An Unflattering Contrast
To @花生豆不逗, the contrast could not have been clearer: "From an ocean away, as soon as the American shooting
occurred we speedily learned the number of dead and the whereabouts of the killer. In our own country, we can't hear anything about [the Guangshan attack].
American children died, the President cried; [let's say that was just] a show, the Chinese children don't even get that!"
Han Zhiguo (@韩志国), an economist with a gift for common talk once banned from Weibo for his
often-strident posts, wrote:
"In an instant, information about the deadly gun attack in an American school that claimed 28 victims blanketed Chinese media. The majority was
headline news. On the same day, there was a campus attack in Henan province's Guangshan county, in which 22 students were injured with lacerations,
with seven seriously injured enough to be sent to the hospital. Mainstream media seemed deaf and dumb to it; you could only find information about it
on Weibo. Was mainstream media's differing attitudes [toward the two incidents] because Chinese children's lives aren't valuable?"
Han's complaint quickly became one of them most discussed on the Weibo platform, with over 138,000 re-posts and 19,000 comments as of this writing.
Weibo users could not help but agree, siding with Han and vociferously rejecting the mainstream media's implicit interpretation of the contrasting events.
Many felt the dueling coverage was part of a pattern, with Chinese media "avoiding scandals at home, putting all of their effort into publicizing scandals
abroad." @谭孟子 angrily wrote, "Chinese media always revolves around this theme: Chinese people are happy, and
people in every other country in the world are living in dire straits. ... Why is the Chinese media not focusing on the destinies of our own people with the
same enthusiasm they are showing toward the news out of the U.S.?"
Murong Xuecun (@韩志国), an acclaimed writer, voiced a theory as to the disparate treatment: "China
and the U.S. had campus tragedies at the same time; the relevant organs issued orders prohibiting reportage on the scandal at home. Therefore, with much
fanfare, every newspaper and television station began to report on the U.S. massacre, with retrospectives, summaries, analyses, finally saying together in
one voice: Look at this evil capitalism!"
Web users appeared to offer competing, if equally cynical, interpretations for why Chinese officialdom was so tight-lipped about the Guangshan attack. Many
agreed that officials may have downplayed domestic news because they were interested in "protecting their rice bowls" than getting at the truth. @ 路过月亮的石头 wrote, "American officials can only remain in their positions by facing this matter; Chinese leaders can
only keep their posts by avoiding it!"
Some commenters perceived an implicit, high-level calculation of the relative value of an American and Chinese child. @ 3颗豆 ventured a guess at the media's strategy: "It seems they are trying to say: Look, look! This is the price
of freedom. I say: Look how little I must be worth." @党好啊 looked at the relative wealth of the two schools,
writing, "The American school may have a future U.S. President in it; that school in Guangshan probably doesn't even have a county boss." Indeed, @ 无为之路通罗马 echoed a widely-held sentiment, writing that the disparate treatment occurred "because the high
leaders' sons and daughters are all in the United States."