The Fractured Web
A young girl with the Weibo microblog moniker Smm Miao “tweeted” in the early evening of July 23, 2011, “After all the wind and storm, what’s going on with the high-speed train? It’s crawling slower than a snail. I hope nothing happens to it.” Minutes later, during a torrential downpour punctuated by thunder and lightning, the country girl watched as another bullet train rammed the stalled locomotive from behind, killing 40 passengers and injuring hundreds more. The message was the first of 26 million that would be posted and echoed throughout Chinese Internet space. Most of the microblogs were scathing about the country’s government, the quality of the railway infrastructure and its handling of the tragedy. Representative messages included:
The high-speed train accident and the scores of fatalities resulting from ...