Latest on Wenzhou Crash

From The Guardian, growing anger towards the authorities over their lack of transparency, and suspicion over the causes of the crash:

Chinese authorities face growing public fury over the high-speed train crash that killed at least 38 people and injured 192, with the disposal of wreckage and attempts to control coverage of the incident prompting allegations of a cover-up.

The railways ministry has apologised for the collision in eastern Zhejiang province and announced an inquiry. Spokesman Wang Yongping added: “China’s high-speed rail technology is up to date and up to standard, and we still have faith in it.”

Internet users attacked the government’s response to the disaster after authorities muzzled media coverage and urged reporters to focus on rescue efforts. “We have the right to know the truth!” wrote one microblogger called kangfu xiaodingdang. “That’s our basic right!”

Leaked propaganda directives ordered journalists not to investigate the causes and footage emerged of bulldozers shovelling dirt over carriages.

Beijing sees high-speed rail as a matter of national prestige, highlighting China’s development, but critics appear to see the disaster as symptomatic of the country’s problems. Internet users repeatedly described the crash as a man-made, not a natural disaster, and blamed officials.

“When a country is so corrupt that one lightning strike can cause a train crash … none of us is exempt. China today is a train rushing through a lightning storm … we are all passengers,” ran one of the most frequently forwarded comments on the Twitter-like Sina Weibo service.

Meanwhile, Shanghaiist does some comparisons:

One day after the catastrophic high-speed railway collision, party propaganda papers like the Renmin Daily, Economic Daily and Guangming Daily appeared almost oblivious to the incident, as evident by their almost identical front page covers trumpeting the recent promotion ceremony conducted by the Central Military Commission and other exploits of the CCP. Most other city dailies, however, featured the incident as their front page cover story.

Definitely click that link- propaganda in action. Finally, via South China Morning Post, relatives of the dead have been protesting in Wenzhou:

Grief gave way to anger in Wenzhou yesterday as relatives of the victims of Saturday’s high-speed train crash protested outside the municipal government offices, demanding railway officials meet them face to face.

About 100 family members and friends of the dead – thought to number at least 39 – blocked the road in front of Wenzhou government headquarters at around 9pm last night after a two-hour stand-off with officials descended into farce.

“They are just playing games with us,” cried one relative before the situation escalated. “They are the ones who should be apologising to us, and instead we have to beg just to speak to them. The government has such a wonderful tower, but the people are left sweating in the street. Why don’t they let us inside to wait?”

The protesters were calling for an explanation of what caused the accident – which has stunned the nation and raised concerns about the safety of the high-speed rail network – and answers to what they felt were serious discrepancies in the official account of events. They also accused officials of caring more about fixing the rail link than saving lives.

“We are not being told the truth,” Yang said.

“Why is it that more than 48 hours after the accident not a single person from the Ministry of Railways will meet us face to face?”

Yang said his seven-months-pregnant wife died in the crash, along with her mother, elder sister and nephew. He claimed their bodies had been discovered only in the middle of Sunday night after he and another relative begged rescue workers to check their crushed carriage again.

The railway ministry’s apparent wrong-footed handling of the disaster has sparked a public outcry, with mainland internet users turning to social media websites to express their anger and suspicion over the official accounts of the accident.

A slew of questions have been raised, ranging from the conflicting reports on the death toll, the cause of the accident, the hastily cleaned up scene, to the rush to reopen the track less than 36 hours after the country’s worst rail disaster since 2008.


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