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
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
"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