How did a jailbreak case gain admiration on the Net?

Sometimes it seems difficult to understand certain stories taking place in China. The latest is a jailbreak case in Heibei province in north China which turned out to get a sweeping admiration from Chinese netizens.


Wang Zhenqing, 43, escaped from the Heibei No.3 prison in the city of Shenzhou on the early morning of September 11th, reportedly using merely ropes and some wood planks to vault over the 6m-high wall, in a daring get-away seemingly taken right out of the Hollywood movie "The Shawshank Redemption". But what's different from the film is that unlike the protagonist who is wronged by justice, Wang is a real criminal, who was sentenced to 10 years in jail for a robbery committed in January.


But as soon as the news went on the Internet, thunderous applause was heard from Chinese netizens. Some called him the "Great master", others claimed to donate money and clothes if they pass by him. It’s hard to tell whether these reactions are sincere or just half-joking, but it does reflect the feeling of injustice that many Chinese people suffer. There is a lot of sympathy for Wang who received the same prison sentence for stealing 80 000 dollars as a corrupt government official who allegedly stole 2 million dollars!


Netizens' frustration about the Chinese justice system is the origin of these reactions. Light-hearted teasing can quickly turn to loathing – and that could prompt social unrest in an already tense country. Ultimately society could suffer if more criminals are turned into modern-day heroes online.


N.B. Wang is still on the run. An all-out manhunt is launched by local police in the region.

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