Chinese send complaints to White House website
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
- U.N. projects world’s population to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, 11.2 billion by end of century
- Exiled Yemen leader orders anti-rebel fighters to merge with army to battle Houthis
- Buildings in West Bank settlement torn down by order of Israel’s Supreme Court
- Debris on French island possibly that of missing Malaysia Airlines flight
- 2013 death of Taliban leader Mullah Omar confirmed
- Obama celebrates gains, notes stalemates on visit to East Africa
- Afghan intelligence: Taliban leader Mullah Omar dead 2 years
- Turkey grants U.S. access to key air base
- Defense secretary touts success of Kurdish fighters in war on ISIS
- Turkey to stick with air offensive in ISIS battle
- Gunbattle kills 21 at Afghan wedding party