Earthquakes!

(Associated Press)  China: Earthquake Kills Dozens in Southwest    March 10, 2011

An earthquake toppled more than 1,000 houses and apartment buildings in Yunnan Province near the border with Myanmar on Thursday, killing at least 24 people and injuring more than 200, state media said. The Web site of the Chinese government earthquake monitoring station said the magnitude-5.8 quake was centered in Yingjiang.

(US Geological Surveys)  2011 March 11 05:46:23 UTC

Magnitude: 8.9 
Date-Time; Friday, March 11, 2011 at 05:46:23 UTC 
Location: 38.322N, 142.369E Depth 24.4 km (15.2 miles) set by location program 
Region: NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN 
Distances :
130 km (80 miles) E of Sendai, Honshu, Japan 
178 km (110 miles) E of Yamagata, Honshu, Japan 
178 km (110 miles) ENE of Fukushima, Honshu, Japan 
373 km (231 miles) NE of TOKYO, Japan

(Dongfang Zaobao)  The devastation after the earthquake in Japan


It is said that when you can find all sorts of birds in a large forest.  China has more than 400 million Internet users.  So it should be no surprise that you will finds all sorts of voices on the Chinese Internet: the good, the bad and the ugly.  The following is as selected stream of what I follow on the Sina.com Weibo.  Please remember that what I follow does not represent what is happening in general.

- The pro-American/pro-Japanese microbloggers are using this photo to incite a certain sentiment.  They claimed that the Chinese netizens are incensed at the fact that there are more people carrying banners than doing actual rescue.  Is it so wrong for the rescue teams to identify themselves (as coming from some locale or the other)?  Can one photo be conclusive that they only wave flags and do not rescue work?  I am telling you that America spends much more time shooting rifles and sending out tanks than conducting rescues.  In China, there will always be a bunch of assholes causing trouble whenever anything happens!

[This photo only showed some assembly or the other.  Where are they assembling?  For what purpose?  On one hand, there are praises for the Japanese rescue effort; on the other hand, they are picking on everything in China .... Things are different across countries ... in New Orleans, the army only sent out armored vehicles to patrol; in Wenchuan, everybody can see what the People's Liberation Army did -- they were the true army of the people!

- Xiaoxiang Zhenbao: Five colleagues are taking China Airlines CA 925 to Tokyo to report on the earthquake.

- Does anyone have a car?  Does anyone have a long piece of white cloth to make a flag?  Does anyone to dare to write the words "Hang on, Japan" on the cloth and drive the car to Tiananmen Square and park it there?  Who is willing to bring love back for the sake of all those who have died in wars?

- (Sigh)  The screen capture below is the list of hottest topic at Sina.com.  There were 11,371,513 comments about the Japan earthquake and 241,930 comments about the Yingjiang earthquake.  47 times more Chinese people cared about Japan than Yingjiang!  At Weibo, the pro-Japanese/pro-American elites are much more powerful.  But Yingjiang is our flesh-and-blood brethen!

- People say that there has been relatively few reports about Yingjiang because the state is restricting reporting ... fine!  let us not talk about television and newspaper reporting.  Instead, let us talk about the microblogs.  Even a high school student can make a large number of microblog posts nowadays, so why couldn't the reporters at the scene?  Instead, they are able to re-post lots of microblog posts about the Japan earthquake but unable to re-post the Yingjiang ones?  They can't even bother to forward urgent messages to seek help?  How many microblog posts have the celebrity microbloggers re-posted?

- I just spoke to a Japanese friend who is in Tokyo.  He had studied in China many years.  I said: "We are proud of your quality in the face of the earthquake.  You can see the orderliness ..."  He got angry immediately.  He interrupted me and cursed me out in Chinese: "Don't be stupid like them.  We were lucky that the epicenter of this earthquake was under the ocean and that was why things were orderly.  Our orderliness came about only because we have had too many earthquakes and we have acquired the habit through drills.  What is this about quality?  It is your younger sister's quality!"

- I just spoke to a Japanese friend who is in Tokyo.  He had studied in China many years.  I said: "We are proud of your quality in the face of the earthquake.  You can see the orderliness ..."  He got angry immediately.  He interrupted me and cursed me out in Chinese: "Don't be stupid like them.  We were lucky that the epicenter of this earthquake was under the ocean and that was why things were orderly.  Our orderliness came about only because we have had too many earthquakes and we have acquired the habit through drills.  What is this about quality?  The true quality of the Japanese people is exhibited in the battlefield!"

- Most people are sympathetic about the Japan earthquake.  They send their condolences towards the Japanese people.  It is also normal to offer praises to the rescue system in Japan and the response of the Japanese people.  I believe that every normal person would feel that way.  The anger of many people is not directed towards the people of Japan.  Instead, it is against those rumormongers who act in the name of "humanitarianism."  These are the people who are thoroughly without humanity in front of a natural disaster.

- It was a piece of false information to say that a 1,500 yuan deposit was required to get a shelter tent in Yingjiang ... It is utterly shameless to praise Japan and America while denigrating our motherland and insulting the Red Cross volunteers who have come to work in the front lines.

- The Japanese were cool and collected during this earthquake.  A friend working in an office thought that she was going to die and started screaming.  Afterwards, it was determined that she was the only who screamed in the office.  Her Japanese colleagues were cool and collected.  The New York Times immediately pointed out that this sort of orderliness came after repeated training.  From elementary school, Japanese citizens are repeatedly drilled about their escape methods.  When I was in Japan, I also participated in these kinds of drills.

- I believe that a small number of Japanese people must have gloated at the Wenchuan earthquake; I also believe that these must be a very small minority of the Japanese population.  I condemn the stupidity of this small minority, and I also despise those who exaggerate their numbers and influence.

- Why is there so little news about the Yingjiang earthquake?  You can go to Li Chengpeng's microblog and check; you can ask Zhang Ming (National People's Congress).  I knew that Yingjiang needed materials so I was hoping that they could exercise their influence.  So far they have forwarded nothing whatsoever.  Why are we able to find the microblogs of the Yingjiang rescuers but they couldn't?  That is because they don't want to.

 

- The BBC doesn't care about Yingjiang but they care about Japan because this is just news to them.  The Chinese media should not fail to care about Yingjiang because those people there are our flesh-and-blood.  I care about Japan too.  I stayed up until 1am to watch the news.  But I care more about Yingjiang.  I just checked the Yingjiang-related microblogs and it seemed that the main force are children and not any mainstream media.  Meanwhile the Chinese media are rushing over to Japan.  How can I stay calm?

- Personal blogs have nothing to do with news reporting policies.  Nevertheless, I have checked the microgblog of the <Southern Metropolis Weekely> executive editor Simen Bu'an: Of the 11 microblog posts that he made as of March 11, three were gossip items, 7 were about the Japan earthquake and 1 was about the Yingjiang earthquake.  He cared seven times more about Japan than Yingjiang.

- Some people have used the magnitudes of the earthquakes to defend the high degree of attention that the elites are paying to Japan.  I have to laugh bitterly because the elites are always nagging: "A government has to care about its people.  A government that does not care about its people is not a good government."  "When your own people are still living in bitterness, you should not be conducting international humanitarian missions."  "Life is invaluable."  "You must care about every single life just as Martin Luther King did."

- The Countryside Garden is a restaurant in our county.  Many people choose to get married there.  The restaurant was damaged during the Yingjiang earthquake, but the restaurant people did not forget the people.  We are very touched by them coming out to distribute free food.

- There is an earthquake in Japan and some people are even clapping their hands in celebration.  This reminds me of post-9/11 in America.  Certain angry young people (including some members of the culturati) were also gloating.  It was reported that this only happened in Iran and China.  The biggest tragedy in this country is that the corrupt system has created a disastrous heritage; nationalistic populism has led to the loss of humanity and morality, and the darkness in the hearts of the people.

- There has been an earthquake in Japan.  The Chinese people are naturally sympathetic.  Even if they can't personally go over there to help to rescue, or they cannot afford to donate, they should at least give moral support and offer prayers.  As for those who gloat in the misfortunes, they are either too young and naive, or else they are mentally deranged.

- My cousin personally went through the earthquake in Tokyo.  She told me that the Japanese people panicked when the earthquake.  They screamed all over the place.  Then they rushed towards the convenience stores that had no electricity.  Some people made mass purchases, some people committed looting and some people stole.  There were fire engine sirens everywhere.  Everybody was anxious.  Forget about orderliness and civic quality.  Please do not believe in the so-called post-earthquake civic qualities of the Japanese people.  When people are about to die, what is there any civic quality to speak of?

- It is natural to expect that that the Japanese  invasion of China to leave behind certain dark shadows with the Chinese people.  I went past Tiananmen Square some years ago, and I felt some queasiness when I saw the Japanese national flag flying next to the Chinese national flag (maybe that was when the Japanese Prime Minister happened to be visiting China).  But it would be too hysterical to use those dark shadows to inflame nationalistic sentiments against the people of Japan today.  Japanese literature is so marvelous!

- The front page headline for the Wenzhou Business News is improper!  We ask you to decide for yourselves!


Headline: "2012" strikes Japan

- A Chinese student in Japan said after the earthquake: The Japanese news reporting was particular calm and impeccable.  They provided tons of information without invading personal privacy; they gave data without inflaming passions; they listed recommendations without causing panic.  As media workers, we need to learn and remind ourselves to do the same.

- Why is the news about the Japan earthquake overwhelming compared to the Yingjiang earthquake?  1. The magnitudes the earthquakes are just an excuse.  2. Why isn't anyone saying that the Yingjiang compatriots suffering a more severe disaster than the Japan?  3.  The basic reason is that the Chinese microblogopshere is flooded with pro-America/pro-Japan sentiments.  4. Pro-America/Pro-Japan sentiments represent the mainstream values of the pro-democracy elites.  5.  The rules of the game is skewed towards these pro-democracy elites holding speech rights.  6.  The people follow the pro-democracy elites.

- Sometimes you can't blame the media for leaning towards the Japan earthquake.  Firstly, the magnitude of the earthquake was bigger, the area of destruction was broader and there were more casualties.  Secondly, information is absolutely transparent in Japan and that earns more sympathy.  In Yunnan, it is alleged that information is restricted.  This second point is more important.

- I just saw what Anthony Wong wrote: "I don't want to say anything.  I only want all those Chinese people in Japan to be safe and sound!  I cannot be so tolerant, because no Chinese person can ever forget the Nanjing massacre!  Those pitiful 200,000 Chinese persons who died 50 years ago!"  -------  Brother, I can appreciate your feelings.  I haven't forgotten either.  But your timing seemed to imply that you were talking about the three years of natural disasters ... 

- Southern Weekend dispatched a reporter who doesn't speak Japanese to interview in the disaster zone.  This was a waste of time.  They even had to apologize for being not being able to interview because of language barriers.  Why not just publish some photos by Japansese netizens?  Or just organize some other materials.  In this age, there is no need to go to the scene in the even of an emergency, especially an earthquake.  There was no reason to go to the quake zone and then send information back to China via the Internet!

- Anyone with a conscience would know that the so-called patriots who gloat in other people's misfortunes are human-heads-equipped-with-pig-brains.  They are drowned in their own patriotic wet dreams.  Their comments over the past couple of days have made me more aware of the importance of education and upbringing.

- A heart is made of flesh.  No matter whether you are Chinese or Japanese, you will use your heart when you communicate and exchange.  At this moment, certain Chinese people are looking at the Japan earthquake indifferently and insultingly.  Is that necessary?  Do they have to bring up the Second World War every time?  The Second World War has nothing to do with this earthquake.  A natural disaster is not the same as a manmade calamity.  We cannot regard natural disasters as political events.  Otherwise, there are no good people in any country and everybody deserves to die.  There will be no humans left on earth.

- I have read a number of microblog posts in praise of the Japanese people during the earthquake.  For example, they don't smoke, they don't cause a commotion, they are orderly and they don't leave any garbage behind.  But my observation is that the moral quality is always someone else's business and never our own.  How many Chinese people can behave like the Japanese?  I am afraid, not many!  The Chinese people won't be able to catch up to the Japanese for another two hundred years!  Why?

[A friend posted from Japan:  Several people are gathered in a public area after the earthquake.  Nobody smoked; service workers went around offering blankets, hot water, biscuits.  All the men helped the women by running back into the buildings to fetch stuff.  They installed wires to listen to radio.  Three hours later, everybody went off.  Fuck!  There was not a single piece of garbage left on the ground.  Nothing whatsoever.

- The gap in civic quality between the Chinese and Japanese peoples are also reflected in the gap between the Chinese and Japanese media workers.  The Japanese reporter will spontaneously follow an unwritten reporting rule: After each earthquake in Japan, there will be more or less some amount of panic buying, robberies, looting or worse acts, but the Japanese media will only show videos and reports about orderly behavior.  What about the Chinese media workers?

- Whenever there are big disasters, IT people should feel their social responsibility.  We do not have the ability to fight off the forces of nature.  But we have the information earlier, we can warn people; we can send the information out within a few seconds through various channels, and we can initiate rescue efforts immediately afterwards.  This is the most important thing in any disaster.  We will try our best to do better. 

- After the Wenchuan earthquake took place, a certain Chinese media outlet quickly proposed that this was "the Wrath of God."  I would like to ask this media outlet whether the Japan earthquake is also "the Wrath of God."  My sense is that the Chinese media has plenty of hired guns and hacks who represent American and Japanese interests.

- In Japan, the government changes hands several times per year.  Yet they are very orderly on how to handle the big disaster.  This sufficiently shows that a stable country has nothing to do with a stable government.  The life of a Japanese government is shorter than that of a mosquito, but the expected life of the Japanese people is almost number one in the world.

- Experts say that the Japan earthquake was 256 times more powerful than the Wenchuan earthquake, the population density was 20 times higher than Wenchuan, but only 2,000 persons died ... of course, it isn't over yet.

- I read the report from Southern Metropolis Daily reporter Ji Xuguang, including his notes.  He wrote about his misgivings about drinking that bottle of mineral water that he drank.  I was touched.  We reporters ought to have a sensitive and gentle heart.  Without it, none of our doubts and criticisms carry any weight.  I admire colleague Xuguang.

- Why don't people care about the Yingjiang earthquake in Yunnan?  Some people say that it was because CCTV doesn't care.  Oh, now those anti-CCTV people want to use CCTV as their shield!  Stop talking nonsense.  Please look at the data in the photo.  What is your excuse?  Data are merciless.


Top row: Number of persons who offered prayers for the Japan earthquake: 333,259
Bottom row: Number of persons who offered prayers for the Yingjiang earthquake: 49,612


Who is the most beloved Japanese person in all of China?  The adult video actress Sola Aoi.  Here is her Tweet just after the earthquake.

Now that Sola Aoi had reported that she was alright, the Chinese rumormongers turned to another well-known Japanese AV actress: Yui Hatano (波多野结衣), who has been said to be a Lin Chiling-lookalike.

At noon today, TV Tokyo (Japan) released the list of 597 persons who died during this earthquake.  The name of Adult Video goddess Yui Hatano appeared on this list.  Her agent updated her blog to state: Yesterday, Yui Hatano went to film on the seashore and was swallowed up by the 6.6 meter high tsunami.  She died along with the male adult video actor and the cameraman.  Is this true?  Seeking confirmation!

This is now regarded as a rumor for a number of suspicious points -- for example, TV Tokyo has issued no such list; Yui Hatano was her stage name and she would be listed under her real name in the event of death; her agent did not have a blog and besides she had left Asia Hot for Sky already; all the news 'sources' emanate from mainland China with nothing whatsoever from Japan; etc.  Nevertheless, this item was probably most popular among earthquake-related microblog posts but always attached with "Seeking confirmation!" as if this obviates responsibility for spreading rumors. 

Have no fear for Sino-Japanese friendship, because things have never been better.  At the Third Annual Shanghai Adult Toys and Reproductive Health Exposition, the Japanese AV actress Ai Haneda was a star attraction.

(China National Radio)


Related Link: Schadenfreude and Sympathy in Shanghai  Adam Minter, Foreign Policy