Photos of ‘official’ involved in parking dispute go viral on Chinese social media

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 April, 2014, 4:22pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 April, 2014, 3:14pm

Photos of an irate man involved in a car parking dispute in Beijing went viral on Chinese social media on Monday after netizens identified the man in question as a middle-level government official.

Angrily pointing his finger at the camera, the man had to be held back by security at a residential community after he became involved in a confrontation with a second man who claimed he had parked in his private parking space, according to a posting on the microblogging site Sina Weibo.

As of noon on Monday the post had solicited more than 14,000 comments and was reposted 49,000 times.

The photos were uploaded by a Sina Weibo microblogger under the handle “Dajiangzhiyuan” on Sunday morning.

“The man burst out with vulgar language and tried to assault me,” said the blogger whose on-site verified identity states he is a photographer and publisher.

He added the man claimed he was “high-up in the State Council (China’s cabinet)”.

The post quickly generated a buzz on Chinese social media, and users were quick to identify the man as Wu Tong, a deputy department chief of Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

Photos available on the internet of Wu participating in government meetings appear to show the same man embroiled in the parking dispute.

When asked abou the incident by the South China Morning Post on Monday, a Ministry spokesman refused to comment on the issue.

The blogger who took the photos did not respond to inquiries.

The post has drawn mixed reactions online. Several commentators echoed the photographer’s sentiment and called for the Ministry to respond to the incident. However, a number of others questioned whether the authenticity of the post.

“Merely several photos can hardly reflect the truth,” read one comment.

Another wondered if the dispute was a result of the blogger’s provocation.

On Monday morning Dajiangzhiyuan said he was asking “only for an apology”.

But he added that he also has video footage of the confrontation and would make it public “at an appropriate time”.

The blogger on Monday admitted the dispute actually took place last summer but declined to explain why he didn’t make it public until now, according to a report by the Beijing Youth Daily.

He said the official involved in the dispute has contacted him since in a bid to resolve the matter.