The video, which purportedly was shot by 25-year-old train passenger Wang Hairu during the last minutes aboard the Wenzhou train, has been watched nearly three million times since it emerged on Chinese social networks.
Twenty-seven seconds in to the recording, which shows a bright train car filled with passengers, a little girl calls out: “Mommy, I want mommy...”
Chinese newspapers say this girl is two-and-a-half-year-old Yiyi, who was rescued barely breathing from the crash by special police captain Shao Yerong. Shao had insisted on extra searches of the train even after other police insisted no one was left inside.
It is unclear whether Yiyi’s mother was on the train or survived the crash.
Wang survived the crash with her husband.
After the video was posted, some Chinese commenters doubted the veracity of it, arguing over details such as whether the berth sizes were the same in the video and in the train car. But most of the commenters were sure it was real and Chinese newspapers stood behind it.
Whether the video is authentic or not, its popularity indicates government efforts to seal off information aren’t working as well as they used to.
After the crash, many Chinese newspapers defied the government by reporting aggressively on it. When government censors forced newspapers to switch to more upbeat reporting, the debate continued on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter.
One angry Weibo commenter wrote: “Why have the people been robbed of the right to know? How long do they want to hide. ... We won’t accept being treated like idiots.”
Watch the video below: