Tangshan 30 Years On

July 31, 2006 12:00 am Last Updated: July 31, 2006 12:00 am

July 28 is the 30th anniversary of the Tangshan earthquake. What is different from previous years is that after 30 years, the truth of this catastrophe has surfaced. The book “Revelations from the Tangshan Earthquake” written by Zhang Qingzhou has revealed the truth behind the cover up of the forecast of the Tangshan earthquake.

The book also disclosed that no residents in Qinglong county, just 115 kilometers away from Tangshan city, died from the earthquake because they were promptly informed of the earthquake forecast. Various man-made calamities that happened whilst rescue work was carried out were also gradually exposed.

At 3:42am on July 28, 1976, Tangshan city, with a population of one million, was obliterated after a blue light flashed across the sky. 242,769 died and 164,851 were injured. Nearly every family had a member who died in the calamity. “Every year on July 28, the paper money burnt for the dead is like black butterflies flying low on the Tangshan streets and alleys. People are used to this kind of quiet and speechless way of mourning rather than speaking out their sorrows.” People who survived this calamity have not been willing to talk about it, but they were finally able to express the deep grief in their hearts.

In an interview, our reporter was told, that just after the earthquake, people were dumbfounded, did not know what had happened. After a couple of hours, they then realized: “Oh, there was an earthquake!” In order to bury the corpses as quickly as possible, a big ditch was dug, bodies were buried layer upon layer with lime powder placed in between the layers.

Our reporter asked, “Before the Tangshan earthquake happened, did you hear that there might be an earthquake?”

Interviewee , “Several years before the earthquake, we heard talk of a possible great earthquake happening in Tangshan. Would the government dare to say that there is a great earthquake? If people were alarmed, who would continue to produce for the government? Would the government dare to inform you? They feared that production would be affected if people knew about it. There were so many coal mines in Tangshan city!”

Reporter , “Several years ago, there were rumors about a great earthquake, but the government did not pay much attention to it. How would the families of victims view the government?”

Interviewee , “We dare not say anything. Who would dare to say the government is not good? No one! But we all condemned the Chinese Communist regime in private. We complained at home and privately cursed the dictatorship. At that time, the Cultural Revolution had just ended, everyone was still very afraid of the regime. Who dared to say anything? The regime will never allow you to say no, it would have been like asking for a death penalty! The regime had never been concerned about its people; they are not concerned about how many people had died at all.”

In the book “Revelations from the Tangshan earthquake”, we are told that,in fact, at the end of 1975, the steam coming out of Tangshan's water company had shown signs of irregularity. Both Zhaugezhuang mine's earthquake observatory and Tangshan Erzhong observation station's ground stress indicators showed irregularities one after another. The head of the earthquake observatory Yang Youchen secretly asked Tianjin earthquake bureau's expert to perform an underground pumping water destructive test. The test results indicated that an earthquake was approaching Tangshan.

In the beginning of 1976, Yang made an earthquake status report in Tangshan and announced Tangshan earthquake's mid and short term forecast as follows:

Within 50 kilometers of Tangshan city, there would be an earthquake of magnitude 5-7 occurring by July or August 1976, or later that year.

On two occasions, twelve and six days before the Tangshan earthquake, Leting Red Guard High School and the earthquake research group from Shanhaiguan First Secondary school sent a written forecast to related departments predicting that there would be a higher than magnitude 5 destructive earthquake occurring. Two days before the Tangshan earthquake, the Beijing earthquake team discovered seven unusual signs of a pending earthquake. Nine hours before the earthquake, Ma Xirong from the earthquake station at Kailuan Majiagou mine made a report predicting a strong earthquake to the Kailuan Mine Bureau earthquake office. The report said: “Abrupt variations in ground resistivity reflect changes in the earth's medium causing minute cracks to turn into large cracks rapidly. This means that an earthquake of greater magnitude than 7.3 level may occur at any time.” Because of the social background at that time, people in Tangshan did not receive this information promptly.

On July 14 1976, after hearing the forecast analysis from the National Earthquake Bureau that an earthquake of magnitude greater than 5 will occur in Tangshan, Wang Qingchun, head of Qinglong county's earthquake affairs, rushed back to Qinglong county to make a collective report and constructive arrangements. On July 27, over 60 percent of the population at Qinglong county spent the night in quakeproof sheds. The minority amongst the total population of 470,000 who stayed at home slept at night with their doors and windows opened. Due to such preparations, Qinglong county was spared from this catastrophe. Although houses collapsed in the seriously damaged areas of Qinglong county, no one died from the earthquake. This has been viewed by many as a miracle.

Reporter: Are you aware that no one died in the Qinglong earthquake?

Local resident: Yes this is true.

Reporter: Please tell me how you did you learn of the news a few days before the earthquake.

Local resident: We received the news the day before, that is, earthquake happened on the 28th, we heard the news on the 27th.

Reporter: Who sent you the news?

Local resident: The news came from the county. We heard the news the day before and the earthquake occurred the following day. Everyone was mentally prepared. Indeed, no one from Qinglong county died.

After the Tangshan earthquake, inadequate relief efforts that led to situations where the wounds of survivors worsened have been gradually exposed. Ms. Chen, whom we interviewed, was amongst those sent to Beijing 301 hospital three days after the earthquake.

Ms. Chen said: “At that time, the courtyard of the 301 hospital was filled with the wounded and temporary tents. There were also instructions to prepare for war. In reality the purpose was to ensure that the leaders were treated.”

Three days later, all the wounded in the hospital were transferred to military hospitals in Shaanxi province located over athousand miles away from Beijing. Ms. Chen's bone fracture below the waist was not treated until six months later at a Hubei hospital. Due to the delay in treatment, Ms. Chen became permanently disabled.

An internet surfer commenting on the 30th anniversary of the Tangshan earthquake: “the failure to report on the Tangshan great earthquake and the cover up of this failure for a long time has drawn on the land of China a longer and deeper pain than the earthquake. This painful history has mercilessly told the world that only when people can decide the political fate and benefit of responsible persons, then those responsible would truly serve the people and be responsible for the people. They will not deceive the people and even if they wanted to, they would not dare to do so and would be unable to do so.”