How to absolve yourself of negligence in forty words or less.

Below, a minor classic in the under-appreciated art of pinning blame for a workplace accident on the injured party. The complicated and highly refined nature of this craft makes solo performances exceedingly rare, and this instance is no exception: for here we have a stark duet, between the city agency responsible for running the Shanghai New International Expo Center, and the state-owned news agency which covers it. From Monday’s Shanghai Daily:

Rumor has it that he wasn’t wearing socks, either, though there is some question as to whether warm feet would have prevented him from being crushed by the several ton sign.


  1. As a lawyer, I fully appreciate the brilliant writing here. Note how it never says the lack of the hat was definitely to blame. It just says it in such a way that we, the reader, are forced to draw that conclusion. I want to hire this guy!

  2. I taught a class on press conferences for defective product recalls in Shanghai. Four products/companies, four speakers, and the class was the press.

    All four spin doctors blamed user error. Case closed. Reparation? Reputation? How ridiculous!

    I’m sure it was just my culture shock misunderstanding their honorable intentions. Again.

  3. the state media and the state exhibition center provide a united front and the bereaved family in jiangsu will be sure to see it when they arrive to get death compensation. i’ve worked in construction and i know the contracters keep the stories about injuries around to show employees. but they don’t do it for their safety but as a warning not to mess with the contracters. the family will get rmb 30,000 and told to get out of town and not come back.

  4. Interesting piece of news. That really is a clever way to put the responsibility on the injured party. I wonder if I were to get hit by a car while crossing the street in Beijing if it would be my fault.

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