There’s a tug-of-war occurring on Weibo today surrounding a post originally forwarded 20,000 times before being deleted by censors. That post has since been re-uploaded by numerous other accounts and is now once again being forwarded en masse. In the post are four pictures showing PLA soldiers occupying a large section of the Tianjin Train Station (including numerous empty seats), along with text arguing that soldiers should serve the people and not be “seat hoggers.”
The original post (since deleted) read as follows:
[People love the People’s Army, and they love of people] On December 11, 8:00 pm, Tianjin Railway Station, section C: A large number of troops suddenly burst into the waiting room area, forcing all the waiting passengers to leave their seats. Nearly a hundred officers and men swaggered in carrying baggage and occupied much of the waiting area. There were even sentinels posted, and though many areas had vacancies, passengers were not allowed to sit! People had no alternative but to sit on the cold floor. These soldiers need to understand the masses on the ground are their future!
The post received 20,000 forwards and over 6,000 comments, rising to be one of the most forwarded posts of the day before it was eventually deleted. Before being deleted, however, it received a response from @中国军网国防社区 (China’s online military forum) with a rebuttal:
They are new recruits, the train station was playing its role in serving the national interest, and passengers have an obligation to assist. Usually train stations will have a corresponding waiting room for military personnel, the train station management must not have prepared properly. Moreover, from the third picture, it’s really not like no one was able to move around. And in the fourth picture, something anyone who’s rode a train before knows, every train station everywhere has this kind of situation.
While the last point definitely holds water, many netizens are unhappy with the military’s brazen “above-the-people” attitude, and have responded particularly loudly to the deletion of the first post by attempting to repost it as many times as possible. The highest post we’ve found currently has 1,200 forwards and 400 comments, but individual accounts are also reposting like crazy with the story getting over 200,000 mentions thus far.