Wolf Warrior comment backfires on Chinese doctor caught in Super Typhoon Yutu destruction

  • Hospital prepares to discipline him for mocking official response to evacuations
  • Internet users fail to see the funny side of social media posts from Saipan island
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 October, 2018, 6:19pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 October, 2018, 9:14pm

A Beijing doctor who mocked Chinese authorities on social media during the recent evacuations of Saipan island as a result of Super Typhoon Yutu is facing disciplinary action from his hospital on his return.

Sun Hongtao, a verified user on China’s Twitter-like service Weibo, was on the US commonwealth island in the western Pacific as it was struck by the full force of the typhoon, when he posted a comment that has not been well received back home.

“I called the Chinese embassy in Los Angeles (this is under their jurisdiction), but they ignored the calls,” he wrote on Friday.

“There’s no such thing as ‘Wolf Warrior’ in real life, don’t even think about it,” he added, referring to the popular Chinese action movie series which features heroic military evacuations of Chinese nationals trapped in other countries.

The post has since been deleted. But the screenshot has been published on other media and attracted condemnation from internet users.

“You might as well find Spider-Man to help you,” one wrote. “How do you know the Chinese consulate was not working in this case?”

“I strongly demand that he should not return, or that he should be detained as soon as he returns, we need to punish those that spread rumours,” read another angry post.

On Monday, the Beijing-based Fuwai Hospital, under the government-funded Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, said on its official Weibo that it would reach out to the doctor and deal with him according to regulations, as well as strengthen staff education.

The hospital said it had specific guidelines for its departments and staff on the release of information and had provided training to staff in the past.

Sun’s post went against the grain of both the Chinese state narrative and the popular view of the country’s international power and reach, typified by Wolf Warrior and its sequel.

Both feature an heroic protagonist whose special rescue missions around the world have stirred nationalist pride in China with their depictions of a timely response by Chinese authorities to its citizens in times of crisis on foreign shores.

The sequel, for example, features the Chinese navy evacuating overseas Chinese from a war zone in Africa, and is loosely based on China’s evacuation of civilians from Yemen in 2015.

Patriotic action movie Wolf Warrior 2 tops China’s box office for 2017 but foreign films gain ground

At the end of the sequel, an image of a Chinese passport is shown on screen, with the caption, “Chinese citizens, when you encounter danger overseas, don’t give up! Remember, there’s a strong homeland behind you.”

In 2017, after a volcano erupted on Bali in Indonesia, state media and Chinese internet users paid homage to China’s evacuation efforts. A commentary published on CCTV.com at the time read: “China sent aeroplanes in an emergency! A real life version of Wolf Warrior has come to Bali island.”

Sun tried to control the damage on Saturday with another Weibo post saying: “As a Chinese national, when you encounter difficulties abroad, when 1,500 Chinese citizens don’t know when they will return home, if we don’t reach out to the embassy or consulate, who do we turn to? It’s easy for you to call names online!”

He has not written any more posts since then and the second post has been closed off for comments.

A staff member at the hospital’s publicity department said that as the doctor has not arrived back in China yet, no procedures had yet been launched.

She refused to disclose any other details on the matter, directing enquiries to the hospital’s official Weibo post which, she said, was “perfectly clear”.

The consulate general in Los Angeles has not directly responded to Sun’s comments, but said on its official website on Tuesday that nearly 1,600 Chinese tourists delayed on Saipan have safely returned home, with assistance from the Chinese government as well as several airlines.