Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Word of the Day: 尚书 (Shangshu)

A terrible crash that Beijing doesn't want anyone to know about
The word 尚书  (shang4shu1) refers back to a government official title in imperial China.

But nowadays it's a codeword that refers to senior government officials and their family members who get special treatment.

The latest case is a horrific accident that happened in Beijing in the early hours of Sunday March 18 when a male driver crashed a black Ferrari into the wall on the southern side of Baofusi Bridge on the north Fourth Ring Road going east. The driver died, and two seriously injured female passengers were sent to hospital.

Pictures of the crash showed a completely totaled car split in half, the front portion crushed and the engine in flames. Surely the man was driving at excessive speeds.

Usually these accidents are reported in the news, but for some reason when people did searches for "Ferrari", "North Fourth Ring" and "car accident", the results came up empty.

There's a lot of speculation there is 尚书 involved... perhaps a senior government official's son, as information was scarce. While the Beijing Emergency Medical Centre confirmed two women were admitted, there was only the medical description of one woman who was 31 years old. The other woman, in her 20s was apparently sent to another hospital with facial burns.

Meanwhile the Beijing Public Security Bureau refused to give any information about the crash, the cause or the progress of the investigation, while all references to the accident were scrubbed clean from China's cyberspace.

Someone obviously did not want anyone to know about the crash. We know something happened, but we are not supposed to know.

TIC -- This is China.

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