David Wertime

Chinese Web Users’ Funny and Disturbing Responses to Sandy’s Impact

A reporter for China's Central Television (CCTV) reports on Sandy from U.S. shores. (Via Weibo)

In an interconnected world, it’s perhaps small surprise that many of China’s web users were well aware of hurricane Sandy’s fierce impact on American shores. Over the past 24 hours, thousands of Sandy-related comments have appeared on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter. 

While responses have been all over the proverbial map, a good deal of discussion has centered on Beijing’s own response to torrential rains that hit the Chinese capital on July 21, 2012, causing 77 deaths. At that time, some netizens, including “public intellectuals” (i.e. liberals and reformists) decried Beijing’s lack of a proper drainage system, with some comparing the U.S. favorably to their country. Certain netizens took Sandy’s impact and toll as a chance to strike back.

Tea Leaf Nation has selected and translated some of the most interesting, representative and revealing Sandy-related posts from Weibo.

It would have been worse in China

@Michael_heroes, Beijing: The American hurricane Sandy has killed 18 people at present [it has since climbed]; a hurricane that big and only 18 people dead. I don’t dare think about what would happen here.

@易者凡心-HuaQiaoU, Fujian: If China were the one being attacked [by Sandy], I trust a lot of numbers [relating to victims and destruction] would be at least double. 

@我想当个大好人, Xinjiang: The transportation system isn’t working, but at least they have a transportation system. Our nation’s transportation system operates without any system at all. The U.S.. definitely has a lot of flaws, but they’re prosperous because they encourage questions to be raised, while our country is precisely the opposite. 

A touch (or heaping helping) of schadenfreude

@出家人慈悲为怀V, Guangdong: The fiercer the better, blow away all those American devils. 

@染香, Beijing: China’s public intellectuals told us that the pipes were the city’s conscience; I’d like to ask those intellectuals, where’s New York’s conscience?

@李二虎Johnny, Beijing: Since there are so many people in this country who love the Americans, hurry up and go over there and save them.

 @坚持阳光, Gansu: Serves you right, Yankees.

A dash of humor

@王者润之, Sichuan: As to the dispute between the United States and Sandy, we do not take a position. We hope that both sides see the situation clearly, see peace and unity as the main aim, and manage their previous conflicts.  

@发条蔡, Fujian: I’m worried for officials of the Celestial Dynasty [slang for China], their children and family members are all there.

@蒋岩VIP, Liaoning: The American imperialists haven’t learned [enough] from comrade Ahmadinejad to say it’s a conspiracy among the socialist countries?

@我有小克拉, Jiangsu: What does the New York Times have to say? I want to follow! [NB: The New York Times' English and Chinese-language sites have been blocked in China since the paper's expose of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's family finances.]

@yumail312, Shanghai: It seems being covered in water is not just a Chinese speciality!

Clearly not from around here

@Suen-Y, Shanghai: Will the U.S. have to postpone its election because of this?

@Underworld, Sichuan: [In English] I want to know why the name of it is sandy. So Q [i.e. cute] 

We knew that already; but thanks!

@DamoN蕭_毅, Beijing: [In English] Blessing……..[You are] people. 


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David Wertime

David is the co-founder and co-editor of Tea Leaf Nation. He first encountered China as a Peace Corps Volunteer in 2001 and has lived and worked in Fuling, Chongqing, Beijing, and Hong Kong. He is a ChinaFile fellow at the Asia Society and an associate fellow at the Truman National Security Project.