The Chinese and international press cover the Gu Kailai case as if there were real knowns. Maybe there are, and I just haven’t paid close attention anyway, but I seem to understand that Neil Heywood‘s remains had been cremated when the Chinese authorities suddenly found it opportune to look into the matter. It’s strange to see how this is reported as a case of murder, when a totalitarian state decides to appoint a court and to order a verdict.
Anyway, Huanqiu Shibao, in an editorial, explains that if (Bo) Gu Kailai had been an ordinary citizen, she would have received the same sentence (如果薄谷开来就是个普通人，发生同样的案子，她同样被判了死缓), that the killing of an alledged bank robber and killer, named Zhou Kehua (周克华), by Chongqing police may be a fake, that the police had been compelled to deny the rumor, and that China’s public opinion’s opening up to “freedom of speech” (in quotation marks there, too) was still a rather young story.
Either way, it’s time to declare another victory in the run-up to the 18th National CCP Congress:
As long as the officials respond conscientiously, and stand the test of governing for the people, public opinion will react calmly. This year’s public crises have been many, public opinion had been rising and falling, but as the past six months passed, and when looking at it carefully and in detail, the authoritativeness of official information has grown. This has already become society’s expectation: that the government actively answers to important public views, and when such views are very strong, the government will make [the necessary] adjustments.
Zhou Kehua became a topic on the Chinese internet because he had been cited as “a commoner who could be shot dead without trial”, basically.
Many things are hotly put into doubt by netizens, but in the end, what gains the trust of a majority, is still official information.
In short, the article suggests that officialdom should be “more self-confident”, in the face of rumors.
We encourage such self-confidence, because only when the officials are self-confident, information transparancy will be applied more naturally, and a few unnecessary misgivings won’t affect the handling of sensitive issues, there won’t be questions emerging within society because of certain aspects [or links] which then enters into tense interactions. These breakthroughs have already been achieved, and are gradually becoming the norm.
Four “votes” via an emoticon board express shock, 26 express anger, 14 are hurt, 271 are moved, 1,240 delighted, 112 happy, 22 bored, and 598 find the editorial ridiculous.
Latest comments, too, suggest that Chinese public opinion is a beautiful garden (if no irony is meant):
When there is good freedom of speech, the sly dogs can’t hide their traces (还是言论自由好啊.让偷机摸狗无处遁形 – 18 minutes ago)
And a netizen who urged freedom of speech is replied to:
China can’t do the separation of powers yet; it would tear the country apart which would make China suffer. The former Soviet Union is an example! (中国还真不能搞三权分立，到时候权是分离了，国家就四分五裂了，那中国就惨了。前苏联就是榜样！)
The commenter thread only loads occasionally, and is apparently undergoing heavy editing.
» How the Horse Broke itself in, March 22, 2012