Chat rooms, websites alive with opinions

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 June, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 June, 2008, 12:00am

Mainland internet users yesterday swamped online chat rooms and websites to express their opinions on the sharp nationwide rise in fuel prices.

Most of those angry about the increases were worried about the effect on inflation and people's lives.

'With the price of everything rising along with the surging oil price, how can ordinary people move on?' a contributor called 'Half piece of a monk's robe' wrote on the popular Tianya online forum.

'When talking about being in line with international standards, the point should be to not only target commodity prices, but more importantly, the system,' a poster added. 'If nothing has changed about the latter, ordinary people will suffer more while those with advantages will benefit further.'

Another wrote: 'I miss Lai Changxing, the price of oil was so cheap in his era, thanks to him.'

Lai, at the top of China's wanted list for years, has been accused of masterminding the 'Yuanhua Smuggling Case' in which he is alleged to have illegally imported millions of tonnes of oil into the mainland.

Messages in support of the new measure dominated feedback on the bulletin board of portal Almost all opposing opinions were deleted as soon as they were uploaded.

Someone pointed out that the artificially low fuel prices on the mainland were the result of the country's massive subsidies for the wealthy, which, in turn, stimulated the demand for private cars and fuel.

One commenter said when the basic livelihood of a huge number of people was still not secure, subsidising fuel prices was hardly justified.

Sharing a similar viewpoint, 'Nosiop' said: 'My perception is the oil price is still very low, don't you think so? First, the number of vehicles on the road shows no sign of declining and vehicle prices are stable. More importantly, no one is taking to the street in protest against the rising prices.'