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Pickiness of the Chinese public or a new form of corruption? A photo where government official Yang Dacai is smiling in the site of the terrible accident in Sha'anxi province last week lead to furious public responses. The story further developed when one netizen published photos where Yang is wearing five different expensive watches, hinting to his corruption lifestyle. Is this criticism justified or is the Chinese public becoming over-suspicious of it governmental cadres? In either way, the power of Chinese netizens and the Weibo in stirring up public discourses is evident once again.

26日陕西延安(Yan'an, Shaanxi province)发生了致36人遇难[1]的重大交通事故[2],现场陕西省安监局(Administration of Work Safety of Shaanxi)局长杨达才(Yang Dacai)一张微笑表情的照片,引起网民[3]不满。有网友发表几张照片,表示杨达才在各种不同场合戴有至少5块不同名表[4]。

杨达才说,8月26日早上6时许,他就接特大交通事故的报告,6时40分就带人从西安(Xi'an)出发,11时来到事故现场。杨达才说:"来到事故现场,看到情况,我们的心情很沉痛[5],由于事故太过重大,现场气氛其实很压抑[6]。我让我同志[7]放松些,可能一不留神[8],神情上有些放松。现在回想起来,我也很内疚[9]。"

杨达才说,由于自己的不够主语,一个不恰当[10]的微笑让事故救援工作[11]的关注被降低了,他向遇难者家属[12]道歉。

至于他有5块名表的说法,杨达才回应称,"这十多年来,我确实买过5块手表。这些表是我在不同时期自己购买的,是用我自己的合法收入[13]购买的。"

杨达才主动上微博(Weibo, China's most popular microblogging network)回应,有网友认为,回应及时,道歉比较真诚。不过,也有网友声称发现杨达才戴了新名表。

On August 26 a traffic accident with 36 victims took place in Yan'an, Shaanxi province. A photo that was taken in the site of the accident, where director of Administration of Work Safety of Shaanxi Yang Dacai was smiling has provoked netizens and produced resentful responses. One netizen searched the internet and published photos in which Yang Dacai is wearing at least 5 different brand watches.

Yang Dacai said that at 6 am in the morning of August 26 he heard the news about the big accident. At 6:40 he took people and left Xi'an, and at 11 am he arrived at the site of the accident. Yang Dacai said: "When we arrived at the site and saw the situations we felt deeply grieved. Since the accident was so tragic, the ambience was very constrained. I asked from my comrades to relax a little, and perhaps when I didn't notice my expression seemed relaxed. Now when I retrospect I have a guilty conscience."

Yang said that because he was not cautious enough and one inappropriate smile has made a bad reputation to the rescue work, he apologizes to the families of the victims.

As for the five different brand watches, Yang Dacai answered, "in the last ten and more years I indeed bought five watches. I bought them myself in different time periods, paying for them from my legitimate salary."

Yang Dacai has taken the initiative to comment on the Weibo (China's most popular microblogging network). Some netizens think that this immediate response and apology seem sincere. Others on the other hand claimed to notice that Yang is wearing a new watch...

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The disputable photo: corrupted smile or innocent expression?


Original article published by 羊城晚报

[1] 遇难 yùnàn - Victims of accident

[2] 交通事故 jiāotōng shìgù - Traffic accident

[3] 网民 wǎng mín - Netizens

[4] 名表 míng biǎo - brand-name watches

[5] 沉痛 chéntòng - deeply grieved

[6] 压抑 yāyì - constrain

[7] 同志 tóngzhì - comrade, workmates

[8] 不留神 bù liúshén - not careful

[9] 内疚 nèi jiù - guilty conscience

[10] 不恰当 bù qiàdàng - inappropriate

[11] 救援工作 jiùyuán gōngzuò - rescue work

[12] 家属 jiāshǔ- family members

[13] 合法收入 héfǎ shōurù - legal income, legitimate salary



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