Beijing storm deaths spurn online anger

Chinese public in fury after 37 people are killed following flooding in Beijing.

    "A city that can't build a working drainage system can never rank itself as an international city, and when the whole nation can't build a working drainage system, you should know why the country is always waterlogged with public opinion," writes famous Chinese social commentator and blogger Li Chengpeng in a blog entry - deleted hours after posting - following the  torrential rain which killed dozens of people in Beijing, the Chinese capital.

    If you read a mainstream newspaper about the rain, the chances are you'll be in tears, because you'll be so touched by the public of Beijing and their generous spirit of helping other people selflessly.

    "Rainstorm washes out true love between people," is the type of headline news one saw in newspapers and portal news sites in China on Monday.

    "The storm didn't wash away people's heart and spirit. On the contrary, it stimulated everyone in the city to show their responsibility and morality," reported the official state Xinhua news agency.

    On Sina Weibo, China's Twitter alternative, however, citizens of Beijing talk about the real problems - with a sense of humour.

    Weibo user Li Wei posted this photoshopped picture of flooded Beijing - it was reposted 15,000 times. It says: "Remember the touching moments, but also remember to fix the drainage system!"

    Sina Weibo users are also asking the hard questions

    "One rain storm and 37 deaths? Is that too high a death-toll for a city like Beijing?"

    "This is not the first time Beijng flooded, but has the government done anything to repair the awful drainage system of the city since the last flooding?"

    "The government is all about talks, if they had done anything substantial in city construction, we wouldn't have had such a situation."

    As tropical cyclone Vicente moves away from Hong Kong leaving the city unscathed except for a few fallen trees, the natural urge to compare between the two cities has become even stronger.

    "This is so embarrassing for Beijing. Both storms are so close to each other, it is hard to not see the obvious lack of government measures in the Beijing case." Weibo user Bumilan commented. "It surely washed clear the difference in city management, drainage system and media between the two cities."

    As usual, censorers attempted to delete posts criticising the government's actions in coping with the Beijing storm.

    To quote  famous blogger Li Chengpeng again, though, the government "only knows how to turn on the faucet of positive propaganda, but doesn't know that public opinion is the most important drainage system".




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