Warn­ing re­newed for tor­ren­tial rains

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By LI LEI and LI HONGYANG Con­tact the writ­ers at lilei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The Na­tional Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Center on Wed­nes­day re­newed a warn­ing for tor­ren­tial rains that have un­nerved south­ern­ers for the past month, prompt­ing au­thor­i­ties to de­ploy tens of thou­sands of re­spon­ders.

Ac­cord­ing to the center’s lat­est alert for heavy rains, the new round of pre­cip­i­ta­tion is fore­cast to bat­ter the provinces of Guizhou, Sichuan, Yun­nan, Fu­jian and Zhe­jiang, as well as Chongqing mu­nic­i­pal­ity and the Guangxi Zhuang au­tonomous re­gion, from July 1 to 2.

In the af­fected re­gions, rain­fall could reach 100 to 150 mil­lime­ters, rais­ing risks for tor­ren­tial floods and other ge­o­log­i­cal dis­as­ters, the alert said.

The alert, which the center has is­sued for 30 con­sec­u­tive days, came after marathon-like down­pours caused tens of bil­lions of yuan in eco­nomic damage over the past few weeks.

Fig­ures of­fered by the center show five rounds of heavy rain­fall have hit south­ern China since last month, pro­duc­ing at least 200 mil­lime­ters of ac­cu­mu­lated pre­cip­i­ta­tion on about 1.5 mil­lion square kilome­ters of land.

Hu Xiao, chief fore­caster with the China Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Ad­min­is­tra­tion, said the abun­dant wa­ter va­por is to blame.

“The Pa­cific and In­dian oceans are two pow­er­ful sup­pli­ers of wa­ter va­por in our coun­try. In sum­mer, wind usu­ally blows from south to north, trans­port­ing the va­por from the ocean to the land,” he said.

As rain­fall con­tin­ues, Hu said, af­fected re­gions are vul­ner­a­ble to dis­as­ters such as floods in small or medium rivers, mud­slides and mud-rock flows, and the pub­lic must cut out­door elec­tric­ity and sus­pend out­door op­er­a­tions as pre­cau­tions.

The Na­tional Flood and Drought Con­trol Of­fice and the Min­istry of Emer­gency Man­age­ment on Monday urged first re­spon­ders to pri­or­i­tize peo­ple’s lives and in­ter­ests as they moved to fore­cast fu­ture del­uges and re­lo­cate af­fected res­i­dents.

The two agen­cies said they have de­ployed more than 28,000 fire­fight­ers and re­lo­cated 34,700 peo­ple.

By Sun­day, the sus­tained rain­storms had af­fected 12.1 mil­lion peo­ple scat­tered across 13 pro­vin­cial re­gions south of the Yangtze River, killing 78, ru­in­ing al­most 80,000 hectares of crops and lead­ing to 25.7 bil­lion yuan ($3.6 bil­lion) in di­rect eco­nomic dam­ages, ac­cord­ing to the min­istry.

Bear­ing the brunt were some of China’s poor­est re­gions, in­clud­ing the Liang­shan Yi au­tonomous pre­fec­ture in Sichuan prov­ince, which has been rav­aged by con­tin­u­ous rain­fall since June 26.

Ac­cord­ing to au­thor­i­ties in Mian­ning county, Liang­shan, 14 peo­ple had been killed by 11 pm on Tues­day, with eight still miss­ing on Wed­nes­day. Al­most 1,800 fam­i­lies were re­lo­cated to makeshift shel­ters.

Eco­nomic damage re­lated to agri­cul­ture, pub­lic fa­cil­i­ties, fam­ily as­sets, com­merce and mines, among oth­ers, reached 738 mil­lion yuan, lo­cal au­thor­i­ties said.

To off­set the im­pact on vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­ni­ties, China’s top an­tipoverty agency on Tues­day urged bet­ter mon­i­tor­ing of farm­ers sus­cep­ti­ble to flash floods and other ge­o­log­i­cal dis­as­ters.

In a cir­cu­lar on its web­site, the State Coun­cil Lead­ing Group Of­fice of Poverty Al­le­vi­a­tion and Developmen­t said lo­cal au­thor­i­ties should roll out as­sis­tance pro­grams tar­get­ing those im­pov­er­ished by the floods and in­ves­ti­gate how vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple have been af­fected.

Through the pro­gram, mon­i­tors would be sent to track in­di­vid­ual fam­i­lies prone to such risks and al­lo­cate help, as well as en­sure safe hous­ing and drink­ing wa­ter for those af­fected. Of­fi­cials are re­quired to rule out risks in in­fras­truc­ture and speed up re­pair of dam­aged houses, roads, wa­ter con­ser­vancy fa­cil­i­ties and other poverty al­le­vi­a­tion projects, the group said.

Oth­ers mea­sures in­clude lo­cal au­thor­i­ties help­ing af­fected farm­ers claim agri­cul­tural in­surance com­pen­sa­tion and cre­ate new jobs to off­set the de­cline in agri­cul­tural rev­enue among the af­fected fam­i­lies, it added.

China has pledged to elim­i­nate ab­so­lute poverty by the end of this year.

What im­pos­tors steal are oth­ers’ life-chang­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.” Liu Jix­ing,

“Us­ing oth­ers’ iden­ti­ties to en­ter col­leges de­prives oth­ers of the right to re­ceive an ed­u­ca­tion, which se­ri­ously dam­ages ed­u­ca­tional eq­uity and dis­turbs pub­lic or­der,” said Pang Li­juan, a mem­ber of the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee of the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress, the coun­try’s top leg­is­la­ture.

She com­pared the iden­tity theft in col­lege en­roll­ment to “steal­ing oth­ers’ fu­tures”, say­ing that peo­ple’s prospects must be pro­tected by law.

How­ever, iden­tity theft is not yet a crime, “so it’s nec­es­sary to es­tab­lish it as a new crime when amend­ing the Crim­i­nal Law,” Pang said.

Xu Xian­ming, an­other na­tional law­maker, said steal­ing iden­ti­ties to get into a col­lege goes against the Con­sti­tu­tion as re­ceiv­ing ed­u­ca­tion is a ba­sic right granted by the coun­try’s fun­da­men­tal law.

Liu Jix­ing, also a mem­ber of the NPC Stand­ing Com­mit­tee, said the harm caused by the iden­tity theft is much greater than that of in­fring­ing upon prop­erty, such as fraud. “What im­pos­tors steal are oth­ers’ life-chang­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, es­pe­cially those from poor or ru­ral fam­i­lies,” he said.

They made the re­marks dur­ing the NPC’s lat­est ses­sion, which be­gan on Sun­day and ended on Tues­day. Dur­ing the meet­ing, a draft re­vi­sion to the Crim­i­nal Law was sub­mit­ted for first read­ing.

Since the scan­dal has drawn so much pub­lic at­ten­tion and ire, many leg­is­la­tors have also called for harsher penal­ties for such vi­o­la­tions.

Li Wei, an NPC Stand­ing Com­mit­tee mem­ber, said he found some 10 crimes that could be re­lated to col­lege iden­tity theft — such as fal­si­fy­ing of­fi­cial doc­u­ments, bribery and mal­prac­tice — after go­ing through the cur­rent laws. How­ever, most crimes tar­get govern­ment of­fi­cials and their cor­rup­tion-re­lated be­hav­ior, not im­pos­tors and those who of­fer to as­sist in the iden­tity thefts, he said.

To more ef­fec­tively thwart im­pos­tors, Zhang Ye­sui, an­other NPC Stand­ing Com­mit­tee mem­ber, sug­gested the top leg­is­la­ture de­fine such be­hav­ior as a crime, with of­fend­ers fac­ing sen­tences rang­ing from three to 10 years in prison.

Ruan Chuan­sheng, a law pro­fes­sor at the Shang­hai Ad­min­is­tra­tion In­sti­tute, agreed to harshly pun­ish such im­pos­tors, but he said that the sit­u­a­tions that should be de­fined as “se­ri­ous” and the ex­act penal­ties for of­fend­ers need more study, as such cases in­volve many com­plex cir­cum­stances.

HAO QUNYING / FOR CHINA DAILY

A teacher dis­trib­utes test pa­pers to a stu­dent dur­ing a sim­u­lated ses­sion of the na­tional col­lege en­trance exam, or gaokao, in Han­dan, He­bei prov­ince, on Wed­nes­day. The school held the ses­sion to help stu­dents get fa­mil­iar with the pro­ce­dure and help ease their nerves ahead of the exam, which will take place next week.

YUAN JINGZHI / FOR CHINA DAILY

The con­struc­tion of Xi’an Olympic Sports Center com­plex is com­pleted and the venue is ready for use in Xi’an, Shaanxi prov­ince, on Wed­nes­day. The venue, which in­cludes a 60,000seat sta­dium, an in­door gym­na­sium and an aquatic center, will be the pri­mary fa­cil­ity for the 14th Na­tional Games of China next year.

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