Chinese Girl Died in the Ethiopian Plane Crash — What Has She Done to Deserve Online Malice?

What scares him is not violence itself, but the negative energy emitted by those who hate him. He never imagined that there would be such a malicious existence in this world. — Higashino Keigo

She was 22 years old, an only daughter born into a middle-class family, a senior student at college ready to graduate. On March 12, her Weibo account was shut down forever by her parents, although her online traces can never be fully erased.

Before March 10, she was just an ordinary college girl, seemingly happy, beautiful, rich, and mild tempered according to her classmates. Just like most modern young women would have done, she posted pictures of herself, of delicious food, fancy hotel rooms, birthday celebrations with her friends and romantic dates with her boyfriend. Based on what we can gather from her social media, her life seemed cheerful, simple and carefree.

She is the type of girl everyone wants to be.

“How come I never experience any twists and turns in my relationship with my boyfriend? No complicated exes, no friend drama, no nothing. How come my relationships are so boring?” She once wrote with a relaxed tone on the Twitter-like Weibo platform.

On Mar. 9, the last post of her life was a picture of a quick meal at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport, from where she had planned to fly to Nairobi, Kenya, after a layover in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In Nairobi, she planned to meet up with her boyfriend who was flying in from America. A two-way flight from Shanghai to Nairobi costs about 10,000 yuan ($1490) or so on average, that equals one month’s salary for a white collar worker in one of China’s larger cities. Needless to say, this sort of trip is something many can only dream of.

Exactly six minutes after the plane took off from Addis Ababa, it crashed, making a huge crater on the ground measuring up to 10,000 square meters. Backpacks, clothes shoes were scattered everywhere with the remains of the deceased. Eight Chinese passengers, including a Hong Kong citizen, died in the accident.

24 hours after the plane crash, the topic of her death climbed to the top list of Weibo, attracting hundreds of millions of clicks.

A Weibo user who graduated from Beijing Institute of Technology said,

“Wonder why so many people are being vile in the Weibo post of a deceased college girl? Well, you will get the answer if you go take a look. She gets to enjoy hotels worthy of hundreds of dollars, beautiful dresses and luxurious meals. She wants to see a giraffe and she buys a ticket to Kenya! I won’t laugh at her tragedies, but I won’t sympathize with her either.”

“Your family has money. So what? Flaunting your f***ing money around the world… You should be more careful in the next life!” “Traveling thousands of miles just to get laid, well look what you got instead!”

It is just appalling to see how the very existence of a privileged girl could create such malice online. The truth is the very combination of “rich”, “pretty” and “happy relationship” make many people turn green with jealousy. Poverty and deprivation breed narrow-mindedness. Social media is merely a gold shimmery filter that people try to see her life through, the real thing is always hiding behind those happy moments, a night out with friends, workout at the gym and that colorful quinoa salad. Nobody knows what she’s really like except for her close friends and classmates, and no one could possibly imagine how much fear and terror she experienced in the last few minutes of her life. And most importantly, she is no more, she deserves peace and respect.

peace and respect for the deceased (source: Chinanews.com)

What has she done to deserve this malice?

Nothing. The only answer would be, being too perfect, the flawlessness. People love to hear tragic stories about distorted souls, broken families unhappy lives. If she instead came from poverty and had been saving money for a year to fly to Kenya, those online mobs would probably sympathize with her tragic upbringing and maybe even shed some tears.

It’s human nature. Hatred without brought on by flawlessness.

Great Chinese writer Lu Xun once said, “All along I had never been afraid to assume the worst what the Chinese would do, but I never would have guessed or believed someone would be despicable and savaging to such a degree.”

On March 14, her boyfriend was found searching for what’s left of the girl on the scene. He couldn’t find anything, so he took home a handful of soil instead, in memory of his girlfriend.

Weibo has at least done one good thing. It has banned all the Weibo accounts that were being disrespectful to the deceased girl. Hopefully, there is no internet violence in heaven.

Featured photo credit to nytimes