Government double-speak about earthquakes and oil prices


A collage of headlines. Source:

Chinese Internet users often repost items about government hypocrisy, such as contradictory price hikes regarding rising refined oil in 2009. Another example is from May 2008, when after the disastrous Wenchuan earthquake, there was speculation about prior warnings, which were said to be ignored.

During the Yushu earthquake someone discovered that just prior to the earthquake, the China Earthquake Administration (中国地震局) had said there would be no earthquakes on the mainland in the near future.

The Sina microblog user Jiandansue posted a widely distributed collage on April 19. Along the left-hand side of the collage, in red, there is a declaration that says, “If you’re human, you must repost this after you’ve seen it.”

The first set of sentences are:

Shanxi Province Earthquake Bureau says: Don’t believe in recent earthquake rumors

Yellow River; January 22, 2010

4.8 magnitude earthquake hits city of Hejin in Shanxi

Yellow River; January 24, 2010

The second set:

NDRC refutes rumors: Refined oil prices will not go up in recent days.; May 27, 2009.

Refined oil prices will rise: Petrol and diesel will rise by 400 yuan per ton from June 1st. NRDC; May 31, 2009.

The third set is:

CEA Researcher Sun Shihong: The world has not entered a lively earthquake period. People Net; February 25, 2010.

Researcher Sun Shihong: The world might enter into a lively earthquake period. CRI; February 28, 2010.

The last set:

China Earthquake Administration: No destructive earthquakes on the mainland in near future.Beijing Times; March 9, 2010.

7.1 magnitude earthquake strikes Yushu county in Qinghai province this morning. CENC; April 14, 2010.

Most of these sources came from government websites, with the exception of The Beijing Times, China National Radio and CRI. A search for the headlineChina Earthquake Administration: No destructive earthquakes on the mainland in near future” shows many repostings of the original on various major BBS forums.

These forums include Club China, Huanqiu, Tianya, KD Net and Daqi. Netizens reading the posts are in no short supply of sarcastic and bitter comments, they calculated that the Yushu earthquake, which has killed more than 2,000 people, happened one month and 5 days after the announcement.

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