Thanks to Jeremy Goldkorn for pointing out that somebody has uploaded the CNN video of Chinese President Hu Jintao being heckled by a FLG practitioner during his speech at the White House on Thursday. Chinese censors may have blacked out the live TV signal and all CNN replays, but it's all over the internet. And Chinese chatrooms are re-posting and analyzing the photos from the Great White House Lawn Debacle. This one (via Imagethief) has a shot of Mrs. Hu, scowling next to a smiling Laura Bush.
Meanwhile Roland Soong over at ESWN digs up a rather fascinating revelation: according to photos on this website belonging to photographer Darrin Zammit Lupi, Dr. Wang Wenyi - Thursday's heckler who was accredited into the official press coverage pool via the FLG-run publication Epoch Times - also managed to break through the security detail and confronted former President Jiang Zemin when he was on a trip to Malta in 2001. I have e-mailed the photographer asking him to confirm the authenticity of this photo and describe what happened in detail. When he gets back to me I'll update this post. [NOTE: Photo taken down for copyright reasons. Click here to see it.]
UPDATE (4/24): Mr. Lupi responded to my email with the following account of what happened:
from what I recall, she'd been shadowing jiang for a couple of days, turning up at a few of the events the media were covering.... I believe she had press credentials of some sort, though not issued by Maltese for purpose of covering the visit.... still, whatever she had was good enough for some cops providing security, I suppose.
On the day in question, Jiang was doing an unscheduled walkabout around Malta's ancient former capital city, Mdina.... no one gave Wang a second look. As Jiang descended some stairs from a terrace overlooking the bastions, she somehow slipped through the ring of plain clothes police officers around him, and said something....there was some shouting, and she was immediately pulled away by the security guards. Jiang immediately instructed that she be brought back to him, and that's when the moments I'd photographed took place.... she very calmly accused him of killing and persecuting Falun Gong practicioners, to which Jiang angrily and animatedly, with wide hand gestures, replied that the Falun Gong were killing themselves.
Then he brushed her off and the police took her away again... she was held for a while at a local police station, then released without charge. She became something of a celebrity in the following days. Prior to her protest, the police had been keeping Falun Gong and other protestors well away from Jiang, making sure he wouldn;t even see or hear them.
Chinese netizens were already speculating that the White House or somebody in the U.S. government had allowed her into the press stand on purpose, given how long it took before she was led away. (Roland quotes more such speculation here.) Then there's the added issuse that even many Chinese who dislike their regime equally dislike FLG. For a taste of those sentiments check out Bingfeng here and here. I have a lot of Chinese friends who share similar views - people who also have a habit of saying very unflattering things in private about various Chinese leaders and government departments.
But what has really upset a lot of Chinese people was Bush's rude and very public yank on Hu's sleeve. See Imagethief's post about the reaction of his Chinese co-workers. Lead sentence: "They think Bush is a protocol-impaired dweeb."
The saddest thing about Thursday's White House Lawn Diplo-Debacle is that many Chinese who generally dislike the Chinese Communist Party have now turned against the U.S. government. Roland cites a Hong Kong newspaper poll with the following results:
Issue: The White House master of ceremony announced the playing of the national anthem of the Republic of China.
- 33% said that the American goverment deliberate set this up to insult China
- 21% said that the American government was of poor quality
- 23% said that it was an unintentional mistake
Issue: When the female FLG member disrupted Hu Jintao's speech, she was allowed to go on for almost three minutes before the secret service agents removed her.
- 79% said that the American government should apologize
- 9% said that the American government should not apologize
Issue: How should China protest against what occurred?
- 43% said China should demand an apology from the American government
- 22% said China should lodge a diplomatic protest
- 6% said China should cancel the recently signed purchase contracts
Issue: Do you think that the United States is a trustworthy partner?
- 17% said USA is a trustworthy partner
- 62% said USA is not a trustworthy partner
Youch. And this is from people in relatively Westernized Hong Kong.
For more news and blogger coverage from Reuters and Global Voices Online, click here: