Num­ber of deaths in 2012 flood ‘ hid­den’

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By WU YONG in Shenyang wuy­ong@chi­nadaily.com.cn

A county govern­ment in Liaon­ing prov­ince was found to have hid­den the real num­ber of deaths af­ter a heavy flood in 2012, lo­cal au­thor­i­ties an­nounced on Wed­nes­day.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion team has been sent to Xi­uyan county to un­cover the facts in the case.

The job of the team in­cludes ver­i­fy­ing the num­ber of deaths and clar­i­fy­ing the dis­as­ter con­di­tions. A lo­cal watch­dog said that the peo­ple found to be re­spon­si­ble would be pun­ished ac­cord­ing to the law. Shenyang

North­east China’s Liaon­ing suf­fered heavy rain­fall on Aug 3 and 4 in 2012 due to Typhoon Dam­rey. The web­site of Xi­uyan county an­nounced five deaths and three miss­ing per­sons on Aug 6, 2012.

How­ever, lo­cal vil­lagers re­cently mailed me­dia a list of names, ages and ad­dresses of those said to have died, which states that 38 peo­ple lost their lives. The me­dia has ver­i­fied the deaths of 27 of the peo­ple on the list.

The State Coun­cil asked gov­ern­ments to re­lease dis­as­ter in­for­ma­tion timely and ac­cu­rately. Gov­ern­ments at or above the county level have the re­spon­si­bil­ity to re­lease the in­for­ma­tion of ca­su­al­ties caused by natural dis­as­ters. Peo­ple found to have pub­lished false in­for­ma­tion and vi­o­lated the law shall be pros­e­cuted for crim­i­nal re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Peng Zongchao, vi­ceprin­ci­pal of Ts­inghua Univer­sity’s School of Pub­lic Ad­min­is­tra­tion, said t hat lo­cal gov­ern­ments usu­ally pub­lish the ac­tual num­ber of deaths in or­der to ap­ply for fund­ing.

But once the num­ber of deaths sur­passes 30, an in­ci­dent is then de­fined as a par­tic­u­larly sig­nif­i­cant natural dis­as­ter and lo­cal gov­ern­ments may be­come wor­ried about ac­count­abil­ity and choose to sub­mit false in­for­ma­tion, Peng said.

in Xi­uyan county were said to have lost their lives in a heavy flood in 2012, com­pared with five deaths claimed by the lo­cal govern­ment.

FAN CHANGGUO / XIN­HUA

Ping-pong pro

Ta­ble ten­nis world champion and Rio Olympics gold medal­ist Ma Long plays with a stu­dent at Liang­zou Pri­mary School in Zoup­ing, Shan­dong prov­ince, on Wed­nes­day. Ma, also a mem­ber of the Weiqiao Ta­ble Ten­nis Club that is head­quar­tered in the city, vis­ited the school with his team­mates to in­ter­act with fans.

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