taken over by Chinese, who are using it as a public (uncensored) forum to discuss the disaster.
If you need it, check this post out (or this one) for a quick review of what the “Fifty Cents Party” [aka wu mao dang] is. As you will see, this is a very important term to understand when approaching this discussion.
We have translated some of their comments (a fair number of the comments are also written in English, so feel free to check those out as well):
“A heavy rain was the cause of this disaster, so why are there once again so many fake foreign devils [Chinese acting like foreigners] cursing the government. You are not patriotic, you’re just speaking in farts.”
“Some disasters are unavoidable; others are avoidable. In the eternal struggle between humans and nature, we must also protect ourselves against the kinds of officials who sit on high positions but do not look after the safety of the people. These kind of officials are monsters who create disasters themselves.”
Commenter Lesley Liu：
“As a Chinese, I cry for those who have died, and at the same time as I pray for blessings, I also very much admire our nation’s ruling Party. Really! Perhaps in the eyes of foreigners who don’t understand China, China is a one-Party authoritarian state, but aside from the CCP, who else could have helped us develop so quickly and shake off poverty and deliver such unprecedented growth? Who else can respond so quickly and throughly when their people are suffering? Also, the Chinese Communist Party really protects the rights and dignity of the Chinese people, and doesn’t allow any unfriendly forces to threaten its people. I’m so thankful and proud. My home province of Jilin was one of eight provinces hit by flooding, and our school was in a difficult spot by the riverside. I want to tell you that we are all fine, we have not been affected at all, we lack nothing, and many of our classmates have gone to the disaster areas to volunteer. China is not like you think she is. Only after coming here will you understand her.”
“I’m a Party member, so what? Only the Party can put the entire force of the nation in motion to aid the victims; as for those thug traitors yelling here [on this website], you really make people angry, we must stand firm against these kinds of turncoat running dogs!!!”
“Are there people who organized to come here and say good things about the CCP? That’s very weird, this is an English website, what’s the point of saying this stuff in Chinese? If you want to compliment [the CCP] go back to the Strong Nation forums. You guys like having “lots of disasters” to reinvigorate the country, right, so there must be lots of hotheads at Strong Nation responding to this…”
“Stupid cunt Fifty Cents Party members, take a break. And don’t try to connect everything with “the wheel” ((Slang for a certain cult that’s banned in China.)). You’re dogs the CCP raised, and would risk your lives to rush to their defense. It’s a shame netizens aren’t stupid, looking back on the history of extensive deforestation during the Great Leap Forward, it’s very easy to see that this disaster was caused by people. Lastly, I hope you Fifty Centers’ families get vaccinated, drink poison milk, eat sewage oil, and die playing hide-and-go-seek.”
“In the face of disaster, let us be hand-in-hand, and share the same heart!”
“If you call this a ‘natural disaster’, old man Nature is going to feel like he’s been wronged.”
“Taiwanese people: fuck off.”
“The tragedy of China does not lie in government corruption. It lies in the way that Chinese look down on other Chinese! It lies in the fact that Chinese people do not trust in their own Party! Be a Chinese person, be a CCP member! I am very proud! I pride myself on [being a Party member]! I experienced the 5.12 earthquake! When you were eating and drinking happily! Who was it that led China through this disaster? Please do not say bad things about the CCP! I know how much the CCP cares for us, the masses! I hope the people of Zhouqu can rise up and create a beautiful hometown again. And I hope the dead rest in peace!”
“There are many Fifty Cents Party members here, please pay attention to this.”
“What a bunch of stupid cunts, on here making a racket, you guys are the ones who should have been killed in a mudslide.”
Commenter athony lee：
“Notification to the “wheel” ((See the footnote above.)) members and overseas Chinese reactionaries here: If you did not cry on the memorial day, you are definitely not Chinese. I think those of you attacking the Party are definitely not Chinese. Why don’t you all get the fuck out of China, you aren’t Chinese. The process of China strengthening does not require non-Chinese people like you.”
“I came here to ask, didn’t the government know that there was the threat of mudslides here?”
“The real Party members are on the scene in Gansu helping the relief effort. The people yelling here are just shameless idiots who think they’re Party bosses, scheming troublemakers, and disruptive FLG members.”
Clearly, Chinese netizens know how to make themselves right at home on American BBS servers. This is a good reminder that not all the political discourse on the internet is as intelligent and rational as most of the stuff we post.
The main question here, really, is whether this was a “man-made” disaster or not. I tend to believe massive deforestation could certainly be dangerous, but I am not an expert on mudslides, so we welcome your comments. Man-made, natural, or both?