The Most Famous Pervert in China

If you are up to date on things in China, this list from a Tianya Post may seem to be surprising:

Which is the most famous university on the Internet in China for the year 2006?
It is not Peking University.  It is not Tsinghua University.  It is Yanshan University.

Which is the most famous game on the Internet for the year 2006?  
It is still World of Warcraft (WoW).

Who is the most famous pervert (=BT) on the Internet for the year 2006?  
It is not Furong Jiejie.  It is not Mu Zimei.  It is a person named Zheng Xin (
郑新 or 郑星).

Which is predicted to be the most famous sentence on the Internet for the year 2006?  
"Did you use your skinning knife today? (

All of this is connected to a particular forum post about the person Zheng Xin who is affiliated with Yanshan University.  It would have been just a personal adulterous affair but for the fact that Zheng Xin is a renowned WoW player under the name Zxxs.  In three days, more than a million searches were made on Baidu about this affair.  At the MOP game forum, the page views were coming in at 30,000 per hour with 2,000 comments per hour.  At the WoW game, the server was so overloaded with comments that the game slowed to a crawl.

Here is the translation of the original post (Note: the post originally appeared at the MOP game forum, but it has been removed by the author himself due to overwhelming demand and response.  The MOP forum master admitted that he has lost control of things because there were simply too many forum posts and comments for the forum staff to read.  A sanitized version of the post appears at the portal (where sanitization means, for example, the act of "swallowing sperm" has been removed).

Let me introduced myself.  I used to be the demon warrior "Xianzi Ke'er (仙子可儿)" in WoW District 2's Maiwei Audio-visual server alliance.  I joined this game in order to accompany my wife in real life.  She played the role of a human preacher with the pretty name "Dim Moon (幽月儿)."  Because I am relatively busy at work -- there are probably very few people in this game who work -- I was basically anonymous except to a few friends.  After all, I entered this game in order to be with my wife, and fancy equipment does not interest me.  I just wanted to be with my wife so that I can continue to take care of her in the virtual world.  Dim Moon has left her job for about three years.  She was not happy in her original work environment.  Since I was moderately successful at work, I agreed that she can remain home.  I always thought that it was the duty of the man to provide for the family.  I also enjoyed the feeling that I can support the entire family.  So I was glad to do so.  I thought that Dim Moon liked it too, because she was not a competitive person in real life and I want her to be happy.  If the events to be described below did not occur, I think I would have continued to feel this way for my entire life.

The Maifu Alliance's Sentinel Guild is a good group.  They are united and strong.  The students at Yanshan University who founded this group put in a lot of effort, and Dim Moon was one of them.  Within the RAID group, she is seldom absent as the preacher.  Occasionally, when I see my wife show a happy smile during game play that is seldom seen in her real life, I must honestly say that I am jealous while being happy that she has so many friends in the virtual world.  Dim Moon is a preacher who does not worry too much about appearances, because she values friendship as the most important thing.  So she gets along with people.  She likes RAID, she hates PK and she is too lazy to bother with money.  Many friends sell of good stuff, and they always remember to share some of the profits with her.  Among those, the Sentinel Guild's president Tongxu (铜须) got along with her quite well.

Tongxu became the principal character in this story when I came back one morning from a business trip.  On that day, my wife stayed up all night to play.  There are two computer systems at home, of which the better one was used by her to play games.  That was my birthday present to her two years ago.  Because I knew that she wants to use the better equipment, even though my own monitor was so bad that the screen goes hazy as soon as I entered the City in WoW, I seldom interrupted her to borrow her machine.  But she was probably very tired, so she said hello to me and then fell asleep on the sofa.  I did not bother to start up my machine to check my emails, so I used her machine which was still running.  I found out that her QQ was still open.  Perhaps this was an act of God because she usually won't let me look at her chatting.  With nothing to do, I opened her chat session logs.  After checking some chats with Internet friends, I opened 21882391: user Zxxs.  Sentinel friends must be familiar with this number, right?

In an instant, I learned how it felt to be struck by lightning.

At the time, I could not see my own face.  I only know that my face was perhaps pale all the way down into my heart.

The record showed an unfaithful wife and the one-night-stand conversation sounded like a movie script.  It was both familiar and strange.  The story occurred so close.  The principals are my wife and a man, but the man was not me.

I always thought that I was strong at heart, but at that moment, I did not have the courage to continue to read ... I copied a few sections of the chat history.  I woke my wife up by pushing her lightly and I remembered my first words: "Have you gone mad?"  My wife's eyes looked temporarily confused and then she dashed madly to the computer.  I said, "Your QQ was not shut down ..."

There was no quarreling.  It was so quiet that we could hear our heartbeats.  I wondered why my heart was still beating.  Perhaps it would be better for both of us if it stopped?

Tears flowed down both of our faces.  I did not remember anything else, but only that I told her when she babbled: "Stop yelling!  Do you want the neighbors to despise you?"  That day, I arranged for me to go on a business trip.  That day was the third day after our sixth wedding anniversary.

I came back after a few days.  When I saw her again, we were both wan and our hearts still ache.  Our conversation was frequently interrupted by our tears.  I understand that a woman who feels that her life is empty and lacking in excitement might be attracted by the game world, she left home quietly, she answered the call of the game guild, she let her body loose after being kissed forcibly after a meeting ... that time, the principals were Dim Moon and you, Tongxu.

After thinking for a long time, I asked myself: Is this woman still the woman that I loved deeply?  The woman whom I planned to buy a house immediately and have children?  I am not a procrastinator.  At that I really could not choose between six years of time and two days of betrayal.  So I contacted you, Tongxu.

After a 45 minute conversation, I said three things:
1. Dim Moon is my wife.  I felt bad but I still love her.  She knelt on the ground to beg for my forgiveness.  I don't know what to do.
2. I don't feel that there was any deliberate attempt to coerce or be coerced in this matter.  There is no right or wrong.  I would do everything that I could to get revenge otherwise.  But at this moment, I cannot hate you.
3. Do you ability to take care of a woman with whom you had been intimate?  Are you willing to take care of her?  You said: "It's over."  Fine, I only want you not to enter again, because she is such a vulnerable woman.  I don't want to watch how a woman whom I loved for six years destroy herself.  I am willing to keep my mouth shut.  Even if we separate, I will give an acceptable reason to all the relatives.  I would rather be regarded as irresponsible rather than let her get hurt.

The matter is over.  I told her: "Get involved in something else, even if it is work.  It was my fault to neglect you.  Let me court you again!"  Although the pain in my heart still gnaws at my nerves, I still ... love her.

Thing seemed to have calmed down and we both changed ourselves.  On April 9, I checked out Dim Moon's QQ again -- I was no longer the gentleman from before.  I had transformed into a little man: petty, filthy and disgusting.

Here is what I read (note: 21882391 is the QQ number for Zxxs and 风歌夜曲 is the QQ name for Dim Moon):

    21882391 09:17:17
  风歌夜曲 09:17:38
  Hmm, I'm here.

  21882391 09:17:59
  Thinking about me?

  21882391 09:18:42
  风歌夜曲 09:18:46
  What's up?
21882391 09:18:55

  What do you put in the ....?
  I put in the ..... to respond to you.
  风歌夜曲 09:19:40
  What's up?  If you have nothing to say to me, then I'm leaving.

  21882391 09:20:11
  I asked you if you are thinking about me.  You follow me all the way ...
  风歌夜曲 09:20:18
  I don't know how to reply.

  21882391 09:20:52
  Hmm.  Are the parents watching you over the past couple of days?
  They are.
  They watch every second until it is all in his hands.  They feel that they have lost face.

  21882391 09:22:02
  What do you mean?  In whose hands?
  That is, only after I have completely left this family, then they'll feel that they don't have any responsibility.

  21882391 09:22:57
    Parents are all like that.
    When I graduate, I want to go back and open an Internet bar at the university.
    I have made a plan.  I will teach you later.

  Plan?  What do you need a plan?

  21882391 09:27:23
  From the decoration to the equipment to the network etc etc
  This is annoying.  Actually, I haven't thought about what I want to do.
    But they are treating me like a prisoner right now.
    I can't stand it.  I want to come out and get some air.

  21882391 09:28:55
  Go sell pancakes then.
  Don't say that.  It is an art.  I really don't know.

  21882391 09:29:35
  I was watching tv the other day.  There was a fried bean curd store in Jinan.  I want to go home and open one.
  ... there are many small lousy stores on the main street of Jinan.
    Please.  What do you want to sell fried bean curd?

  You like to eat it?

  21882391 09:30:21
  I like to eat it.
  风歌夜曲 09:31:02
  Damn.  I can't.  I have eaten it once at someone's insistence.
    I felt afterwards that my whole body stinks afterwards.

  In Qinghuangdao in May.

  21882391 09:31:39
  Too nice.  I love to eat it.
    If we go to Jinan, you must take me there to eat it.

  I don't know which is a good place, because I don't like eating it.

21882391 09:32:06
  May?  There?  What?
  Nothing.  I just want to ask.

  21882391 09:32:27
  Are you coming over?
  I can't say.  There is an opportunity to go traveling.
    I don't know if I can go.  I am being watched closely.

  21882391 09:33:25
  If you are discovered, you will be beaten to death ....
  Take care.
  That is why I said so.  Ha ha.
  Beaten to death.

  21882391 09:34:37
  Poor child.  Oh you can stay home
and be a writer.
  I am not that sick.

  21882391 09:35:43
  Don't you like to read books.
You write your own then.  You write a book about the two of us.
  Us?  If I wrote it, everybody will be cursing us.
  You don't care.  Everybody will say that it is the woman's fault.

  21882391 09:37:20
  You are writing a book!!!
    You are not writing news.
    You know that it is true, but other people don't know.
    Other people are just reading a story.

  He'll be in Europe in a few days.
    I think that I can relax for a few days.
    He can't call me from overseas every day.

  21882391 09:38:18
  You don't know that overseas calls are cheaper than domestic ones.
My girlfriend calls from overseas everyday.  It is cheaper than calling within the city here.
  (Sigh)  I want to write.
  .... dizzy.
  I might as well as be dead.
  Calling you every day ... why? To keep an eye on you?

  21882391 09:39:43
  Writing something then.
Of course, you can add something that never happened, or change the ending.
For example, maybe the woman killed herself and the man killed himself too.
  You go and commit suicide.
  What for?  He and I are both dead?  But you are doing nicely?

  21882391 09:40:10
  Did you call me those days?
Sometimes in the middle of the night, sometimes in the morning, all times of day.
  I didn't keep calling you.  I seemed to have called just twice.  I didn't see the other times.

  21882391 09:40:42
  I was talking about the two of us.
    You killed yourself.  I killed yourself.  You boyfriend went crazy.

  You are pretty good at deductions.  Haha.

  21882391 09:40:58
  Anyway, on the average, two a day.

  21882391 09:41:33
  And then your parents went crazy.  His parents went crazy too.
His company went bankrupt on account of him.  Wait.  I like this ending.
  You are perverted.
  Hmm ... at least he would think so.

  21882391 09:54:17
  Hmm ... how long will he be out?
  How would I know?  I didn't ask.
  He kept saying that he did not want to go.
      He said that he would rather stay and keep me company.  Sigh.

  21882391 09:55:21
  Keep you company ...
  That's like torturing you.
  Therefore, I told him to go.  I said that this was a good opportunity.
      He can learn something.  He can travel around.  This is good.

  21882391 09:56:40
  Maybe one day I'll do what you do.
  You won't, because you still have to a long time to think and choose.

  21882391 10:00:07
  Marriage is too horrible.
  Was Angela fun?

  21882391 10:12:13
  I haven't gone yet.
I can't be bothered.  They want to go but I keep saying no.
I won't go without you.
  (Sigh)  I want to play too.
    I am super-bored right now.  
    I am not allowed to go out and I am not allowed on the Internet.
    I can only sit and watch soap operas all day, and then sleep.
    I am about to go crazy.

  21882391 10:16:32
  Why don't you ask whether you can come back to WoW?  If You don't come, I really cannot play in this area.
  Impossible.  When he forced me to delete the characters, he said that even if I want to play again, I cannot come back to this area.
  He was afraid that I would come to find you.

  21882391 10:18:45
  Why don't you tell me openly?
You say that you are bored.  You want to come back to Wow.  You want to come back to this area.
Because the incidence is over, there won't be anything between us.  It's just a pure game.
  My characters are gone.  There is no point in coming back.
    Besides, you and I didn't think much about this matter.
    But he is full of hated.
    If it were you and your beloved woman betrayed you with a man in this game.
    Now she wants to go back and she even says that she won't do anything more with this man.
    Can you accept it?

[... section omitted ...]
21882391 11:33:23
  How come nothing is happening?
  I thought you were talking to them.

  21882391 11:35:04
  Will they be back at noon?
  风歌夜曲 11:34:56
  I have been so bored recently.
  风歌夜曲 11:35:06
  No, they've gone out fishing.

  21882391 11:35:16
  Psychologically or physiologically?
  风歌夜曲 11:35:16
  Psychological!  Nonsense.

  21882391 11:35:39
  Physiologically not bored?  Oh.
  风歌夜曲 11:35:43

  21882391 11:36:20
  :( You are bored psychologically and physiologically
  风歌夜曲 11:36:54
  风歌夜曲 11:37:04
  I am not thinking

  21882391 11:37:37
  Oh, it's good not to think.  I have a thought recently.
  风歌夜曲 11:37:49
  What were you thinking?
  风歌夜曲 11:37:51
  You are so busy

  21882391 11:38:14
  I was thinking about fucking you……
  风歌夜曲 11:38:49
  You are thinking about the act.  You are not thinking about me.  Damn.

  21882391 11:39:38
  I was thinking about you.
    I've been recently worried about my foreskin.
    I'm not in the mood for fucking.
  风歌夜曲 11:40:28
  Why worry?  If you want to excise it, then excise it.

  21882391 11:40:53
  I want to wait until I return home after graduation.
  风歌夜曲 11:41:14
  Hmm ... that's right ... someone will look after you.

  21882391 11:42:01
  Hmm ... I can't keep this up.  I did not sleep at all last night.
  风歌夜曲 11:42:19
  What happened?

  21882391 11:43:14
  I was playing mahjong.  I came back in the morning after eating breakfast.  And then you came.
  风歌夜曲 11:43:07
  Oh, you go to sleep then.  You go to sleep.

  21882391 11:43:47
  I'm tired.  Baby.
  风歌夜曲 11:43:40
  Bye bye,


From prior chat sessions, here are some powerful quotations:

  风歌夜曲 22:55:48
Zxxs 22:56:30
Zxxs 11:18:45
  我喜欢用嘴舔你的感觉 我觉得比做的时候还舒服——幽月儿近来痔疮好了不少,排便顺畅很多,感谢神医!!!

[in translation]

     风歌夜曲 22.55.48
     What are you so perverted?  Why must you ejaculate in a woman's mouth?
     Zxxs 22:56:30
     I don't know ... I must have watched too many porno movies
     I have to masturbate before I go to sleep.

     Zxxs 11:18:45
     I like the feeling of licking you with my mouth.
     I feel that it is even more relaxing than fucking.
     Dim Moon's hemorrhoids are getting recently and it is a lot easier to defecate.  Thank the miraculous doctor!!!

Netizens dug out these photographs purported to be Zxxs and Dim Moon.  Warning: There is no guarantee that these are genuine.

Here are two more photographs purported to be Zxxs and Dim Moon (via 6Park),  The Zxxs seems to be accepted to be authentic, but the Dim Moon one is suspect because the photograph on the left hand side contains a map of Taiwan.

Here is a spoof ad for hemorrhoids:

Zheng Xin (aka QQ 21882391, Zxxs and Tongxu) is purported to have written this open letter.  There is no guarantee that this is authentic.

JJWW,我就是干了人家的老婆那又怎了?是那女的贱,求我干的。你们怎么不去骂那个婊子,关我P事。再说了 有便宜不占 王八蛋,是吧?你要是个男的
一看你们就是凑热闹的,如果轮到你 你还不是跟我一样,操。有几个敢真正打给我的啊!
最后声明,一人做事一人当,老子以后还在玩魔兽,有本事 你就去服务器杀我!你们不要骂我的学校和我的朋友,小心我下一个目标就是你老婆!哈哈 靠

[in translation]

I am Zheng Xin!  If you have guts, you come for me!  If you have no guts, then stop yammering.

If you have the guts, come for me.  Stop yammering here.  So I fucked someone else's wife.  So what?  That woman is trash and she begged me to do her.  Why don't you scold that slut?  None of my farting business.  Besides, only a turtle egg will decline to take an advantage.  Right?  If you are a guy, you won't take this advantage?

I suggest that you should not keep calling me!  Let me tell you, I am not afraid!  It does not cost me any money on my mobile phone.  If you have the guts, you can call me anytime.  Stop yammering here!  My mobile phone number is 13780340045.  If you have the guts, you can call me and scold me?

I take a look at you and I see that you are here to watch the show.  If it was you, you'd do that the same.  Fuck!  How many of you really dare to call me!

Final statement: This is my personal responsibility.  I will continue to play WoW.  If you have the ability, you can kill me at the serve!  Please do not scold my school and my friends.  Please be careful that my first target is your wife!  Ha ha.  Fuck ...

I fuck your mothers.  You moral hypocrites come today to our school today and I will waste all of you one by one with my knife.


My address is:
Hebei province, Qinhuangdao city, Hebei Main Street Western Section  No. 43X.
My bedroom telephone number: 033580571XX

If you've got the guts, come!  Fuck!

(QQ)  Shortly after the WoW scandal broke, a large number of small alliances began to appear in Area 2's Mawei Audio-Visual server.  Within a few hours, they formed a guild of Sentinel Comforters of more than 100 persons with the single goal: the condemnation of the Sentinel Guild's president Tongxu.

Formation of the guild

The demonstration march

The state of the guild

The Sentinel Comforters face off against the Sentinels

The number of people kept expanding, causing other channels to freeze

General assembly of protestors

Mass Protest!!!

Mass Protest Suicide!!!

(International Herald Tribune)  Mob rule on China's Internet: The keyboard as weapon.  Howard French.  June 1, 2006.

It began with an impassioned, 5,000-word letter on one of China's most popular Internet bulletin boards, from a husband denouncing a student he suspected of carrying on an affair with his wife.

Immediately, hundreds joined in the attack. "Let's use our keyboard and mouse in our hands as weapons," as one person wrote, "to chop out the heads of these adulterers, to pay for the sacrifice of the husband." Within days, the hundreds had grown to thousands, and then tens of thousands, with total strangers forming teams to hunt down the student's identity and address, hounding him out of his university and causing his family to barricade themselves inside their home.

It was the latest example of a growing phenomenon the Chinese call Internet hunting, in which morality lessons are administered by online throngs and where anonymous Web users come together to investigate others and mete out punishment for offenses real and imagined.

In recent cases, people have scrutinized husbands suspected of cheating on their wives, fraud on Internet auction sites, the secret lives of celebrities and unsolved crimes. One case that drew a huge following involved the poisoning of a Tsinghua University student - an event that dates to 1994, but was revived by curious strangers after word spread on the Internet that the only suspect in the case had been questioned and released.

Even a recent scandal involving a top Chinese computer scientist dismissed for copying an American processor design came to light in part because of Internet hunting, with scores of online commentators raising questions about the project and putting pressure on the scientist's sponsors to look into allegations about intellectual property theft.

While Internet wars can crop up anywhere, these cases have set off alarms in China, where this sort of crowd behavior has led to violence in the past. Many here draw disturbing parallels to the Cultural Revolution, whose 40th anniversary was in May. During that episode of Chinese history, mobs of students taunted and beat their professors and mass denunciations and show trials became common for a decade.

In recent years, the Chinese government has gradually tightened controls, requiring, for example, that customers at Internet cafés provide identification.

It also introduced an Internet policing system whose cartoon figure mascots show up on people's screens to remind them they are being monitored, and recently blocked access to the most popular blog search engine, the American company Technorati.

There has been recurrent talk by the government of registering all Internet users, and many here worry that a wave of online threats and vigilantism could serve as a pretext to impose new limits on users.

The affair of the cuckolded husband first came to public attention in mid- April, after the man, who goes by the Web name Freezing Blade, said he discovered online correspondence between his wife, Quiet Moon, and a college student, Bronze Mustache. Following an initial conversation, in which he forgave his wife, the man said he found messages on his wife's unattended computer that confirmed to him that the extramarital liaison was continuing. He then posted the letter denouncing Bronze Mustache by his real name, opening the floodgates.

The case exploded on April 20, when a bulletin board manifesto against Bronze Mustache was published by someone under the name Spring Azalea. "We call on every company, every establishment, every office, school, hospital, shopping mall and public street to reject him," it said. "Don't accept him, don't admit him, don't identify with him until he makes a satisfying and convincing repentance."

Impassioned people teamed up to uncover the student's address and telephone number, both of which were then posted online. Soon, people eager to denounce him showed up at his university and at his parents' house, forcing him to drop out of school and barricade himself with his family in their home.

Others denounced the university for not expelling him, with one poster saying it should be "bombed by Iranian missiles." Many others, meanwhile, said the student should be beaten or beheaded, or that he and the married woman should be put in a "pig cage" and drowned.

"Right from the beginning, every day there have been people calling and coming to our house, and we have all been very upset," said the student's father, who was interviewed by telephone but declined to provide his name.

"This is an awful thing, and the Internet companies should stop these attacks, but we haven't spoken with them. I wouldn't know whom to speak to."

In hopes of quieting the criticism, Bronze Mustache issued a six-minute online video denying any affair with Quiet Moon, whom he is said to have met at a gathering of enthusiasts of the online game "World of Warcraft." At the same time, Freezing Blade has twice asked people to call off the attacks, even joining in the denials of an affair - all to no avail.

At its height, the Bronze Mustache case accounted for huge traffic increases on China's Internet bulletin boards, including a nearly 10 percent increase in daily traffic on Tianya, the bulletin board with the most users.

In many countries, electronic bulletin boards hark back to the earliest days of the Internet, before Web browsers were common, and when text messages were posted in static fashion in stark black and white. In today's China, however, bulletin boards have been colorfully updated and remain at the heart of the country's Internet culture.

"Our Web site is a platform, not a court," said Zeng Lu, a Web master for Tianya, which boasts 40 million page visits daily and says it is the world's largest bulletin board. "We cannot judge who is a good or bad person by some moral standard, but we have our own bottom line. If it's a personal attack on someone, we delete it, but it is very difficult, given that we have 10 million users." Although concerned about online threats, advocates of free speech say that is no reason for the Chinese authorities to place further limits on the Internet.

"The Internet should be free, and I have always opposed the idea of registering users, because this is perhaps the only channel we have for free discussion," said Zhu Dake, a sociologist and cultural critic at Tongji University in Shanghai. "On the other hand, the Internet is being distorted. This creates a very difficult dilemma for us."

Zhan Jiang, a professor of journalism, also defended open discussion on the Internet.

"As freedom of expression is not well protected here, we have to choose the lighter of two evils," said Zhan, who teaches at China Youth University of Political Science, in Beijing. "The minority who are hurting other people in such cases should be prevented, but this behavior should not disturb the majority's freedom of expression."

But there are drawbacks to unfettered discussion, as the Bronze Mustache case illustrates. "What we Internet users are doing is fulfilling our social obligations," said one man who posted a lengthy attack on the college student and his alleged affair. "We cannot let our society fall into such a low state."

Asked how he would react if people began publishing online allegations about his private life, he answered, "I believe strongly in the traditional saying that if you've done nothing wrong, you don't fear the knock on your door at midnight."

(Los Angeles Times)  Chinese Log On for Retribution.  Ching-ching Ni.  September 5, 2006.

A woman in a leopard-print halter top cuddles a kitten. She puts the little gray tabby on the ground. She lifts her foot and grinds the heel of her sparkly stiletto shoe into the terrified animal's eye and crushes its head. Her work done, she gazes into the distance smiling.

The video images set the Internet on fire in China. Instead of just airing their outrage online, Web users decided to hunt down the kitten killer.

But how do you find a nameless woman in a country of 1.3 billion? Easily. Create a most-wanted poster and distribute it in cyberspace.

Within five days, Internet users around the country had tracked down the location of the crime scene: a park in the northern province of Heilongjiang. They found the name and occupation of the stiletto-wearing woman — she was a nurse — as well as her videographer, a man who worked at a local radio and television bureau.

Then they splattered the pair's personal information on the Internet, including home addresses, e-mails, phone and identity card numbers, free for anyone to use and abuse.

The case attracted so much publicity that local Communist Party officials quickly followed up with their own investigation. Soon after, both the man and woman lost their jobs and were forced to issue a public apology. That is considered strong action against the perpetrators, because there is no law in China against the abuse of domestic animals and the two can't be charged with a crime.

In a society where judicial corruption is rampant and ordinary people have few protections in the court of law, an increasing number of Chinese citizens are turning to the Internet to fill in society's perceived legal and moral blind spots.

That often means taking matters into their own hands by harnessing the power of technology and then leaping beyond cyberspace to play judge and jury.

"In other societies you can turn to the media or the legal system, but in China, neither is credible," said Xiao Qiang, director of the Berkeley China Internet Project at UC Berkeley. "People don't trust the government. They don't have anywhere else to turn, so they go to the Internet."

Although Beijing frequently cracks down on cyberspace activity, censoring search engines such as Google and filtering information, the Internet remains one of the freest platforms on which Chinese citizens can communicate and bond.

The rising popularity of Web justice, sometimes referred to as Internet hunting, is relatively new, but it has the potential to threaten the absolute control of the Communist Party. Digital communities are springing up without the consent of the authorities — and are even forcing officialdom and society to take small steps in their direction.

As empowering as it seems, vigilantism in any form is imperfect. And unlike the kitten killer story, the outcome of the online hunting game is not always clear-cut.

Last winter, college student Chen Yi posted a startling online message. Her mother desperately needed money for a liver transplant. She was willing to sell herself — she was vague about what that entailed — to the highest bidder to save her mother's life.

Immediately, donations poured in from around the country, no strings attached. Even some in the overseas Chinese community pitched in to contribute a total of about $12,500 to the student's personal account.

Then what seemed like a great humanitarian project began to unravel.

Someone with the online name "Blue Lover" claiming to be Chen's classmate, posted personal details about Chen's life that cast doubt over her story. Chen, the posting said, wore expensive clothes and used a fancy cellphone. Did she really need the money?

Not knowing whom to believe, a Netizen called Sun Guoyu launched his own investigation.

According to his findings, Chen's parents were government employees with a low but steady income. Although their health insurance didn't cover all expenses, Sun concluded that the family was not nearly as poor as many others in similar situations. He even questioned whether the mother's operation was necessary.

Within a month of his postings, Chen's mother died and Internet sentiment ricocheted against Sun. Web users began saying his skepticism had helped take the woman's life.

"I've received a lot of unfair attacks," Sun said in a telephone interview. "I feel bad for her. But she did not disclose important financial information to the public. I am more than willing to help people in need. But people who donate money have the right to know the truth."

Such murky outcomes are not uncommon in the witch-hunt world of the Internet in China.

"Web freedom is a very new freedom, and new freedom should come with new responsibilities," said Xiao of Berkeley. "Unfortunately, that process has not been established yet. When anybody can attack anyone else, the Internet is sometimes a mess. It's not always good for justice or truth."

One of the best-known cases this year involved a man who called himself Iron Mustache online. He has been bombarded with harassing e-mails and phone calls, including death threats.

What did he do to deserve this? Adultery, according to Sharp Blade, the Web name of his allegedly cuckolded accuser.

Iron Mustache and Sharp Blade's wife supposedly met through their mutual love for the online game World of Warcraft. When her husband discovered their e-mail exchanges, he began denouncing the alleged affair on a popular Internet bulletin board.

But even Sharp Blade did not expect the avalanche of responses offering to help him track down Iron Mustache, expel him from school and prevent him from ever getting a job.

Despite Iron Mustache's repeated denial of any affair, nobody believed him, nor did anyone demand any evidence that any impropriety actually took place.

"It's true, people who participate in these Web-hunting cases do not always behave rationally — they tend to act as a group and they don't have access to complete information," said Li Jianqiang, a lawyer based in Shandong province. "But these Web users have a right to speak their minds. Trying to stifle them would make things even worse."

If it were not for widespread support from the Internet, even partial justice in many cases would be impossible, said Li, who represents the parents of a 21-year-old found naked and dead in her dormitory in 2003.

The family of Huang Jing believed that her well-connected boyfriend, Jiang Junwu, was guilty of rape and murder. Jiang said Huang had been sick and died of natural causes; authorities believed him and didn't open an investigation.

According to Li, the local police refused to even look into the case. Then the Web hunters stepped in.

They created an online memorial hall to mourn the victim, set up a national donation campaign to preserve her body for future investigations, and started a petition drive calling on the central government to investigate and fire corrupt cops.

Tens of thousands of Web users are said to have followed the case on the Internet, most of them sympathetic to the dead woman. Her boyfriend bore the brunt of attacks, which his family said was unfair because he was innocent.

Finally, officials arrested Jiang and began an investigation. In July, three years after Huang died, a verdict was delivered: not guilty. The court, however, also ordered Jiang to pay the parents of the dead woman about $75,000 in civil damages.

"Even though the outcome of the case is not ideal, the Internet still played a very important role," said Li, the lawyer. "Without the outcry from the Internet, we wouldn't even have a case. The court of public opinion is the only thing that could put pressure on the authorities to at least try to do the right thing."

(ChineseNewsNet中國網絡輿論的“強大力量”  September 6, 2006.








洛杉磯時報指出﹐然而並不是所有網上追查和調查都象通緝“踩貓女人”那樣准確和完美﹐自去年秋天以來﹐中國網民對互聯網上所出現的幾起著名案例的追查結果 ﹐有的卻引起很大的爭議。去年9月﹐女大學生陳易在“天涯雜談”貼出“賣身救母”的帖子後﹐立即有全國網友為其捐款﹐甚至一些海外華人也解囊相助﹐其人民幣賬號得到至少10萬元的捐款﹐還不算外幣和郵匯。


調查手記公布3天後﹐陳的母親死于肝臟二次移植前的輔助手術。陳母死後﹐天涯雜談的輿論立即反轉﹕有人說“八分齋”用春秋筆法﹐強化了對陳易不利的一面﹔ 有人指責他假借網友之名﹐其實是奉媒體之命調查﹔有人指責他先有了結論再去求證﹐調查不可能公正。有人直指他逼死了陳母﹐說陳家母女“有罪但罪不至死”。





隨後﹐許多網民加入到這場“銅須討伐戰”中。甚至有人要“以鍵盤為武器砍下奸夫的頭﹐獻給那位丈夫做祭品”。一時間﹐“江湖追殺令”再現網絡﹐在天涯社區有網友發布“銅須”的照片和視頻﹐呼吁各機關團體﹐對“銅須”及其同伴甚至所在大學進行全面抵制﹐要求“不招聘﹑不錄用﹑不接納﹑不認可﹑不承認﹑不理睬 ﹑不合作”。至此﹐“銅須”及其家人的正常生活受到嚴重干擾。






文章最後說﹐更重要的是﹐必須警慎一種以自由的方式扼殺自由﹐以表達的方式限制表達的可能。毫無疑問﹐群情激憤的網絡口水﹐淹沒了另一方正當表達的權利﹐ 他們的自由與權利﹐在更多人看起來已經無足輕重。在另一方面﹐網絡在一定程度上拓展了個人表達的空間與自由。要知道﹐這是一種多麼難得的東西﹗因此需要警惕﹐“網絡追殺”現象﹐可能存在的暴民思想與非理性行為會予人口實﹐反過來成為對于網絡自由橫加干預的充分理由。