Boston bomb blasts 'hold lessons for China' as weibo sees outpouring of grief

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 April, 2013, 12:22pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:13am

News of two bomb explosions at the Boston Marathon have led to an outpouring of sympathy from Chinese internet users on Tuesday, with tens of thousands of expressions of grief shared on microblogs. 

Among the posts most shared was one by a Chinese journalist based in New York who said the US coverage of the tragedy holds lessons for China. 

"All websites and television stations are reporting live, there is no reporting ban," the journalist who calls himself "pretending to be in New York" wrote in a post that has been shared more than 25,000 times within two hours.

For Zhu Wei, editor-in-chief of Lifeweek Magazine, the incident showed that the "need to change news coverage has become more and more pressing".

The explosions were reported almost live on weibo by Wang Shi, chairman of China's biggest locally listed real estate developer Vanke, who was among the spectators in Boston. Fifteen of his staff members participated in the marathon, he wrote in a post an hour before the blasts.

"Near the end of the track there were two loud bangs, the competition has ended, evacuation...the force of the explosion is not very strong, suspected terrorist act," he wrote after the blasts.

Wang has shared video footage of the two bomb blasts and the immediate aftermath online:


Some critical voices from the left of China's political spectrum have not shied away from saying that the attacks were well-deserved.

"In the afternoon of April 15, two bombs exploded in Boston, causing the deaths of two people, and an outpouring of grief among public intellectuals," wrote Wu Danhong, an assistant professor at China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, referring in a derogatory way to Chinese liberals.

"But these public intellectuals choose to ignore that in the beginning of April, American troops in Afghanistan have killed 17 civilians, including 12 children, in an attack on the Taliban! In the evening of April 14, an American drone caused the death of four people in Pakistan."

"After 9/11, a target for an attack was quickly found. This time, we don't know if and who they will attack," CCTV commentator and National Development and Reform Commission researcher Yang Yu wrote.

"The fact that after 12 years with two wars and the death of bin Laden a terrorist attack still happened will have a long-term impact on the psyche of the American people and national policy," he wrote.

"No matter what happens, there will always immediately be two camps on weibo," wrote one person by the name Coach Guo in a post. Some condemn the violence and mourn for the victims while others argue that America itself is bombing elsewhere, he wrote.

"Because we lack a common ground on universal values, many people don't know from which angle they should look at the issue."