Anger simmered on social media in China today as state media reported remarks made by Wang Zhonglin (王忠林), Wuhan’s new top official, during a video conference on the city’s response to the coronavirus epidemic. Wang, who was appointed in February to replace Ma Guoqiang (马国强) as Wuhan’s Party secretary, reportedly said that it was necessary to “carry out gratitude education among the citizens of the whole city, so that they thank the General Secretary [Xi Jinping], thank the Chinese Communist Party, heed the Party, walk with the Party, and create strong positive energy.”

A release reporting Wang’s speech reiterated Xi Jinping’s words earlier this month, in which he said, “Wuhan is a heroic city, and the people of Hubei, the people of Wuhan, are heroic people.” Xi referred to Wuhan as a key “battleground” in the “war” against the coronavirus, in keeping with the central propaganda themes the Chinese Communist Party has emphasized since February – of fierce struggle, personal sacrifice and unity, all under the stolid leadership of the CCP.

Wang Zhonglin said in his speech that the Party must employ various forms of propaganda and education campaigns to carry out “gratitude education” among the population of Wuhan. Echoing Xi, he said: “The people of Wuhan are heroic people, and they are also thankful people.” The story was reported in Changjiang Daily, the official newspaper under Wuhan’s Party committee, but was shared widely across social media.

The remarks, coming at a time when there is widespread concern about the real implications of the coronavirus epidemic and lingering anger over the government response, generated fury online, and were viewed by many Chinese as tasteless and disgusting. News of the remarks cameless than a day after video emerged online from Wuhan in which residents in a cluster of high-rise apartment buildings can be heard shouting, “Fake! Fake! Everything is fake!” as China’s vice-premier Sun Chunlan (孙春兰) makes a tour of the area.

In a post to WeChat called “Have a Bit of Conscience: It’s Not Time to Ask the People of Wuhan for their Thanks,” journalist Chu Zhaoxin (褚朝新) remarked on the release yesterday of the video taken during Sun Chunlan’s neighborhood tour, and suggested Wang Zhonglin’s timing was insensitive. “This is public opinion, this is reality,” Chu wrote of the video. “People who are not blind or deaf can see and hear, and those who are not blind can feel it.”

Chu did not know, he said, whether Wang Zhonglin’s words were a direct response to yesterday’s heckling of the inspection group led by the vice-premier, but in any case the suggestion that the Wuhan people required “gratitude education” was misplaced. “If this is Wang Zhonglin’s idea, I think he needs to educate himself. You are a public servant, and your job is to serve the people. Now the people you serve are broken, the dead are still cold, and the tears of the living have not yet dried. The sick have not yet recovered, and much of their dissatisfaction is completely reasonable. Rather than blaming the people in Wuhan you serve for not being grateful, you should reflect and be ashamed because you and your team are not working properly.”

Chu’s post was deleted by late morning on Saturday. But we have archived a version below.

[UPDATE: 8PM Hong Kong time]

A WeChat post on Wang Zhonglin’s remarks from the official account of the city of Wuhan, “Wuhan China” (武汉发布), has now been deleted. Clearly, there has been huge blowback on this, and the government fears a creating wave of negative opinion.

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稍有良心,此时都不会要求惊魂未定的武汉人感恩

3月6日晚,武汉市委书记王忠林主持召开武汉市新冠肺炎疫情防控指挥部视频调度会时提出,要对武汉人民开展感恩教育。

稍微对武汉人有点感情的人,现在都不会出来说这种话。

武汉的局势,大家都看到了,截至3月6日,武汉确诊病例49871例,死亡2349例。因为前期准备不足,无力应对爆炸式传播的病毒,还有很多死亡的病例没有被统计进来。

前天,我听到了2月7日逆行进入武汉援助武汉的复旦大学附属医院副院长朱畴文的一段音频。讲到当时有很多感染的武汉人没有医院接收、不得不留在社区的时候,他哭了,哽咽得不能说话。

一家数口被病毒吞噬生命的惨剧,武汉不止一起,这是灭门惨剧啊。

2349条生命,2349次死亡,他们尸骨未寒,他们的家人、朋友、同学都还在悲痛之中,他们的家人、朋友、同学甚至自己都还在医院里躺着等着抢救,根本无力悲伤,此时却有人要对他们加强感恩教育,这是没有人性的行为。

除了普通的武汉人,武汉倒在一线的医护人员也有数十人。武汉市中心医院,因为感染病毒已经有3名医生病逝;同济医院、协和医院、武昌医院、武汉市急救中心、湖北长航总医院等十余家医院也都有医护人员倒在了抗疫一线。他们,也都尸骨未寒。

还有数千的重症患者在死亡线上挣扎,方仓医院里、定点隔离点里还有上万人有家不能回,仍活在被病毒威胁的恐惧之中。他们的家人,也跟着一起提心吊胆。

武汉封城,大几百万的武汉人困在城里,不能出门,吃喝都成了问题。对生活物资紧缺、高价菜等问题不满的声音,不绝于耳。就在3月6日,武汉的青山区一个小区里就有市民向中央指导组喊出了“假的假的、形式主义”的心声,那种愤懑、不满、委屈与不安迅速感染了其他武汉人,视频迅速满网传播。

这是民意,这是现实,眼睛没瞎、耳朵没聋的人都能看到听到,心没瞎的人也都能感受到。

武汉人刚经历了一场大难,而且目前大难未消、余祸尚在,武汉人还在继续面临病毒的威胁,仍然活在恐惧之中,惊魂未定。

此时,近千万仍在遭受病毒威胁的武汉人最需要的是帮助、抚慰和实打实的物资保障,而不是被教育去感恩;上万被隔离在医院、宾馆接受观察的武汉人需要的尽快恢复健康,数千重症患者最需要的是有效的医疗救助,不是被教育感恩;数十万流落在外的武汉人有家不能回,在外流浪甚至受到歧视,他们当下最需要的是回家,而不是接受感恩教育。

将心比心,此时武汉人真的还没有缓过劲来,还在恐惧与不安之中祈祷灾难早日结束,他们需要的是强有力的保障和帮助,还有那些需要对这场灾难负责的失职渎职官员的道歉,而不是被要求着去感恩。

要开展感恩教育的言下之意,是武汉人不感恩或者是还不够感恩。我不知道这话,是不是对“假的假的”的一种回应,是不是觉得武汉人对生活物资不足表达不满就是不感恩。

王忠林如果是这种想法,我觉得他才需要好好接受一下教育:你是人民的公仆,你的工作就是为人民服务,如今你所服务的人民家破人亡,逝去的人尸骨未寒,活着的人泪痕未干,病着的人病体未愈,他们有些不满完全是情理之中的事情,你应该因为你和你的团队工作不到位而反思和惭愧,而不是指责你所服务的武汉人民不懂感恩。

武汉人不懂感恩吗?我作为一个武汉人不接受王忠林这样的无端指控。

武汉人的感恩之心时刻都在,他们感恩三万多从外省市到湖北支援的外省医疗队,他们感恩兄弟省市无数捐钱捐物的好心人,他们感恩无数奋战在一线的本地医护人员,他们感恩武汉封城后坚守在岗位的武汉警察、环卫,他们感恩无数默默无闻的志愿者、社区工作人员。如果不知道感恩,那些赞美上述群体的文章不会动辄上百万的点击量。

除了点赞,他们也在做力所能及的事情。

黄陂区一个菜农,开着车数次给上海援汉医疗队所居住的酒店送菜,分文不取;无数的武汉市民和志愿者,知道武汉的医护人员吃不好饭甚至没饭吃,默默给武汉的医院送去盒饭等生活物资;很多武汉人深陷围城,也还在捐款捐物……

这些,不是感恩是什么?

王忠林从山东济南的市委书记调到武汉担任市委书记,到武汉已经快一个月了,从他这些冷酷无情的话可以看出,他目前对武汉人还没有什么感情。我相信,要武汉人接受这个市委书记恐怕也还需要很长一段时间。

褚朝新

2020年3月7日