For people in typhoon-stricken Yuyao City in eastern China’s Zhejiang Province, watching a TV reporter give a cheerful—and entirely false—account of their situation was one affliction too many. A large crowd stopped the TV van, beat the reporter (according to one netizen), and then turned their anger on the police sent to extricate the TV crew, overturning several police cars.
The locals at the scene in Yuyao reported on Weibo (similar to Twitter) that on Oct. 11 a Ningbo TV reporter (Ningbo is a city 30 miles from Yuyao) stood on the Yaojiang Bridge, the highest point in Yuyao, with the areas most unaffected by the floods in the background, including the five-star Grand Pacific Hotel and Fuda Square, and read the following script: “With neon lights everywhere and clear rivers, everything in Yuyao is back to normal.”
This statement drew the attention of many locals, who had begun to gather around.
An older resident suggested to the reporter, “You’d better go to Fuxiang, Cangqian, and New Garden Village to take some pictures. The flood waters there are still waist-deep!”
The reporter then quipped, “You people don’t have any idea what you’re even talking about.” This comment outraged the group, and more people gathered around the van, demanding truthful reports about the flood damage.
By 8 p.m. the crowd had grown to be hundreds strong, and the news van was unable to drive away.
At about 10 p.m. a large number of armed police arrived on the scene, attempting to free the news van, but the crowd would not allow it. During the conflict, several people were injured, including women and elderly. The angry crowd then smashed and overturned some of the police vehicles.
Beijing News had earlier reported that 8.7 million people in Zhejiang Province had been affected by Typhoon Fitow, with 18 Zhejiang counties inundated by flood waters.
Also, according to Beijing News, as of 2 p.m. on Oct. 9 the province’s 15 large reservoirs and 39 medium-sized reservoirs had exceeded their capacities. Due to continuous heavy rainfall, 70 percent of the area of Yuyao had been submerged in water, traffic was apparently paralyzed, and communications interrupted.
According to residents, after the floods the Zhejiang local governments were very slow to respond with any rescue efforts, making the catastrophe worse than it needed to be.
A Ningbo netizen blogged a summary of what had happed in Yuyao on the 11th: “The NBTV reporter just made up lies and said that the floodwaters had receded, and also cursed at the people. Then he was beaten. The police came to arrest people, but were surrounded by the people of Yuyao.
“In fact, except for the main roads, the floodwaters in Yuyao had not receded at all, but the TV reporter stood where the water had receded and said that everything was back to normal. Not only that, the mayor of Yuyao said in Hangzhou [the capital of Zhejiang Province] that no one died in the flood. How can you say no one died when dead bodies are floating in the water!?”
Netizen blogger and writer “God Bless” commented online, “When the United States has a disaster, CCTV broadcasts it live from beginning to end. When Yuyao, China is in crisis, CCTV treats it very lightly. Why? Because the leaders’ children are in the United States, not in Yuyao.”
Written in English by Barbara Gay
Read the original Chinese article.