In the early weeks after the magnitude 7.9 quake, Beijing was widely applauded for its efficiency, compassion and openness in handling China’s worst natural disaster in decades. But since then, the curtain has fallen.
Even the death toll is shrouded in secrecy. Although about 70,000 people are believed to have died, the government has yet to release an official toll. DNA testing that could identify thousands of victims has stalled, with no explanation from authorities.
Parents and researchers asking about schools that collapsed have been detained and harassed.
Tan Zuoren, a literary editor and environmentalist who was creating an archive of children killed in collapsed schools, was arrested last month on charges of subverting state authority, according to Amnesty International. The rights organization said his dog was stabbed and his computer stolen as well.