A rare and titillating show of confrontation between a local government and central government forces played out soon after the high-profile Wenzhou train collision. And if sentiment on Sina Weibo is anything to go by, it’s Wenzhou Government 1: Ministry of Railways 0.
One version of the story that has been widely circulated alleges that demands by officials from the railways ministry to quickly bury the train compartments met with the vehement objections of key figures in the Wenzhou Party committee and municipal government.
They sent policemen to the crash site with orders to arrest anyone found trying to bury the train carriages, and it was because of the actions of the Wenzhou government that a bigger crisis was averted, so the story goes. Many arguments are said to have taken place because Wenzhou’s top priority was saving lives and the railway ministry’s priority was getting the railway line up and running again. Eventually, however, it was the ministry that won the battle and gained control of the crash site.
Police officer Shao Yerong has been hailed as a people’s hero for defying orders to clear trains
Shao Yerong (邵曳戎), the head of the special forces unit at the Wenzhou PSB, has been hailed by netizens as a hero for his disobedience on the ground.
Said Shao to the Wenzhou City News《都市快报》, “That afternoon I received orders to bring the train carriages on the track down to the foot of the bridge for clearing. I refused and said we would continue to work on the carriages on the railway track or wherever they are. What would we do if there was still life in any of the trains? What would we say to their families? I held fast to my ground, but I also faced a lot of pressure. In the end, we received clearance from the command central to continue working on the carriages in their original locations.”
This ultimately led to the rescue of two-year-old toddler Xiang Weiyi many hours after the railway ministry claimed there were no more signs of life in any of the trains. When pressed by reporters for an explanation, railways ministry spokesman Wang Yongping (王勇平) said it was a “miracle”.
Wenzhou Vice Mayor, Chen Hao, is said to have entered a fist fight in the heat of a dispute with Railways Ministry officials
Zhang adds that the Wenzhou government would later showed its displeasure at the railways ministry’s catastrophic bungling of the crisis at the city’s expense by closing one eye to the protest sitdowns and roadblocks organised by grieving families, as well as the spontaneous mass gathering of Wenzhou residents on Century Square.