Tag Archives: schools

Quake Not Graft Responsible For Sichuan School Collapses, Official Word

The strength of the quake, not shoddiness of construction was the main reason that so many schools collapsed during last May’s devastating earthquake in Sichuan.

So says the province’s executive vice governor, Wei Hong, basing his judgment on an investigation by provincial officials and engineers from Tsinghua University. Wei also said that the official death toll of schoolchildren still hadn’t been calculated. But then it is only 10 months since the quake struck.

Grieving parents and those who have braved official harassment to protest the lack of holding anyone to account for the collapse of some 7,000 schools while nearby buildings such as party offices survived are unlikely to be satisfied on either count.

Wei’s remarks were made a news conference during the National People’s Congress. What this Bystander isn’t sure about is whether the investigation Wei mentioned was the same one Beijing promised into possible corruption connected to the construction of schools. Or are we all meant to have forgotten that as it is the quake that is to blame?

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Filed under Politics & Society, Sichuan earthquake

Beijing Reins In Quake Press Coverage

This Bystander has noted before the potential political fault line that quake-collapsed schools may be. Now the FT is reporting that the government has instructed domestic media to rein in coverage of the schools that collapsed during last month’s devastating earthquake.

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.

The press has bumped up against a limit of its new-found freedom. The question is whether it will knock it over, especially if the grieving and aggrieved parents don’t go away.

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Filed under Media, Politics & Society, Sichuan earthquake