Sichuan Earthquake: The Man Who Carried His Dead Wife


This is one of the most famous pictures from China’s 2008 May 12 Sichuan Earthquake. Many Chinese saw a man who tied his dead wife’s body to his back and carried her home. Wu Jiafang was widely praised for being the ideal man and husband. However, people who say they know him are telling Chinese netizens and people that Wu is not the kind of man they think he is, causing a lot of controversy, disappointment, and an investigation.

From Sina:

So is the person who carried his dead wife on his back after the earthquake the ideal man or a hypocrite?

It should be said that most people in China,  whether through the television or newspapers, know of Wu Jiafang, who was wildly exaggerated by the media and was lauded as the ideal man after he carried his wife’s dead body on his back while riding a motorcycle following the [Sichuan] 5.12 earthquake. Then, everyone also knew about him in Shenzhen getting remarried.



However, Chengdu Television Channel 2 (CDTV-2)’s program “Truth 30 Minutes” has revealed Wu Jiafang’s hypocritical gentleman side. The matter’s details are like this: After Spring Festival, someone from where Wu Jiafang is from made a post on the internet , saying that Wu Jiafang is really just an ordinary, even vice-ridden, person, who does not have a very good reputation from where he is from, yet there are journalists going to interview him, and he even appeared on a certain Spring Festival Gala Show, etc etc. Then after the post came out, some people questioned it and there were also people from the same area [as Wu] who expressed that the situation was exactly as how the post described.

Furthermore, there was someone who disclosed: After returning home for Spring Festival, I saw the Sichuan television channel Spring Festival Gala show once again invite him to appear…my hometown is the same village as his, and his reputation there is extremely poor…and him carrying his wife home on his back was because his wife’s brothers forced him to do it. Also…his mother died when he was 6-years-old, so it was his father who brought up him and his brother. His father is now old and sink, but neither of those two brothers go look after him. His father has repeatedly asked the village leader to help resolve this problem but with no result, even saying that he wants to go to court to sue him…so who is to blame? Chengdu television channel interviewed/investigated about this matter.

The real reason Wu Jiafang was carrying his deceased wife

Interviewee, Wu Jiafang’s original neighbor, acquaintance.

According to many people’s reports: Wu Jiafang was not very popular and no one was willing to help him carry [his wife’s body], that even his cousin relative and others would not help him carry. Afterward, he was forced by his wife’s family to carry her back. One of the the interviewed even expressed surprise that such a normal thing would be worth reporting. (Later, when being interviewed, his father was also disapproving [of Wu’s fame] saying that it it was a coincidence that a journalist was passing by and took that picture).

Wu Jiafang and his previous wife were incompatible, often talking about divorce

Interviewee, Wu Jiafang’s original neighbor, acquaintance.

According to their reports: Wu’s previous wife loved playing mahjong, and was crushed to death that day while at a mahjong table. Wu and his previous wife continuously fought, often quarreling to the point of divorce. One woman said that she advised them on this matter many times, once taking her half a day.

Wu Jiafang does not take care of his father

Interviewee, Wu Jiafang’s father, younger brother, sister-in-law, neighbors, and acquaintances.

Regarding this point, every interviewee, including Wu’s relatives, all say Wu does not support his father. His father expressed that it was useless involving the entire village or the elderly association. His younger brother expressed that over this matter, Wu has used abusive language, the two brothers fought, and Wu used a cleaver to hack at his younger brother.  His sister-in-law said that he has never cared for his father.

二堤虾田’s [the poster, “er di xia tian”] point of view

After seeing this information, to be honest, 二堤虾田’s mood is a little heavy and dejected. After watching the video interview, it confirmed for the common ordinary people that Wu Jiafang in reality is a heartless, even ungrateful person. But, this time 二堤虾田 actually does not want to condemn Wu Jiafang, especially since men like this are not considered few in the real China.

This formerly normal, ordinary, heartless, and faithless man overnight became the ideal man that moved all of China.  If today his true colors are suddenly exposed, is this kind of huge joke Wu Jiafang’s responsibility alone?

No, in the midst of this, whether or not we have our media, what about netizens’ wishful complex? To put another way, did we attach too much spiritual meaning to this ordinary, even a bit hypocritical, man?

In the end, is Wu Jiafang too hypocritical, or are we too sincere?

Actually, I would rather have not seen this news or this video…

Comments from Sina:


Too shocking!!!
Most 牛 [niu] post!


I did not think much of that person, getting married again before his wife’s dead body was cold!


A ridiculous and lamentable truth.


Hurry and go investigate the matter clearly, because people indeed have many sides to them. However, if we go by the information in the essay/article, he is an unfilial son! How good can a person who does not treat their own parents well be?


Is truth and lies important?
What is the journalist doing?
Reporting does not require accountability?


Him carrying his wife’s remains back home on his back is expected, and getting married again is also expected, there is nothing wrong nor did he do anything that was not right. Why can’t we let those who are still alive live more happily? Making so many cages to imprison the living person, what is the point?


That is the price of freedom. When you’re free, you can say/do whatever you want and there is no need to be responsible anymore. That is why there is this kind of thing. Who supervises the media’s reporting of facts?
So, do not be free all day long because if once you are free, you will lose control.
It is said the photographer was an American journalist, ridiculous.


Rest in peace! No matter how he was before, the last act was real; I think after experiencing that many life and death situations, his heart will also become more positive and kind.


Carrying one’s wife on one’s back is expected. If you put your dead wife outside, now that would be wrong!


Seeing him when he was carrying his wife was indeed pretty moving, but after seeing him immediately remarrying I knew this person was capricious.


What was originally a very normal thing has now flipped between black and white after passing through our media. How many things are left in the media that can be believed/trusted?
Detestable, wretched, no good media!!!


Actually, I really do not understand this person. When I was moved by this man carrying his wife on his back, my tears were uncontrollable, making me feel that this world truly does have men like that, that men are not all faithless and heartless. Afterward watching the television channel interviewing him, I heard him say something like “I will not marry again…”
In the summer of 2008, I suddenly found out about his online courtship and marriage with a Shenzhen girl. I also saw the following interview where he said “remarrying is for a better life, a comfort for his previous wife.” There was nothing wrong with saying this either!
Men will always be restless. As long as there is a better match, they will change their minds.
Wu Jiafang, truly an animal!
Now when I see him, I just feel disgusted.


Actually, it is just a single picture. That picture reflects the people’s consciousness to willingly understand tenderness in the midst of extreme sadness after the earthquake. Bitterly investigating is pointless. If we see a pretty green leaf, do we have to dig deeper to see if this green life is growing on a big tree or a diseased tree? Is it impossible for a diseased tree to have a graceful leaf? If a man is not completely great, is it impossible for him to do something once that moves others and himself? Those who are investigating this are going too far.


Should we trust the current report? Or should we trust the old report??? Who do we know to trust in this society??? The people are the tools jerked around by the media. It seems we can only trust ourselves!!!~~~


No matter what, he did carry his already dead wife. We should salute him/pay our respects.


So sad. I was moved/touched in vain! Wasting out emotions. emoticons|E___6010ZHPPSIB|暴力~


Previously, I was very moved by him, thinking that when I get married, I should marry someone like this. But after watching this video, I am truly stupefied, discovering that men are so mercurial. Truly disappointing.


Chinese media…speechless. Sad.


I just want to loudly say one word: CAO.
Society is too complicated!!!


He is just an ordinary person with a not so good reputation. Lifting him up like this, then stepping on him, is not very fair.

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Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.


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