News of two bombs exploding at the Boston Marathon, killing at least three people and injuring over a hundred others, has led to an outpouring of sympathy on the Chinese web, and concern for local competitors and spectators present at the race.
Wang Shi, chairman of Chinese real estate giant Vanke, live-tweeted news from the marathon on Weibo. 15 staff members of Vanke were taking part in the race, none are believed to be among the injured.
Many netizens highlighted the stark contrast between the blanket news coverage of the Boston blasts by US and international media, and the tight-lipped attitude of the domestic media to disasters in China. Several posters commented that a similar terrorist attack wouldn’t work in China because censorship would ensure “terrorists would have no proof that they indeed attacked”.
Another netizen 苦逼座的圣斗士ZYY described what he believed would happen in China in a similar scenario: “In China, government press release starts at best 6 hours after the attack. During the 6 hours, most media remain silent because they are not given the permission to report yet. On the Internet, rumors start to spread. Angry netizens start to blame the government for doing nothing. Public intellectuals (term used to refer to vocal liberals) start to accuse the government of failing their responsibilities. No one mentions a word about the victims or those who suffer from the attack. Our government has a long way to go. Our netizens also have a long way to go.”
It wouldn’t be a Weibo debate without some assholes chiming in, and indeed, several leading members of the Chinese left took this opportunity to embarrass themselves.
“In the afternoon of April 15, two bombs exploded in Boston, causing the deaths of two people, and an outpouring of grief among public intellectuals,” wrote Wu Danhong, an assistant professor at China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, referring in a derogatory way to Chinese liberals.
“But these public intellectuals choose to ignore that in the beginning of April, American troops in Afghanistan have killed 17 civilians, including 12 children, in an attack on the Taliban! In the evening of April 14, an American drone caused the death of four people in Pakistan.”
At the time of writing no terrorist group has taken responsibility for the attack and there is no evidence that the blasts are linked to American Middle East policy.
The SCMP spoke to some of the Hong Kong runners taking part in the marathon, who described the terrifying scenes in Boston:
“I was pretty terrified because I was quite close,” she said during a telephone interview with Hong Kong media.
“I had just finished and was on my way to pick up my luggage. I was several hundreds metres away. Then I heard a very loud explosion. About three seconds later a second bang came. And then I saw much smoke came up from there,” she said.