I find it not hard to understand the reaction of the viewers, as Mingjie's character is closer to the viewers, or rather, if the same thing happened to us, we certainly wouldn't be able to forgave zhihong, that is is seen by the people around us as 'good' would make us hate him even more. That would be the reaction of normal people. If anyone expects us to like Zhihong, then I can only say that they have lived in a fairytale world for too long. Afterall, everybody hates being victimise.
If you refer to the anime Code Gress, you'll find the same situation, the lead Leloch is more than willing to throw away the lives of others to win. His rival Suzaku doesn't want lives to be lost unneccessarily. Chooses to submission instead of Leloch's rebellion, though both of them has the same ideals (working towards the same final result) Suzaku was seriously hated by all the fans till recently when he join forces with Leloch. In terms of morality, you've got to admit that Leloch is the bad guy, a terrorist in fact. But you can't help but support him.
I personally think it's because people subconciously realise that there are no perfect people in this world, hence more able to relate to the character with flaws, and view the perfect character with suspicion.