Chinese send complaints to White House website
By The Washington Post
Published: Thursday, May 9, 2013, 9:57 p.m.
BEIJING — The Chinese people would like President Obama to stop an oil refinery from being built in southern China, endorse sweet-flavored tofu and reopen an 18-year-old criminal probe of a poisoning case. And while he's at it, if he wouldn't mind mobilizing U.S. troops to liberate Hong Kong, as well as China as a whole, that would be great, too.
In a strange and diplomatically awkward turn of events, Chinese citizens have flocked to the White House's website over the past week to lodge formal petitions, many of them directed against their government. Some are deadly serious, others frivolous and funny. A few have a touch of both.
Some of the signatures — more than 168,000 total on the various petitions as of Thursday — were undoubtedly posted in jest, but many more, Chinese online users say, reflect a sincere sense of powerlessness among people frustrated with their leaders' repressive style of governance.
So as the link to the White House petition website went viral this week on Weibo microblogs — the Chinese equivalent of Twitter — all that pent-up frustration found sudden release.
The case that jump-started the fad was an unsolved attack almost two decades ago on a college student named Zhu Ling. In 1995, Zhu was left severely disabled after a suspected thallium poisoning.
But it didn't take long for the petitions to devolve into the absurd.
On Thursday, as some petitioners called for a U.S. ban on Beijing fried pancakes, some bloggers tweeted worries that the White House might start filtering their complaints, as China's government has done for so long, despite the White House website's familiarity with frivolous complaints.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Robert Gumbita retains Mt. Pleasant School Board president seat
- U.S. can’t get China to yield on contentious air zone
- Empty, $36M facility justified, general finds
- Hezbollah commander shot down
- Police: Toronto mayor tried to buy crack tape
- ‘Dangerous’ radioactive material found in Mexico
- Egyptian satirist says show’s suspension wasn’t ‘nice’
- Killing allegedly arranged over Internet
- Canada reportedly permitted NSA surveillance at G-20
- Did Comet ISON survive?
- China scrambles jets to track U.S.