But he failed to reckoned with the power of the Chinese social networks. With the video clip online, Chinese Internet users mobilised a Human Flesh Search Engine (Chinese: 人肉搜索; pinyin: rénròu sōusuǒ) to identify the potential child molester's name, address, position and current workplace. Soon, the Search announced his name as Lin Jiaxiang, party secretary of the Shenzhen marine affairs bureau. The angry posts in online forums echoed sentiments like this one, "Dammit Shenzhen Nanshan District Police!!! The entire country's masses will be watching how you handle this!!!"
A post on popular China web portal Netease.com explained why Human Flesh Searches appealed to the Chinese:
"Human Flesh Searches is an embodiment of the common people's right of expression and right of supervision. One reason this kind of embodiment has big impact upon some people in society is because the common people do not have a better channel embodying these two rights."
Recently our own cyber sleuths uncovered the preferential treatment meted to an ex-Minister's son and a molly-coddled female politician. Plus details of a disturbed racist-in-the-making who was dumb enough to publish his mobile phone online. We definitely have need for better channels than the mainstream media who refused to print a word of the ugly truth. Now's a good time to make friends with your PRC classmate or colleague - he may teach us a thing or two about how to use the Human Flesh Search Engine vigilante tool. Aren't you just dying to find out if the mysterious "Denise" character is a "he" or a "her"?