China Blacks Out Trainwreck Coverage

Criticism mounting over Beijing's handling of accident that killed at least 40
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2011 3:59 PM CDT
A truck carrying a wrecked carriage leaves the crash site near Wenzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, July 26, 2011.   (AP Photo/Xinhua, Wang Dingchang)
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(Newser) – China has been taking increasing heat over last weekend's fatal collision between two bullet trains, so it has, predictably, decided to get out of the kitchen. Facing a barrage of criticism that it put whiz-bang technological advances ahead of the safety of its citizenry, Beijing late Friday shut down all coverage of the disaster—except positive or sanitized stories—forcing Chinese media to shred front pages, scrap stories, and plug newshole with cartoons, reports the New York Times.

The blackout comes as activists protested today in Hong Kong, notes the Straits Times, and continued demands for an open inquiry into both the accident's cause and the government's response. "We want the Chinese government to appoint respected individuals and form an independent committee to investigate this tragedy in a transparent manner," says one lawmaker. "You can't rely on the railway authorities to do the job."

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