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Public Outcry after Sinkhole in Beijing’s Historical Center

Trending on Sina Weibo this week was a 10-meter deep hole that appeared in Beijing’s historical city center on January 24th. The incident stirred public outcry when netizens discovered the cause of the sinkhole.

Manya Koetse

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READING TIME: 2 MINUTES, 13 SECONDS

 

Trending on Sina Weibo this week was a 10-meter deep hole that appeared in a street in center of Beijing on January 24th. The ‘sinkhole’ appeared in front of a courtyard at 93 Denei Avenue, a culturally significant old street with many buildings designated as ‘cultural relics’ by the government. As a result, the courtyard and four houses to its north collapsed. No one was hurt in the incident.

It was later revealed that the ‘sinkhole’ did not have a natural cause. The owner of the courtyard, named Li Baojun, had constructed a 18-meter deep basement under his house without a permit. City authorities had previously warned Li not to build below the ground level of his courtyard, only two kilometers from the Forbidden City.

The underground construction was carried out by unqualified workers and without proper supervision, undermining the foundation of the buildings near it. When the unfinished basement caved in, it also brought the other houses down.

The incident stirred public outcry, especially when netizens discovered the status of Li Baojun. Li is one of the deputies of the National People’s Congress, the supreme organ of state power in China. Besides being a People’s Congress representative, Li is also the president of a law company worth over US$300 million.

Angry netizens wondered why Li had wanted to construct the basement in the first place and how he could have disregarded the law and the safety of his neighbours. The sinkhole swallowed four houses, reportedly making fifteen people homeless. A total of 1,400 cubic meters of concrete were needed to fill the hole. Authorities have yet been unable to locate Li. 

Construction projects in China must officially be approved by local authorities. But since laws are poorly enforced, it is common for people to build basements without government consent.

 

– by Wei Jia

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[box]This is Weiblog: the What’s on Weibo short-blog section. Brief daily updates on our blog and what is currently trending on China’s biggest social medium, Sina Weibo.[/box]

©2014 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

 

Manya Koetse is the founder and editor-in-chief of whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer, public speaker, and researcher (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends, digital developments, and new media in an ever-changing China, with a focus on Chinese society, pop culture, and gender issues. She shares her love for hotpot on hotpotambassador.com. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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China and Covid19

Anger over Guangzhou Anti-Epidemic Staff Picking Locks, Entering Homes

While these Guangzhou homeowners were quarantined at a hotel, anti-epidemic staff broke their door locks and entered their homes.

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WEIBO SHORT | Weibo Shorts are concise articles on topics that are trending. This article was first published

Dozens of homeowners in Guangzhou, Guangdong, were angered to find out the locks of their apartment doors were broken during their mandatory hotel quarantine.

The residents had gone to a quarantine location after a positive Covid case in their building. Afterward, anti-epidemic staff had entered their homes for disinfection and to check if any residents were still inside.

The incident happened earlier this month in an apartment complex in the Liwan district of the city.

The incident first gained attention on July 10 when various videos showing the broken door locks were posted online. During the morning, the property management had conducted an ’emergency inspection’ of 84 households. The doors were later sealed.

The case went trending again on July 18 when the residential district apologized to all homeowners for the break-ins and promised to compensate them.

“What’s the use of apologizing?” some Weibo commenters wondered. “Where is the law? If this even happens in Guangzhou now and people in Guangdong put up with this, what else will they dare to do in the future?”

On Chinese social media, most comments on the Guangzhou incident were about the break-ins allegedly being unlawful.

Media reporter and Toutiao author Kai Lei (@凯雷), who has over two million followers on Weibo, said the incident showed that those breaking in “had no regard for the law.”

To read more about Covid-19 in China, check our articles here.

By Manya Koetse
With contributions by Miranda Barnes

 

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China Local News

Shanghai Ruijin Hospital Stabbing Incident

The police opened fire and subdued the suspect, who stabbed at least four people at Shanghai’s Ruijin Hospital on Saturday.

Manya Koetse

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WEIBO SHORT | Weibo Shorts are concise articles on topics that are currently trending. This article was first published

On Saturday July 9, a stabbing incident that occurred at Shanghai’s renowned Ruijin Hospital (上海瑞金医院) shocked Chinese netizens as videos showing the panic and chaos at the scene circulated in Wechat groups and on Weibo.

At around 11:30 AM the police department started receiving calls that there was someone stabbing people at the hospital, which is located in the city’s Huangpu district. At the scene of the incident, at the 7th floor of the outpatient clinic, they found a knife-wielding man holding a group of people hostage.

According to police reports, the police opened fire and subdued the suspect. Four people who were injured during the knife attack are now being treated, none of them are in a life-threatening situation.

The case is currently under investigation.

According to The Paper, Ruijin Hospital resumed its outpatient services at 14:08 this afternoon.

This is the second stabbing incident in Shanghai this week. On Monday, a man was arrested after going on a random stabbing spree in Shanghai’s Jing’an District.

While some Shanghai residents say the recent incidents made them feel less safe, others praise the fast police response to the incident.

One doctor from Shanghai posted on Weibo that hospitals should have proper security checks in place in order to prevent these kinds of incidents from happening again in the future.

By Manya Koetse
With contributions by Miranda Barnes

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