Chinese Protesters’ Frustration: World’s Tightest Surveillance System Can’t Provide the Truth

The public outcry in China over the death of a high school student who fell from a building in Chengdu on Sunday (May 9) continues. Analysts say the controversy is closely related to the pent-up resentment over the rights issue and anger over the omnipresent social surveillance system’s failure to provide the truth when it matters.

After the May 9 death of a 16-year-old student named Lin at Chengdu 49 Middle School, his mother, Ms. Lu, and people from all walks of life had a difficult time learning the truth about the incident, as they could not see the full surveillance video, did not know the reason for the child’s fall, why the school took a long time to notify parents, and why the body of Lin was hastily transported to the crematorium for cremation without parental consent. .

Ms. Lu raised her doubts about the case in a microblog posted on Monday. The tweet was widely retweeted and caused a strong reaction on social media. #The hashtag #Chengdu49Zhong has received 1.5 billion reads on Weibo alone.

But authorities have been slow to clarify the queries, causing an outcry.

On Tuesday night, a video taken in front of Chengdu 49 High School went viral on the Internet. The footage shows people holding white flowers and chanting “Truth!” ,” “Truth!” The video has gone viral.

The Associated Press reported Thursday that the incident reflects the frustration felt by many Chinese people. Their search for justice has been met with pushback and blame from all levels.

The report quoted a 19-year-old college student named Mike Lin as saying, “In the United States, when George Floyd’s death raises suspicion, people can take to the streets to demonstrate. But with the bizarre death of a high school student in China, we’re not getting any real information.”

An article Wednesday in Foreign Affairs Magazine, a leading U.S. news publication based in Washington, D.C., said the student’s death once again gave the public a chance to vent their anger at the omnipresent surveillance network.

Public comments demanding the truth were swiftly deleted from the Web. Some nationalists instead slandered them as “hostile forces outside China” smearing the country.

A number of posts on Douban, a Chinese social media site, described the protesters gathered in front of Chengdu 49 High School as “foreign forces” and even referred to them directly as Hong Kong or Taiwanese.

The protesters asked the school to provide video footage of the incident, but it turned out that key parts of the footage were missing.

Since Xi Jinping came to power, he has invested heavily in building the world’s largest and most closely monitored surveillance network in the country. But when something happens and you need the surveillance footage, the authorities either say that the surveillance system is not working or that key footage is missing.