China Censors Flood Coverage
Beijing's disaster response sparks criticism
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2012 10:08 AM CDT
A woman wades through a flooded street following a heavy rain in Beijing Saturday, July 21, 2012. China's government says the heaviest rains to hit Beijing in six decades.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – China did a marvelous job dealing with the floods that have killed at least 37 people in Beijing—at least, according to anything you're likely to read in China. The city's propaganda chief has ordered the media to report exclusively "achievements worthy of praise and tears," and the government is censoring anything not sticking to that official line, including deleting critical posts on China's popular microblogs, the AFP reports.

China's flood response has come under widespread criticism on those microblogs, with many Beijing residents saying that more timely warnings or more modern drainage systems would have saved lives. Others have mocked the officials for asking people to donate to emergency relief funds, saying ordinary people shouldn't have to clean up the mess. Officials are likely nervous because of an upcoming communist party meeting, one expert explains. "When people are pointing responsibility at local government incompetence, everyone goes into sensitive mode."