By Ma Huaqing
In the recent wave of widespread anti-Japan protests across China, the last thing you want is to be seen in a wrong car, at the wrong place and at the wrong time.
51-year-old Xi’an resident Li Jianli used to be the economic pillar of his family. But now he can only lie motionlessly in the neurosurgery department in hospital.
On September 15, Li drove his Toyota Corolla and brought his wife, his eldest son and future daughter-in-law to purchase construction materials in the morning. On their way home in the afternoon, they encountered anti-Japan protestors on Huancheng West Road.
Considering usual locations where anti-Japan protests were staged in Xi’an in the past, they initially thought it would be safe outside the ancient city walls then. Unfortunately, they were wrong. Soon they were trapped in a dense crowd. They wanted to reverse and turn into a lane, but it was no longer possible.
Mrs Li noticed there were about a dozen mobsters smashing cars ahead. Soon, mobs holding clubs, bricks and steel cables came to them and started smashing their Corolla. Mr and Mrs Li got out from the car and persuaded them against smashing their car.
“As an ordinary citizen, I had painstakingly saved up money to buy this car. Can you don’t smash it? We were wrong to have bought a Japanese car, and we’ll not buy Japanese cars again, alright?” Mrs Li pleaded.
Just then, Mr Li was attacked in his head, bleeding profusely and fell on the front of the car. Mrs Li rushed to her husband and burst into tears, her mind went completely blank and didn’t know what to do.
This unforeseen event surprised many protestors and onlookers. The rioters went on to look for new targets, while onlookers took photos. Some suggested calling for an ambulance while others gave Mrs Li a roll of toilet paper. Mrs Li pressed it onto her husband’s head but blood continued gushing down and soon stained the ground red.
A young man reminded Mrs Li even if she was to call the ambulance, it could not arrive at the scene. Instead, she should quickly flag a taxi down on the opposite side of the road to send Mr Li to hospital, or his life would be in danger.
The young man, Mrs Li and her son carried Mr Li to the opposite side of the road. Mr Li lied on the back seats while Mrs Li covered his wound. The taxi left in a hurry. But it moved 500m and encountered another crowd. The taxi driver shouted for the traffic policeman’s help.
A traffic policeman in his 20s rushed to the taxi, took the co-driver seat, ordered the driver to switch on the twin flashing yellow lights and offered to help them clear the way as he contacted other policemen for assistance.
When the taxi arrived at the Acute & Emergency Department in the hospital, Mrs Li searched for notes to pay the taxi driver, in her handbag which was full of blood. But the driver told her that saving her husband was the top priority so she didn’t have to pay the fare.
“I feel sorry for that driver,” Mrs Li said a few times in hospital, “The back seats were full of blood. The driver must have had a hard time cleaning it up. We brought him lots of trouble.”
While help from kindhearted individuals comforted Mrs Li somewhat, she remains puzzled over the actions of the mobs.
Mr Li was diagnosed with open craniocerebral injury. His left leg and arm have begun to regain partial mobility, but the entire right half of his body remains numb and weak. His right leg can only curl slowly and he cannot control his right leg and arm. Besides, his language ability have also suffered severe damage, and he could now only stammer simple words like “thanks” or “hungry”.
“Why did they attack their own people?” Mrs Li was still unable to figure out the answer even after thinking about it for a few days. Well, we can’t, either.
The following satirical joke mocking the anti-Japan rioters has gone viral on Sina Weibo:
Pan Jinlian (the quintessential adulterous wife in Chinese culture) was raped by Ximen Qing. Wu Dalang smashed all the pots and pans at home with his rolling pin. “Piss you off, Ximen Qing!” He chanted. Brother Yun told him, “Your wife was raped by Ximen Qing, so you should smash things in his house! Why are you smashing things in your own house?” “I want to piss him off!” Wu replied. Brother Yun was puzzled. “Well, I didn’t tell you, all these were manufactured by Ximen Qing’s shop,” Wu explained.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this post erroneously referred to the car owned by Li Jianli as a “Honda Corolla”.