Skip to comments.Beijing reins in quake coverage
Posted on 06/01/2008 8:10:57 PM PDT by DeaconBenjamin
The Chinese government has instructed domestic media outlets to rein in coverage of the schools that collapsed during last months devastating earthquake in Sichuan province, journalists familiar with the directive have told the Financial Times.
A notice was sent to media outlets across the country late last week, following a spate of reports about the collapses that killed thousands of students. Their parents blame sub-standard construction and government negligence, if not corruption, especially in areas where schools were the only structures to fail catastrophically.
Last week Southern Weekend, an investigative weekly newspaper from Guangzhou, Guangdong province, ran a report on the schools issue. Its exposé included an interview with the deputy head of Sichuans education department, Lin Qiang, who said the collapses could not be blamed on the quake alone.
It is usually easier for us to write reports critical of local governments elsewhere, said a journalist who has been sent to the quake zone from Guangdong and was advised of the governments directive by his editors. He and other journalists asked that neither they nor their newspapers be named, because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Media directives typically flow from the central committees propaganda bureau through provincial and municipal Communist party committees, which control most large newspapers.
Coverage of the school collapses, claims of shoddy construction and parent protests have begun to detract from favourable views on the government response. These include the competence of the official rescue effort, which has received positive reviews at home and abroad, and the selfless service of model frontline party cadres, soldiers, relief workers and civilian volunteers.
Over the past week much national media attention has focused on a team of military engineers racing to drain a quake lake near the city of Mianyang. The Tangjiashan lake, formed after a landslide cut off a rivers flow, had threatened to force the evacuation of more than 1m people downstream if the natural dam gave way. A diversion channel was finished on Sunday.
The schools issue, however, will not go away. Hundreds of parents, grandparents and siblings gathered on Sunday at the Xinjian primary school in Dujiangyan, a city near the quakes epicentre, to mourn the 239 students and teachers estimated to have died when one of its main buildings collapsed.
In a two-hour ceremony coinciding with international Childrens Day, the families took turns entering the rubble to lay wreaths, light incense and say goodbye to their children.
On Saturday, city inspectors excavated a collapsed school buildings foundations in Mianzhu as parents looked on and appealed for President Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, premier, to investigate the tragedy.
We blame the local government for this, one mother said. The central government doesnt know because local media havent reported what happened.
Just imagine. If local people actually had the power to vote for the people they wanted in their local governments, crap like this tends to happen less.
NO all-powerful central government can competently micro-manage every single Province, County and town. In the end, there’s nothing like good old representational democracy (not the faux version they have now).
Imagine that. A Communist party (Democrat party) controlling what the media says/prints. How dare China copy America!
“Imagine that. A Communist party (Democrat party) controlling what the media says/prints. How dare China copy America!”
The Financial Times conveniently left this out of the story.
Contrast this to here. Katrina, Bush's fault.
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