News / Asia

China Rains Spark Controversy, Political Fallout

Chinese people walk past a flood-damaged vehicle sitting on the bricks at a village in Fangshan district of Beijing, China, July 23, 2012.
Chinese people walk past a flood-damaged vehicle sitting on the bricks at a village in Fangshan district of Beijing, China, July 23, 2012.
VOA News
Chinese Internet users are criticizing the lack of preparedness and reliable information following the torrential rains that recently hit Beijing and its surroundings.  Some of the heaviest rainfall recorded in decades has killed at least 37 people. Internet users have been posting videos and pictures of the worst ravaged areas and citizens have been organizing volunteer relief missions.

State media reported Wednesday that Beijing’s Communist Party Secretary, Guo Jinlong, and his deputy, Li Jin, resigned from their posts. Official reports did not clarify the reasons for the officials’ leaving, but some Chinese “netizens” speculate that mismanagement of the rain storm was behind the leadership’s reshuffle.

“A big rain hits, and two city chiefs resign,” an Internet user posted in his microblog account Wednesday. Searches for both outgoing leaders’ names appear to be blocked on Weibo, China’s most popular Twitter-like service.

The rainfall, which the Ministry of Civil Affairs says affected 22 provincial regions in China since July 20, peaked in Beijing on Saturday.  It left many main roads flooded, some submerged by water as deep as four meters and paralyzed traffic in the city center for several hours.

Outer rural districts experienced the worst consequences, with people killed by collapsed buildings and overflowing rivers. City officials say that 37 people died following the rainstorm and more than 77 thousand others were forced to evacuate.
Shu Taifeng, a prominent journalist and commentator, is in mountainous Fangshan district, one of the worst hit by the rain storm, and has been posting regular updates and pictures of what he has witnessed.

“The neighborhood still has no water or electricity and silt is accumulating. The government sent cabbage yesterday, but with no gas it cannot be cooked,” he wrote Wednesday on his microblog account, uploading the picture of a woman standing in the midst of ruins.

Shu says volunteers have brought mineral water.  The residents are moved, but are calling for the government to be more responsible and provide water and electricity.
The municipal government has allocated more than $15 million in relief funds and volunteers have set up unofficial donation centers.

Antonio Li, a native of Fangshan district, traveled from his university in Beijing to the village of Beicheying with other volunteers, in five cars filled with daily necessities.  Although the village he went to did not have casualties, he calls what he saw a “complete mess.”

He says contents of homes were flushed away and cars and even the iron doors were washed away.

Li, who has been posting updates with pictures of his trip to Fangshan, says that he has seen many other volunteers at the village, including a group of about 30 fans of Beijing’s football team, Guoan.

Li says that, although the government has not acted timely in alerting the population of the danger, it is now helping by sending water and fixing the roads.

The alert level remains high, with more rain expected to hit the capital later Wednesday and Thursday. The Beijing Meteorological Bureau warns of possible further damage in areas like Fangshan, already heavily hit.

"All the things inside the homes were flushed away, the cars and even the iron doors were washed away by the water," Antonio Li said.

  • Display panels of a store in the Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district are taped together as part of safety measures in preparation for Typhoon Vicente, Hong Kong, July 24, 2012.
  • Firemen try to remove a tree that hit a car during a typhoon in Hong Kong's rural Taipo district, July 23, 2012.
  • A man reacts while walking past an uprooted tree after Typhoon Vicente hit Hong Kong, July 24, 2012.
  • A taxi drives across an empty street in Hong Kong's central business district as Typhoon Vicente approaches, July 24, 2012.
  • Passengers sleep in an airport terminal after typhoon Typhoon Vicente stopped flights out of the airport in Hong Kong, July 24, 2012.
  • A girl dances with a newspaper to entertain herself after a night stranded at the airport by Typhoon Vicente in Hong Kong, July 24, 2012.
  • Pedestrians brave the strong winds in Central, the business center in Hong Kong Monday, July 23, 2012.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid