Jeremy Goldkorn explains in CNN the background of the online uproar that emerged when the son of police chief Li Gang killed a girl and thought he could get away with it. China’s internet community watches his trial closely.
It’s more than just a tragic traffic accident. “There is a lot of popular anger about ‘guan er dai,’ the children of officials who sometimes literally get away with murder,” says Jeremy Goldkorn, founding editor-in-chief of Danwei, a China media website. He said the online uproar is focused on “how likely it is that Li Qiming will get away with a light sentence, and whether blood money will secure his freedom.”
Official media have reported that Li was drunk when he ran over two female students on the Hebei University campus, killing Chen and injuring fellow student Zhang Jingjing. Li allegedly tried to speed away from the scene. It was also reported that, when students and campus security guards stopped him, he shouted at the guards, “My daddy is Li Gang” — referring to a local deputy police chief.
When indignant Chinese Internet users got wind of the story, they blogged and reposted it widely. Before long, “My-daddy-is-Li-Gang” went viral. “It spread on the Internet — on blogs, forum websites and the Twitter-like microblog service Weibo,” recalls Goldkorn, a long-time observer of China’s social networking sites. “The public expressed outrage on the Internet, and the traditional news media and the government reacted to the Internet coverage of the event.”…
“There have been enough similar cases over the last few years that — according to Chinese media reports — some government officials have now acquired ‘Internet phobia,'” observes Goldkorn. “They fear of having their wrongdoings exposed by angry netizens.”