China bullet train crash kills 35; citizens flock to donate blood; state callous, busy with cover-up
July 24, 2011Jing Gao4 Commentsblood donation, bullet trains, China railway high speed, cover-up, derailment, Disaster/Accident, governance, High-speed trains, Ministry of Railway, Ministry of Railways, Propaganda, train wreck, Wenzhou, Wenzhou train crash
Two cars of a high-speed bullet train fell off a bridge yesterday evening in eastern China’s Zhejiang province, killing at least 35 people and injured 200 others.
Initial reports suggested one bullet train travelling from the provincial capital Hangzhou derailed at about 8:34 p.m. But later updates said that the train came to a halt after losing power due to a lightning strike. The emergency warning system absurdly dysfunctioned and failed to calibrate the speed of rest of the trains running on the line, causing a second train to slam into it from behind without braking hard ahead of time.
Over 200 passengers were dragged out of the train wreck by rescue workers and rushed to major hospitals in the city of Wenzhou, which is near the locality.
Hospitals have serious shortages of blood due to the surge in the number of patients. Soon after local televisions and radio called on Wenzhou residents to donate blood, more than 200 residents arrived at the Wenzhou blood center within four hours after the deadly crash. Pictures on weibo.com showed that the long queue included teenagers, young people and a foreigner waited silently in the night for blood donation.
As the public uproar over the train crash, which they blame on faulty technology and construction defended and trumpeted by the government, continues to mount, four major newspapers, namely People’s Daily, Economic Daily, Guangming Daily and PLA Daily, all of which are widely regarded as the Communist Party’s mouthpieces, did not mention even a word about the deadly accident on its front pages published today. By contrast, four major Japanese newspapers, including Asahi Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, the Yomiuri Shimbun, devote most of the space on their front pages to the coverage of this event.
Netizens have also caught official media tampering with the exact time of the accident, even though it is not yet clear why they do this. According to all news reports last night, the train crash took place on 20:34, or 8:34 p.m. local time. This morning, it is changed to 8:27 p.m. However, a Sina Microblog user who lives very close to the accident locality, posted at 8:27 p.m. a picture taken by her smartphone of a train plodding along the railway line due to power failure, an irrefutable evidence that the state has lied.
Snapshots of Chinese-language news stories on the web, which claim the crash took place on 20:27, or 8:27 p.m.
However, a post of microblog user “Smm_miao” submitted at 8:27 p.m. says otherwise. “What is wrong with this bullet train after the storm?? It is crawling even slower than a snail…Don’t ever go wrong…” she wrote.
Besides, netizens are also suspicious that a great effort by the state to cover up the unnatural disaster is going on. According to the microblog of reporter Chen Yujie from a local radio station, about seven excavators and bulldozers arrived at the scene and began crushing and burying the wrecked train coaches in full swing. Net users shared the post furiously, accusing the government of destroying undesirable evidence that may embarrass them and jeopardizing lives of undiscovered survivors. Even after officials had repeatedly stressed it is part of the clean-up effort, and that there had been no vital sign detected, a survivor was found in the remains of the train coaches, leading netizens to abhor the hasty and cold-blooded decision.
Below is a video clip of the burial.
00:17: a survivor was carried out while the excavators were tumbling a train car.
02:08: one of the spectators asked, “What if there are still lives inside?”
02:25: another spectator said, “How can they bury the cars here?”
02:38: “There must be living people inside. Just now they got one out.”
According to a post by Caijing Magazine’s official Sina Microblog, a press conference supposed to be held by the Ministry of Railways at 9:00 p.m. today was postponed until after 10:30. Over 200 reporters were waiting for the officials and spokesperson to be fashionably late.
After the press conference finally began, a reporter, according to a microblogger at the conference, asked the officials, “Why a girl was found alive after you had announced there was no vital sign and begun dissecting and crushing the coaches?” The spokesperson said, “This is just a miracle.” Reporters asked, “So were you wrong when you made the decision? Why you said no one was alive and then some one had been found?” The reply, “I can only say, it just happened.”
Netizens further exposed by contrasting two pictures that Railway Ministry officials stayed comfortably in Shangri-La, a five-star hotel in Wenzhou, accorded lavish buffet, whereas rescue workers could only take a nap together outdoors on the ground.