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

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs