Wang Wai, a reporter for China Business News, was happy to work with Zhang Zhilong on a story about police incompetence until, that is, he discovered Zhang worked for the Global Times, China’s most virulently nationalistic, misogynistic, xenophobic, and generally crap newspaper.
According to an account of their discussion posted on Weibo, Zhang asked Wang if he’d be interested in covering a story in which Zhang’s parents had been hit by an unlicensed driver and, the reporter believed, police had failed to properly investigate. Wang was initially interested but when he learned that Zhang worked for the Global Times he said “Then I don’t care” and hung up on him.
Wang later posted a victorious sounding account of the conversation on his own Weibo, attracting lots of comments from other liberal journalists keen to see the Global Times humiliated.
Amy Li at the SCMP rounds up some of the reaction:
This posts soon went viral and attracted thousands of comments.
A majority of microbloggers applauded Wang for having “punished” an employee working for an “evil” newspaper. Others criticised him for abandoning journalism ethics and “universal values,” which many liberal papers seem to embrace, letting his own political views influece the coverage of a story.
“What about the Global Times’ ethics when it’s feasting on the suffering of the Chinese people,” one commenter wrote.
“That’s the price you pay for being a ‘50 cent,‘” wrote another.
While Wang’s move does initially seem somewhat callous, particularly as Zhang was requesting help regarding a family issue,
presumably Zhang had been refused permission by the Global Times to cover this story (or have a colleague cover it) or was too much of a coward to ask his editors [Retracted].