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Town disaster

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镇灾 (zhèn zāi): town disaster

Play on “disaster relief” (赈灾 zhènzāi). This homonym came into use amid mounting anger at the official response to historic flooding in Yuyao, Zhejiang after Typhoon Fitow landed in southeastern China in October 2013.

Crowds in Yuyao angrily took to the streets after state media downplayed the massive typhoon’s impact on the community. Riot police then flocked to Yuyao en masse, further angering residents as government efforts to maintain stability seemed to outweigh initial relief efforts.

While social media has been a major venue for public organization and reaction in the wake of natural disaster, such as during the 2012 Beijing flood, it remained relatively quiet amid the flooding and riots in Yuyao due to an ongoing crackdown on online expression. After cartoonist Wang Liming (a.k.a. Rebel Pepper) posted information about Yuyao to Weibo, he was detained and his pen name censored.

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