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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Opinion
Say no to online mobbing
    2018-February-5  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

Wu Guangqiang

jw368@163.com

ONLINE social media is a mixed blessing. With its powerful spreading capacity, it often plays the role of an angel, offering a helping hand for those in need.

A recent story best exemplifies it. A 10-year-old third grader named Wan Manfu became famous overnight after a photo of him with frozen, crystal-like icicles formed on his hair after his 4.5-km trek from his shabby home to school, braving freezing temperatures, went viral.

From a poor family at a village in Yunnan and with their parents working far away from home, the boy and his elder sister lead a harsh life. The boy’s scanty clothing and the lack of heating in his classroom caused him and some of his classmates to suffer frostbite. The photo triggered an outpouring of sympathy from the public and donations soon flooded in.

Social media also plays an important role in scrutinizing officials and exposing social evils such as corruption and other illegal activities. But like a double-edged sword, the other side of it is worrisome.

One of the drawbacks is online mobbing, which is always perpetrated in the name of serving justice. Two recent events illustrated how a well-intended good deed could evolve into aggressive behavior and how evil sometimes prevails over justice.

On Jan. 11, a girl surnamed Wu in Chengdu complained that a woman forcibly kept her corgi, refused to return it to her despite her repeated pleading and eventually dropped the little dog off a building to its death.

According to media reports, Wu lost her dog and later learned that a woman surnamed He picked it and kept it as her own. In the following month, the girl kept contacting the woman, begging her for the return of the dog. Instead of giving the dog back to the girl, the woman demanded money and threatened to kill the dog. When the desperate girl went to He’s home, the woman killed the dog by throwing it from the window.

The woman’s outrageous behavior enraged the public. She deserves condemnation and legal punishment. But what happened later changed the nature of the matter: a just defense of individual rights turned into another violation of individual rights.

Angry netizens immediately mounted a cyber manhunt for the woman and every bit of her personal information was posted online, including four addresses of her and her husband’s dwellings, their workplaces, ID numbers, and even the woman’s medical records.

Some radicals went further, hurling rubbish at and spray-painting the door of her home.

Apparently, some people are imposing extra-legal sanctions on whomever they see as criminals.

In another incident, a policeman was assailed with a storm of verbal abuse and threats after he killed a mad dog.

On the last day of 2017 in Changsha, capital city of Hunan Province, police received reports of a mad dog attacking pedestrians at a street, with three people bitten by an unrestrained golden retriever.

Unable to reach the owner and with no anesthetic rifle available, the auxiliary officer named Hu Hanlin had no choice but to club the dog to death with a thick stick found in the vicinity.

According to China’s laws and legal procedures, it is legal for police and other law-enforcement personnel to catch and kill stray dogs.

Yet again, hijacked by fanatical online sentiment, rationality succumbed to emotion. Some “dog lovers” launched a crusade against what they described a “cold-blooded killer” of a lovely dog. As a customary trick, some rumormongers made up the story that the officer’s brutality lasted four hours, torturing the dog to death.

Again, all the personal information of the officer was revealed online and his mobile phone was flooded with insults and threats. Some radicals placed some wreaths outside his home.

Sadly, very often reasonable expression and criticism are overwhelmed by emotional abuse and social media is inundated with rumors, innuendos, threats, humiliation and discrediting. Sometimes it looks like online lynching.

The cyber world is not a lawless land, so any online activities must be conducted within the boundaries of the law.

It is detrimental to the interests of society to tolerate online mobbing, under whatever pretexts it was done.

(The author is an English tutor and freelance writer.)

 

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