Danwei.org’s Joel Martinsen has a good roundup here of online chatter in the Chinese internet about the tragic massacre at Virginia Tech Monday, where over 30 died. Many comments, he says, are shocked and sympathetic, with some ugly venting here and there. He also includes an interesting excerpt from a CCTV reporter’s blog:
A journalist with a CCTV news program wrote on her blog that this possibility ultimately caused their report to be scrapped. She comments:
Instinct at the time was: not doing it would be unacceptable and a dereliction of duty. However, to do it might run into temporary restrictions, and it might even be killed before being born. Regardless, the first thing is to get going on it. This was the opinion of the editor in chief, and also that of us workers….Originally, the thought was to come up with a plan as quickly as possible and let the leaders pass a verdict on it, but something unexpected came up: the leaders quickly “became aware of the serious nature of the issue” and “stopped up a hole that could be problematic for propaganda.”
Meanwhile, Beijing Newspeak, a blog written by a foreign copy editor working at Xinhua, has a post here on the mood in his state newsroom as it was revealed that the gunman was a Korean permanent resident of the US, not a Chinese citizen, as had been reported earlier:
In the end, we will never know how they planned to approach it but suffice to say the senior editors were delighted when “South Korea” was read out at the press conference. Back-slapping and congratulations ensued – one editor said that it would have been a inconceivable loss of face if the gunman had been Chinese. Xinhua can now go forth and write about the incident all they want but there is no doubt that if the gunman had been Chinese the reporting would have been understated to say the least. Galling really. To think a potential loss of face dwarfed a sense of responsibility to report such a tragic world news event.