Earthquake Predicted? Rumors Rife

As the rescue crews continue to drag bodies out of the rubble of the Wenchuan earthquake, Meng Zhang at Global Voices translates a blog post written by CASS researcher Li Shihui, in which the seismologist says one of his colleagues had tried to warn officals that such a disaster was imminent:

Today is May 12, 2008, Chinese seismologist Geng Qingguo is suffering with tearless grief. In 2006, according to the relationship between drought and earthquake he predicted in recent years there would be a serious earthquake over 7 magnitude in Aba autonomous region. After a group discussion on April 26 and 27, 2008, Committee of Natural Hazards Prediction subordinate to Chinese Geophysical Society (CGS) reported that “a 6-7 magnitude earthquake may occur to the south of Lanzhou, around the borders of Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai.” (the written report had been sent to the China Earthquake Administration by confidential letter on April 30). What’s more, Geng Qingguo clearly indicated that “the dangerous point of an earthquake over 7 magnitude in Aba region is on May 8 (within 10 days before or later)” in accordance with the magnetic storm Combinations.(The prediction above had obviously pointed out all the three essential factors). Geng Qingguo, an undoubted national treasure, is excluded by the earthquake experts of mainstream, and can only depend on a meager pension to continue his research. The pity is what this old seismologist said didn’t make any difference.

As Meng notes, the post was removed from Li’s blog, but not before it spread rapidly through BBS forums where it has set off an impassioned and interesting debate over whether the government should be held responsible for ignoring the warnings.

The Li post looks to be only one of many claims that the earthquake had been foreseen, some of which are clearly fabrications. Rob at Black and White Cat takes the Epoch Times (a newspaper with ties to the Falun Gong) over helping spread the worst of these here.

UPDATED: Earthquake threat:On May 9,2008,hundreds of thousands of toads went on a journey in Mianzhu City,near Wenchuan County,in Sichuan. Many people worried about it as the threat of natural disaster. Local TV station reported it,a so-called forestry expert denied that it was the threat of natural disaster,so nobody valued it.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_puPpfoR1g&eurl=http://virtualreview.org/china/zoom/578225/2008-5-9-100000-toads-went-on-a-journey-in-mianzhusichuan]

See also a New York Times report: “Superstitions About Quake Meet the Web, Irritating the Chinese Authorities.”

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