Tuesday, May 13, 2008

China bloggers cook up quake conspiracies

ေအာက္တြင္ရွိသည့္ Comment မွ ေဆြးေႏြးခ်က္မ်ားမွာ စိတ္၀င္စားဖုိ႔ ေကာင္းသည္ ထင္ပါသည္။

As the death toll in China's Sichuan province climbs, the nation’s bloggers have joined together in the search for a scapegoat.

Broadband connections across the country are pulsing with rumours of "earthquake omens" involving toads or butterflies - all allegedly ignored by the authorities. Some even talk of a vast pre-Olympic conspiracy.

One blogger from Shandong province, in eastern China, wrote that more than a month ago, he went to his local earthquake resesarch centre several times to report that his animals had been disturbed and restless.

But, he wrote: "They not only ridiculed me, they accused me of making up stories."

Other blogs link to Chinese newspaper reports of bizarre natural occurrences in the past few weeks.

The Chutian Metropolis Daily reported that on April 26, 80,000 tonnes of water suddenly drained from a large pond in Enshi, Hubei province. The province shares a border with Chongqing Municipality, which was devastated by the earthquake on Monday.

On May 10, a Sichuan-based newspaper, the West China Metropolis Daily, reported that hundreds of migrating toads descended upon the streets of Mianyang, the second largest city in the province which neighbours Wenchuan County, the epicentre of the earthquake.

The Chinese state news agency reported today that 18,645 people were buried under the city's collapsed buildings and 3,629 people confirmed dead.

In the city of Mianzhu, 60 miles from the epicentre, bloggers pointed to reports just weeks before the earthquake of a mass migration of more than one million butterflies.

Other bloggers seized upon an as yet unsubstantiated rumour that a Chinese geologist had predicted the earthquake in advance but had been stifled by the authorities, and by fear.

"On the seventh of May, a geologist predicted this [earthquake]," wrote one blogger. "But he didn't dare make it public."

Another blogger from Beijing wrote: “Everyone is talking about the rescue effort but they are not actually joining it.

“So, instead we should turn our thoughts to why [the authorities] didn’t forecast the earthquake and evacuate the people...

“Could it be that it was out of a desire for a peaceful Olympics?”

In an editorial in the Southern Metropolis Daily, the established journalist and commentator, Chang Ping, cited the growing tide of rumours and speculation surrounding the earthquake as evidence of the need for greater freedom of information in China.

He wrote: “As the phone lines went down, rumours multiplied...I understood that the vast majority of this information could not be verified and that the police regarded it as the transmission of rumours punishable by criminal detention.

“But as someone with relatives in the affected area, I could not stop myself from seeking whatever information I could ...”

He added: ”The information was clearly unreliable, and it was difficult to tell what was true or false.

“Together it all spoke of a single problem, and that is the people’s fierce appetite for information when faced with a public incident.”

Have your say

This stuff sounds like spin to me. The story here is that staff at the seismic station say they were prevented from issuing a warning because of the Olympic games and the possibility of unrest of in Tibetan Northern Sichuan

antony clark, Deyang, China

Humans have lost their ability to sense natural disasters but other animals haven't. Animals have better sensed than we do and it's not totally unbelievable that the animals knew what would happen.

Cindy, New York City, USA

In the last days the Bible says there will be a great increase in wars, EARTHQUAKES, famines and diseases (Luke chapter 21) .
Theres also a micro chip for either the right hand or forhead economy prophesied in Revelation 13:16-18 and 14:9-11 on the horizon.
It all points to Jesus' soon return.

G. Gibson, Sydney, Australia

maybe we should question why bush has money to send to china and burma, while we still have homeless people in new orleans and whole communities that still need clean up. what about those people. let china take care of china! we need to take care of our own!

maria, atwater california,

The other day, I saw 10 million ants having a wild orgy. That must mean the world is coming to an end!

jj, Columbus, US

The earthquake is notorious for its quickness in movement and difficulty in prediction. The abnormal behaviours of animals can be caused by so many different factors. How can we just draw a hasty conclusion that our gov delibrately ignores the quake omens?

wuyou, wuhan, China

All the blogging in the world isn't going to hide what is obvious to most of the Chinese people: that the "judgement of heaven" is on the Chinese government, in fact many times over. Brutal suppression of all dissident opinion is the crime, and judgement is the penalty.

John, La Paz,

Come on. You can't blame the Chinese government for not evacuating people ahead of time. Earthquake science is about the "possibility" of an earthquake occuring, not an exact prediction. It was a natural disaster, that's all. And those of us close by, in China, should organize clothing drives.

Brian Compton, Shanghai, China

Chinese culture is riddled with superstation and in some ways this helps them make sense of what has happen. We cant use animal behavior to predicting earthquakes, science is the only way. It's time that all countries living in earthquake zones need to think more about their construction methods.

Stephen, Newport, IOW,

Pray for the people in Sichuan. I don't want to find whether the earthquake is predictable or not. The most important thing is to rescue those lives buried. 2008 should be a luck year for Chinese. But so many disasters happened. Anyway, I believe that we can recover from the natural disasters.

Wei, Shanghai, China

Claim : ' elephants strangely moved inward many hours before tsunami hit '
Evidence : ' elephants satellite collars record ' ' no evidence of flight behavior was found ' ' moved to the beach, not away '

Nothing ' unusual ' . Humans love to tell stories , especially fictional ones ....

Sal Thomas, Calgary , Canada

You used the wrong word, conspiracy, in the article. The bloggers are not talking about conspiracies, but about the fact that there exist "alternative" modes of predicting earthquakes and tsunamis that are based on "natural" rather than scientific knowledge.

Dayahka, Aberdeen, USA

Chinese are strong people and all of our best wishes for china and good luck in Olympics games..

Mohammad, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Many people claim to be able to predict the stock market as well. You always hear how the last recession was "predicted". You never hear the *countless* theories that failed to find the mark. The same goes here. "Obvious" warnings are only such upon retrospection.

greg, Vancouver, Canada

I cried at the news and photos.

As a Chinese student in the US, I couldn't help wondering why the school buildings were that vulnerable. Children are the hope of Chinese families, not to mention the "one child per family" policy. I can't imagine how the parents will handle the loss.

Lina, Newark, US

Accounts of animal anticipation of earthquakes have surfaced across the centuries since. Catfish moving violently, chickens that stop laying eggs and bees leaving their hive in a panic have been reported. Countless pet owners claimed to have witnessed their cats and dogs acting strangely before....

Susan Lovejoy, Byron Bay, Australia

Hindsight is always 100% accurate

Tom, Toronto,

But ancient methods still exist. We lost our instincts and our sensitivity to nature. Therefore we require a canary in the coal mine. We need to heed any strange migrations or animal activities. Even with the Tsunami the animals had made their way towards higher ground well before it hit.

Gen, Lowell, US

There is no sure way to predict an earthquake... although there are some interesting precursors. The West Coast of Canada closely watches the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate as it slides along, little tremors that put us on notice that someday something big and bad is eventually gonna happen.

Richard , Victoria , Canada

I think perhaps the problem for the Chinese bloggers is that when they normally receive information it has been massaged by the information ministry so that all the media outlets are singing from the same red book. In an emergency they get the same type of fragmented information we are used to.

Callum, Jakarta, Indonesia

With so many people in China, each with their own story, coincidences are bound to show themselves. Without good "truthy" information sources, people are bound to cling to whatever shreds of information they can find--anything to explain such a tragedy. China needs a better ministry of information.

Will C., Portland, Oregon, USA

I live in California where we have earthquakes often and are expecting a big one soon. I predict "the big one" just about every time something unusual happens (weather/animal behavior/etc..) but fortunately I've been wrong every time. One of these days I will be right and viewed as a prophet.

Charles, Santa Monica, CA, USA

The Chinese have led the world in researching earthquake omens including a vast amount of research into animal behaviour. My understanding is that there is little evidence to suggest that animals are capable of earthquake prediction. This is not time for the peddling unhelpful conspiracy theories.

Ian , Pett, United Kingdom

I've read a book about the Tangshan earthquake, animals were behaving strangely as well on the days before that earthquake. I guess it must be some special sense that humans do not have. Of course, it'll take years before someone proves this scientifically.

Alasdair, London, UK

Compared to the government policy of not many years ago I am amazed at the information being released. Scientists should note and investigate the reports of unusual animal and physical activity of water because this has been seen elsewhere in the world. My sympathy for the injured and those lost.

Phil de Buquet, Newport,

The Chinese have been able to predict earthquakes before and successfully evacuate people to safety before the quake. If there were signs of a coming earthquake the government should have taken heed of them. It's not all quackery and hocus pocus if you read the research.

Daniel, Los Angeles,

Animal behaviour predicting natural disasters is a favourite amongst superstitious people as well as nature buffs who think it's cute to assume that frogs are smarter than scientists. One thing the bloggers are right about though is the need for information - here the need for education is obvious.

Mark, London,

Why do we need to read this? If incredibly someone knew an earthquake was coming, there are still 30milion people in Chongqing city alone, what are you going to do? Ask them to wait outside?This is a terrible tragedy compounded by poor building standards, in an emerging economy, no conspiracy needed

Paul Smout, Wuhu, China

The death of thousands should not be trivialized by the idea that the government was looking for sympathy from the global community to bring balance to controversy. Perhaps there were subtle signs from nature but either way this event was unpreventable and as tragic as it was, part of nature itself

Lyle, Winnipeg, MB, Canada

I wish it could be predicted, if there's anyway.
Guess the bloggers are doing this because they don't want to face the fact that, the disaster just happened and there's no way to prevent it even with all the high-tech tools. They want to believe they could have done something....

Iris, Hong Kong,

I agree that animals/birds can exhibit strange behaviors at times of natural calamities - - but no one in China, including the government, should be accused of negligence or cover-up!! That's ludicrous.

My prayers go to the victims.

Robert Greene, Florida , USA

Several species behave abnormally prior to big events. It is their senses.Ex: Dogs can hear higher decibels, like many animals. Mass migrations and sinking water are clues to something big. Listen to an earthquake's sound: http://www.seismo.unr.edu/ftp/pub/louie/class/100/seismic-waves.html


I feel sooo sorry for all the victims of the earthquake in China! That had to be so frightening!
We had a slight earthquake of 5.2 here in Indiana, on April 18th. That was scary enough, and we don't usually have tremblers here!
People noticed animals acting strange here too.

Julie, Fort Wayne, U.S.A.

One good characteristic of Chinese is never give up, no matter how hard or difficult!
All best wishes to China and Chinese people.

William, Adelaide, Australia

There is documented evidence of many correlations between natural phenomena which consistently occur before quakes. Animal Behavior, EMFs, DEMETER satellite data... Why not have a warning system? We have "Terror Alert Levels"... are those based on any exact science? The only difference is politics

Ryan , Santa Rosa, CA, Quake country

You've got to be kidding me! There is no vast conspiracy hiding the forecast of an earthquake. You can't accurately predict earthquakes. It's just terrible that the infrastructure is so bad that it caused so much destruction. I wouldn't trust this country to build olympic stadiums!

Autumn, London,

Such a horrible experience for anyone to endure. My heart and sympathy goes out to all the people impacted by this catastrophe.

Ron, Dripping Springs, USA

If someone can invent a method to predict earthquakes precisely, he/she will certainly be the next Nobel Prize winner!

Terry, Victoria, Canada

this article makes it like Chinese government wants to cover up everything. if there's clear evidence of earth quake forecast, of course they will warn the people. but the fact is there is no scientific evidence shown the links between animal behavior and the earthquake.

Ren, limerick, ireland

I was on the 34th floor of a hotel in Chengdu when this happened. I have been in earthquakes in China before, and I didn't see them coming either. They just happened. How accurate could your predictions be - month/week/day? - and what would you do if you did predict this - shut everything down?

Chris, Chengdu,

It is not new that some animals/birds might have sensed the earthquake and behave abnormally well before the quake happened. Other abnormal natural phenomenon, such as the sudden loss of water of a lake may all be part of the earthquake symptoms, which should not be simply dismissed as superstitious.

Kenpgh, Plymouth, England

As a Pakistani I mourn for the loss of life and property in our all-weather friend China.

I send my condolences, peayers and good wishes to my Chinese friends..

Dr M A R, London,

There have been instances of strange animal behavior days before the occurrence of natural disaster. Japanese scientists even conduct experiments on this. For example in SriLanka, elephants along the coastline strangely moved inward many hours before tsunami hit.

However, it is not proven yet.

Rajesh, Gillville,

The Chinese are such a great people...even in the midst of a truly terrible earthquake, they still go ahead with the Olympics!

No wonder they are the longest continuous soverign people on planet earth!

China, my hat is off to you!

Pauline, Brooklyn, NY

But we should know earthquake is still unpredictable at the moment. So for no one geologist managed to predict a earthquake in practice, remember the recent quake near Lincolnshire in February? even BGS couldn't know it in advanced. All we could do now is to pray for people in Sichuan!

Enoch, Leicester, UK

chinese are strong and will rebuild everything.

My best wishes for china

Saudi Arabia

Mohammad, Gold Coast , Australia

There is no absolute way to predict such a thing and be accurate. If any one person knew the exact date of the earthquake, how would one prepare a whole country without causeing mass histaria?

Ricco, Redlands,

Useful earthquake predictions are not possible with modern science and technology, unfortunately.

Maybe in the near future someone will discover a reliable forecasting tool, but in the meantime we will have to live in earthquake-resistant buildings and prepare for the next big one.

Tim, Melbourne, Australia

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