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Cab driver apologizes for throwing foreigner's bicycle
www.chinaview.cn 2006-11-15 18:24:29

    BEIJING, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- A Beijing taxi driver who infamously threw aside the bicycle of a foreign woman who blocked his road has apologized to her live on television.

    The taxi driver, known as Mr. Niu, made the apology in response to a barrage of criticism after photographs of the incident were plastered on the Internet.

    "I must say sorry to the foreign lady. I acted too rashly at that time. I shouldn't have thrown her bicycle to the ground," Niu said on a popular TV program.

    Internet users had bombarded him with phone calls denouncing his behavior on October 20.

    Photos carried on many websites depicted the event. A foreign woman stands in front of a taxicab, her finger pointing to the center of the road. The driver, infuriated, gets out of the taxicab, grabs the lady's bicycle and throws it to the ground twice.

    The pictures titled Foreigner Helps Countrymen to Improve Quality, was uploaded on Oct. 20 and copied quickly on domestic websites, causing controversy and sparking an outpouring of respect to the foreigner and the denouncement of the driver.

    "All netizens please help find the identities of the taxi driver and the foreign lady," said an article posted soon afterwards.

    The much-read article, written by popular blogger Mo Jie, also called on the netizens to denounce the taxi driver and force him realize his wrongdoing.

    "We must get him realize that his behavior is smearing the country's image and the face of Beijing," says the article.

    The blogger said he would personally apologize to the woman as an ordinary Beijing citizen if he was given the chance.

    "The scene on the Beijing street on October 20 is thought provoking for every Chinese," says another Internet posting. "Shame on the taxi driver and I salute the foreign lady."

    A deluge of other Internet postings, thousands by conservative estimates, expressed indignation with the driver and respect for the cyclist in their ensuing discussion of quality of their countrymen.

    Netizens quickly answered the calls to name the driver, posting his home phone number and other personal information on the Internet.

    Some netizens said the foreign lady, who usually cycled to work, worked with an American company near the scene, but no further information about her was revealed.

    Speaking in the TV interview, Mr. Niu said he didn't violate the traffic rules. Traffic police had testified he was driving on a road of mixed traffic, open to both cars and bicycles.

    The incident had hurt him and his family greatly, said Niu, noting he has changed his home phone number.

    "The incident shows two things," says one of the blog articles." It shows the Chinese are self-reflecting people and readily accept positive criticism. It also shows the terrifying power of the Internet, its power to mobilize people and bare secrets."

    Mo Jie, who keeps a blog on sohu.com, said Internet power had helped to bring the truth to light and enlightened other Chinese as well.

    "We can rely on Internet power to get rid of many bad things in society and lift the quality of our countrymen," said Mo. "But we must say some netizens have gone too far by infringing upon the privacy of others."

    He praised photographer, named Lao An. "If China had one million people like him, the moral level of our countrymen would be lifted to a much higher level."

    by Xinhua writer Tian Sulei

Editor: Gao Ying
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