China bullet train crash kills 35; citizens flock to donate blood; state callous, busy with cover-up

July 24, 2011Jing Gao5 Comments, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Top: Four major Chinese newspapers; Bottom: Four major Japanese newspapers.

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.

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Snapshots of Chinese-language news stories on the web, which claim the crash took place on 20:27, or 8:27 p.m.

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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.

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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.

The press conference held by the Ministry of Railways to address questions regarding the "7/23" accident.

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.

The sign on the top picture reads, "Leaders from Beijing, provincial and municipal leaders, dine in the multi-purpose hall on the second floor."

 

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5 comments to “China bullet train crash kills 35; citizens flock to donate blood; state callous, busy with cover-up”

  1. David Stone | July 26, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    I love your website! I have no idea how I found it but I am so glad I did. I will be here everyday. I visited China in 2007 and saw the same disregard for life! Whether I was on the bus, in a car or just on foot. I never felt safe. Everything looked so new but I had to remember I was in a developing nation. In my opinion it is taking off too fast and is going to come crashing down because it is too corrupt and there is too much greed to get so much so fast. This train line was rushed and did not have the proper safety systems in place. Look at Japan, zero accidents in almost 50 years of service on the Shinkansen. Those guys did it right, slowly and with care, unfortunately China is in a big rush to show it's wealth and power and it will get them nowhere fast. The US learned this in the last 10 years and we are paying for it now and we will continue to pay in the future. I hope the people of China rise up against this oppressive regime and throw the bums out!

  2. Blacksoth | July 26, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    Everyone knew this was coming. Clearly another "Great Leap Forward" (pun intended) for China. I'm not surprised the government doesn't want to acknowledge it. No doubt anyone that wants to hold the government accountable will be dealt with harshly because when faced with bald faced lies and incompetence, the most important thing is saving face and never admitting you deserve to lose some.

  3. Blacksoth | July 26, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    PS. I'm surprised people buy the whole "lightning" explanation.

  4. Piru | August 1, 2013 | Permalink Reply

    Time to slow down; speed is causing train crashes in Spain and China; it is an image for the economy of capitalism gone wild

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