From today’s perspective, the entire course of the Tangshan earthquake lacks one essential record that disasters of this type must have: detailed, objective news reports. Circulating today are mostly reminiscences of the so-called Tangshan earthquake survivors. Perhaps you may say, didn’t the People’s Daily and the Xinhua News Agency have reporters on the scene? But who is going to believe the Cultural Revolution-era People’s Daily and Xinhua News Agency? The reports at that time cannot withstand analysis from a strict journalistic standpoint. At the time of the Tangshan earthquake, there was probably not a single news reporter on site who had undergone rigorous training and who had international impartial recognition; no professional western news organization was on the scene. Considering any news report about the Tangshan earthquake from a journalistic perspective today, none of them hold up. [Full Text]
30 years on, photos of Tangshan Earthquake, which killed 240,000 people (if you believe the CCP), are still treated as de facto state secret. Hong Kong Ming Pao newspaper publishes today five rare black and white earthquake pictures taken by Li Yaodong, then a Tangshan-based photo-journalist. The images are reportedly restricted to internal use in mainland China.