The city of Yuyao in China’s eastern province of Zhejiang is one of places worst hit by Typhoon Fitow this week. Over 70% of the city area was flooded. Some 830,000 local residents from 21 townships in the city have been affected. Shortages of food, drinking water and electricity have been going on for days.
Just as Yuyao people are complaining about the lack of government disaster relief efforts, live reporting by Ningbo Television that told stories of improved situations triggered unrest among several hundreds of local people.
Yesterday, a journalist from Ningbo Television reported live from Yuyao that the water level in some areas of the city has dropped, and that electricity has been restored. Local residents in Yuyao who were at the scene, however, disagreed.
They thought the report was an untruthful representation of what’s happening in Yuyao and demanded the journalist to “explain” and apologize. Details are still unknown, but it seems that the negotiation between Ningbo TV journalists and local Yuyao people didn’t went very well.
By the evening, several hundreds of people were said to gather at the scene. Armed police were dispatched. Pictures showed that several police cars have been turned upside down and smashed.
Yuyao Police, the official microblog account of Yuyao’s police department, posted the following message after midnight:
“Dear citizens. Yuyao has been hit by a natural disaster. We must keep calm and should not act on impulse and anger. Please calm down, calm down, calm down…”
Yuyao people and netizens, however, are calling the police to calm down and to restrain from using violent measures to disperse gathered crowds.
Many questioned why these police, who were quick to respond to an unrest, have been nowhere to be seen in disaster relief efforts. One netizen 狸咬灰夫斯基 commented: “The police care more than maintaining stability than helping the people with flood relief.”
Most of those who are angry at the report think that the journalist cherry-picked only the good news to please officials while ignored many more people who are still suffering from the flood. “The biggest problem is that Chinese media work for the government. The people have no voice.” One netizen 用良心造房 commented.
This isn’t the first time when Yuyao people complained about the lack of truthful reporting on the city’s worst flood in century. Earlier this week, there were questions about why China’s Big Vs, opinion leaders on China’s leading microblogging service Weibo, haven’t been helping spread words about Yuyao’s situation like they did before for other natural disaster-hit places. Many blamed the recent crackdown online rumors.
Behind all the complaints, like many netizens pointed out, is officials who don’t care about the lives of its people.