70 MPH Becomes an Internet Catch Phrase
|Alice Poon||May 15, 2009|
Here is my slightly abridged translation of the news article:-
"So far in 2009, netizens have for the third time used a T-shirt to express their opinion. The first time was the widespread comic picture with a subtitle 'Undress – it’s your turn' (脫吧, 到你了) (The issue in question was the popular demand for government officials to disclose their wealth and assets.) The second time was about Chongqing netizens opposing a public road toll raise. This time is the 'Hangzhou Traffic Police 70 MPH' incident.
The number 70 has become the new favorite in numbers. If you enter 70 into the Baidu search engine, the first search result would be 'A police report says that the speed of the car involved in the May 7 traffic accident was 70 MPH.' The first three search results all say the same thing: University graduate Hu Bin’s speeding car in a crowded area killed a youth named Tan Zhuo; traffic policemen quoted in a press conference Hu Bin and his friends as saying the speed of his car at the time was 70 MPH; this caused an angry uproar on the internet.
At the May 8 press conference, the answer given by the police, when asked whether there was any evidence of the car speed when the accident happened, was that 'According to the statement of the driver, the car speed at the time was around 60 to 70 MPH; the drivers of two other cars at the scene also said the speed was about 70 MPH.' Immediately one of Tan’s co-workers pointed out that many eyewitnesses had indicated that the car speed was over 100 MPH.
Some media reports have pointed out that the accident victim was thrown in the air 5 meters high and 20 meters far. Many netizens think that a speed of 70 MPH could not have done that.
When professional car racer Han Han talked about this in his blog, he said according to his personal judgment, the car speed could have been 100 to 130 MPH. He commented thus about the traffic policemen’s allegation of 70 MPH: 'How could they have come up so quickly with an estimation of 70 MPH – it’s only because the man involved said so. 70 MPH is just in an area of doubt whether the speed was over the limit by 50%. If the speed were over 75 MPH, it would be a different matter altogether. Normally, traffic policemen would not have come to a preliminary conclusion this quickly. It is apparent that they want to influence public opinion in order to help the person involved.'
This reporter has observed that after the accident, many netizens on some very popular discussion forums have changed their icon image into the words ’70 MPH’ and ‘Very Fast, Very Violent’ (很快很暴力). One netizen forecasts that 'Hangzhou Traffic Police 70 MPH' will become the new internet catch phrase in 2009. He even suggests that products like T-shirts and car stickers bearing the logo ’70 MPH’ will soon be available in the market.
Apparently, that forecast is turning into reality.
Yesterday, two types of T-shirts printed with '70 MPH' appeared in the Taobao online shop.
Regarding the '70 MPH' T-shirts, one netizen on the 19th Floor Forum mentioned that he was hoping the proceeds from the sale of the T-shirts could be used to help the parents of Tan Zhuo. He said: 'The internet, TV and newspapers have spent enough time showing concern about this case; they have spent enough time feeling angry about it. It’s time to do something positive for the Tan family. The livelihood of Tan’s parents should have been the greatest concern for Tan…. And it’s Mother’s Day – I sincerely hope Tan’s mother will be able to step out of the darkness….'
According to a report in Qianjiang Evening News, in the early morning of May 12, the Hangzhou traffic police began, in the company of several car speed experts, to investigate the accident scene to ascertain the car speed at the time of the accident."