Thursday, July 26, 2012

In Rain, Beijing Government Compared to Japanese Occupation

Several days after a sudden thunder storm in Beijing, human casualty number remains a national secret. The deputy major of Beijing said the government would release the number 'at a proper time'.

Chinese people are comparing the handling of heavy rain by the communist government of Beijing to that by the Japanese occupation authority in 1939 in Tianjin, a neighboring port city 80 miles east on the coast of Bohai Bay.

Tianjin was the second largest city in China, and the manufacture, economic and financial center of the North. At the time, two years after the city fell to Japanese invasion, large part of the city was still under control of the western concessions, which were surrounded and blocked by Japanese army. When a historic flood attacked the city, the Japanese army worked with western authorities in the rescue effort. Commander General Masaharu Homma set up a commission with representatives from China, Japan, Great Britain and France. General Homma deployed IJA 27th Division to battled the flood. In addition, he ordered all hospitals to open to public without charge, all boats were expropriated for rescue mission. Gross root organizations were encouraged to help. A detailed report was released 7 days after the water receded.

On the night of July 21, 2012, unknown number of Beijing residents perished at their homes and in their cars. Mr. Ding Zhijian was driving home when his car was stuck in water under Guangqumen Overpass. Mr. Ding called his wife at 7:40pm, and ask her to get help because he couldn't reach the police hotline. In the next 20 minutes, with the last call registered at around 8:00pm, he would call his wife several more times because he couldn't open the door. Mr. Ding even broke his skull when trying to break the window. Mrs. Ding set out from their house at Ganluyuan, which is 5 miles to the east, rushed to the scene at around 8:30pm. She was stopped in traffic, and ran half of the course on foot, with a hammer she took from home to break the door window. Mr. Ding's co-works and colleagues from partner company also arrived.

At the time, police, fire fighters and military police were already lined up. Not surprisingly, because this was at the very center of Beijing only minutes from the Tiananmen Square, and it was a section of main road, the 2nd ring beltway. Beijing has a six ring beltway road system. However, despite Mr. Ding's repeatedly begging, officers and soldiers refused to do anything. They even refused to take a look. Some officers told Mr. Ding's wife, they would wait for senior officers and the TV station. Two hours later, after senior officers and TV crew arrived, they started the rescue and pulled Mr. Ding's car out. The video footage was aired as a propaganda message of how senior officials and military fight the flood.

Mr. Ding left behind his wife and a 3 years old daughter. At the funeral, it was overhead that Mrs. Ding was telling her daughter, father had become a star in the sky to look after you. The little girl then asked, 'with so many stars, how do I tell which one is Daddy?'

Ding might not have died if it were not his wife's complaint for his being late for home. On that day in the afternoon, Ding received a phone call from his boss for a business getting together with a partner company after work. Mrs. Ding was not happy and asked him not to go. Ding promised he would come home for dinner. When the meeting ended around 7:30pm, Ding insisted going home although a dinner had been arranged by the partner. 10 minutes later, when Ding reached Guangqumen overpass, there was already water on the road, but Ding decided to rush through, and failed.

It's impossible to imagine Mr. Ding's desperation when trying to break out from the black Hyundai Tucson. Mr. Ding told his wife he couldn't open the door because of the pressure from water. Some people also suggested the all electronic door locks might also have failed if the battery was short circuited by the water. If that was the case, then there was no way to open the door from inside.

While some people suggested going to the trunk for the lug wrench (to break the Window). This may not be easy either, on a company SUV. The opening of the spare tire compartment is towards the rear. The handler is hard to reach from front without part of your body blocking the the cover board from opening up.

It sounds surreal, but the story was first released by Mr. Ding's co-workers on Weibo, then confirmed by a newspaper investigative report.

Beijing Police Chief Fu Zhenghua quickly responded to criticism online. Mr. Fu told reporters anyone who criticizes the government or senior officials on the Internet would face severe punishment. Mr. Fu revealed that 5,007 individuals had been apprehended for improper postings online, 366 thousand posts had been deleted as of July 24. Fu announced the crackdown on online speech will carry on until August 31st.

Newspaper were ordered not to write about the rain. Southern Weekends was ordered to remove all 8 pages of coverage of flood coverage.

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