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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
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.

AppleAndroid