China Ignored Scientists' Quake Warnings

Seismologists told of a major upcoming shake-up
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 1, 2008 5:56 AM CDT
A child walks along a refugee camp in Jiangyou town, southwestern Sichuan province, China, Saturday, May 31, 2008.   (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
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(Newser) – Chinese officials ignored warnings from leading scientists of an upcoming earthquake in Sichuan Province, including one that almost pinpointed the date of the quake, the Times of London reports. Four seismologists predicted a blast of 6.7 or higher magnitude this year, while another suggested the rumble would occur within 10 days of May 8. Now, officials appear to be working to stifle word of the ignored warnings.

 Another scientist blogged of his colleague’s warning after the quake, breaking the news. “His opinion was not accepted by the State Earthquake Bureau, and when he heard of the Sichuan earthquake” he was overwhelmed with sadness, said the blog, which has been censored. But anger over the government’s inaction has spread. “We do not know why the authorities chose not to act,” noted one journalist. “Some attributed it to the Olympics frenzy.”