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Netizens fight back against online abuse of woman who lost leg in Wenchuan

By Huang Zhiling in Chengdu | China Daily | Updated: 2023-03-31 09:07

Many netizens have expressed outrage at the recent online abuse of a 26-year-old woman who lost her right leg in the devastating 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan province.

The Sichuan Disabled Persons' Federation said it has communicated with Niu Yu, the victim of the abuse, and will continue to pay attention to the progress of the incident.

Niu is a prominent figure online in China, having survived the Wenchuan earthquake, and has since promoted causes of those with disabilities.

Niu shares stories of her life online under the screen name "Brother Spring Outing". Her positive and cheerful attitude to life has impressed many netizens, but she was attacked recently by online trolls.

The vicious and spiteful remarks about her life have spurred many to come to her defense.

On Sunday, Niu responded to the concern of kind-hearted netizens via video, fighting back against online violence.

In the video, she expressed her gratitude, saying: "You have to believe that you are worthy of all the beauty in the world", "Others can never define you. Only we know what kind of people we are. Do whatever you want, and love bravely with whoever you want", and "Internet violence can't kill me; it will only make me stronger".

Learning of the incident, Sichuan Disabled Persons' Federation contacted Niu and expressed its concern.

The federation encouraged others with disabilities in similar instances to come forward if they required legal assistance.

Niu regularly posts public-spirited videos to call on society to care for people with disabilities.

"The total number of disabled people in my country exceeds 85 million, and I hope to make more people pay attention to this group with my efforts," she said.

Three months ago, Niu was elected a deputy to the 14th Sichuan Provincial People's Congress.

In the earthquake on May 12, 2008, that left 69,227 people dead, Niu was buried in her home county of Beichuan in Sichuan province for three days and three nights. She survived but lost her right leg.

Last July, Niu got her prosthetic leg stuck in a stone crevice and she was helped by a young firefighter.

Before parting with the shy man who came to her aid, Niu asked for his contact details, but he only replied "119", which is the country's fire emergency telephone number.

Later, in a livestream event for firefighters in Chengdu, Sichuan, Niu met him again. The pair became WeChat friends and later fell in love.

Recently, cases of online violence have aroused widespread attention in society, Li Changxi, an official from the Cyberspace Administration of China, the country's top internet regulator, said on March 16.

The country's cyberspace departments will make more efforts to help create and improve rules against cyberbullying, he said.

Guidelines on dealing with cyberbullying can be found in several existing laws and judicial interpretations, such as the Civil Code, the Criminal Law and the Minor Protection Law.

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