【英语中国】城管被殴凸显中国社会矛盾 Why China’s Government Is Scared of Rumors in One Video

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所属分类:双语中国

2014-4-29 14:57

小艾摘要: Earlier this month, thousands of people crowded around a group of chengguan in southern China, severely beating and bloodying the officers. This week, the country's state broadcaster issued footage of ...
Why China's Government Is Scared of Rumors in One Video
Earlier this month, thousands of people crowded around a group of chengguan in southern China, severely beating and bloodying the officers. This week, the country's state broadcaster issued footage of the incident that shows just how deeply on edge many segments of society are, and how quickly they can be inflamed.

Though China enjoys a low violent crime rate compared with the West, in recent years, violence has experienced an uptick. The average number of violent assaults by dissatisfied patients on medical personnel, for example, rose 30% between 2008 and 2012, including several fatal cases. The country's police recently began arming themselves in greater numbers, in part to try to ward against future incidents such as a mass slaying at a train station in Kunming that left 33 dead in March.

As this month's beating in Cangnan, Zhejiang province, showed, crowds can swiftly turn fractious and uncontrollable. For many years, antigovernment protests in China were largely confined to rural areas and carried out by farmers who had been thrown off their land. More recently, they've begun to involve migrant workers, who have been known to torch buildings, overturn police cars and smash windows.

But if the sea of smartphones amid the angry mob in Zhejiang is any indication, participants there weren't just disaffected migrant workers or the dispossessed but firmly planted in the country's middle class.

The incident was touched off when chengguan, China's urban para-police, began beating a man in a white shirt while trying to take away his cellphone after they spotted him photographing them. Footage showed the man lying on the ground with bloodied clothes, as passersby gaped and photographed him.

So far, so much par for the course--China's chengguan, charged with maintaining public order, are notorious for roughing up street vendors and protesters, sometimes with fatal results. But the chengguan, surely, didn't expect what happened next. As a local store owner told CCTV, 'Someone shouted, 'Chengguan are beating someone!''

An angry crowd surged, throwing stones and pushing violently up against masses of police who tried to stop them. Armed with cellphones, members of the mob quickly posted news of the incident online, attracting thousands. Several chengguan were beaten by the crowd. They tried to hide in a van, and its windows were smashed; two lost blood and went into shock. As video footage details, when an ambulance arrived at the scene to try to reach the officers, it was promptly surrounded by a sea of people who tipped it over onto its side and then cheered.

CCTV said all five chengguan involved in the incident are in administrative detention, along with 11 suspected of beating the officers.

The dramatic footage is a window into the fights occasionally waged on China's streets, as well as the depths of mistrust with which the chengguan are held. When two chengguan were killed in 2009 during a scuffle with a street vendor in northeastern China, the country's social media networks subsequently lit up with support for the vendor responsible for their deaths, following claims by his wife that he acted in self-defense.

For its part, the country's state broadcaster was intent on stressing the fact that this month's crowd amassed in part because of people hearing information about the incident on social media platforms such as Weibo. In the aftermath of the incident, some had spread information--ultimately untrue--that the man attempting to photograph the chengguan had been killed. 'After [such information spread], the situation started to get out of control,' the newscaster said.

The government has launched a concerted campaign to uproot the spread of rumors it deems harmful to society, including going so far as to institute prison sentences for people who have posted messages on social media containing untrue information reposted 500 times or more.

The volatile nature of China's crowds is a sign of the challenges the government faces, and a window into what's motivated such draconian laws. If a single spark can start a prairie fire, perhaps it's no surprise that the incident in Zhejiang has prompted such a round of introspection by state media, as well as further fuel for the state's antirumor campaign. Nor, perhaps, is it surprising that the country's budget for internal security spending has grown faster than its national defense spending in recent years.

As the Beijing Youth Daily pointed out, though, 'Simply criticizing 'rumors' is easy--and those who spread rumors will be punished by the law. What we need to understand is why the average person believes it's better to believe these rumors, rather than disbelieve them.'

本月早些时候在中国南方某地,几千民众围着一群城管队员暴打,致使这些队员们头破血流。本周,中国官方电视台发布了那次事件的视频。这一事件显示出中国各种社会矛盾积压得有多深,以及矛盾激化的程度有多快。

Youku虽然与西方相比,中国暴力犯罪发生率较低,但近年来,暴力活动呈上升趋势。举例来说,2008年至2012年,心怀不满的患者对医护人员的暴力袭击事件数量上升了30%,包括几起致死案件。中国警方最近开始升级装备,一定程度上是为了防范未来再次出现类似今年3月昆明火车站那样的大规模伤人事件。昆明事件导致33人死亡。

而本月浙江省苍南县的打人事件显示出,群众情绪可能很快暴怒失控。多年来,中国的反政府抗议活动基本上局限于农村地区,进行抗议的都是被强行征地的农民。最近,这类活动开始有农民工参与,抗议者曾经点燃建筑、掀翻警车、砸碎窗户。

但浙江打人事件中,愤怒的打人者中不少人拿着智能手机,这说明参与者不仅仅是心怀不满的农民工或失地农民,还包括了中国的中产阶级。

这起事件的起因是,城管队员发现一名身穿白衬衫的男子在拍摄他们的行动,之后试图夺走该男子的手机时开始殴打此人。视频显示此人躺在地上,衣服上沾着血迹,路人围着他,拍下了他的照片。

至此,整个过程都是意料之中的——在中国,负责维护公共秩序的城管因粗暴对待街头小贩和抗议者、有时甚至闹出人命而声名狼藉。但这次事件中的城管肯定没有预料到接下来发生的事情。一位当地店主对中央电视台说,有人大喊,城管打人啦!

愤怒的群众涌上来,朝试图阻止他们的大群警察扔石头并激烈推搡。人群中有不少人拿着手机,很快就将这起事件的消息发布到网上,吸引了成千上万人关注。几名城管队员被人群殴打。他们试图躲进一辆厢式车里,但车子的窗户被打碎;两人失血休克。视频中显示,一辆救护车抵达现场试图救出几名城管队员,但马上就被人群包围。人们掀翻了救护车,然后发出欢呼。

中央电视台称,当事的所有五名城管目前都已被行政拘留,同时被拘留的还有11名涉嫌殴打城管的路人。

这段颇具戏剧性的视频为人们了解中国街头不时发生的此类冲突提供了一个窗口,同时也揭示出民众对城管的不信任程度之深。2009年,在中国东北,两名城管在与一名街头小贩扭打时被杀。这名小贩的妻子称,丈夫当时的行为只是出于自卫。对于这名对两个城管之死负有责任的小贩,中国的社交媒体网络随即展开了声援。

关于本月的事件,中央电视台特别强调了这样一个事实:此次之所以会出现民众聚集,部分原因是人们通过微博(Weibo)等社交媒体平台听说了有关此事的一些消息。在事件发生后,一些人散布消息说,试图给城管拍照的男子已经身亡。但这一消息并不属实。中央电视台称,在有人散布了这种消息后,局面开始失控。

为根除在官方看来危害社会的谣言传播,中国政府已经展开一场协调行动。其中一个行动就是规定如果在社交媒体发布的包含不实信息的消息被转发500次及以上,则消息发布者将被追究刑事责任。

中国大众的不稳定性显示出政府面临的挑战,同时也揭示出政府出台这种严厉法规的原因。如果星火能够燎原,那么浙江的这起事件引发了中国官方媒体这样一轮反思并进一步促使中国打击网络谣言可能不足为奇。或许同样不足为奇的是,近些年来中国在国内治安上的预算支出增速快于国防支出。

但正如《北京青年报》所说的,简单谴责“谣言”是容易的,造谣传谣者也自当受到法律制裁,但必须追问的是,一般人对这样的“谣言”,为何总是宁可信其有,不可信其无?

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