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

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora