The death of Lin Weiqi, a sophomore at Chengdu 49 Middle School in Sichuan, continues to draw attention to his death at the school. According to a May 14 article in the U.S. media, Lin’s death has once again touched on some of the broader issues in China and the lack of transparency in the authorities’ handling of the incident. This is not an isolated incident, and judging by the intense reaction, it has once again revealed a crisis of confidence in the authorities.
The incident sparked strong reactions from netizens as the Chinese Communist Party used nationalist propaganda to say that popular anger was fomented by hostile foreign forces seeking to undermine the Communist government.
A video widely circulated online shows dozens of people gathered in Chengdu on Tuesday (May 11) outside 49th Street shouting “Truth! Truth! Truth!” Holding white flowers, they demanded to know why Lin Weiqi suddenly “fell to his death” on campus that weekend. Video shows that within minutes, police broke up the protest.
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Curiously, nationalists have begun to promote another conspiracy theory online, that public outrage over the death of Lin Weiqi was fomented by “hostile foreign forces” to undermine the Chinese (Communist) government.
On Tuesday night (May 11), as videos of the small protest in Chengdu 49 began to circulate on social media, nationalist rhetoric quickly spread: some claimed the protesters were working for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency; others said they had received training before the closure of the U.S. consulate in Chengdu last year; some even warned that the white flowers held by the protesters were “Some even warned that the white flowers held by the protesters were a symbol of a “color revolution.
While the protest videos were quickly censored by authorities, many such rumors were allowed to spread.
“(Local) authorities and schools should be held accountable for (their failures in) handling public opinion. If they had paid enough attention to the issues raised by the public, the whole incident would not have escalated and rumors would not have been everywhere.” A netizen said.