Internet hunting in China

by on June 2, 2006 at 11:59 pm in Web/Tech | Permalink

It began with an impassioned, 5,000-word letter on one of the country’s
most popular Internet bulletin boards from a husband denouncing a
college student he suspected of having an affair with his wife.
Immediately, hundreds joined in the attack.

"Let’s use our keyboard and mouse in our hands as weapons," one
person wrote, "to chop off 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 that hunted down the student, hounded him out of his
university and caused his family to barricade themselves inside their
home.

Here is the full story.  One Chinese hunter is happy to defend the trend:

"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."

Here is a previous post on comparable developments in Korea.

1 hamilton June 3, 2006 at 12:13 am

I can think of very few situations, irrespective of my actions, when I do *not* fear the knock on my door at midnight. It seems that this fear would only be heightened were I living in China. Perhaps I am mistaken on both counts?

2 Tex June 3, 2006 at 6:05 am

This is the way norms are enforced in village cultures. Rural Village, meet Global Village.

3 Pelkabo June 3, 2006 at 9:00 am

The syndicated program “Cheaters” (http://www.cheaters.com/) provides a voyeuristic way to do the same thing. It seems to be quite popular among our own rural villagers here in the U.S.

4 CK June 3, 2006 at 5:40 pm

I wonder whose ethics will be melded into the global bouillabaisse and whose will become just quaint historical
abberations.

5 Anonymous October 14, 2008 at 1:35 am

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