Sack for the 'I believe it anyway' spokesman

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 August, 2011, 12:00am


A Ministry of Railways spokesman was dismissed yesterday after his explanation about the Wenzhou train crash caused an outcry.

Xinhua released a one-sentence report saying the ministry had dismissed WangYongping (pictured), without giving an explanation.

Mainland internet users reacted furiously to remarks made by Wang at a press conference about the crash.

'Whether you believe or not, I believe it anyway,' he said, as he tried to explain why the front carriage of a crashed train was hastily buried.

When asked to comment on the discovery of two-year-old Xiang Weiyi after rescue efforts were suspended, he said: 'This is a miracle.'

Many internet users sarcastically mimicked Wang's remarks when talking about weird or ridiculous happenings on the mainland, and to show their frustration at statements made by officials that they could not believe. One internet user even used 'Wang Yongping - I believe it anyway' as the name of his Sina microblog. An article published by the Communist Party mouth- piece People's Daily on Friday quoted Shi Anbin, a journalism professor at Tsinghua University, as saying that Wang's mistake was avoidable. 'Wang made a low-class mistake that a spokesman should not have committed because he lacks media experience and communication skills,' Shi said.

Professor Wang Yukai , of the Chinese Academy of Governance, said dismissing the spokesman would do little to help restore the ministry's shattered credibility.

'What they do to Wang Yongping and restoring public confidence are two separate issues,' Wang said.

'The train crash exposes a lot of problems with the ministry, and credibility cannot be restored unless these problems are fixed.'

Critics have denounced the railways ministry for a lack of transparency and disrespecting victims' families when handling the train crash.

'We cannot blame Wang Yongping for all of these problems,' Professor Wang said.