Beijing (AsiaNews) - While the number of victims of the
disastrous floods in Beijing continues to climb, the only government agency that seems to be working to respond to the
tragedy is the Department of propaganda and censorship. Even
if the government has not confirmed the news, the discovery of 10 more bodies
in the Fangshan District of Beijing means the toll has risen to 47 dead. And
if the break in the rain has given some respite to the capital, the national
media lay all the blame with the outgoing mayor and his deputy, who yesterday resigned
their office in disgrace.
Today's People's Daily has given a vast amount of space to a forum titled "The rain returns to Beijing. Are you ready?". The answers are a total of 7, and the most provocative reads: "If it rains it is better to stay home." Meanwhile Weibo - the "Facebook of China", which has become a rallying point for popular discontent - has been blocked for "technical reasons". From the outset, however, the state media were ordered not to talk about the problems of Beijing's antiquated sewer system, or the number of deaths.
A long article in the Global Times instead reports of the edifying popular initiatives undertaken by Beijing residents to give comfort to the displaced. The story portrays individual entrepreneurs and business owners who have provided safe places, food and other basic necessities to fellow citizens: no mention of the rescue and recovery plans put together by Guo Jinlong, the former mayor, which have proved totally inadequate.
For now the weather seems to have given at least one day of respite to the capital. But the rain is falling on nearly all the north of the country, and the banks of the Yangtze River are at risk for more than 600 km. The situation has been worsened by the Three Gorges Dam, a huge hydroelectric reservoir that does not allow water to flow normally.