Opinion / From the Press

Netizens use humor, come of age

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-07-24 08:50

A young traffic policeman in Sichuan province who took off his shirt while confronting a man for having violated traffic rules has been praised by netizens for his courage and commitment. Photographs of the policeman taken by passers-by have been reposted thousands of times by his supporters on weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, followed by comments praising his looks, particularly his "chiseled" body. The incident shows opinions on the Internet are becoming less sensational and more rational, says an article in Guangming Daily. Excerpts:

Netizens are prone to being misled by eye-catching news and passing judgments on people based on unverified facts. Usually, Internet users tend to exaggerate some aspects of an incident while ignoring others, which leads to unfair condemnation of the people involved. No wonder, opinions on the Internet are often considered sensational and unjust.

In the Sichuan case, a news story headlined, "Policeman takes off clothes in dispute", described the policeman as a violent and unruly person. But some levelheaded netizens actually took the trouble of digging out the truth before voicing their support for the policeman. Witnesses said the man who broke the traffic rules talked rudely with the policeman and even threatened to beat him up.

The policeman's reaction (of taking off his shirt in a bid to challenge the offender), though a bit over the top, was understandable. He took off his shirt because he did not want to tarnish the image of his job. The fact that netizens were not impressed by the headline shows that they have become more rational.

Moreover, by praising the policeman's looks, weibo users have reflected their sense of humor. The Internet, unlike a court, gives rise to diverse opinions, some of which are satirical and humorous. But it does not mean that netizens have lost the ability to tell right from wrong just because they have taken recourse to humor.

Therefore, there is no need to be overtly stringent about what the netizens should or should not say on untoward incidents.

The opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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