News / Asia

    Chinese Government Criticized for Downplaying Floods

    A road worker walks past flowers placed under a bridge where a man drowned July 21 in his flooded car on a main road in Beijing, July 27, 2012.
    A road worker walks past flowers placed under a bridge where a man drowned July 21 in his flooded car on a main road in Beijing, July 27, 2012.
    Chinese authorities in Beijing are coming under continuing criticism for allegedly downplaying the severity of deadly floods that have killed scores of people since last week.
     
    Skepticism

    Internet users Friday reacted with skepticism to the official death toll, and called it a man-made disaster that has highlighted the government’s poor emergency response.
     
    Pan Anjun, deputy head of the municipal flood control and drought relief headquarters appeared at a news conference on Thursday evening saying that 77 dead bodies had been counted so far. “Of them 66 have been identified, 11 remain unnamed,” he said offering condolences to the victims’ families on behalf of the city administration. Pan also stressed that authorities would "conscientiously sum up and reflect and learn lessons from the disaster.”
     
    • Chinese People's Liberation Army soldiers clear mud from a street in a flood-hit area in Hougoumen village of Fangshan district in Beijing, July 25, 2012.
    • Pedestrians walk past chrysanthemums placed under the Guangqumen overpass to mourn victims who were killed during a rainstorm, in Beijing, China, July 27 2012.
    • Residents look at a submerged bus on a flooded street in the Tianjin municipality, China, July 26, 2012.
    • Muddy clothes hang on a truck damaged by flood in a village in Fangshan district, Beijing, China, July 23, 2012.
    • Rescuers and residents stand next to a stranded car being pulled from a flooded street under the Guangqumen overpass, Beijing, China, July 21, 2012.
    • A man waits next to a flooded highway after his car was trapped following heavy rainfalls in Fangshan District, Beijing, China, July 22, 2012.
    • Workers pump flood water near a stranded bus in Beijing, China, July 21, 2012.
    • A man wades through a flooded street following a heavy rain in Beijing, China, July 21, 2012.

    Photos, videos posted

    Online, where news of last week’s floods trended high on microblog searches since Saturday and witnesses posted pictures and videos to detail the damages, the government’s management of the rains was the subject of much criticism.
     
    “The death toll should have been zero,” one user says noting that though the government cannot control nature, it is still possible to warn people in advance, use some precautions, provide emergency relief and deal with the aftermath properly. “We must not again use people’s blood to mend the system,” he added.
     
    The biggest rainstorm in 61 years hit China’s capital last Saturday, overwhelming the city’s drainage system, flooding highways and, in rural areas around the capital, triggering mudslides and river overflows. Beijing authorities quickly categorized the flooding as a “natural disaster,” a definition that is challenged by many users of China’s twitter-like service Weibo.
     
    Responsibility


    “77 people died, this is a huge man made disaster,” one user said. “To call it a natural disaster is to avoid taking responsibility.”
     
    “Why is it that it takes people’s loss of life for everybody to start caring?” another microblog user wrote on his account, “our city managers need to take a hard look at their track record,” he added.
     
    The district chief of Fangshan, one of the worst ravaged by the floods, apologized on Wednesday to the 800,000 people affected by the weather crisis. “We learned from this rainstorm that the city infrastructure, especially the drainage system needs to be improved,” he said on national TV.
     
    Damage

    The floods’ damage, estimated at nearly $2 billion, is a huge embarrassment for China’s leaders, whose effort to upgrade the country’s image culminated in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
     
    Many commentators pointed at the discrepancy between what city officials wanted to show the world then, and the reality made clear by the downpour.
     
    “Four years ago, the Olympic capital was shining,” one user said on Weibo, “Four years later, it took just one big storm…” he added.
     
    Zhang Yuanjie, a famous children’s literature writer, denounced the sub-standard quality of Beijing’s highways, where cars were submerged during the downpour.
     
    “The lack of an efficient drainage system on the Beijing-Hong Kong expressway caused cars and people to be engulfed in water,” he wrote on his Weibo account. “I propose that from tomorrow on the Beijing municipality offers its apology by not accepting toll fees on its highways for 77 days,” he added.
     
    “They should do it for 77 years,” another Weibo user responded.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Wangchuk from: NYC
    July 27, 2012 5:16 PM
    In mainland China you will never see any criticism in major news media of the Central Govt or Party for how it handled the recent floods or whether Party policies exacerbated flooding. The Party censors the major news media, radio & TV to make sure the Chinese people don't get the full truth.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora