The Fuzhou Bus Explosion

Over at Xici Hutong, there is an extended debate over whether the Chinese police have the right to stop reporters from covering a murder case in Beijing, including confiscating their photographs.  This is an interminable argument that must be decided situationally.  How so?  On one hand, there is the freedom of the press and the right of the people to be informed.  On the other hand, there is interference with a police investigation.  For example, American police routinely withheld crime scene information from the public, so that there are certain facts known only to them and the perpetrators.  See also the example here.  There are other reasons why the public would not want to know everything, and this has to do whether they can handle all the information. 

Here is the first example of the day.  The front page of Apple Daily in Taiwan.  

The headline screams: "Four-year-old girl was tortured to death by singeing her lower body (with an iron); the beast of a nanny has escaped, but her boyfriend just smiles coldly as he stares on."  And here is the close-up photo (at least they blurred some portions):

Now for the second example of the day.  This will be a test of your stomach.  On Monday, August 8, 2005, at 2:32pm, there was an explosion on a bus in the city of Fuzhou.  The initial story was that there was a suicide bomber who was a peasant with terminal lung cancer and he set off a homemade bomb on the bus.  There are different versions about how this explosion was set off, but they are contradictory and not even credible by themselves.  The following are the photographs that the police were not able to confiscate because they were busy with rescue work and there were too many digital cameras clicking.  These photographs began to appear within minutes all over Internet forums and BBS's.  All the photos below showed up within the first hour.  

Here is the translation of excerpts from a very popular Xici Hutong post (and I have saved a copy at the bottom of this page).  This introspective post is at a media workers' forum, and it has been viewed tens of thousands of times already.

The following are the exact times of appearances of this news in the media:

Praises to the Internet for reporting on the explosion.  Within half an hour, Fujian Hotline was on the story.  What were they so fast?  The explosion occurred outside their office.  They felt the impact of the explosion and they were worried.  But the first thing that they did was to work on releasing the news.  Afterwards, all of the major portals got to work.  That means every Internet-enabled person could see the news.

Boos to the mainstream media.  By the evening, not a single Fuzhou media entity: television station, radio station or newspaper reported on it.  No government organization gave out any information.  It is likely that the television stations have films, but they couldn't show them even though people overseas knew all about it already; the radio stations lost their voices collectively; no daily newspapers published extra editions and no evening newspaper reported it.  [Blogger's comment: I am not surprised at the government's response; not too many governments know how to handle such an event.  I was in New York City on 9/11, and I couldn't say that the government's response was good, nor was the media informative within the first few hours ("There are eight more planes still in the air and no one knows where they are heading towards!").]

Why was reporting so important?  Since the mainstream media were absent, rumors abounded.  At that moment, the government should have come out and dispel those rumors immediately.  By the time the commentator went home, it was noted that very few people were taking buses, fewer people were around the normally busy area, taxis were in high demand and some people preferred to walk home instead.

This post on ESWN went live at 5:10pm, and more photographs have been added since.  The photo below appeared in Hong Kong's Sing Tao Daily the next morning.

You'll have to decide if you want that kind of photo on the front page of your newspaper.  

The following photos were collected from multiple sources.  They have been arranged so that they get progressively worse, so you should bail out when it bothers you.  You are a brave person if you can reach the end and actually look at the last two photos.  People at the scene were reportedly throwing up at the sight.


亲历福州8.8汽车爆炸,我们该如何反思?或者是我们该说,中国经历福州8.8汽车爆炸,我们该如何反思?

从来没有感受到恐怖爆炸袭击离约菏侨绱说慕V菥?.8汽车爆炸案,我,还有其他的福州人都这样想,为什么爆炸不在英一个普通城市,一群普通的人中间。
看到血腥的照片,几乎我不敢多看,网络上的照片已经是比较处理过的了,但是还是触目惊心。偶离爆炸地点不远,但是爆炸似乎都在每一个人的身边。福州的每一个人,每一个家庭,今天的任何聚会,多在谈论这次爆炸,心有余戚,因为这条线路,也许这辆车也是我以前也经常坐的。
关于爆炸,网络上也写了很多了,我们该如何反思呢?该如何保障我,我们自己,一个普通的人的安全呢?

一、关于爆炸与其他

  8月8日下午14点32分左右,福州市东街口天桥方向东街口车站发生公交车爆炸事件。车次为5路公交车(车牌号AY2512)。 事发后,消防人员及医护人员均于第一时间内赶赴现场。爆炸原因尚待查明。有人称,碎玻璃溅至附近写字楼室内,有数人伤亡。
据我的QQ群的网友15:10:01 现场观望报道:爆炸后车上无一人下车,整车已血肉模糊,救护车担架已把完整的尸体抬走,消防人员戴着防毒面具正在收拾已模糊的碎片。。。。而最快记者到,两三分钟就到了,然后消防,再警车,急救车最后才到,省立医院很近,直线距离就几百米,后来还有部分送到了协和医院。
据官方报道,制造爆炸的嫌疑犯初步判定为莆田市一农民,42岁,叫黄茂金,患肺癌晚期。爆炸物为土制炸药。 
从这些报道中,我们可以得到很多信息:
1、效果:虽然是土制炸药,但从现场图片和听到的声音看,这证明爆炸的效力是非常惊人的,而且爆炸也是有准备,有计划的;
2、时间:2.30,下午上班时间,人相对比较多,杀伤力大;
3、地点:福州最繁华的中心地方。要知道,东街口是福州最中心的地带,如同北京的最中心位置,如同上海的淮海路,相当于南京的新街口,重庆的解放碑,成都的盐市口等,这样一个地方发生爆炸伤害程度是可想而知的?
4、自杀爆炸目的:患肺癌晚期报复性自杀爆炸?
所有的福州人可能都在问,为什么自杀爆炸是发生福州,为什么在我们的身边,再换一个思维考虑,如果这发生在北京、上海或者是南京、深圳呢?

二、制度的思考政府、民怨的诉说、安全、卫生制度我们缺失了什么?

当我们面临这样情况的时候,第一反应就是政府在做什么?
据福建东南新闻网报道:案发后,省领导梁琦萍、鲍绍坤、荆福生、陈芸,市领导练知轩、牛纪刚和省公安厅领导陈由诚等赶到现场组织救治伤员、案件侦破和善后处理工作。。市公安局组织刑侦、交巡警、消防等部门公安民警迅速开展现场勘查和查访工作。 从这样看,政府机构运行还是高效率的。但是,我自己作为住在福州本地的人,感受到的却是新闻的不透明与消息闭塞。
1、我们政府的新闻发言制度呢?我没有听到有政府在最短的时间内对这个事件对全福州市民的通报,更不要说向全国人民了?当然世界上其他国家有可能关注,因为伦敦发声爆炸后,这样的事件很敏感,越是敏感的政府越要把新闻的传播权抓在手上。但是可惜的事,小道消息到处飞,网络抢了先机,后面还将说到这个问题。
2、我们的安全防范制度呢?我没有感受到,也许在北京,为了打造安全的奥运,投入了巨大的费用和精力去打造安全环境,而对于如福州这样远离中心城市的地方,该如何防范?这样的报复事例以前也发生过,但是这次发生在我们自己身边,而且目的明确:报复社会,杀人,杀很多很多的人!
3、从上面想到,为什么会发生?对社会的恨?绝望?民怨?怎么就没有人关注到,就没有任何机构,任何人想到,的确很难想到的,谁能想到呢?那他为什么对这个社会充满了失望与报复,我想这值得我们思考!
4、中国的卫生医疗制度呢?我和周围的朋友很多都想到,是不是肺癌治疗不好,这样自杀报复?难道人的生命都是那么可轻的吗?也是有血有肉的人啊莆田市一农民,42岁,叫黄茂金,患肺癌晚期。爆炸物为土制炸药。 这些干瘪的几个字,让我们看到了什么,看到了是一个中年农民没有钱治疗晚期肺癌。是被医院拒绝了吗?是不是被赶了出来,是不是家庭承受不了?是不是他根本就是感到活不下去?难道体现我们社会主义优越性的社会保障体系和卫生医疗体系就没有一点责任吗?卫生部长骂得好,但是还不够,而这次爆炸至少有部分责任要由体现我们社会主义优越性的社会保障体系和卫生医疗体系来负。如果不改,鄙人所见,有一必有二、防不住的。治标不治本的结果啊!

三、如何防范 自杀爆炸或者是制造恐怖事件

对此,我无语,以前常常想,爆炸只发生在美国、英国、西班牙,看到他们的民众在流血,政府在被痛骂,虽然他们已经做得够多的了?
就一点,在美国或者是英国,出版了好多让普通居民防范袭击的应急手段和知识,好象中国这方面的知识普及少得可怜吧,看惯了别国发生袭击,现在我们这些普通老百姓遇到了,对心理上造成的压力和焦虑是可想而知的。

四、被赞扬与羞辱的福州媒体

看到这样一条报道:
事发十分钟后,福州当地论坛上便有网友发帖报道,并附上了现场惨目忍睹的照片。
事发半小时后福建热线网站开始登载此事件。
事发一小时后(15:43)网易开始登载此事件,并开始跟踪报道。
事发一个半小时后(16:03)搜狐开始登载此事件,并开始跟踪报道。
事发两个小时后(16:32)新浪开始登载此事件,并开始跟踪报道。
当然还有腾讯等网站开始登载,腾讯QQ上还出现了系统信息播报这个新闻。
但此时网易已出现评论七百多条,新浪上已出现评论十多页,搜狐上出现评论数页。这还只是评论,至于看了报道没发言潜水员已然无数了。毕竟这是中国最大的几家门户网站了,且都登载入头条,QQ同时在线的用户千万计这新闻还封得住吗?
至此,所有网站上载的新闻图片大多数出子业余摄影师之手。毕竟口袋里的小DC绝没专业摄影记者手中的大炮招人耳目。图片品质虽不及专业水准,但是记录下的真实现场依然触目惊心!
现场:福州东街口公交站发生公交车爆炸事件。附近公司职员和过路行人及赶到现场记者纷纷拿出各种数字相机、摄像机拍了起来。我有很多朋友都拍摄了,还有很多网友在QQ群里大量的帖图,他们就在附近上班,从楼上拍摄的。

赞扬:网络无疑对这次爆炸报道有非常正面的作用,事发半小时后福建热线网站开始登载此事件。为什么这样快呢?因为爆炸就发生在福建热线的门口,我电话问了几个认识的人,他们感受到了爆炸,也是非常的紧张,但是他们第一个做到了敢先把消息报道出来,所以才迅速的在网络传开,在极短的时间内引起了所有的媒体的关注。网络媒体担当起了道义与真实。

侮辱:发生如此重大的事情,直到傍晚的时候,福州没有任何一家其他的新闻单位:电视台,电台,报纸对此发布报道,政府机构没有发布消息,而其实如果可能的话,我猜测全世界早就知道了,电视台有拍摄,但是不许播放国外这都直播了,电台,集体失语,报纸:没有一家敢发号外,也没有一家晚报类的在大量报道,至少我没有看到有报纸这样报道。好象到了晚上的时候,开始陆续有相关的报道了,但是太晚了,民众的心中已经引起了恐慌。晚报比早报好,报比不报要好。
听说在现场,警察有收缴已发现并进行记录拍摄的各型数字影像设备。 这新闻封锁哪里能做到。

五、市民的态度
在福州的各条交通线路上,警察和治安人员非常多;
送朋友去火车站,安全检查异常的严格,任何小包都要安全检查,还不许送上站台;
机场:机场第一时间得到了这个消息,也提升了安全检查;
所有的交通要道和出口也相应的提高了安全检查。
自杀爆炸当然在在民众中造成了一定的影响 ,主流媒体不能在第一时间发布消息,民众谣言四起,这个时候政府应该出来,在最快的时间辟谣。回来的时候,发现公交车已经很少有人坐了,人群拥挤的地方也稀少了,的士非常抢手,有的人下班后,宁愿走路了。
另外一方面,民众依然按照自己的方式生活,该吃饭的吃饭,该唱歌的唱歌,但是都在谈论这一件事情,或庆幸,或同情,或悲哀,或身受同感。
六、亲历过福州8.8汽车爆炸,我们该如何反思呢?该如何保证普通公民的安全呢?作为一名普通的福州人,以此纪念8.8福州爆炸的无辜死伤者,祝福和慰问伤者的亲人和其他无辜受害者。
2005.08.08于福州