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"People Who Don't Know The Truth" [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2009-8-3 16:25:22 |Display all floors
Let's have fewer "people who don't know the truth"
by Huang Guan/ Xinhua ... ontent_11788078.htm (Chinese)

"People who don't know the truth" has become the standard expression and been used abundantly in news releases by local governments to explain the causes of mass incidents. In the aftermath of the recent Tonghua Steel incident, once again, this expression was used on different occasions. This practice is problematic and is worth reflection.

First off, if it is true that the "people who don't know" are deluded or instigated by a few "who have ulterior motives", why can the violence not be prevented by letting these people know the truth? Can you not placate the antagonism when it is still brewing by a timely release of the truth? By accusing the people of not knowing the truth, one cannot align himself with the truth; instead, it exposes the fact that some government agency failed to do their job (to inform).

Secondly, criticizing the participants of these mass incidents as ignorant is no different than denying their judgement to tell right from the wrong, which, obviously, is untrue. There is no denying that lack of information plays a role in these incidents. But more often than not, there is a more fundamental cause.

The death which set off the Weng'an incident was eventually confirmed to be caused by (suicide) drowning. But more deeply, violations of local people's interest were frequent; the safety index among the people was low; the government was rough and simplistic in its approach.

All the same, during the Tonghua Steel acquisition, the workers' interests were not taken care of. People mostly want to live peacefully, but their eyes are sharp.

Finally, the interpretation of mass incidents as ignorant people misled by a malicious few makes one suspicious of the government trying to evade its own responsibility. The occurrence of mass incidents in recent years are usually related to incompetent performance and mishandling of local governments. A recent regulation released by the central government has made it clear that government or party cadres would be held accountable for their "abuse of power, ordering or empowering others to breach the law, or malfeasance that causes mass incidents or other serious consequences". Blaming mass incidents on those with ulterior motives can cover the government officials' own mistakes and avoid their responsibilities.

Jumping to the conclusion that hundreds and thousands of people don't know the truth indicates that the old way of thinking is still at work. When answering journalists' questions, Shi Zongyuan, the party secretary of Guizhou Province said that the formula of "ignorant people misled by a few malicious" must be abandoned. It is certainly worth serious consideration.

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