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Death of Policeman Draws Big Controversy: The Zhang Jiyong Case

The mysterious death of police officer Zhang Jiyong (张际勇) has caused a clamor of rumors growing on Chinese social media, with thousands of people questioning his cause of death. This is the second time this month that lack of transparency in the police force and failures in criminal investigation become the focus of public attention.

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The mysterious death of police officer Zhang Jiyong (张际勇) has caused a clamor of rumors growing on Chinese social media, with thousands of people questioning his cause of death. This is the second time this month that lack of transparency in the police force and failures in criminal investigation become the focus of public attention.

Zhang Jiyong (张际勇), a 34-year-old traffic police officer from Jiangsu province, suddenly disappeared while on duty on May 17. After being missing for 64 hours, his dead body was found in a nearby river on May 20.

His wife turned to social media to bring her husband’s case to the public’s attention, posting her story and pictures of her deceased husband’s face. Since his face showed traces of blood, severe bruisings and swellings, she alleges her husband was beaten to death [picture link, warning: death, shocking image].

But according to police and medical experts, Zhang died from drowning and there were no signs of homicide – pointing to suicide.

According to iFeng news, Zhang’s wife denies her husband was suffering from any kind of depression or other mental disorder that could have been related to his death.

Under the hashtag of ‘The Wife of Murdered Civil Policeman Zhang Jiyong’ (#遇害民警张际勇妻子#), netizens called on Weibo users to make this topic trending to help Zhang’s wife in her struggle to “find justice”. It hit the number one spot in Weibo’s trending topics list on May 24.

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The case has caused a clamor of rumors growing on Chinese social media, with some linking his death to his involvement in exposing a drugs crime; according to several Chinese media, Zhang’s wife stated that her husband spoke of ‘being followed’ and fearing for his life two days prior to his missing in relation to this drugs investigation.

There are also netizens alleging that Zhang’s hands were tied together when his body was recovered from the water (picture), and that suicide would thus be impossible.

Mostly, the case unleashed a storm of criticism from Chinese netizens about a lack of transparency in the police force and failures in criminal investigation.

Earlier this month, the curious death of Lei Yang also became big news. Lei Yang was a young man from Beijing who died after he was arrested for allegedly visiting a brothel. His wife also demanded that police further investigated this case, as she alleged her husband was beaten to death during his arrest. This case resonates with that of Zhang Jiyong, where netizens and relatives also ask for further investigation into the case.

 

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Zhang’s wife writes on her Weibo account (May 24):

zhangjiyong

“You all say Zhang Jiyong had mental problems, but you were with him at work on the night of the crime, and you’ve confirmed that he acted normal, and that there were no abnormalities up to his death. Yet you give a mental illness as the final conlusion. How can you, as law enforcement, make such logic errors? I ask a public apology from you. And if you won’t apologize, I ask that you come up with evidence for the claim that Zhang was suffering from mental problems. As a family member of the deceased, I have the right to defend Zhang Jiyong’s integrity and honor!”

Within 5 hours of posting, her Weibo post received over 9500 likes, 7500 comments and was shared more than 2400 times.

Except for anger about information lacking, as in the Lei Yang case, netizens are also angry about their comments being deleted by censors. As one popular comment says:

“I think I speak for everyone when I ask: why are our comments being removed? (..) A good policeman was killed, his hands were tied when his body was found, yet the officials still say it is suicide, do you think people are stupid? ? If you have a soul, then why delete our comments? We love our country, let our country love us back!”

For now, since officials have ruled out homicide and have concluded Zhang’s death to be due to ‘death by drowning’, there are no indications that the police will seek for any possible suspects in this case. According to local police, the blood and swellings in Zhang’s face were a “natural reaction” of the body after being in the water for a long time.

But on Weibo, the clamor is not gone yet, with many netizens refusing to believe official reports. As one netizen comments: “We know they are lying, and they know they are lying, and they know we know they are lying, and we know they know we know they are lying – but they are still lying.”

– By Manya Koetse

©2016 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 Animals

‘Welcome Home, Molly’ – Chinese Zoo Elephant Returns to Kunming after Online Protest

One small step for animal protection in China, one giant leap for Molly the elephant.

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Following online protest and the efforts of animal activists, Molly has returned to the Kunming Zoo where she was born and where mother elephant Mopo is.

The little elephant named Molly is a big topic of discussion on Chinese social media recently.

The popular Asian elephant, born in the Kunming Zoo in 2016, was separated from her mother at the age of two in April of 2018. Molly was then transferred from Kunming Zoo to Qinyang, Jiaozuo (Henan), in exchange for another elephant. Over the past few years, fans of Molly started voicing their concerns online as the elephant was trained to do tricks and performances and to carry around tourists on her back at the Qinyang Swan Lake Ecological Garden (沁阳天鹅湖生态园), the Qinyang Hesheng Forest Zoo (沁阳和生森林动物园), the Jiaozuo Forestry Zoo (焦作森林动物园), and the Zhoukou Safari Park (周口野生动物世界).

Since the summer of 2021, more people started speaking out for Molly’s welfare when they spotted the elephant chained up and seemingly unhappy, forced to do handstands or play harmonica, with Molly’s handlers using iron hooks to coerce her into performing.

Earlier this month, Molly became a big topic on Chinese social media again due to various big accounts on Xiaohongshu and Weibo posting about the ‘Save Molly’ campaign and calling for an elephant performance ban in China (read more).

Although zookeepers denied any animal abuse and previously stated that the elephant is kept in good living conditions and that animal performances are no longer taking place, Molly’s story saw an unexpected turn this week. Thanks to the efforts of online netizens, Molly fans, and animal welfare activists, Molly was removed from Qinyang.

A popular edited image of Molly that has been shared a lot online.

On May 15, the Henan Forestry Bureau – which regulates the holding of all exotic species, including those in city zoos – announced that Molly would return to Kunming in order to provide “better living circumstances” for the elephant. A day later, on Monday, Molly left Qinyang and returned to the Kunming Zoo where she was born. In Kunming, Molly will first receive a thorough health check during the observation period.

Official announcement regarding Molly by the Henan Forestry Administration.

Many online commenters were happy to see Molly returning home. “Finally! This is great news,” many wrote, with others saying: “Please be good to her” and “Finally, after four years of hardship, Molly will be reunited with her mother.”

Besides regular Weibo accounts celebrating Molly’s return to Kunming, various Chinese state media accounts and official accounts (e.g. the Liaocheng Communist Youth League) also posted about Molly’s case and wished her a warm welcome and good wishes. One Weibo post on the matter by China News received over 76,000 likes on Monday.

Although many view the effective online ‘Save Molly’ campaign as an important milestone for animal welfare in China, some animal activists remind others that there are still other elephants in Chinese zoos who need help and better wildlife protection laws. Among them are the elephant Kamuli (卡目里) and two others who are still left in Qinyang.

For years, animal welfare activists in China and in other countries have been calling for Chinese animal protection laws. China does have wildlife protection laws, but they are often conflicting and do not apply to pets and there is no clear anti-animal abuse law.

“I’ll continue to follow this. What are the next arrangements? What is the plan for Molly and the other elephants? How will you guarantee a safe and proper living environment?”

Another Weibo user writes: “This is just a first step, there is much more to be done.”

To follow more updates regarding Molly, check out Twitter user ‘Diving Paddler’ here. We thank them for their contributions to this article.

To read more about zoos and wildlife parks causing online commotion in China, check our articles here.

By Manya Koetse

References (other sources linked to within text)

Arcus Foundation (Ed.). 2021. State of the Apes: Killing, Capture, Trade and Ape Conservation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

China Daily. 2012. “Animal Rights Groups Seek Performance Ban.” China Daily, April 16 http://www.china.org.cn/environment/2012-04/16/content_25152066.htm [Accessed May 1 2022].

Li, Peter J. 2021. Animal Welfare in China: Culture, Politics and Crisis. Sydney: Sydney University Press.

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China Health & Science

Shanghai ‘Dead Man’ Taken Away to Morgue, Found to Be Alive

An incident in which a man taken to a morgue turned out to be alive doesn’t really help to restore residents’ trust in Shanghai.

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An incident in which a Shanghai man, who was thought to be dead, was taken to a funeral home before he was found to be alive has become a big topic on Chinese social media.

The incident happened on the afternoon of May 1st at the Shanghai Xinchangzheng Nursing Home (上海新长征福利院) in the city’s Putuo District.

A video of the incident went viral on Chinese social media in which a body bag can be seen put into a vehicle by three people, two members of staff from the nursing home and one funeral home worker. Shortly after, the body bag is taken out again and put back on a trolley. One of the nurses zips open the bag, pulls a cover from the man’s face, and apparently finds him to be alive.

“He’s alive,” one of the workers says in shock: “He’s alive, I saw it, he’s alive. Don’t cover him any more.”

The man is then transferred back into the nursing home, still inside the body bag.

The video that is making its rounds on social media was filmed from two different angles, the person filming can be heard calling the incident “a disgrace for human life” and “irresponsible.”

On May 2nd, the Chinese state media outlet People’s Daily posted about the incident on Weibo, saying the city district is currently investigating the case. The man was hospitalized and his vital signs are stable.

Meanwhile, multiple people are held accountable for the incident. The head of the nursing home has been dismissed and will be further investigated, along with four district officials. The license of the doctor involved will also be revoked.

The Shanghai Xinchangzheng Nursing Home has also apologized for the incident (#上海一福利院就未死亡老人被拉走道歉#).

On social media, many people are angry about the incident, wondering why the old man was transported to the funeral home in the first place, and why the members of staff seemed to be indifferent after finding out he was still alive.

In the video, the member of staff standing next to the man can be seen covering the patient’s face again after finding out he is still alive, leaving the body bag zipped up. Many also see this as a cold and incomprehensible way to respond.

After weeks of online anger about the chaotic and sometimes inhumane way in which Shanghai authorities have been handling the Covid outbreak in the city, this incident seems to further lower the public’s trust in how patients and vulnerable residents are being treated.

“Shanghai is such a terrifying place!”, some on Weibo write.

“Just think about it,” one person responded: “This incident took place in one of China’s most prosperous cities and happened to be filmed. How much is happening in other cities that is not caught on camera? Today, it’s this man, in the future, it’s us.”

For more articles on the Covid-19 topics on Chinese social media, check here.

By Manya Koetse, with contributions by Miranda Barnes

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©2022 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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