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.




  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。
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





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。

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。