A Citizen Campaign to Reveal the Forgotten Dead (1)

Bob Chen of Global Voices looks back on individual citizens’ efforts to uncover the reasons for school collapses:

According to an official announcement last year, over 6000 students died at the earthquake. Schools collapsed at an extraordinary high rate compared to other buildings standing nearby. In Beichuan, the county middle school had its two floors sunk into the ground.

Netizens and bloggers, scrutinizing pictures of the relic, found that the wreckage exposed the scarcity of steel girders, which should have been a major supporting component.

Premier Wen Jiabao, inspecting the area devastated, has avowed to tell the public who should be responsible for the shoddy works. But the promise has not yet been fulfilled. Though the recently released National Human Rights Action Plan has emphasized on a state effort to register names of victims, Blogger Ai Xiaoming felt frustrated, [… saying] “A year has passed since the earthquake but now, people are so sorry to see that there has never been an official report about the actual quality of school buildings that collapsed. The public has neither access to the detailed reason why a school collapsed, nor information about whether anyone is doing any quality inspection.”