A recent article published on Tea Leaf Nation, and tweeted by Tricia Wang, explains what the flesh searches are
and how they change China. SmartMods reports that “Despite their ghoulish resonance, they refer to grassroots, collaborative efforts to share and probe personal information online with the goals of romance, kinship, justice, or vindication.They are netizen initiatives to solve cases of injustice and cruelty left unbalanced by a society that is not democratic and has no rule of law, where the government officials show innefficiency, detachment, or even smugness in the face of public tragedies or social injustices.
“Which was the case of Yang Dacai, a government official, who’s grinning face while watching the burning bus that killed 36 people in August was tweeted via Sina Weibo, the China’s Tweeter. His dispassionate smile, contrasting the tragedy he was witnessing, and his expensive tastes in watches, belts, and eyeglasses that didn’t match the his meager wage as a government employee triggered the “cyber vigilatism” of the netizens (as Rebecca MacKinnon called it in her article) and prompted a flesh search. Yang was eventually dismissed from his position as chief of Shaanxi Safety Supervision Bureau. Continue reading “Human flesh searches explained”