In China, Protests Flare Over Quake Aid

The Los Angeles Times reports from Luojiang, Sichuan about accusations of embezzlement of relief goods by local officials:

The Chinese central government has been widely applauded for quickly and effectively mobilizing national resources for rescue and relief efforts, but the magnitude 7.9 quake and its aftermath have sparked anger toward local governments. In several cities and towns, residents have accused officials of corrupt acts, including taking the best tents for themselves and underreporting the extent of quake casualties so as not to draw scrutiny from Beijing.

Protests and complaints against local officials aren’t rare, but what’s different is that the grievances are being captured on television or being reported by a press that has traditionally been tightly controlled but has had more freedom in the immediate aftermath of the natural disaster.

As well, parents whose children were killed are protesting the failure of local leaders to provide answers about why so many schools collapsed while structures around them, including government buildings, remained standing. Some believe local officials are trying to cover up shoddy construction.

For more on how this topic is playing out on the Chinese Internet and media, read this CDT post. See also “China’s top procuratorate vows to crackdown on quake relief corruption” from Xinhua.

May 29, 2008 1:29 PM
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Categories: Politics, Society